A Guide to
Fuelling the Ride
With your legs powering away, you’ll be burning plenty of energy, which at some point will need refuelling. Aside from your tea and cake stop, you may want energy rich food and drink to efficiently keep you going during your ride. There are three main ways of taking on this energy – drinks, bars and gels.
Energy drinks. contain carbohydrates, usually some form of simple and complex sugars, to keep your muscles fed. Pre-ride energy drinks such as High-5’s Energy Source usually come in the form of tablet or powders – you just add the correct amount to your bottle, give it a shake and off you go. These drinks tend to be sweeter and stronger flavoured than hydration drinks, but are an easy way to take on energy.
Energy bars are packed full of goodness and can taste great. They are useful on a long ride, where it’s important to eat to keep your energy up. Energy bars are also useful simply because eating them means you’re putting something solid in your stomach, rather than just liquids. They can be a bit chewy, and you may have to wrestle with a wrapper mid-ride, but quite often, if you just want to eat something to keep going, bars are a good option. At Evans Cycles we stock a variety of energy bars, and it’s worth trying a few different brands and flavours to find the one you like the most.
Want to pack in as much energy as possible, into a small volume? You’ll be after an energy gel. Energy gels usually have a thick, syrupy consistency and provide an instant hit of energy in a small but powerful package. For more interesting flavours, look for Torq gels – banoffee is a particular favourite. Gels are often very sweet but if you’ve a sweet tooth, or are just concerned about packing in the energy, they’re a great option.
When you ride, you’ll often lose water from your body through sweating, which can lead to dehydration. This can not only leave you feeling rough, but even in mild cases, has a knock on effect on your performance. Being dehydrated isn’t just a case of needing water; when you sweat you also loose important nutrients and minerals which need replacing – fortunately proper hydration drinks will include what you need.
Sports drinks generally come in two forms, powders and effervescent tables. Nuun hydration tablets, for example, just need dropping in to your water bottle, where they’ll fizz away for a minute or so, before leaving a light, pleasant taste which helps get you back up to speed. Stored in a small plastic tube, they can even be dropped in a pocket for mid-ride refills. A couple of scoops of SiS Go Electrolyte will do the same job. As with many nutrition products, you should try a few different brands and flavours until you find the ones you like best.
Once you’ve put in a lot of miles, and are getting ready for your next outing, you might want to consider how your muscles will repair themselves before the next gruelling ride. Recovery products , whether they be drinks such as For Goodness Shakes Procovery or bars like the Powerbar Protein Plus bars are packed full of nutrients, minerals and protein, ready to help your muscles repair.
Protein is important in recovery products as it enhances muscle growth and repair – the knock on effect is that recovery drinks are usually thicker, more akin to a milkshake than energy drinks. If, after a hot ride you’re not too keen on a thick drink, you may prefer to eat a protein recovery bar.
This story was last updated on 18/08/2014