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Training for long rides + nutrition tips?

3114 Views 24 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  TobyGadd
Hey everyone!

I started doing more long rides more regularly this summer. To me long means 6-6,5 hours. Usually 65-75km with 1500-1600m of climbing (i'm on a full sus MTB, I only ride pavement if I absolutely have to). My problem is that towards the end of a 6 hour ride i'm absolutely battered. Sometimes it's not even my legs, it's my whole body (and soul 馃榿), I just feel bad and tired. Towards the end and after a long ride I also tend to get headaches. I struggle with neck pain (working on it), but this feels different, it's a dull pain that I pretty much only feel after these long rides. What could be the cause of this?
I'm not in a hurry, I don't care about my average speed, i'm not racing. My goal would be to do 6-7 hour rides and not completely die. Mainly because I don't have a car, I can only take my bike on a train, but they don't go everywhere. So if I want to explore new places, a lot of the time I simply have to ride further. My plan is also to start bikepacking next summer, and I would like to try spending 7-8-10 hours in the saddle a few days in a row. What should I do to train for longer rides? Do I just need to ride as much as possible and my endurance will build up after a while? Or are there any training methods I should try, any kind of exercises and/or activities I should do off the bike?

I also struggle with nutrition. I get hungry, but I struggle to eat the food that I carry with me on my bike. Bananas, gummy bears or softer stuff is okay, but I have a very hard time eating stuff like nuts, salty snacks, or sometimes even a Snickers bar or something like that. I'm hungry, I just don't want to eat this stuff, it feels bad. Sometimes i'll start to eat a Snickers bar, and just stop halfway and continue riding because I just can't eat the whole thing... But for example if I stop at a restaurant or something, I could eat like 5 hamburgers. I've tried stuff like protein bars but I really dislike them. So far every energy bar, protein bar etc. i've tried had such a bad taste, it just felt bad when I ate them, especially while out on a ride.
I also really crave sugary drinks. When I get home from a ride and I buy a 2l bottle of some junk sugary drink it'll disappear in like half an hour and i'll still feel like I want more. I pretty much always bring some kind of sports drink on rides, and I also bring extra tabs soI can make drinks when I stop at a fountain. I drink plain water every day in "normal life", but I don't really like it, and I especially don't like it on bike rides, I just feel like I need more taste.
Can you guys recommend foods that I should try on rides? Anything, home recipes, commercially available products etc. Anything I should do differently hydration vise? Should I just bring sugary drinks on rides?


Thanks!
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You need to eat real food. All that extra stuff is a filler between meals. Eat a healthy high calorie meal before you head out. Also the night before have a high calorie meal. How many calories are you eating in a day?
As Sego said, real food. Stuff that you actually want to eat. I've taken pieces of pizza wrapped up in tin foil on rides. I've also taken burritos and tamales. I'm far more likely to eat a good amount of calories if there is something really good in my jersey pocket. Similarly, if a Coca Cola is what you crave during a ride, and it helps you get calories down your gullet, go for it.
Thanks guys.

I have no idea how many calories I eat in a day. Never paid attention to that. I'm a complete noob when it comes to nutrition to be honest. Is calorie intake the most importanton a ride?

Also, i'm 185cm and around 65kg or around 6' 1" and 143lbs in freedom units, so pretty skinny. This might be a stupid question, but does that have to do anything with how I should eat on a ride? For example do I need to eat more frequently compared to someone who has a bit more "reserve"? :)
Thanks guys.

I have no idea how many calories I eat in a day. Never paid attention to that. I'm a complete noob when it comes to nutrition to be honest. Is calorie intake the most importanton a ride?

Also, i'm 185cm and around 65kg or around 6' 1" and 143lbs in freedom units, so pretty skinny. This might be a stupid question, but does that have to do anything with how I should eat on a ride? For example do I need to eat more frequently compared to someone who has a bit more "reserve"? :)
Think of your body like a car. If you don鈥檛 fill it up it will not run. Put bad fuel in and it will run like garbage. No fuel and you will have little energy.

If you only eat 500 for breakfast but burn 800 you will feel it. Being as skinny and as tall as you are you have very little body fat. So you will enter into hyperglycemia area because of this. It is not bad just life.I suffer from this also.


You just need to eat better food and more often. Look into a Fitbit or something to track your calories.

Thanks guys.

I have no idea how many calories I eat in a day. Never paid attention to that. I'm a complete noob when it comes to nutrition to be honest. Is calorie intake the most importanton a ride?

Also, i'm 185cm and around 65kg or around 6' 1" and 143lbs in freedom units, so pretty skinny. This might be a stupid question, but does that have to do anything with how I should eat on a ride? For example do I need to eat more frequently compared to someone who has a bit more "reserve"? :)

I'm about the same build as you and I do have to eat fairly often during long rides to avoid problems like fatigue, cramps etc. It does seem like I run out of energy a bit quicker than most and I attribute that to my skinnyness.

I think nutrition is super important. The way I think of it is building off the bike by eating a quality diet and fueling on the bike by getting down whatever sugar & carbs works. For me gels and energy bars are good, Also maybe something with some salt. I try to make sure I'm eating something at least every 45 minutes.

You can also put calories in water, which I do, Speaking of which hydration is probably even more important than nutrition and on a 6 hour ride it's hard to carry enough. I'd need about a gallon and a half on a hot day. Starting the ride fully hydrated is super important too.
Hey everyone!

I started doing more long rides more regularly this summer. To me long means 6-6,5 hours. Usually 65-75km with 1500-1600m of climbing (i'm on a full sus MTB, I only ride pavement if I absolutely have to). My problem is that towards the end of a 6 hour ride i'm absolutely battered. Sometimes it's not even my legs, it's my whole body (and soul 馃榿), I just feel bad and tired. Towards the end and after a long ride I also tend to get headaches. I struggle with neck pain (working on it), but this feels different, it's a dull pain that I pretty much only feel after these long rides. What could be the cause of this?
I'm not in a hurry, I don't care about my average speed, i'm not racing. My goal would be to do 6-7 hour rides and not completely die. Mainly because I don't have a car, I can only take my bike on a train, but they don't go everywhere. So if I want to explore new places, a lot of the time I simply have to ride further. My plan is also to start bikepacking next summer, and I would like to try spending 7-8-10 hours in the saddle a few days in a row. What should I do to train for longer dies? Do I just need to ride as much as possible and my endurance will build up after a while? Or are there any training methods I should try, any kind of exercises and/or activities I should do off the bike?

I also struggle with nutrition. I get hungry, but I struggle to eat the food that I carry with me on my bike. Bananas, gummy bears or softer stuff is okay, but I have a very hard time eating stuff like nuts, salty snacks, or sometimes even a Snickers bar or something like that. I'm hungry, I just don't want to eat this stuff, it feels bad. Sometimes i'll start to eat a Snickers bar, and just stop halfway and continue riding because I just can't eat the whole thing... But for example if I stop at a restaurant or something, I could eat like 5 hamburgers. I've tried stuff like protein bars but I really dislike them. So far every energy bar, protein bar etc. i've tried had such a bad taste, it just felt bad when I ate them, especially while out on a ride.
I also really crave sugary drinks. When I get home from a ride and I buy a 2l bottle of some junk sugary drink it'll disappear in like half an hour and i'll still feel like I want more. I pretty much always bring some kind of sports drink on rides, and I also bring extra tabs soI can make drinks when I stop at a fountain. I drink plain water every day in "normal life", but I don't really like it, and I especially don't like it on bike rides, I just feel like I need more taste.
Can you guys recommend foods that I should try on rides? Anything, home recipes, commercially available products etc. Anything I should do differently hydration vise? Should I just bring sugary drinks on rides?


Thanks!
Go see doctor and show him this post and stop rides.
Thanks guys.

I have no idea how many calories I eat in a day. Never paid attention to that. I'm a complete noob when it comes to nutrition to be honest. Is calorie intake the most importanton a ride?

Also, i'm 185cm and around 65kg or around 6' 1" and 143lbs in freedom units, so pretty skinny. This might be a stupid question, but does that have to do anything with how I should eat on a ride? For example do I need to eat more frequently compared to someone who has a bit more "reserve"? :)
I switched from being mainly carb fuelled (aka 'normal' diet) to nutrient dense - low carb/high fat diet earlier this year and carried that through to my bike-packing. I found it way better and was much more consistent with my performance/didn't feel the need to eat every few hours and didn't have the energy crashes I had on carbs. Other benefits are better body composition, more muscle, more energy, etc. I'm about the same height as you but about 20kg heavier.

Last trip I did a mixture of biking and kayaking unsupported, 5 days in a row human powered pretty easily. I'm a long way from any sort of elite athlete :)

Peak Human podcast got me onto it, if you want to check it out.
He is over trained, burnt out, and malnutrition. he needs to stop before he does serious damage to himself. 馃槸
Thanks for the replies everyone. It sounds like I really need to look into nutrition more.

Just out of curiosity, can you guys share what you usually eat before a big ride? I know diet is probably very personal and we're all different, I just want to get a very rough idea.
Pizza night before. Around 1,000 calories
French toast with eggs morning of with coffee . Around 800 calories.
Any whole food will work you just need good calories.
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I think that you are starving during the ride. You shouldn't start riding being hungry and you should eat something every hour if you want ride for many hours - gel or energy (not protein) bar. If you do not like them, eat sandwich or something like this. I recommend to try different gels and bars and find something that you like. E.g. I like sour bars and gels - something with green apple or lemon. If I ride longer I eat sandwiches. Something good - fat piece of ham, cheese, some lettuce. Or pack some pizza slices.
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Just out of curiosity, can you guys share what you usually eat before a big ride? I know diet is probably very personal and we're all different, I just want to get a very rough idea.
If it's a morning start, I eat what I usually eat the night before (very light dinner or evening snack); coffee in the morning to loosen up the GI one last time before the ride kicks off. Lately, ride nutrition has been mostly liquid calories (Infinit) with very few solids (Lara bars), as my GI tract completely shuts down during a ride.
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Hey everyone!

I started doing more long rides more regularly this summer. To me long means 6-6,5 hours. Usually 65-75km with 1500-1600m of climbing (i'm on a full sus MTB, I only ride pavement if I absolutely have to). My problem is that towards the end of a 6 hour ride i'm absolutely battered. Sometimes it's not even my legs, it's my whole body (and soul 馃榿), I just feel bad and tired. Towards the end and after a long ride I also tend to get headaches. I struggle with neck pain (working on it), but this feels different, it's a dull pain that I pretty much only feel after these long rides. What could be the cause of this?
I'm not in a hurry, I don't care about my average speed, i'm not racing. My goal would be to do 6-7 hour rides and not completely die. Mainly because I don't have a car, I can only take my bike on a train, but they don't go everywhere. So if I want to explore new places, a lot of the time I simply have to ride further. My plan is also to start bikepacking next summer, and I would like to try spending 7-8-10 hours in the saddle a few days in a row. What should I do to train for longer rides? Do I just need to ride as much as possible and my endurance will build up after a while? Or are there any training methods I should try, any kind of exercises and/or activities I should do off the bike?

I also struggle with nutrition. I get hungry, but I struggle to eat the food that I carry with me on my bike. Bananas, gummy bears or softer stuff is okay, but I have a very hard time eating stuff like nuts, salty snacks, or sometimes even a Snickers bar or something like that. I'm hungry, I just don't want to eat this stuff, it feels bad. Sometimes i'll start to eat a Snickers bar, and just stop halfway and continue riding because I just can't eat the whole thing... But for example if I stop at a restaurant or something, I could eat like 5 hamburgers. I've tried stuff like protein bars but I really dislike them. So far every energy bar, protein bar etc. i've tried had such a bad taste, it just felt bad when I ate them, especially while out on a ride.
I also really crave sugary drinks. When I get home from a ride and I buy a 2l bottle of some junk sugary drink it'll disappear in like half an hour and i'll still feel like I want more. I pretty much always bring some kind of sports drink on rides, and I also bring extra tabs soI can make drinks when I stop at a fountain. I drink plain water every day in "normal life", but I don't really like it, and I especially don't like it on bike rides, I just feel like I need more taste.
Can you guys recommend foods that I should try on rides? Anything, home recipes, commercially available products etc. Anything I should do differently hydration vise? Should I just bring sugary drinks on rides?


Thanks!
In my experience, there isn't any pre-ride drink, food or exercise that's gonna prepare you for a longer ride (which I consider 4+ hours). By then it's already too late. Assuming your diet and fitness level is above average, there's still things you can do in advance. The day and night before is when you start preparing. I drink plenty of water, stretch and eat carbs like pasta for the energy you'll need. During the ride I'll have an orange and drink water, that's all you should really need.

After the ride it's important to stretch again and eat something. You need to restore you energy so think protein like nuts. Then have lunch/dinner or whatever, thinking like a lean chicken or beef.

Anti inflammatory plant extracts and Vitamin B should help if you're still experiencing pain, but I've never taken energy drinks/bars and aside from my daily multivitamin I don't take any supplements. Water, stretching and not just what to eat, but when to eat it should be able to help with your recovery. And nothing wrong with grabbing a beer with your buds post ride, but if you're having trouble recovering it's not the best idea.

BTW I'm 43. Not some health or diet nut, and often don't practice what I preach!
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Thanks for the replies everyone. It sounds like I really need to look into nutrition more.

Just out of curiosity, can you guys share what you usually eat before a big ride? I know diet is probably very personal and we're all different, I just want to get a very rough idea.
welcome. Reading your post can see that you have no clue about nutrition and recovery. this has northing to do with racing. anyone who puts that much stress on the body needs time to recover. that's something gummy bears cant fix. you should eat those 5 cheese burgers and have a glass of salted water then take a 18+ hour nap. after that i recommend retiring from cycling till you figure what is wrong.
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During the ride I'll have an orange and drink water, that's all you should really need.



For 4-6 hour rides? You are in the minority. I need lots of calories on board for long rides like that and would be hurtin for certain if I didn't bring any.
During the ride I'll have an orange and drink water, that's all you should really need.
How many hours you can go like this?
2
How many hours you can go like this?
At any real clip, not long, unless he鈥檚 absolutely massive, and pretty lean.







Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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How many hours you can go like this?
Most I typically ride is 4 hours. Sometimes 5 but there's usually 10-15 minutes of breaks in there. I used to ride with no water bottle or one of those Camelbaks (I like riding light) for 3-4 hours. Sometimes I'd loop past my truck and grab a water break there, but I think because of that I got into the habit of eating/drinking before a ride, and for me that's usually good enough. Now I typically drink about a half gallon of water before a longer ride, eat an average size breakfast (typically granola, yogurt and mixed berries) and carry a water bottle and orange slices on my longer rides and that's always been good enough.

A lot of people I see don't drink much before they go for a ride and instead of starting on a full tank and refueling when it's halfway full, they start with a half tank and fill at empty. That depletes your energy faster cause your body is constantly trying to catch-up.
Depending on the weather I'll drink about 100oz during a hard 4 hour ride and still lose 4 or 5 pounds, That's starting out fully hydrated, Just because you can doesn't mean you necessarily should. I always vote for fueling well,
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