Nutrition for 3 to 3.5 Hour MTB Race

About to undergo my 5th attempt at the Gunnison Growler in May and trying to right my wrongs in the past.

Quick question is this: if i am trying to get 80g of carbs per hour and SIS Beta Fuel is 80g per packet, is it safe to say that i just need 3 packets to adequately hydrate/nutrition for a 3 hour race?

Little background below:

I do believe that my fitness has been where it needs to be, but the last two years i have gotten the eating and drinking wrong. I know that the max amount of carbs the body can handle per hour is still being debated but i need to start somewhere. In the past i have tried to use a mix of SIS gels and chews throughout the race but never seemed to get the necessary amount to feel fresh and racing on the bike. I am starting to use Beta Fuel by SIS, which delivers 80g of Carbs. per bag, so am i right in saying that in theory if i am racing a 3 hour race i would only need to ingest three of these 80g bags? I will certainly have a gel or two with me for emergencies and there are aid stations out there, and i will also test my theory before race day, but looking for some help to dial in the nutrition before race day!!

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Everyone is a little different in their needs. My advice would be to do a few race simulations until you figure out what’s best for you.

I think I’ll be there again. Fun race. I’ve done Growler and Firecracker all on carbs in the bottle. I am use to it though. Been using CarboRocket 333 for two years now. I may start with some food at the start and water, but keep two bottles of 333 and water in the jersey and I’m set.

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Everyone’s body has varying needs and each person has their own tastes. I’ve done up to 5 hour mtb races on Tailwind and one package of Nature’s bakery fig bars. Tailwind gets me through fine, the fig bars are more of a mental thing for me. I just “need” to chew something once in a while.

You have plenty of time until your event so go and practice your nutrition strategy.

I have this exact same question. Their gels are 22g or so of CHO so you would have to take 12 of them with you to get through the 3 hours at 80g per hour.

This could be helpful:


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i love beta fuel but at some points I just rather have some carbs as food, and switch to the SIS powder which is 37g per serving.

Mess around with some different concoctions before the event, good luck!


You’ll get the carbs, but will likely need more water. The 80g is dissolved in 500mL of water. That’s a little over 16 oz. Three of those wouldn’t be enough for me for 3 hours, particularly if it’s hot at all.

In past gravel races I’ve had Beta Fuel in a hydration pack, and a 24oz bottle with Skratch. Got fresh supplies at an aid station halfway. That worked well for me.

I’ve found a top tube bag really helpful for long mtb events. You can cram quite alot into an aero bag and it’s constantly there as a constant reminder to eat. I know it’s unbearable to consider for many, (weight, looks) but I’ve left faster riders behind at feed stations because I’m self sufficient.

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