I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
The information / discussion in the Cycling Health Forum is not qualified medical advice. Please consult your doctor.
these days, on long rides and hills rides (both 80k +), after a dismail fail at the busso half using gels, i generally take my 'famous' home made energy bars, a banana and some honey sandwiches. I find that if i eat a bowl of porridge and honey for breakfast (yes, sometimes very early) this will sustain me for the first couple of hours, with a few bites of the energy bar and some water along the way.
I then generally scoff some sandwiches and the banana at the end of the ride which gets me the last 10k home.
My big goal is to race the mandurah half iron man in october on 'real' food - watch this space!
i guess at the end of the day whatever works for you is the right solution and the only way you'll find out is to experiment and practise and not worry about what everyone else does!
It depends what your body needs. If you need electrolytes then an energy drink is the way to go. However if you have enough electrolytes in the system already then drinking an energy drink with dehydrate you more( your body will try to expel the extra electrolytes). My personal choice is a weak Staminade. That way your getting electrolytes as well as plenty of water.
One option that you could experiment with is using a powder-based energy drink and mixing up a full-strength bottle for long rides, but only putting a touch of the powder into the bottle for short sessions. I like this method as I'm a bit more likely to drink if I have a sports drink instead of just water. I know that water is hydrating and really good for you and all, but I just find it boring. I force myself to drink it on a regular basis, but I find a little bit of taste makes it a bit easier. I find that an electrolyte drink with no extra calories is good for short workouts.
Generally, I use a scoop of Endura in 500ml bottle of water plus another bottle made double strength for long rides (then I can get a normal bottle of water and make two normal strength bottles).
But that's changing - as I do more longer rides I'm finding I don't need to do this as much. I've tried a few different powders, Skratch Labs, E-Load and Endura - seems that Endura works best for me.
Giant TCR SL1
Specialized Langster Pro
Personally I use powerade powder, mixed at about 1/2 strength - it tastes a little better and I seem to be less prones to cramping on longer rides than with plain water. As rides get longer I may up the mix a bit up toward full strength as top up the bottle from taps/bublers along the way. A long, warm ride, say 6~8 hrs, I may have left home with 2 bidons of full strength mix and after 2 or 3 reloadings from taps, the mix has become very weak. Sometimes buy a powerade or similar and dilute into 2 bidons along the way. On really, really long rides - done a few out toward 24 hrs - then take power with me in a bag.
Just water for me, but there was an interesting segment on an episode of the Bike Lane about the short-term benefits of a moderate amount of heat stress and dehydration during some workout sessions.
It starts at 19 minutes in.
If it's a VERY short workout, hydration before the workout is probably more important than hydration during.
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