Nutrition Advice for Early Morning Century

Hey everyone, I am doing my first century on Father’s Day weekend. We are probably starting the ride around 7 AM. I’ll need to leave my house by about 6:30 to drive to the start. I’ll probably wake up around 5:45 and have everything ready to go.

I’m not too worried about on bike nutrition as my water bottles will always have about 60g carbs and 240 calories (carbo gain) with electrolyte mix. I’ll carry two bottles and plan to have three extra baggies with the powder mix ready to add at pit stops. I’ll also have some Honey Stinger gummies and stroops. There will also be a short bakery/coffee stop about half way.

My biggest question is what should I do about nutrition as soon as I wake up and the night before. I’ll go with some sort of pasta, veggie, and protein for dinner like a chicken scampi type saute. But I am concerned with not being able to get a good start to the day in the morning. I’m the opposite of a morning person so I really think getting up before 5:45 will be a stretch for me. I was thinking a solid bowl of greek yogurt with berries and banana.

What do you usually do before a big early ride to get your nutrition started the right way? Am i overthinking this? I don’t put nearly this much thought into my typical 50 to 60 mile rides, but am a little nervous with my first century. The loop is about 103 miles with 7,500ish feet of climbing.

Thanks for your thoughts.

I like to have a big breakfast before a big ride. Oatmeal + sweet potato+ some fruit. The downside is that the beginning of the ride is kinda rough with all that in the stomach. But after the first hour I feel great and don’t feel like I have to try to stuff my face on the bike.

You should really find out what works for your stomach, though


Morning before a ride I always have a couple of slices of toast with jam, and one or two cups of coffee. Right as I’m starting the ride, I’ll take a gel. From that point forward it’s all liquid nutrition for me. I use Carborocket, at 333 calories per bottle. We usually set up centuries with a SAG vehicle, so there will be some extra gels and some solid food there, but I very rarely take anything other than the liquid nutrition and possibly a gel or two if I’m feeling down.
For me, the key is to ensure I’m drinking about a bottle per hour of that liquid nutrition. If it is warm, I will carry a bottle of liquid nutrition and a bottle of water on the bike. Again, we usually have the SAG, so I will swap out bottles whenever we stop.

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1:15 isn’t enough time to eat a real breakfast. I would just down some carbs about 15 minutes before the start.

I go for a banana, bar, and gel with caffeine. 400 kCals to top off the liver glycogen that was depleted overnight.


Wake up earlier . Otherwise you don’t have time to digest a real breakfast.
Is wake at 5 and have a big bowl of oats and fruit.
I also don’t understand why you would have Greek yogurt, you don’t really need the protein before a ride so I’d either skip the yogurt or have regular yogurt

My go to before a big ride or a race is pasta with beets + the usual tea with heavy cream.

The day prior I like noodles/pasta with vegetables and some protein. For the 7AM start centuries, it’s worked great for me waking up early enough to drink a shake of:

  • 100 grams rolled oats
  • 32 grams peanut butter or almond butter
  • 15 grams honey
  • 100 grams frozen berry medley or strawberries
  • 290ml of almond milk or oatmilk

I drink it as soon as I wake up and it helps move the stomach to hit the throne before the shower. That way you get to the ride well fed and super relaxed :sweat_smile:

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Definitely eat extra pasta the night before so you are loaded up going into it.

I’m assuming this century is a more casual, get to the finish line thing and not an all out race. If that is the case then you can get away with eating a bit larger breakfast closer to the ride. I like the idea of making a smoothing with some yogurt or protein in it. You can sip it bit by bit and even take it in the car on the way to the start if you’re rush and it will digest relatively easy.

You could also do some sort of overnight oats with berries on top. So it’s a bit more solid but still pretty easily digestable.

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+1 to the overnight oats recommendation. So long as you’re not competing and it’s more of a sportive thing, I wouldn’t worry too much as you’ll have plenty of energy combined with the on the bike fuelling.

A decent amount of climbing there @Jcromano :slight_smile: For centuries I like to have a Pasta meal the night before but I’ve done them on rice or noodle based dishes. I wouldn’t overthink it just make sure you get a good meal. In the morning my go to is a bowl of Porridge and depending on the event + Banana, + Toast, + Coffee, + pre-hydration. Again though don’t over think things, just enjoy, you’ve got this :+1:

Mornings before races that are 2+ hours away from me, I’ll eat while driving. I can’t say it’s the safest but there are not as many cars on the road at 5 am.
I usually make a big container of overnight oats with pretty much same recipe as @nicrides. I try to rinse the container out at a gas station bathroom or something so it doesn’t get too funky.

Just wanted to thank everyone so far for the input.

This is not a supported ride, but a group ride with my team. Will probably be 5-10 of us and it will be a social pace. I’m betting around 15mph. When I ride solo, I will typically average closer to 18 mph over 50ish miles with a similar amount of climbing per mile. I’m just concerned with making sure my nutrition is on point for the second 50 miles as I have never crossed 60 miles in one ride before.


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If you aren’t going out there to ride at race pace, I would stick with whatever you eat before a normal long ride. I like oatmeal with fruit. I rarely have it upset my stomach but if it’s more intense I’ll wake up earlier and have my oatmeal or a PBJ sandwich on the way to the ride.

Sodium Citrate

Nothing else needed.

You could also do any other form of carbs that will sit well with your gut. Quick oats are tasty with sugar added.

Goal for pre-workout nutrition when constrained to 75min prior to exercise: make it look a lot like your intra-workout nutrition.

Consume something upon waking.

Consume more around 10-15min pre-ride. You’ll stave off some of the hypoglycemic response by doing so.

Related link spam below

Quick summary:

1:1 Glucose:Fructose Ratio Works better than 2:1.

90-150 grams of carbs per hour during exercise may be beneficial. 90 is not the limit.

Sucrose works as well as maltodextrin:fructose, and glucose:fructose 1:1 mixtures. >>90g/hr is optimal

Isotonicity is not as important as meeting carb and hydration needs. Both can be met with hypertonic solutions, greater than 90g/hr.

Detailed how-to guide for intra-workout fueling: (scroll to near bottom)

Running intra-workout fueling, sweetness discussion

Really spelling it out: HOW TO:

Even more how-to, with savings calculations:


Eat well the night before (carbs). In the korning, eat your normal breakfast, if it’s too early for that, anything that is palatable. Take your ride food, and a few bars/more normal food if you feel like something solid around your normal breakfast time or later.

Don’t overthink it, enjoy the ride with your mates.

I’ve always focused on the night before for early starts, and then made sure I start consuming early in the spin. If there’s an hour or so drive, I have a bottle mix and some bars available (basically on bike nutrition).

My n=1 is that I feel the extra time in bed is more important for me. But it is kinda N=1 stuff to be honest.