Making a Nutrition Plan for a Century Ride with Uneven profile

I’m planning on going on a century ride tomorrow with about 1850m total elevation gain but was confused about how to pace my food for the duration. The route basically has three long climbs from sea level to ~200m elevation right in a row in the first half of the ride. Its about a 7hr ride, and with my FTP of 245 I was planning on riding normalized power of around 160-170.

Since the climbs are all in the earlier half of the ride, should I be pacing my nutrition differently in the first and second half of the ride? Any advice would be appreciated. I’ve done a few 5 hour rides last year before beginning to use trainerroad, but this will be my first going over 7 hours.

One way you could do this is to have KJ as a field - I’m assuming you have a power meter - and base your nutrition timing on the rate of KJ expanded.

But theoretically if you paced a perfect constant average power, then your nutrition rate per time should also be constant. But my guess is your power will be higher early in the ride, so I would plan on eating more towards the beginning of the ride.

But my rule of thumb is to bring at least 600 calories more than I think I need, just in case. I also try and have leftover food, just so I don’t ever run short / need to try and conserve.

The limiting factor is how much fuel your gut can process in an hour, not the terrain. Evenly pacing your nutrition throughout the ride should be your strategy, rather than trying to match the terrain.

That said, what you can digest when working harder while climbing may be different to what you can manage on the flats. Depending on likely temperatures in the 1st part of the ride I’d be tempted to use bottles for the climbs, and perhaps gels/solids for the latter parts when you won’t be working as hard.

Personally I’d just go for an even distribution throughout the ride- even if you’re burning more carbohydrate toward the beginning of the ride it’s likely to be a little more difficult to consume them in both in terms of effort and convenience, and I wouldn’t be aiming to climb too hard early on especially if this is newer territory for you. Keep it simple, stick to what you know works, and definitely bring an extra gel or two just in case!

1 Like