Nutrition while cycling is very important to sustain your ability to continue providing power during your ride. The primary source of this energy is carbohydrates and is used up quickly if not replenished appropriately during your ride. Here is some guidance to follow for a cycling nutrition plan during your ride.
Short Ride (cycling less than 1 hour)
When cycling less than 1 hour, you only need to consumer water to replenish the fluids you are losing during your ride. About 20oz of water per hour is plenty.
Long Ride (cycling more than 1 hour)
When cycling for more than an hour, you will need to have a solid plan to replenish carbohydrates during your ride. Nutrition experts say that you should aim to consume about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. The primary reason for this amount is that the human body is not capable of processing more than 60 grams of carbs per hour.
You should start consuming carbohydrates at the beginning of your ride and not wait until an hour has passed.
One of your primary sources of carbohydrates should be from a sports drink. My favorite sports drink for this purpose is Gatorade. Gatorade provides the following nutrition per 8oz serving:
- 14 grams of carbohydrates
- 50 calories
Normally I aim to consume about 20oz of Gatorade per hour which equates to about 35 grams of carbohydrates.
For the additional carbohydrate needs I like to supplement with something solid, like Clif Bar. The average Clif Bar has approximately the following nutrition per bar:
- 43 grams of carbohydrates
- 240 calories
- 10 grams of protein
Eating half a Clif Bar per hour will round out the total carbohydrates consumed per hour to 60 and also provide some protein.
I would suggest that you buy some Clif Bars now to see how they work for your cycling nutrition needs during your next ride.