Mate and I were wondering whilst on our last trip, whether having 20 grams of protein every few hours made up from powder, would be a good idea?
Whilst it’s generally easy to find carbs en route, quality protein sources can be rare. Obviously providing the body with decent nutrition whilst riding 8-12hr days has got to be important hasn’t it?
I personally don’t have any stomach issues. Can eat a toastie, chips, cake and coffee, then go straight into a massive climb. See below:
To be honest, I find that a fairly balanced diet is pretty important for multi-day events. That means getting a greater than zero percentage of my calories from both fat and protein. As an example of this, go look at the nutritional content of Hammer Nutrition’s HEED and Perpetuem mixes.
And not to be too, um, gross, but this definitely means eating an appropriate amount of fiber too. Nothing worse than the periodic dehydrations between water supply points that turn into you carrying around a “blockage” in the lower intestines for the next two or three days.
I don’t think there is any perfect formula of carb/fat/protein that meets the needs of every athlete and every situation. We each need our own personalized percentages of everything dependent upon our caloric expenditure, muscle mass, and tummy biome. So what works for you (see pic above) likely won’t work for your mate.
a warm protein shake on a ride sounds like a recipe for disaster haha
It wouldn’t be warm. You’d filter water from a stream so it’d be deliciously cool. Could make up bags of pre-mixed protein shake and maltodextrin powder. Would be a very lightweight way to carry nutrition.
Guess I’ll just have to try it and report back.
I think the point of my question is really this though:
If around 5 doses of 20g protein spread through the day is considered a minimum for a 70kg athlete, and you can’t just have those doses before or after a ride because you’re riding all day, then does the fact that you are exercising steadily whilst digesting the protein, affect it’s absorption and utilisation?
I’ve considered something like this, but the reality is that if you are doing 1 or 2 days, your protein intake won’t matter at all. If you are doing more, then you will most likely need to eat what you can buy en route. Carrying more than a couple of days’ food is counterproductive, unless there is no alternative. Your body will tell you what it needs - most likely carbs. I find a combination of trail mix and sweets works for me, with a big meal when I get the chance. If you want to explore the protein shake idea, give it a try on a long ride and see if it works for you.
Fair points. I do use 2-3day bikepacking trips as training towards overall fitness for racing, so it’d be nice to try maximise the benefit.
Personally I eat a lot of sugary stuff on day one then start gravitating towards more savoury on day 2. Find the 1000kcal freeze dried meals give me a real energy boost too.
Generally when bikepacking you aren’t “pushing it” (mainly because you can’t do so for such extended periods) so while you do need some protein it’s not anything like the amount that someone like a crit racer would require.
I just pack what happens to be in the cupboard and eat what I fancy at cafés. I just eat a bit more!
I tried an experiment 2hrs into a road ride yesterday. Stopped and made up a tub of muesli with Nestle Nido powered milk mixed with water. Nido is really high fat, like 45%. Tasted great, however I suddenly had no energy for the rest of the ride and thus quit early.
Conversly, today I rode 5hrs on just maltodextrin and water and felt great.
It’s a fascinating journey.
Bike packing or bike touring?
If bike packing - I personally wouldn’t - Mostly the idea of carrying whey around seams like a waste. If you’re good on toasties, I’d stick with that! I’m mostly on pub grub and petrol station food when I’m bike packing.
Bike touring, if you have the space, carrying other cooking equipment and moving at a leisurely pace. Sure why not.
My bikepacking is pretty leisurely .
Absolutely agree with you that pubs, cafes and petrol stations are your friends.