How to carry nutrition - self supported century...also first century

Trying to figure out the best way to carry endurance powdered mix that can be mixed with water from gas stations. I’m thinking of trying something like Tailwind and I’d use 3 scoops per bottle. Assuming I start with 2 prefilled bottles, I could need up to 4-5 more bottles (1 bottle per hour = 300 cal / 75 g carbs). Should I just prefill plastic baggies with 3 scoops each? That is a lot of powder to carry on a ride, or it seems like it to me.

Alternatively, you could go to one bidon with up to 3-4 hours worth of carbs. And your other bidon just water. I regularly add 250g to a 750ml bidon (could probably go to 300g). You have to mix it with hot water though, so best to do it the day before so you can let in cool in the fridge.

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Zefal 975ml bottles if they’ll fit. That’s a good start, but you’ll still probably want to refill somewhere. Just carb mix can wear you down as well. I know more than a few forum members that split carbs and hydration just to keep things from going sideways on either front.

Also these are almost perfect for bringing powder along. Thanks to @alexwild for the pro tip on them

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The little tube that Nuun tabs comes in seems like it would be great but trying to do 90g or more you run out of space :frowning:

Can you only bring 2 bottles? How big are the bottles? I would be concerned about dehydration over the 5+ hour ride if you’re only consuming 4-5 bottles total.

I regularly fit 2x500ml on my bike and 2x500ml in my jersey, and pack some gels and drink mix sachets for the gas station stop.

My last solo century i had 4xMaurten 320 from the house for the first three hours and packed 4xMaurten 160 and 2xMaurten 100gels for the last two. At my bodyweight (71kg), and sweat rate (1.07 L/hr), this left me at an overall sweat loss above the 2% floor (1.88%).

I’ve been doing it like this recently and it’s super easy…

Sugar + water melted in a pot and you can create a giant gel for super cheap. If you add some extra maltodextrin you can easily achieve a 1:.0.8 glucose to fructose ratio. Also add drink mix powder (gatorade, lemonade…etc) to create flavor and salt as necessary.

2.5 cups of sugar/mix easily dissolves into about a cup of water to create a 500ml gel that has 500grams of carbs. That’s 4-6hrs of nutrition, depending on your goal carb intake.

Then you can run your bottles as pure water or one water and the other carb mix to start.

Completely eliminates carrying around bags of powder and having to stop to mix stuff mid-ride which is annoying and time consuming. And you can take a bit hit of gel and then chase with water so you don’t have sticky sugar sitting on your teeth for the whole ride.


Are you using it now? If so that’s a good choice.
The product says
“Each serving is 100 calories. For endurance workouts, mix 2-3 scoops per 24 oz of water per hour.”
Figure the first 2 bottles plus 3 packets (maybe small baggies or 1 bag with it all in there)
I would also consume 1 bottle before departing,
You might take a few gels and something solid like a cliff bar to break up all that liquid. You can consume extra water at gas stations. Now days some even sell bananas and fruit.
Like the above post I use the Maurten stuff ( drink mix and gels). I do carry a small amount of powered Gatorade. It seems to clear my mouth and throat after a lot of sweet stuff. I mix it about 1/4 strength.
Have fun

With saddle mount for double bottle cages holder and 4x 750ml bottles (2x water with electrolytes + 2x sugar water), you can carry up to 3L of fluids. In normal conditions (<=25deg Celsius) and not racing (~60-65% of FTP), it makes me self-sufficient for 6-7 hours (180-200km).

If I’d need to put out more intensity, probably would go with 3x sugar water and keep filling 4th bottle at gas stations, and would need to carry only electrolyte tablets with me.

I don’t use it now because most of my rides are loops and I can stop by my house or vehicle and grab new bottles, therefore my bottles are premade with table sugar and salt. The century that I’d like to do is not near my house so I need to carry the mix with me and it needs to be something that will dissolve in cold water. That video is very helpful.

Snack Size Zip Lock bags work great for pre measured powder - make up one per bottle and you can mix up a bottle faster on the road than you can at home. I love NUUN tablets too if I’m not looking for calories. They come in a plastic tube that works great for transport.

If you’re buying water at at gas stations and filling more than one bottle, its cheaper and easier to buy a gallon jug of water than actual bottled water although often the jugs are not cold.

If you are counting on gas stations (a great plan BTW), I’d suggest knowing where your stop options are in advance. Despite the fact it seems like there is a gas station on every corner, it is shocking how scarce they get when you are thirsty! It is entirely possible, even in populated areas to ride many many miles without seeing a convenient place to get water. Gas stations are sited for car traffic, not bike traffic.


Yup, seems like they are everywhere but nowhere when you need one.

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I’ve used empty Nuun tubes before to hold powdered carbs. They work well and are sturdy, but my recollection is that they only hold like 40 mg of maltodextrin in powder form, so you need a few of them.

One strategy that you might consider, if your palate can handle a variety of sports drinks, is to only carry unflavored supplemental maltodextrin (either powder, or ideally pre-mixed with water in a back-pocket bottle), and then you can just buy 2 liters of Gatorade at the gas stations, and top it off with straight malto for extra calories. I do this at long races and fondos, where aid stations often have diluted or low-carb drink mix. As an example:

  1. Start out with two 1 liter bottles of Tailwind, which should carry you about 3 hours (there are threads on this forum re good ~1 liter bottles that fit into standard cages – I use these).
  2. Then at the 3 hour mark when you have finished your first bottles, stop at a gas station, buy 2 liters/quarts of Gatorade or something similar (Gatorade I think is roughly 50 grams per 750 ml). Add 40+ grams of maltodextrin to each 1 liter water bottle plus the Gatorade). You can either use powdered malto, or you could pre-mix it with hot water and then put it into a refillable gel flask (since malto doesn’t mix very well into cold water).

Another approach would be to start with 2 liters of your Tailwind mix, and then to stop at a gas station and get 2 liters of Gatorade plus ~300 calories of candy or salty snacks that you could then nibble on over the next three hours. The upside is nothing to carry around, the downside is you are at the mercy of whatever the gas station sells.

It is also manageable to carry around your Tailwind powder in baggies (one bag per bottle). Kind of bulky and messy, but not terribly so (and at 75 grams times three hours is only half a pound).


If you are content with stopping, just load a baggie up with enough mix and stick it in back pocket. If you want to minimize stops, consider adding a hydration pack. I use one year around for long training rides. It’s pretty easy to get enough fuel and hydration on the bike to make it over 100 miles (unless it’s hot).

I am content with stopping about every 1 - 1.5 hrs just to get off the bike and stretch. I’ve got a top tube bag headed my way so I need to test how much space these baggies take up when they are loaded with 3 scoops of Tailwind or similar.

If you are stopping that often, look for drinking fountains too. A quick bottle fill up at a convenient park can often be easier to find and quicker than a gas station stop. I love me some long ride gas station snacks but its way more comfortable to rest on a park bench or laying under a tree than it is sitting on a gas station curb.