Here's a great article on fueling for long rides.
You can get carried away finding the "perfect" combination of food for your ride, but the guiding principle is to consume:
- around 300 calories of carbs every hour (at least for a 180+ pound dude like me!)
- enough fluids so you're not dehydrated
- enough electrolytes (salt + potassium especially) that you don't cramp up
Cliff Bar = 230 calories, plus lots of other stuffGatorade Bottle = 100 calories
eLoad Bottle = 100 calories (+ more electrolytes than Gatorade)
Gel = 100 caloriesBanana = 100 calories (potassium!)
The Ride for Karen has two rest stops with food, 55K and 115k. This will be around 2 & 4 hour mark in the 30km/h group that I was in last year. Basically breaks the ride into 3rds.
On the bike in the first 1/3 I'll have 2 bottles of Gatorade, 1 Gel, a Cliff Bar and a banana, which is around 600 calories. If it's hot I'll swap a Gatorade for eLoad, and will carry a couple eLoad packets for later.
From there on I'll play it by ear, fueling with whatever they have at the rest stops. It's mostly real food, which is a lot better than bars or gels... but I'll keep my gel flask full so I'm ready to top up if I find I'm low.
It sounds easy, but it can go bad in a hurry... the stomach gets awfully sick of sports drinks and gels in pretty short order, and your digestive system gets less bloodflow as your body decides your muscles need it more. It's really important to eat early and graze throughout, rather than pigging out only at rest stops.
And at the finish? A HUGE PIG-OUT!!! I'll eat anything they don't nail down...