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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some tips for some XC riding this summer. Preferably on:

What to eat and drink and when

How to keep spinning after 60 or so miles with a few thousand feet in climbing ridden already


Living on the IOW, only have limited trails and 60 or so miles is a decent size loop. Riding a heavy, low spec, but upgraded Specialized Hardrock. Set up as an all rounder,

I'm not one of these weight weenie racers, on their 29'er Carbon five digit race machines. I'm only 16, with limited budget, and just want to get out, have fun and ride :)

Theres a few events later this year. 6 Hour lapped endurance race, aswell as a few long round the island events. Want to try and compete in these so looking for some tips now. Got a 50 or so mile ride planned for next week. Off came the Rubber Queen 2.2's and on went the Fast Trak 2.0's, aswell as the Bottle Cage and Saddle Bag. Really looking forward to riding some Single and Double Track XC on dry dusty trails as ive been more into my natural trails or handbuilt dh stuff recently.

Cheers ;)
 

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Hey JG,

I have found that nutrition/hydration techniques should be very individual. I have friends and team mates that can seemingly live off of supreme pizza and coke for 6+hrs on the bike, but my stomach is much more, well, dainty, shall we say.

For me the key is keeping things natural and consistent. Gels and bars are hit and miss with me and I have assumed that the reason that some work and others don't is due to high levels of artificial sugars. Once again, that is something that I have found to be unique to my situation.

I have had great luck with PRO Bars so far, but honestly don't know if their stuff is any different from anybody else's. I generally stick to fruit and for some unexplainable reason plain Lays potato chips don't seem to do me wrong. As far as hydration goes, I have found Scratch Labs Orange flavor to work best for my stomach and I generally have one bottle of mix and one bottle of water.

Above all, I am open to changing things if my body decides to stop accepting something and I try to be consistent and fuel before I feel hungry or thirsty.

Hope some of that helps!
 

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Good tips from Magnum357. I would second that and say - you need to fuel during your ride. The biggest cause of bonking is lack of calories. Try a number of different bars and stuff, cause everyone seems to have different reactions to those.

I use gels mostly. I have an iron gut too, and could down a pizza and hit the trails (although my performance will suck). I also like high glycemic fruits like a banana (if it's a race with check points). I don't stress about hydration like most people. I believe (and have experienced) that minimal liquid intake (or just not forcing myself to drink unless I want to) is ideal. I figure every ounce of water I have to carry is making the race that much harder. It's post-race that you want to get some fluids in. Basically I don't drink more than 8-12oz of water per hour of riding. YMMV.

Bottom line, go in hyrdrated obviously and re-hydrate when you're done.
 

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... I don't stress about hydration like most people. I believe (and have experienced) that minimal liquid intake (or just not forcing myself to drink unless I want to) is ideal. I figure every ounce of water I have to carry is making the race that much harder. It's post-race that you want to get some fluids in. Basically I don't drink more than 8-12oz of water per hour of riding. YMMV.

Bottom line, go in hyrdrated obviously and re-hydrate when you're done.
Just curious, not a value judgement--just how many hours/miles at a time have you successfully ridden given your hydration approach? And, in what temperatures?
 

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Check this out: JISSN | Full text | Food and macronutrient intake of elite Ethiopian distance runners

To clarify: I take in about 10oz per hour of riding regardless how long my ride is or how hot it is.

Over-hydrating is actually a higher risk in endurance sport. It's called hyponatremia.

Marathon runners are often advised to drink as little as 12oz to 24oz per hour. Especially if you're fit and already properly hydrated going in to your training (see the study linked above).

On the shorter rides (90 minutes) I should be able to forego water entirely, but hey....I have a cage and a bottle so no sense in not. Often I don't even touch my water though, especially if I ride under 90 minutes.

But speaking of endurance - if you skip the calories you're totally screwed! Funny how most people ignore food, but bring so much fluid. It's the opposite. Forget stressing on the fluids - pack FOOD. I think the average recommendation for endurance racing is 250 calories an hour? After hour 2, I typically need to down 1 gel pack every hour at a minimum just to stay clear headed!
 

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...intake of elite Ethiopian distance runners...

To clarify: I take in about 10oz per hour of riding regardless how long my ride is or how hot it is.

Over-hydrating is actually a higher risk in endurance sport. It's called hyponatremia...
Well, according to Merriam-Webster, hyponatremia is defined "deficiency of sodium in the blood".

Over hydrating can cause it... if you just drink plain water in excessive amounts and don't do anything to replace electrolytes, especially good old fashioned sodium chloride.

But managing hydration and caloric supply is kind of more complicated than don't worry about hydration, just make sure you got plenty of gels.

Do whatever works for you. I have pedaled for over 20 hours at a time (sometimes 24!) stopping for less than 10 minutes at a time in varying conditions. I totally drink more than 10 oz/hour. Double that plus a little. I usually pee once every maybe 6 hours. Or less. I don't have a big burden of hydrating after. My calories and electrolytes and everything else my body needs are in my fluid.

Since you are an Ethiopian distance runner, things are certainly different for you.

Groovin'.
 

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Need some tips for some XC riding this summer.
Preferably on: What to eat and drink and when
How to keep spinning after 60 or so miles with a few thousand feet in climbing ridden already
I'm only 16,
Cheers ;)
first, 60 miles is a LOT of miles; I'm in awe, but I'll address this as a larger topic and offer lots of unasked advice. If it isn't relevant, just keep scrolling!

There is an immense amount of free, science based information on the internet and at your library (!).
First, gels and energy bars are EXPENSIVE. If you are on a budget, check out The Feed Zone Portables by Thomas & Lim, which has great recipes for creating your own energy food. My library has a copy; if your library doesn't, they might be able to inter-library loan a copy, or get your school to get it for you; it may even be available for download.

You aren't yet a super trained athlete, so make sure you have enough water for your ride and plenty of food. If you are training on your own, your body is your own laboratory. Keep a training diary of mileage, how you feel, your recovery, how different food intakes affect you, do you need electrolyte replacement and how much? If you bonk or have a super day, you'll have a record of what preceded it.

Also, keep in mind that if your body is still growing, you need to fuel both continuing growth AND your training needs. That could be a lot of calories, so make sure whoever is cooking in your family knows that you might be needing a lot of food. There is a lot of information on sites like Hammer Nutrition. They are obviously pushing their products, but there is also information about diet, how much protein intake, yada yada. If you are still going through growth spurts, tune into that and how it might affect your training and riding (achy joints, a little fatigue, whatever).

Keep in mind that advice from ultra fit, well conditioned people may not have much direct applicability to you right now! For example, an experienced, fast racer may use much less than a full water bottle per lap on a cross country race course. If a beginner racer bases their water intake on this, they will be in a world of hurt -- they're much slower & will likely be on the race course twice as long (or more), and working much, much harder for those same miles; their hydration & electrolyte needs will be very different than an experienced racer.

Also, your body may not yet have fully developed a mechanism for dealing with intense heat, so if that is a factor where you are, pay close attention to this and get familiar with the symptoms of heat exhaustion, especially on these very long rides/races.

Maybe if you have research assignments in school, pursue topics on training/sports nutrition/electrolyte supplementation.
For example, here is something on Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training

Best of luck with your future race season!
 

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Keep in mind that advice from ultra fit, well conditioned people may not have much direct applicability to you right now! For example, an experienced, fast racer may use much less than a full water bottle per lap on a cross country race course.
This is true.

But there's a big difference between refueling (calories) and fluids. Consuming calories during an endurance race is far more important than fluids. The golden rule with fluids is to drink what you want - don't force it down cause that could actually cause hyponatremia (worst case, at best make you feel sick, fat, and slow). On the other hand, you must eat during a race whether you feel like it or not (contrary to fluids)! This is why you want to try the full menu and find stuff that you digest well (without stomach aches)....try gels, try bars, try home made stuff (great idea btw).

There's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the role fluids plays in our training. In my generation it was dogmatic - you "must" drink water after running laps in PE. Give me a break. It's irrelevant mostly; less is more. While you would see elite racers varying on fluids, you will never see them skimp on calories. That is important to understand for every beginner. And really, the difference between 10oz and 20oz of fluids per hour is trite. The point is, a 60 mile race doesn't require you carry a keg of water on your back unless you think you're gonna get lost for days in the back woods.

I cited the study because it's science and fairly new science at that. My personal experience happens to back it. I'm not Ethiopian.

To answer the OPs question about how to "keep spinning" after 60 or so miles: EAT
 

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Another tip: don't train alone (or at least don't do 60 miles alone).

This is what happens to guys that go out on 60 mile rides with no FOOD, and the wrong clothing, ALONE....

Mountain biker found dead in Cleveland forest was celebrating birthday - The Orange County Register

They die.

The consensus is that this guy didn't EAT, bonked, crashed, got disoriented, then tried to ride down and ended up freezing to death.

Food would have saved him.
The right clothes might have saved him
Water would have done him NO GOOD
 

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This is true. There's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the role fluids plays in our training. In my generation it was dogmatic - you "must" drink water after running laps in PE. Give me a break. It's irrelevant mostly; less is more. While you would see elite racers varying on fluids, you will never see them skimp on calories. That is important to understand for every beginner. And really, the difference between 10oz and 20oz of fluids per hour is trite. The point is, a 60 mile race doesn't require you carry a keg of water on your back unless you think you're gonna get lost for days in the back woods.

I cited the study because it's science and fairly new science at that. My personal experience happens to back it. I'm not Ethiopian.
This study was interesting reading, and this was the take away for me:
These studies collectively show that these elite athletes do not consume any fluids before or during training, while modest amounts of fluids are consumed after training and only by a small number of runners. According to current recommendations, the amounts of fluid consumed (as dietary water intake) in the present study would be inadequate to maintain athletes' hydration status. Nevertheless, when total water intake (i.e., dietary water intake and metabolic water) is considered, Ethiopian athletes are found to be well hydrated during the day due to the high quantity of water in their staple foods (e.g., injera). Furthermore, although fluid consumption in the present study was less than recommended, the daily total ad libitum water intake (0.23 ± 0.04 L/MJ) was consistent with guidelines from the US National Research Council

These athletes were well hydrated due to their normal diets. Something to think about. I'm guessing that high sodium, highly processed foods are also not part of their normal diet.

I wonder sometimes if electrolyte supplementation is what sometimes stimulates the need to drink water, rather than normal thirst. I live in a humid climate with temps in the 95 to 100+ range for three or four months out of the year, so yes, electrolytes do enter into the picture, but too much too soon just leaves me unbearably thirsty.
 

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This is true.

But there's a big difference between refueling (calories) and fluids. Consuming calories during an endurance race is far more important than fluids. The golden rule with fluids is to drink what you want - don't force it down cause that could actually cause hyponatremia (worst case, at best make you feel sick, fat, and slow). On the other hand, you must eat during a race whether you feel like it or not (contrary to fluids)! This is why you want to try the full menu and find stuff that you digest well (without stomach aches)....try gels, try bars, try home made stuff (great idea btw).

There's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the role fluids plays in our training. In my generation it was dogmatic - you "must" drink water after running laps in PE. Give me a break. It's irrelevant mostly; less is more. While you would see elite racers varying on fluids, you will never see them skimp on calories. That is important to understand for every beginner. And really, the difference between 10oz and 20oz of fluids per hour is trite. The point is, a 60 mile race doesn't require you carry a keg of water on your back unless you think you're gonna get lost for days in the back woods.

I cited the study because it's science and fairly new science at that. My personal experience happens to back it. I'm not Ethiopian.

To answer the OPs question about how to "keep spinning" after 60 or so miles: EAT
You have to really over hydrate with little or no electrolyte replacement to get into hyponatriemia. Plus, almost all gels recommend washing down with plenty of water and most food requires some water to properly and quickly digest. I wouldn't say staying hydrated is less important than keeping calories up, both are important for endurance riding/racing. If you start to fall behind in either on a ride much longer than an hour you'll have a hard time catching back up.
 

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So, hydrating causes hyponatremia, and riding alone causes DEATH.

Wow, lots of threats out there I wasn't aware of.
I've made my point, and science backs it. To the OP, just beware that you eat. Many people new to the endurance sports assume they only need to carb load the night before so long as they "stay hydrated" during the race. This is totally wrong and backwards, and if you're going 60 miles alone - deadly.

As far as the rest of you trolls - goodnight. I cannot believe the immaturity of some of you here and how argumentative and troll-like you are. I see by your avatar you're a good 30 years old too. You guys are like children. It's sad.
 
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I've made my point, and science backs it. To the OP, just beware that you eat. Many people new to the endurance sports assume they only need to carb load the night before so long as they "stay hydrated" during the race. This is totally wrong and backwards, and if you're going 60 miles alone - deadly.
...
1356221276453_jesse-pinkman-yeah-*****-science.jpg

I know you mean well but IMO you're a little misguided. Sure "death" is real and ingesting too much water is real but you're taking it a little too far (again my opinion).

Regarding fueling... I think you'd be surprised just how many calories your body has in reserve (assuming you have a fair diet). A typical 150 pound male will have ~2k calories worth of glycogen in their muscle mass and liver. That's a fair amount and doesn't count what you have in fat stores. You could absolutely not eat for most 60 mile races but you'd also need to know your body REALLY well and go at a ridiculously low effort in doing so. I wouldn't NOT eat but you probably could do it. just sayin.

Regarding hydration... according to the all encompassing half-assed google search you may notice the effects of dehydration around a 2% loss in body weight. That's not a heck of a lot in the big scheme of endurance mtb events.

I'm certainly not an expert on much of anything so ymmv
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cheers guys,

Really taking it all in. I've ridden this sort of distance before, but not for a while. Done 60/70 mile rides with no proper food or drink, just fatty snacks, and i made it, but it was pretty bad

I've tried using energy gels before, but i really cant get them down. The taste and texture just isnt for me.

At the moment, hydration wise, i'll have a bottle of water or mixed squash ( read somewhere that putting in a couple of different types was better than having one flavor ) and then a bottle of water mixed with the SIS Go Hydro tabs. Really rate these, noticeable effects. Dont suffer from headaches after the ride now

Going to look at making my own brownies. Found a recipe for some that are high in energy. That book ''June Bug'' posted looks good, but i'm not prepared to pay 20$ for it.

When im out, i'll watch what im drinking. Some fair comments on here, i'll have to find for myself what works best. Going to be a long process but it will be worth it.

Sound advice ''jlockie''. Really really helpful. Im drinking way more than 10oz an hour at the moment, so will try cut down. Its not consistent either, got a really bad habit as i dont have a hydration bladder, so when i stop, i gulp down loads of fluids. Hopefully with the bottle cage on this ride, i will take short sips and not over do it.

Thanks again guys, really appreciate it. Looking forward for my ride, currently got the rear wheel stripped down, doing a quick over haul and service on the hub and also setting up my brakes again. Hopefully that will be all done by tomorrow and then the bike will be running perfect
 

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I've made my point, and science backs it. To the OP, just beware that you eat. Many people new to the endurance sports assume they only need to carb load the night before so long as they "stay hydrated" during the race. This is totally wrong and backwards, and if you're going 60 miles alone - deadly.

As far as the rest of you trolls - goodnight. I cannot believe the immaturity of some of you here and how argumentative and troll-like you are. I see by your avatar you're a good 30 years old too. You guys are like children. It's sad.
I don't think anybody here has said you don't have to eat. Keeping your calories up is very important in endurance racing, but if I'm understanding you correctly (maybe I'm not) you're the only one saying that hydration isn't very important.
 
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