I ❤️CARBS! (and so should you!)

That’s what I sometimes think. I definitely fuel z2 with carbs , but more like 40ish grams per hour instead of that upper end. Prefer to have a bit more oatmeal or pasta instead (pre or post).

Edit: but for threshold work or higher, definitely the upper end

One reason to still target >40g/hr is that your gut will become more tolerant of the higher intakes at higher intensities and you’ll have more room for error where margins for error are typically thin (ie. harder efforts, races, dehydration, very high carb intake rates, etc).

Training the gut isn’t critical… but it is helpful. And it’s best done at lower intensities.

Always calculating tradeoffs though! :slight_smile:

For me, sometimes ease of weight maintenance or loss is in favor of reducing fueling rate from my typical 100-130g/hr down to 60-80g/hr for longer very easy rides. For short very easy rides I’ll typically use Table of Intra-workout Carb Needs Per Hour of Training as my guide and err on the low side if I foresee hunger being an issue later.

If I had a race coming up in the next 1-2 months though, I’d be on the very high end of those recommendations without fail.


Yes, that makes sense.
But would that be the only reason? I would think that doing it during the 2-3 higher intensity sessions (per week) is quite some gut training in itself already.

Might just be a psychological thing. I’ve done it before during z2 rides and finished those rides every time thinking that it just wasn’t necessary

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You’re right, it is. Answer to your question:

No, the other bigger reason is that there is enhancement of carbohydrate oxidation ability with chronic high-carb fueling. Peak exogenous carb oxidation rates are improved chronically. That’s part of what played into me saying

but I clearly failed to mention that rationale there. Kind of an important one!

Other benefits include probably higher glycogen storage than could otherwise be achieved over a training phase with high volumes of training. Muscle damage and fatigue tend to prevent max glycogen storage rates post-exercise, so getting it in when you can, if your performance is a primary focus, is probably a great idea.

I don’t race seriously. I don’t care if I have a 3.2 W/kg or 3.3W/kg FTP. If I did care, I’d already have a 4.5 W/kg FTP because I’d train more.

So, what I mention about doing myself, applies more to the crowd for whom performance is kind of important, but also body composition maintenance, and also life in general.

For purely performance: high-carb fueling is almost always the ideal. If I cared for my own performance, I’d probably be running loads of n=1 experiments trying to push into the 140-170g/hr range.


Thank you, very interesting!!
You’ve been very helpful on the forum and giving some great advice.

Maybe a good guest for the podcast @Jonathan ?


With all the carbs people are stuffing in their bottles, how are people keeping them clean? Are there particular bottles that are easier to clean than others?

I use some Camelbak Podium bottles and found that they were prone to collecting black gunk in the cap.

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What I personally do: Thorough hot water rinse after every ride. Wash in dishwasher after 3-4 rides.

Zefal Magnum Bottles (32oz)


quit those bottle; too hard to clean. Now I just buy bottles w the basic nozzle


This is the problem with the whole macronutrient obsession. A donut is a great case in point. It’s carb and fat - most of its calories are coming from the fat, not the flour/sugar.

Definitely rinse immediately after the session, and every now and then sanitise with the tablets they use for baby’s bottles etc.

Dishwasher treatment is my go to, then chuck 'em after a while if they get really bad (though, should be aware of the environmental impact with going through more).

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I would tend to agree. zone 2 for not a long period: I don’t see the need for sugar water. Can eat more hearty real foods. See no need to load my system in that way.

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Yeah it gives me a consistent timing to compare from one day to the next.

My weight has steadily increased to about 88kg, this is approximate as the scale ready changes by up to 1 kg

There are a few things:

It’s not so much that I don’t need it. It’s more that I wonder if I should be using zone 2 workouts to give my teeth a break.

I also have a family history of type 2 diabetes and wonder how sustainable that kind of sugar intake is. I understand that training 6 days a week isn’t the same as eating a pint of ice cream 6 days a week, but I also understand that cyclists can still develop diabetes. :slight_smile:

This blurb may be informative on that.

Chasing with water, according to a dentist on here, apparently negates much or all of the dental risk.


Ok, question for you regarding fueling zone 1/2 60-90 minute sessions. Do you really think there is a huge difference if you fueled a 60 minute zone 2 ride with say 100 grams of carbs IF at the end of the day your totals were the same? I struggle with this concept and people generally like to say if you fuel the ride it helps with recovery and you won’t be as hungry after the ride etc. and then there are those who start fueling these easy rides and gain weight (obviously they didn’t adjust their total overall calorie consumption) that’s all good and everything but let’s just assume you are going to take in the same amount by the end of the day regardless of the fuel you consume during the ride. Is there any difference to recovery? There just doesn’t seem to be a need to push zone 2 rides to the point that fueling during is necessary and if you complete the ride and recover the same before your next ride is it really optimal to fuel them? I think that it is dependent on a few factors such as body composition and overall threshold (there has to be a difference between a lean 130lb male burning 700 calories in a 60 minute zone 2 ride and a 20+% bf person burning around 400 :man_shrugging:t3:).
So, if you were designing an optimal routine for someone who does not need to lose body fat, is at or near their race weight, and willing and able to track all macros throughout the day, would you have them max out fuel during all bike sessions and fill in the test with real food off the bike?

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Not really. Here are the recommendations from my book. Table of Intra-workout Carb Needs Per Hour of Training

Not for z1/2 <90min rides, probably not. Maybe very marginally out near 90min, hence the increasing recommendations in the above table as duration increases.

If by “push” you mean elevate the intensity sufficient to necessitate fueling, I agree.

Necessary ≠ Optimal, though.

If the Z2 ride is >90min, glycogen repletion is likely to be enhanced by fueling intra-workout to some degree.

Yes but there are probably competing factors working against such a discrepancy. Larger folks tend to burn ever so slightly more kcal per watt (barely), and less fit folks tend to burn much higher percentages of carbohydrate for their energy production.

Unless the person possessing 20% BF is pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic, intra-carb consumption doesn’t need to be modulated (reduced from the tabular recommendations) simply because of body fat levels. Exception: if they’re legitimately doing <100W the entire time.

You’ll like my book. :slight_smile: I make ~$12 when you buy it. If it’s not worth that to you, I’ll paypal you the full price. Answer: if there’s a race coming up in the next couple months, I’d program somewhere between the recommended and maximum amounts, always. If no race, and satiety and life-enjoyment was primary goal, then maybe near minimums if personally preferable to the rider.

Good questions!


Thanks for the thorough response! Your contributions to this forum are priceless in my opinion. I am definitely comfortable supporting you financially and will purchase a copy of your book. Any chance you do a one time 60 minute consultation for a fee? I know you aren’t taking new coaching clients right now but there might be a market for you to have a video call or something where someone could bounce some ideas off you and come up with some personal recommendations. I know I’d be interested if that were a possibility.


I bowed out of that a while back, unfortunately. Time-cost got too high. With TextExpander at my fingertips I can be lightning on my keyboard!

I’ll be starting a youtube series on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfQgsKhHjSyRLOp9mnffqVg for endurance sport performance “soon.” (couple months prob… maybe sooner)

Edit: thank you for the kind words!