No eating on rides under 4 hours

Just a general comment. What are you training your body to do when you do this. I thought this myself after doing a brutal 30 mile ride in freezing weather,

I kept thinking that I may be training my body to retain as much fat and sugar as it can because this sudden assault could happen again. For me, I pushed myself to a place I don’t go often, and felt it the next day. I even stayed a second day to ‘recover’. I did the event because it was a challenge. It was 30 miles of hills and single track, and the weather was nasty, frigid and raining on top of it all. So many people didn’t even show for the start, and the number that DNF was higher than the previous year, yet I refused to quit. But what did I program my body to do. Was it constructive to do that. And I ate an entire pizza that night, which was delicious, but what did I accomplish. I mean, aside from proving that I was crazy enough to do it (twice).

Sorry if this seems like I’m criticizing you. I’m just always wondering what I’m teaching my body to do, and trying to not wreck it. (MY wife read me the symptoms of rhabdo, and I assured her I was fine🥸)

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Literally had the exact same thought….I’m not even grabbing a cup of water for a 10k.

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Nothing special- just a different way to improve my base aerobic fitness as I come back from a year off of the bike.
The idea of really focussing on the zone you are targeting that day resonated with me and I like the discipline of sticking below 60% ftp ish.

Work gets busier soon, so I’ll probably start carbing up and doing the local Sunday group rides instead.

Edited to add- it’s really important to stress that these fasted endurance rides are NOT trashing me. Even the Garmin only gave it 24h recovery time.

This ride was fully fuelled and ruined me far more: (203w np)

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Do you think they both burned the same amount of glycogen in the 1000kj?

Nailed it. I haven’t bonked in like at least 10 years. Been dropped plenty of times, had bad race results, not be able to hold the wheel etc, but not a bonk. I also don’t feel thrashed after endurance rides or starving when I get home either. Can still recover and do the hard work during the week.


This all being said, since I started fueling properly while ON the bike. I have now discovered that I am able to moderate my eating much better when OFF the bike. It used to be impossible for me to turn a salad into a meal. I would get too hungry before the next meal. But because I’m fueling while training much better, I almost always eat a salad for lunch now

I think this is the most overlooked benefit of heavy carb fueling on the bike, I am in your boat at 6’4" 200 lbs went for a 2 hr mountain bike ride last night, with a good amount of steep VO2 max climbing, right after work with no dinner. Was ingesting ~60 g carbs an hour. Previously when I wouldn’t fuel I would be starving and the fast-food or chipotle with extra guac on the way home would always get me :hamburger: . Now I finish tired but not starving and I can go home to make something healthy.

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Fully agree, moving the calories into my workouts has just made it so much easier to eat better off the bike, I just don’t have to spend mental energy stopping myself eating nutrient low food . This just decreases stress across the board for me. Plus if I have a break from training I don’t have to worry as much about changing my eating habits.

another anecdote for the OP, I used to ride with a group just like this and I found that they were good at pacing their rides to suit their choices, and since it was their group they chose the routes too, so their goals kind of became what they could achieve?
You can probably make gains becoming more fat adapted, but I don’t think they’re worth it, you can probably make bigger gains elsewhere atm.


My rule for eating on the bike is simple, eat whenever I feel like I need to regardless of how short or long the ride is. I always have a few gels or bars in my top tube bag so I just reach in whenever I want. To me it really that simple.


isn’t the food you are eating on the bike nutrient low?


Fair point, but I find it harder to control the continuous craving for easy calories throughout the day after running a calorie deficit through exercise, which ends up meaning more low nutrient calories (for me). Maybe I could build the discipline but I don’t think the gains are worth it.


Yes, of course, but it’s being the dextrose/fructose is being consumed as you ride. We are talking about after-ride hunger leading to poor food decisions. I’m physically less hungry so I can make it home to have nutritious food.

It’s a mental thing for me when I ride without calories, I’m like oh I am in a 1000 calorie deficit let’s go get a hamburger and fries. Lowering the willpower barrier is always a good thing.

So what does that look like? Say you take in the 1000 calories in sugar on the bike. What are you eating at home instead of the burger and fries? What is stopping you from having the burger and fries and then whatever healthy option you were planning on having?

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For me, nothing except creating the discipline to do that, and id rather spend that effort (and avoid the mental stress that goes with it) elsewhere because I don’t think the “fat adaption” benefit is worth it.

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Fair, as a followup then why does this cause mental stress and why does off bike discipline need to be so rigid? asking in as openly as possible, why is a treat after a bike ride not acceptable in your mind and why does this cause stress instead of happiness? I’ve literally consumed thousands of gels and bottles of sugar mix and I don’t think any of them as been as enjoyable as a coke(or beer) after a ride or a handful of gummy bears like Sagan.

I think the idea is to shift the most calories to when you are burning the most. Its also that most people are better at controlling the quality of food post-ride if they fuel during. A treat after the ride IS acceptable, but not eating during makes most people eat the entire fridge after.

Btw gummy bears and coke are awesome on the bike and are being used when you are burning the most calories, instead of before bed.


Not be harsh but to answer your question;

the dumb one?

They’re all behind you in your draft laughing at you while they soft pedal home at 70% of the effort you’re doing.


But at the end of the day is the total macronutrient distribution that much different? I guess I haven’t found that I grossly overeat after an endurance ride. Actually I probably east less calories with a better nutrition density after a ride than a combined sugar water+strict meal after.

Yes and they regularly get consumed on hard rides, but not necessarily on endurance rides, I’ll generally go for rice cakes or something a bit more savory on easier rides when digestion is less of an issue.

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It is definitely all subjective, where personally all willpower and sense of portion control goes out the window for me after a longer ride without calories. At the end of the day I would say the 600 calories of sugar on the bike then eating a healthy vegetable protein meal after is better for me than no calories on the bike and going deep on a cheese burger and fries.

Don’t get me wrong I still do the cheese burger and fries but just not as often.


There’s probably an inbetween where you have the burger and a side of broccoli instead, maybe even a small milkshake.

I found the way to deal with the after-ride meal is to have something ready at home that needs minimal prep, but is “proper food”. If I plan for a long ride, I’ll try to cook more the day before, so that I have leftovers that just need warming up at home when I come back.

Though to be honest, I’m usually not very hungry when I come back, regardless of eating or not eating on the bike. The ravenous sweet cravings all come when I sit at my desk for work.