The boring bit
As a sportsperson, you’ll know that nutrients are important to fuelling long stints of energy output to ensure you feel in good condition the whole way round and avoid the dreaded ‘bonk’.
Carbohydrates are the king of foods for energy as your body will convert carbs into glucose (blood sugar) that your body uses for energy in cells, tissues and organs.
When we think of carbs, we think of pasta, potatoes, bread etc. but these days, you wouldn’t be seen carrying around a loaf of bread for your ride. As these are ‘slow-release’ foods, they don’t digest quickly enough on your ride and would instead be eaten a few hours before your ride. You should opt for high-GI (glycaemic index) foods such as sugary foods and drinks that contain fructose and dextrose. Though you should be careful to find the right balance of sugar and fat as fuelling only on sugar can lead to a ‘crash’ or energy dip later on in your ride.
How should I be fuelling?
Any ride that lasts up to 1 or 2 hours shouldn’t need any mid-ride snacks per se. Unless, of course, you’re one for indulgence in which case make that cafe stop at the 1-hour mark and get yourself a slice of cake and a coffee!
Over 90 minutes, studies show that the optimum intake is 30 – 60 g of carbohydrates per hour. Since we’re all different, this can, of course, vary but you’ll soon figure out what works for you if you get it wrong on occasion.
The important bit
Below are some cycling snack ideas and their correlating carbohydrate and calorie content to inspire your next ride. It can be useful to start off with more ‘proper’ food and save the high-sugar snacks for later in the ride when you’re really suffering and need the boost to make it home.
|Haribo Star Mix||16g bag||55||12.3g|
|Kind Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bar||40g bar||180||16g|
|High 5 berry energy gel||40g||91||23g|
|Pretzels (Penn State- Sour Cream and Chive)||30g||127||23g|
|Frozen grapes||150g (1 cup)||104||27g|
|Crunchy peanut butter Clif bar||68g bar||240||40g|
|Peanut butter & jam sandwich||1 sandwich||330||43g|
These will give you an idea of the levels of carbs and calories in certain types of foods so you can find what works for you, be that fruit, energy bars and gels or a whole sandwich if that’s what you want to carry. Alternatively, you might choose to make your own snacks.
Whatever you decide to eat, enjoy the ride! And don’t forget that post-ride snack too for an effective recovery so you can go out and do it all again the next day.