My biking has felt really good this year so far, so I've been pushing the mileage a bit sooner than I planned. Last week I did 100k without any trouble, so this week I decided it would be a good chance to do 160k (100 miles).
For my weight (north of 180lbs) and speed, I've calculated that I burn over 4000 calories over 100 miles. It's a staggering number, considering my normal daily intake goal is around 2500-3000.
There is no way you can offset 4000 calories during the ride, it's just not possible, which means you will be relying on glycogen stores and fat stores to make up the balance.
Glycogen stores can hold almost 2000 calories of energy (more if you are well trained). To top them off:
- Fuel up well the day(s) before with good carbs
- Eat a nice breakfast
During the ride, you want to consume carbs so you aren't depleting the glycogen stores, as when you run out of glycogen you bonk and are done. And I mean done, no energy, smack the wall, done.
- Consume as many calories on the bike as you can handle, a typical person can digest 250-300 calories per hour of carbs
Friday I went for an evening 15k run, immediately after had chocolate milk and a bunch of carb-heavy snacks.
Saturday I made sure I ate about 65% carbs (estimate only!) and snacked a lot on low-fat high-carb snacks.
Sunday I had a bowl of cereal and hit the road at 7:00am...
On the bike I consumed:
- 6 bottles of Gatorade (780 Calories)
- 3 shots of energy gel (360 Calories)
- 4 medium sized boiled potatoes (600 Calories) (skin removed after boiling!)
- 1 package of Cliff Shot Blocks (200 Calories)
Total: almost 2000 calories, just over 300 calories per hour.
I'm really happy with how that all worked for me, I didn't have any stomach issues at all and felt I had energy for the entire ride. There was obviously some moments of fatigue - it's a long time to spend on a bike - but no bonk or crash.
The other half of the battle is electrolytes - mostly potassium and salt. This is especially important when it is hot out.
Gatorade has some, but for long efforts on really hot days it won't get the job done. eLoad has more salt and potassium.
But neither can compete with real food - especially bananas and potatoes. One banana has over 400mg of potassium, one medium potato has over 700mg of potassium. A generously salted potato wrapped in foil will cover you and then some. Boil it in the skins to keep the potassium in!