Race fueling, what's your strategy?

I’m curious how you fuel your 4+ hr road, gravel, marathon mountain bike races. Be real specific.

I have my first race—which is an 80 mi gravel event—in 4 weeks and will be doing a 2 day carb load prior (aiming for 8g/carb per kg) with a slight change to my race strategy.

Typically I would carry two bottles, one with water and the other with Skratch along with a couple of clif bars or similar and a couple of gels which ends up being enough to get ~300cal/hr.

Once the Skratch bottle is consumed I would refill with straight water. However, I’m interested in trying something different and moving away from real food in lieu of SiS Beta (or Maurten 160 or 320) paired with only gels and a bar or two for backup.

Here’s my race day plan:

  • Race rollout: 8am
  • Wake up: 5:30am
  • Breakfast @ 6am: 2c oatmeal topped with 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1x banana, 2x tbsp sunflower seeds which should be good for around 800-1000cal and 150g carb
  • Pre-race snack at rollout: Banana

*Race nutrition:
2x 500ml bottles of SiS Beta Fuel for first two hours (or Maurten 320) (320 cal, 90g carb each)
Bottle 3 with water
4x SiS gels per hour after bottles are done (80 cal, 22g carb each)
2x Nature’s Bakery Fig bar pack as needed (220 cal, 40g carb per pack)

Total cal: 1400
Total carb: 436

I’m hoping that this can get me through 80mi or ~4.5hrs of race or near race pace intensity.

By all means try something different, but not on race day

This is a low-priority event and is in prep for Almanzo. I’m not terribly worried about gastric issues with the above given what I’ve read and typical iron-gut.

@brendanhousler x-posting this as it likely applies to your situation: Land Run 100 Gravel Race: Nutrition Choices To Make The Lead Group


I have to say that this seems very considered and I’d be amazed if you weren’t fully fuelled for your ride but, it does seem to be a lot to consume.

Having never ridden a gravel race I’m not sure how relevant this will be but this is my race nutrition:

Breakfast - granola with yogurt and black coffee
Pre ride - banana
Ride - two 500ml bottles. One with SIS electrolytes, the other half water, half pineapple juice.

Three SIS gels, handful of jelly babies (usually get forgotten) and two or three Clif Bar Blocks.

That’ll see me through for four hours.

thanks @BMAC615; new video coming soon to the channel on the race recap