If you’re gearing up for a multi-day ride like Cycle Oregon’s CLASSIC, nutrition is key! But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be intimidating or boring.
Test Your Options
Everyone has a different tolerance for foods while they ride, and we all process nutrition differently. Figure out what works best for you when you’re out on training rides. Look for pre-made bars and other nutritional treats to fuel your ride, and try them one at a time.
While it can be fun to have a cookie mid ride (you earned it!) for some people the excessive sugar may be too much. Many people find that a boost of sugar fuels their ride, but others find it’s a recipe for stomach problems.
Skratch Labs is one of the few companies that specializes in ride snacks that aren’t overly sweet and are often savory. They bring years of professional cycling expertise to the company (the owner is a doctor and the former nutritionist for the USA Tour de France team.
Some people like sugar for a boost, others like protein for sustained fuel all day long. A hard boiled egg or a handful of nuts can do the trick. Avoid big meals and heavy foods (like fries. mmmm fries…..) during your ride.
Keep it Natural
If that ingredient list is a a mile long, steer clear! Can’t pronounce the ingredients? Don’t bother to try!
We think the best on-the-bike snacks are those with the fewest ingredients, and not a lot of indulgent ingredients like chocolate. A simple dried fruit and nut combo is often an excellent choice.
So if this has you thinking “Wait, can’t I just bring a nut and fruit mix?” the answer is YES! And maybe you’re thinking “Wait, can’t I just make that?” and again the answer is YES! It’s easy to make your own treats, just invent your own recipes or search them out online
Many people prefer store-bought bars because they’re compact and easy, but they can quickly become pricey, especially if you’re looking for ones with quality ingredients.
When you sign up for a supported event like Cycle Oregon, part of what you’re paying for is the top notch support they provide. Having all of your basic nutritional needs are covered is a big aspect of that. And Cycle Oregon truly goes the extra mile. Each rest stop is stocked with healthy options (hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit) as well as some treats (cookies!) and full lunch.
But you just may find that you prefer something different. Testing out you options in advance will help you determine what you need to feel awesome on the bike all day long. Pack your favorite treats so you know you’ll have what you need.
Eat Before You’re Hungry
Sometimes when riding, our bodies are working so hard we don’t notice when we’re hungry. It’s a good idea to eat a little bit even before you’re hungry. Track when you’re eating and how hard you’re riding. If you’ve gone most of the day without eating, you know you’re heading into the danger zone. Sometimes you just need to chomp on a bar even if you’re not hungry – your body will thank you.
Take it easy when you eat. Eating too fast can cause an upset stomach. Take slow bites and chew completely. The more you can process your food before swallowing, the less work your stomach needs to do. When you’re body is tired, this helps conserve important energy so you can devote it to riding.
Be Sure to Sip Water!
It’s easy to forget about water, especially if it’s not a hot day. Start your ride by pounding a water bottle about 30 minutes before your ride. And be sure to hydrate well after the ride – it’s great for muscle recovery.
Right before you climb a hill, take a few sips. You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll climb with hydration. It’s also a good idea to take a few sips every mile on a sustained climb.
Bring along two water bottles if you’re riding in extreme heat of any distance, or if you’re riding more than 20 miles. Don’t be afraid to down that water! It’s so good for you.
Plan to go through a water bottle for every 10-20 miles, depending on the heat.