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Looks fast, rides slow
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Discussion Starter #1
I started training for my first century last month, and so far I've been able to keep myself fueled up on long rides with water, cytomax, and powergel/bar. But the longest ride I've done so far is only 40 miles (two and a half hours), so I was wondering if most riders can complete a century with just energy drinks, gels, and bars?

I have hard enough time eating powerbar during a ride, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to stomach real food like bagels and sandwiches at rest stops. So it would be great if I can go the distance just on energy food -- or better yet some kind of liquid nutrition.

K-Zero
 

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Personally I like bananas, raisins, dried apricots, etc. Not all together, LOL, but I usually take something like that. Bananas give you almost instant energy, have lots of potassium to help avoid cramps. They're also easy to carry & eat on the bike. You can throw the "wrappers" away because they're biodegradable. I also pack a couple of power bars. I've tried Cliff Bars & others, but I like power bars better. In my bottles I mix Gatorade & water 50/50. Again, I've tried many other drinks, but I like Gatorade the best.

This is based a lot on personal choice / taste. Your mileage may vary.
 

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Practice real life

Unfortunately, what you experience over 40 miles will not have a lot of relationship to what you will experience over 100. You should try to do a 70 and see what works in that. Some people thrive on just energy drinks, while others find their gut tied up in knots after 50 miles. It's personal. I'm a big fan of fig bars (nearly pure carbs), mixed nuts (protein and good fats), and a Coke and some tasty cookies at the half-way-point break. I add 50/50 table salt and salt substitute to the fig bars for sodium and potassium replacement, and it works great for me.
 

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Real food, junk food, etc.

K-Zero said:
I started training for my first century last month, and so far I've been able to keep myself fueled up on long rides with water, cytomax, and powergel/bar. But the longest ride I've done so far is only 40 miles (two and a half hours), so I was wondering if most riders can complete a century with just energy drinks, gels, and bars?

I have hard enough time eating powerbar during a ride, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to stomach real food like bagels and sandwiches at rest stops. So it would be great if I can go the distance just on energy food -- or better yet some kind of liquid nutrition.

K-Zero
Everyone has his or her own favorites. I cannot do 100 miles on bars and gels alone. I need real food. Here's what works best for me: Eat well for a day or two beforehand. If I am restless the night before a long ride, I will get up in the middle of the night and eat something like a bagel or a banana. About an hour before the ride, I will eat two bagels and drink OJ and tea. During the ride I usually drink water from one bottle and sports drink from the other. I usually will eat a gel about every 10-15 miles. I want something like bagels and bananas around the 25-30 mile mark, some real food around the 50-60 mile mark (like a ham sandwich) and then I look for potato chips and coca-cola around the 80 mile mark. I only eat something like a Clif Bar if I really am getting hungry and still have about 5 or more miles to a rest stop. I hate peanut butter, but if you can stomach the stuff, it seems to work for a lot of people. Fig netwtons work well for me. Most organized centuries will have something like bagels, fig newtons and bananas at most rest stops. Ham sandwiches are rare -- you can bring your own or stop at a convenience store along the way. A few enlightened centuries will have potato chips and Coke or Pepsi near the end (that's how I discovered that they work for me).
 

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Make sure that you get in the miles for training. There are a few things that you will hear people talk about time and time again... Make sure you listen!
1. Get your food/ drink situation figured out BEFORE the century.
2. You will need to put in the training miles to prepare for the century.
3. When you are training you will realize what works and doesn't, PAY ATTENTION.

Remember what foods are good for. Some are good for longer energy and others for quick bursts. You want to keep the energy as steady as possible. If you know the route you can down some gel right before or during a climb to help out if you are running out of energy.

The only other thing I would add is no matter how much you ride- throwing stuff on the side of the road be it banana peels or energy bars/ gel packages is rude. The poor guy who runs over it or has to pick it up won't be fond of your "racer-like" attitude with your trash. Put it in your jersey and stop at a SAG stop.

GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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Looks fast, rides slow
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the ideas...

The century won't be until late June, so I still have a lot of time to experiment with diiferent energy source. I'll try some of the stuff you guys mentioned on my future rides.

Btw, I plan on doing two 5:30 ride before the big ride.

K-Zero
 

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K-Zero said:
The century won't be until late June, so I still have a lot of time to experiment with diiferent energy source. I'll try some of the stuff you guys mentioned on my future rides.

Btw, I plan on doing two 5:30 ride before the big ride.

K-Zero
Don't try anything new on the big ride. I've had problems in the past with various energy drinks during rides and so now carry pre-measured ziplock bags of my favorite energy drink powder (green gatorade). Before a significant climb, I like to take a gel shot. Otherwise, nothing to add to the excellent advice above.
 

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An easy way to figure out this stuff before the century is to ride a few half or metric centuries first.

When you ride your century (or half/metric), don't let yourself get amped up at the beginning and start hammering. With all the other riders around it's easy to get a bit excited. Lots of guys do, and a lot of them burn themselves up and don't finish. Some of them may be non-century riders out to "beat" century riders and asuage their fragile egos (maybe this only happens here in California). Don't let them suck you in. Ride your own pace. If you are feeling really good on the last big climb/last 15 miles then hammer away.
 

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Century food revelation last year...

Usually when I do a century I eat PB&J or cookies along the route. While this gives me good energy I usually feel pretty crappy by the end of th ride.

Last year I did a century in Sonoma that had all the rest stops at organic farms. The entire century all I ate was melons, apples, plums, and other fruit. For fluids it was water and Gatorade 50/50. At the end I was surprised at how I felt. In fact my wife was planning on doing the 4 hour drive home while I slept but I felt so good that I drove most of the way home after 6 hours in the saddle!

YMMV...
 

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I am a big fan of fig newtons and I would also add Bit-O-Honey candy.


K-Zero said:
I started training for my first century last month, and so far I've been able to keep myself fueled up on long rides with water, cytomax, and powergel/bar. But the longest ride I've done so far is only 40 miles (two and a half hours), so I was wondering if most riders can complete a century with just energy drinks, gels, and bars?

I have hard enough time eating powerbar during a ride, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to stomach real food like bagels and sandwiches at rest stops. So it would be great if I can go the distance just on energy food -- or better yet some kind of liquid nutrition.

K-Zero
 

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Looks fast, rides slow
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Discussion Starter #11
ericm979 said:
When you ride your century (or half/metric), don't let yourself get amped up at the beginning and start hammering. With all the other riders around it's easy to get a bit excited.
I know what you mean -- which is why I'm doing all of my training rides with a heart rate monitor. My goal is to stay within 130-150 bpm (zone 2) for much of the century as possible.

K-Zero
 
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