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What I learned from my first 50 mile ride

1540 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  gardenrunner
Well, 49.3...

I didn't think I could go this distance, being that my longest prior was only 31 miles, but it was a new route I was deathly bored of my prior ride routes. So there was some enthusiasm to complete this. The ride took 3hrs, 45min. Good? Bad? I dunno, but I did it!

1. Bring more water. I brought one stinkin' 24oz bottle. Ugh. But thankfully the nice firefighter at the fire station filled it up for me. Dropped in a Nuun tablet and off I went. I'll always carry a tube of those with me for as long as I ride now. Also filled up at the various water fountains at the park. Wasn't very tasty but better than nothing.

2. Bring more food. Two Kashi bars are delicious, but not enough for nearly four hours. I was dragging ass at the end but not sure if I ever bonked. I rode a lot slower than the start and coasted in opportune spots, but didn't feel like reaching for the cell phone and calling the wife for a pickup.

I'm sure this is nothing new to the veterans out there. I've read quite a bit about longer distance cycling but I guess I had to experience these effects myself for it to sink in.

I think I'll take tomorrow off and relax. Let's see what I can do over the weekend now!
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Riding a little bit farther than you've ever done before is always pretty darn satisfying. I think you're on top of things regarding food and water. Take a couple bottles with you and still plan on filling up at a park or whenever else you get the chance. For food I'd say plan to eat around 100 calories or so for every hour of riding. I'm sure some here will recommend more, some less. Everybody is different, so experiment and find what you feel works best for you. Properly fed and hydrated and you should find yourself feeling a bit stronger by the end of your ride.
Congratulations man. Feels good to hit your goals. Better time than my first few 50 milers too!
The only way you'll learn to manage your food/water intake while riding is through experience. Next time your at the lbs browse the nutrition section. They've got calories for sale in every form imaginable. Fluids, gels, cookies, bars, chewy blocks and even jelly beans (very yummy but a pain in the ass mid-ride). Try as many as you can. Then, when you find what works, buy it in bulk.
Agreed! I just bought some of those Gu packets. A grabbed a bunch of different flavors to see what's good or tastes bad. Also, another bottle cage and for those really long rides, I got a Camelbak Rogue. I hope to not run out of water again!

I thought I'd be a disaster today but I'm actually feeling pretty well. Tomorrow and the weekend I plan on getting out there again. And a little more prepared this time.
A second bottle is a very good idea on longer rides - hard to drink too much. On the other hand, you should be able to find a place to fill up once in awhile. On a particularly hot group ride last summer one guy stopped when we reached a small town and saw a couple out working in their yard - no problem. Rural cemeteries (around here any way) often have hand pumps (old fashioned ones you see at parks some times) too. Plenty of other options too - usually... Best not to rely on stuff like that.

Congrats on the distance!
I'm fortunate enough that I can readily hit LBS's on many routes at some point. They always have good cold water handy... always appreciated too.
Congrats! On those longer rides you definitely need a second bottle. We generally go by the rule of thumb that you should be drinking about one bottle per hour. And make sure you are getting a good balance of water and sport drink. Gotta keep both hydration and sodium/electrolyte levels up.

I have a very finicky stomach so eating on the bike can be difficult for me. I have had good success with sport beans (like someone said, can be a pain to get into the pack on the bike) and just consuming a little extra sport drink to keep my calories up.

The biggest thing I learned back on my first long ride was to start slow. It's really easy to jump out at the start and hammer it up the hills and really pick up the pace because you are enthusiastic about the ride. Just take it easy and leave a little in the tank for the last 10 miles. Nothing worse than getting 40 miles into the ride and have the last 10 be absolutely miserable because you buries yourself at the start.
Replenish electrolytes

Olaf, Congratulations! I agree totally about the sports drink. I was never an athlete and had no use for these but my reading had shown me just how important they are to longer rides. If I'm riding longer than an hour I pack a sport drink. You will be amazed by the difference. Gatorade and Powerade use a sucrose or fructose base which can be hard on the digestive system, I prefer a product called Cytomax, which uses a maltodextrose sweetener. I get mine online, but I noticed Target carries it in powder and liquid. Get a small amount and see what you think! Also, increase your weekend long ride by 10% every week and you'll be ready for a century in no time! Good luck and God Bless!
I try and avoid "sports drinks" as I don't like to have stuff like high fructose corn syrup. I looked briefly, but I'm pretty sure my LBS had an all natural gel with banana puree in it. Haven't tried it though.
kweber24 said:
I try and avoid "sports drinks" as I don't like to have stuff like high fructose corn syrup. I looked briefly, but I'm pretty sure my LBS had an all natural gel with banana puree in it. Haven't tried it though.
Just an FYI: Gatorade is no longer using high fructose corn syrup these days. They have switched their products to a sucrose-dextrose blend. I have no idea if that makes any difference whatsoever but sounds good to me.
yeah, i have seen that..if those are the ingrediants, its certainly better than still look for something else though, i wish i had a gatorade ingredient label in front of me. i think they have artificial colors and flavors..better to have as much natural things as possible IMO. something with bananas is great because of the much higher amount of potassium. 1 banana contains 23% of your daily intake while an 8oz serving of gatorade has 1%. I really haven't looked at all into drinks for long bike rides though to be honest..I'm just starting biking...I just try and eat as healthy as possible.
On rides of >40 mi. I always carry 2 24 oz bottles, one with water, the other with Gatorade. Why Gatorade? Two reasons - 1. it works for me - and - 2. I like it. When riding I like to eat trail mix with raisins instead of M&Ms. I don't even bother to put the trail mix in a zip lock. I just drop it in my pocket. That way I can easily eat "on the run". I just reach behind to my pocket, grab a handful and chuck it in my mouth.

Both Gatorade & trail mix give quick energy from the fruit & sugar, they both have salt which replaces the electrolytes you're sweating out, and the nuts in the trail mix are an excellent source of protein. Protein takes awhile to get into your system, but it provides long lasting energy.
Nice job!!

Congrats on your first 50!!! Always being lots of water, or know your route well enough to know where you can stop to buy some water or snacks if you run out. The gas stations are always nice enough to let you get free water and ice from the fountain machine. If you're with a group, it works out even better because the group will definately know where to stop if it's a frequented route for them. I did my first 60 on Saturday and it was 93 degrees out. Definately had lots of water and took electrolyte tabs every hour. DOn't focus so much on the time it takes you to do "x" amount of miles yet. Saddle time is good no matter how many miles it is. :thumbsup:
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