Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Load Up

After all the hard work you've put into training, the last thing you want to do is sabotage it by making poor food choices leading up to race day. The most important part of your final preparation before a big race is making sure you're properly fueled in the days and hours before the race start.

The average male athlete can store about 1,500 to 1,900 calories of carbs in the blood, liver and muscles combined. Two hours of exercise can deplete glycogen levels. When you train hard on a regular basis your body never gets a chance to fully replenish its glycogen stores before they are reduced again in your next workout.

Carb-loading should start two days before the race. At rest during these two days your muscles will build up plenty of glycogen stores while you consume the proper amount of carbs. What is the proper amount of carbs for the purpose of carb-loading? You should eat about 10 grams of carbs per kg of body weight daily in the two days leading up to race day.
For example, I'm 85kg. Typically I would eat my regular diet and reduce my training load in the week before a big race. Then two days before the event I would eat about 850grams of pasta or rice per day along with some protein. (
One gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories, so that would be 3400 calories of pasta per day!). Don't go an eat a massive bowl of pasta the night before a race and expect a miracle to happen. This will just upset your stomach and shock your body. Also, you won't need as much protein at this time because you won't be breaking down your muscles.

I will also do my pre-race warmup routine (3x1min + 3x30sec) the day before the race. This coincidentally agrees with a popular method discovered by the University of Western Australia . Follow this routine along with eating properly on the bike and I can promise you will never bonk again!

Reasons vs Excuses

It is important to distinguish between a "reason" and an "excuse." The difference is easy to recognize:

Excuses are justification for giving in. Perhaps you didn't explore all your options, ignored or denied your options, didn't plan ahead, etc. On the other hand reasons are a legitimate cause, explanation or justification of an action or event. The key work here being legitimate. Don't be dishonest with yourself by using excuses.

If you didn't train today because your boss made you stay late at work, then you have a good "reason". However, if you didn't do your training today because it was raining out, you probably didn't want to train all that much anyway. You could have used the trainer in front of the TV, gone for a run, taken a spin class, or even rode in the rain!

My point? Quit making excuses!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Perceived Exertion - Rate Your Workout

Power Meters: I am fortunate to own one and I find it is one of the most useful training tools imaginable. A power meter shows you exactly how much power you're generating. This tangible measurement is similar to a bench press; you know without question exactly how many plates you have loaded on the bar.

If you don't have access to a power meter or heart rate monitor, you may want to keep a measure of your perceived exertion in a training diary labeled "Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)." Perceived exertion is how hard you feel that your body is working. It is based on the physical sensations you experience during physical activity, including heart rate, breathing, muscle fatigue, etc.

Even though I have a power meter, I still use this gauge in my training log.

1 No exertion at all - Watching the TdF
2 Extremely light ride with Grandma
3 Very light coffee ride
4 Light ride to work
5 Somewhat hard
6 Hard (heavy) - sitting in a fast bunch ride
7 Very hard - rolling turns in a fast bunch ride
8 Extremely hard - off the front from a fast bunch ride in the crosswinds
9 Maximum exertion - add some hills into #8
10 Off the charts! - Melbourne to Warnambool

All people have the ability to sense how hard they are pushing themselves, despite having different individual outputs. Monitoring how your body feels will become easier with experience. In turn, you will be able to better adjust your intensity. Make note of your various RPE numbers in your training diary. How many days in a row has your workout day rated as 7 or above? In order to allow for sufficient recovery you should generally not exceed three consecutive days of RPE greater than 7.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't Panic

This post comes from one of the smartest and best bike racers I know. My hope is that he contributes regularly to this blog. We'll all be better off with his advice. Thanks Jeff


I wrote that in big, friendly red letters because Douglas Adams died too young, the world will forever be a darker shade of grey as a result, and I’m in no particular hurry to get over it.

But it’s also good advice for bike racers.

There are often phases in bike races in which the attacks are both frequent and futile. This can happen when a break is up the road and the teams not represented are trying to bridge instead of chase and are forever being chased down by the breakaways’ teammates, at the beginning of a race when the fools that will chase anything aren’t yet too tired to do so, and in several other situations. Regardless, the pattern is the same: someone attacks and a wave of acceleration ripples backwards through the pack as everyone jumps to maintain contact. The attack is caught and everyone stops working – 50km/hr, 30, 50, 30, 50 over and over again. These jumps can take a lot of energy that you’d rather use sowing your own mayhem and confusion.

One trick I’ve learned is to not jump. Anticipate the wave and quicken your cadence, perhaps shifting down a gear. You’ll likely get passed by a few people for doing this – make sure they pass you on the windward side. By maintaining your cadence a second or two once the attack is caught and the pack compresses, you can slingshot back up to your original position or even further. Alternatively, if a split does develop, you’ll not only have saved your jump, but have a few unwitting teammates leading out your bridge. More often than not, nothing will come of the attack and you’ll quite appropriately have expended next to no energy.

Race Tune-Up

The day before a race should be a rest day. However, by "rest day" I'm not implying that you should take it off. I just mean that you shouldn't be tearing yourself down so much that you need serious recovery afterwards. It should be called a "tune-up day" rather than a "rest day".

My favorite "tune-up" routine the day before a race is the following:

About 1.5hours total with 3 x 1 minutes hard, with at least 5 minutes of easy riding between each. Also do 3 x 30 seconds hard sprints, with 5 minutes between. Easy cruising home.

This will wake up and recruit the different muscle fibers needed for tomorrow. This will make you feel much better the next day than if you took the day off.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Optimal Cadence

I have a good mate who was complaining the other day about not being able to go very fast and feeling sluggish. Someone noticed how low his cadence was and asked him what his computer was averaging it at. He said 71 rpm. What!? 71 rpm!? "Well, what should my cadence be then?", he asked.

Let's first assume that "optimal" means "most efficient aerobically". Many different studies have been able to determine how much oxygen is used at different cadences with a resulting efficiency figure - the less oxygen used, the more efficient that pedal cadence is. Nearly all of the results for these studies, when plotted graphically, showed an ‘inverted U’ shape, with the extremely low and high pedal cadences being less efficient and an optimum figuring somewhere around the middle. There was a general consensus from these studies show the optimum was around 90 rpm.

The lower gear provided by a high cadence means that acceleration is relatively easy, so higher cadence is important in road races when you have to be ready at all times to follow the accelerations.

Also, remember a few posts ago where I talked about the glycogen stored in fast and slow twitch muscle fibers? Another reason why a high cadence is more economical.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enough Protein?

I don't stress too much about my day to day nutrition. I like a pizza and beer as much as anyone else. However, there are some key times when you should be very aware of your nutrition when in training. The 30 minute window after a good hard ride is when your body will appreciate it most. This is an important time to replace the glycogen in the muscles and repair the damage to the muscles by eating protein.

Protein is used to repair muscle cell injuries from the trauma that occurs during training. It is not a good energy source. So how much protein does a cyclist need? It depends on what type of training you're doing. If you're doing a lot of long slow distance riding, you'll generally need about 1.3 grams of protein per Kg of body weight. If you're doing intense riding, you'll need to increase your protein intake to approximately 1.6 grams per kg of body weight.

For example, if you weigh 80kg and are training with intensity, you will need about 128 grams of protein per day. You can easily achieve this by eating a regular diet (non vegetarian) without supplements. However, the best time to eat protein (about 30g) is in the half hour directly after training. Your body can absorb approximately 30g of protein in a sitting, so eating more isn't necessarily better. A good protein choice is good ol' fashioned chocolate milk. A 750ml bottle of iced coffee or chocolate milk has 20-30 grams of protein and only costs $3.00. It is not necessary to spend $80 on a massive pale of bodybuilding protein powder. Milk has an ideal amount of protein/carbs/fat, making it an excellent recovery drink.

DO NOT eat much protein in the hour before an intense ride. No more than the peanut butter on your toast! Protein is difficult for the body to digest and slows down the glycogen absorption to the muscles. You don't want that unless you plan to get dropped like a bag of bricks in the first kilometer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Ya Bike!

From the Economist

FAT-BUSTING but not wallet-busting, the humble bicycle is an increasingly popular choice of transport. Around 130m bikes rolled off production lines in 2007 and even more are set to be made this year. Bicycle and car production grew pretty much in tandem in the two decades beginning in 1950. But since 1970 bike production has nearly quadrupled while car production has roughly doubled. Much of the recent growth has been driven by electric bikes; production has doubled since 2004, to 21m.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Make Your Own PowerGel

Sometimes spending $3 a pop on gels can get a little expensive. I've been making my own gels for a number of years and I've found there's really not much to it. I can make 10 times the amount for about $10 and it only takes 5 minutes. Here's my favorite recipe:

- 1 cup plain or brown rice syrup (brown is sweeter and has a lower GI - which is not the point here).
Many of the gels that you buy from your local bike shop list rice syrup as the main ingredient.
- handful of raspberries/strawberries/blueberries/etc .
Eating the rice syrup unflavored is pretty disgusting.
- 1/8 tsp table salt

Puree the fruit in a food processor. Combine fruit puree, salt and rice syrup in a small pot on the stove and stir continuously on low heat until heated
(should not come to a simmer or boil). Liquid should be hot, well mixed and easy to pour when ready. Fill 2 GU flasks with the gel. You can buy a GU flask for $5 which will hold up to 8 tbsp of gel. This will allow you to carry 480 calories of complex carbs, the equivalent of 4 gel packets.

Refrigerate overnight to thicken for your ride the next day.


This is Web2.0 and I want YOU to be the main contributor to this site. I have thousands of things to say but that would only offer MY perspective on this sport. Each and every one of you have hints and tips that the rest of us haven't thought of. My vision is to make this a community that shares our knowledge to give back to the new and old people of this sport. Why hide all these treasures of information that you've picked up over the years? Submitting your tips will also make you more cognizant of your own knowledge and will make you watch out for the things others are doing (right or wrong). The more you submit, the more others will do the same and we will all benefit in the end.

In a few paragraphs (a couple hundred words), submit your tips to CyclingTips. Cover any topic that's cycling related - Motivation, Perspecitve, Maintenance, Nutrition, Training, etc. Feel free to give me a cool cycling picture of you along with your tip and I'll give you full credit in the post. You can also submit anonymously if you wish to remain low key.

Thanks for reading.

Save Your Legs, Not Your Gears

I just did a race on the weekend that involved steep hills and treacherous winds. Unfortunately, I made one mistake early on that pretty much ruined my chance of placing well in the race. I kept it in big ring from the start, grunted away in those big gears, and then didn't have what it took when things really mattered. I should have spun away comfortably in my 23 up those big hills instead of worrying about those futile attacks that went nowhere in the beginning.

Glycogen is stored in fast and slow twitch muscle fibers, with the vast majority in the slow twitch fibers. In other words, fast twitch power is extremely limited. It makes strategic sense to use the slow twitch fibers as much as possible by spinning quickly up those hills and save that fast twitch muscle glycogen for when it's really needed (i.e. when the winning move goes up the road).

Greater torque and muscle tension may be useful in training to increase strength, but not for racing as the added stress to the muscles cause damage and fatigue. Hence the old saying, "save the legs, not your gears!"

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I've decided that I'm going to post everyday from Monday to Friday. Weekends are when I get my best material so I'll be busy riding my bike, not sitting in front of the computer. I trust that you'll be doing the same.

I've only told a few of my close friends about this since it began a couple weeks ago and I'm already up to 600 hits a day. How things spread! Please feel free to send your cycling hints & tips in to this address so I can post them. I'll give you full credit for your ideas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Power vs Weight

When there's hills involved there's two ways to increase your speed to the top. Increase your power, or decrease your weight. Increasing your power will require specific intervals, an increased training load, and a lot of pain. Decreasing your weight involves a whole lot of sacrifice and discipline. Neither are easy. Depending on your current abilities, one may be easier to tackle than the other.

For example, I don't have a problem generating power. But I'm also 85kg and would likely work to lose 5kg if I wanted to increase my climbing speed. It would take a LOT more work (90% more work for an extra 5% gain) to increase my power with my current training load. My current power to weight ratio at threshold is approximately 5.2. If I were to keep my power the same and loose 5kg I would increase that ratio to 5.6. That would be relatively easy given the alternative. I would need to increase my power by almost 50 watts (a significant figure) in order to get the same results.

If you are already very lean then there's only one way to go. Increase power output. Assess where you're at and decide which strategy is more achievable.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cash In Your Tyres

Cold hard cash can be good for all sorts of things. Usually for the things that you can buy with it but in some cases it's good for what you can use it for. Let me explain...

On my way home from my ride this morning I got a flat tyre. Not only was the tube flat, but as I was changing it I noticed there was a slice through my sidewall. Under normal circumstances the best fix would be to pick up the phone and call my wife to come and get me. The other alternative: an old trick I learned using a $5 bill.

I always carry a $5 bill in my toolkit. First, to buy some food if I go hunger flat and second, to help fix a slashed tyre. HOW TO: After you've replaced the tube, fold the $5 bill in half and put it inside the sidewall of the tyre. Then put the tyre back on the rim as you'd normally do but this time with the $5 bill in between the tyre and tube. This will prevent the tube from ballooning out of the tyre at the site of the slice. At this point you can continue your ride problem-free.

Just remember to take the $5 out of your tyre when you get home, replace the tyre, and go buy yourself a cappuccino with your cold hard cash.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tough Bike Tyres

Last night I put a new set of tyres on my wheels.

Have you ever tried to put on new tyres and thought they will never fit? Sometimes it feels like the tyres are 2/3 the size of the wheel and you'll nearly break your fingers trying to make it work.

What NOT to do:

DO NOT use tyre levers to help pry the tyre onto the rim. This will only pinch the tube and you'll have to start again.

My Technique:

Fit one side of the tyre bead around the rim. Then put the tube in the tyre, slightly inflated to give it a bit of shape. Start working on the tyre as you normally would starting from the valve side. When it becomes tough to get the rest of the bead onto the rim, spray some WD-40 onto the troubled section of the rim. No need to use a lot, just enough to lube it up. Using a rag over the tyre for grip, start working the tyre with both hands from either side. It should easily slide onto the rim. Finally, check that the tube is not being pinched anywhere by the tyre. To do this, squeeze the tyre on both sides all the way around the rim. There should be no tube popping out anywhere.

Now that was easy!

Echelon the Crosswinds

With the recent weather, the theme of today’s post is CROSSWINDS. Even A-Grade riders can get confused about how to ride in a group in the crosswinds. In my last race there were several direction changes in the road and the pack had to adjust its position on every corner. Not always an easy task when your heart is pounding at 180bpm and you can't think clearly. Many guys made mistakes by either not understanding the concept, or not paying attention to the direction of the wind.

PULL OFF INTO THE WIND is the thing to remember. Geese do this exact same thing when flying in groups. This is the most efficient way of using the groups energy to cut through the wind and maintain a high average speed.

What to do in an echelon:

The riders in the echelon will rotate through from the sheltered side to the front and then pull off back on the windward side. When riding in an echelon you want to keep things smooth and together. You should NEVER take a big long pull on the front. You will always rotate through taking short 1-2 min pulls. When you get to the front of the echelon you will ride to just in front of the lead rider, gently pull in front of him and maintain his speed. DO NOT pull through hard and continue going faster than him. If you do this then the poor guy will have to punch it to get onto your wheel after just doing his pull. When riding with experienced riders, you'll find yourself a few bike lengths in front of the echelon hanging out there by yourself.

What NOT to do in an echelon:

The echelon can only be as wide as the road so in a large pack there will be a number of riders in single file behind the echelon. This is the absolute WORST place to be. It's easy to get tricked into thinking that by being in the "gutter" as it's called, you're not doing any work by avoiding rotating through. Trust me, it's much easier being in the echelon doing a hard pull once every minute than being in the gutter hanging on for dear life. Note: This wouldn't be the case in a headwind but a crosswind is completely different. Once one person in the gutter drops the wheel in front, its very difficult to get back on and close that gap. And if you're the one to drop that wheel, you'll have a lot of pissed off riders behind you!

On the other hand, there are a number of effective strategies to intentionally drop other riders in an echelon. This will be addressed in a future post.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Sure is nice cruising down your favorite road at 50km/hr with the wind at your back and barely breaking a sweat. This is what I did this morning with a gusty northerly. After an easy hour of riding, I realized that I was 50km away! I still had to turn around...

Its Times like these when you're pushing into a 35 knott headwind that make you contemplate your choice in sports. What to do? Change your perception. Pushing against the wind is great for the strength, but unfortunately the harder you push, the harder it gets. It's easy to get frustrated while pushing as hard as you can and feeling like you're getting nowhere. What I do is give up all expectations of 50km/hr speeds and try to work on a different aspect of cycling. You will never be satisfied at the end of a headwind ride if your only focus is pushing harder. I usually concentrate on my pedal stroke efficiency, making sure that it's completely smooth with a fairly high cadence of 100rpm.

Headwinds also provide a good opportunity to play around with your body position. Watch your computer and notice how small positional changes affect your speed. Get aero and tweak your riding position and see what is optimal. A power meter is particularly effective for this purpose. You can look at your speed (when the road is flat and wind constant) vs power and check when your speed increases while power remains constant.

You can't do anything about the wind until the road turns, so welcome the wind as an aid to becoming a better rider.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pick a Goal

Most of us put a lot of effort into this sport. It's just the nature of it. Unfortunately natural talent in cycling doesn't tend to shine until you have your bases covered on fitness.

If you're going to put this much time into being out on the road, you may as well try to do well at it. I see many people doing the same training regime every week without really knowing what they're preparing for. That's fine for some people, but if you want to start having some results or PB's you need to have some concrete goals to shoot for. "Get strong" is not a concrete goal. It needs to be tangible, realistic, have a timeline, and very specific. "Win the club champs in March" is a good example. Make yourself accountable to that goal. With a goal it will help motivate you to get out there every morning and do the best training ride that you can.

Pick an event that suits your abilities about 3 months in advance. There's your goal. Now how are you going to accomplish that goal? You need a path to that goal. Is it going to be accomplished by doing the same old training rides that you've done before and never brought you results? Or maybe it is the right formula?! Pick some races along the way that you rate as low priority that suits as good preparation. Put no expectations on those races but have some small goals within those races that are helping you achieve your end goal. Maybe it's getting in a breakaway, getting a good position in the bunch sprint, riding near the front the whole race, practicing cornering, etc.

I could go on forever about the training needed to bring you to your end goal, but there's lots of good qualified coaches out there that can individualize a training program for you. I'm just here to perhaps make you realize that if you want some success in cycling, you need to start making goals and a pathway to achieving them. The same old training routine that you've always done may not be the right path if it hasn't worked for you before.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Training Triangles

When you work on one aspect of fitness, others will suffer. No doubt about it.

Here is a good representation of what is happening. The corners of the triangle represent speed, endurance and power. The area of the triangle represents the total amount of fitness

The distance from a corner to the center represents the relative amount of fitness

Work on speed - endurance and power will suffer. Work on endurance and power, speed will suffer. Alternatively, the triangles might represent hill climbing, sprinting, and TT'ing. Work on hills, sprinting and TT'ing worsens. Work on TT'ing, hill climbing and sprinting diminishes. You get the point. Training specific aspects of fitness decreases other aspects of fitness.

So how do you get good at everything? Well, there are two training concepts - general fitness and specific fitness. Fitter riders have bigger triangles. However, even the best riders will still experience the same triangle effect. Pull on one side of the triangle to make it bigger and the other side gets smaller. The best sprinters at the TdF are not good time trialists or hill climbers (this is all relative to the best bike riders in the world of course).

You can see how this ties in with my last post. Pick one thing, excel at it, and work to make those other parts of the triangle as good as you can without sacrificing the stuff you're good at. Picking out your strengths and weaknesses is the first step.

Excel at One Thing

If you're going to do something, why try to be good at everything? For most of us, all that will happen is that we'll end up being mediocre a wide range of things which will put us in the middle of the pack nearly all the time.

If you see some promise in one area of your cycling, I say focus on it, fine tune it and make it the best you possibly can. Then move on to working on the parts of cycling that you're weaker on so that you can create the opportunities that let you use your strengths.

For example, a big and heavy like me is never going to win a race that has big steep climbs and hilltop finishes. The beautiful thing about cycling though is that there are equalizers that make it possible for most body types and varied abilities to excel at one thing or another. There aren't too many true all-rounders out there. Even an all-rounder like Cadel only got second place at the TdF. He was beaten by a guy who was good at one thing and one thing only - climbing!

If you're a good sprinter, work on your bunch sprint positioning, practice your sprint intervals, do some time on the track, and pick races that will end up in group sprints! I guarantee you that you'll start winning.

If you have a high lactate threshold, then get in breakaways. Learn when breaks happen on a certain course, know who to follow and who to let sink out there, know when to go (you can tell when something is going to stick or not).

If you're not good at anything in particular, then figure out what body type you have, what terrain suits your natural abilities, and concentrate on getting good at what you enjoy. If you're 60kg and enjoy climbing then you know what you should be practicing and enter those types of events. However, if you're 80kg, hate the thought of getting in a breakaway or don't have the guts to play in a group sprint, you have to assess your goals and adjust your expectations. That may mean switching grades, or giving it your all out effort in order to support someone on your team. There's a lot of satisfaction helping out a teammate achieve his goals.

Train your weaknesses, make stuff that you're good at razor sharp, pick races that suit your strengths, and you will be successful in the sport of bike racing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ride From the Core

At the beginning of the winter I joined pilates. I haven't got the ripped washboard stomach that I was hoping for, but I can definitely tell you that the core strengthening I've done for the past 6 months has helped immensely. A mate's wife owns a pilates studio andhere's what he has to say about riding from the core:

Core is a very general term. There are several muscle/body groups that need to be 'awakened' in order to develop a strong core. This takes time and is a gradual process. A stronger core has helped change my set up on the bike allowing me to sit in a more 'active' position. My hips are now in a neutral position instead of 'sinking' into the saddle.

When I say "active" position, here's what I mean. Imagine a string going through your body when you're sitting on the bike from the arch of your foot coming through the top of your head. Now think of someone pulling that string so that you're sitting tall and core engaged. This will set you up in this "active" position.

This position has many benefits including taking pressure off my hip flexors, reducing workload on my front thighs and flatning my lower back reducing stiffness on long rides. I have also noticed better acceleration on hills when I engage my core.

You don't necessarily have to do pilates to get a strong core. Here's a routine and some exercises that you can do in 10mins a day to help improve your core strength.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Taking a Day Off

Don't be afraid to take a day off. If you're motivated but just tired, listen to your body and take a break. It's telling you something. One day off is better than seven days off being sick. Fitness takes place when you rest and recover, not when you're out riding. There's a balancing act between recovery and training that needs to take place, but you get my point.

If being tired isn't a problem for you at the moment then plan which days you'll take off at the beginning of the week. Look at the weather forecast on Sunday evening and see what the trend is. If the end of the week is looking miserable then try to get in all you can at the beginning.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Baby Wipes - What Can't They Do?

After our big day out in the rain yesterday we all have to deal with a mess on our hands - filthy bikes! How to clean it? Well if you're like me and don't have access to a firehose you have a bit of work to do. What I find easiest to do is to let the bike dry overnight and give it a wipedown with a dry rag. The key is to keep it dry so that all the gunk on the frame just flakes off. Now, go an buy yourself some babywipes. Some of you new moms or dads out there may already have an ample supply. I find Curash to be the best. Now, take a couple of those babywipes and clean your chain off. Then use some more babywipes and clean the rest of your drivetrain. Then use a few more babywipes and clean your frame, tires, handlebars, wheels etc. Take one last babywipe and clean your hands, and voila. In 10mins time you'll have a bike that looks brand new again.

After every ride, no matter how clean it is, I'll take a babywipe and wipe my frame down and my chain. Takes about 1 minute and the bike is always spotless and never really needs a big clean job. It adds thousands of km's to your drivetrain as well since it's always clean and won't wear nearly as quickly.

I don't know what they put in these things, but they'll clean everything from a baby's bottom to the worst bike grease known to man. I even shine my dress shoes with these things.

The Long Ride

Yesterday was Crowie's Inverloch 280 ride. It went from Melbourne to Inverloch and back on some of the most sensational roads I've ever seen. Just when you think you've seen all the good rides in the area it pays to go out with an old pro like Crowie to show you a thing or two that you've been missing.

A 280km ride at say 33km/hr (which is a reasonable average speed) will be about 8hrs. If I burn 700 calories per hour (being a moderate pace), that works out to 5600 calories that'll need to be replaced during that ride. Use 1000 calories per hr if it's race pace. Seeing as the body can only really absorb about 500 calories per hour, target that for the duration of the ride. Should suffice for me including the stored calories I had in my belly from the large pizza i ate on Friday night and the healthy brown rice and salmon I had Sat night.

Every hour I drank a 750ml bottle of energy drink (about 200 calories), and some sort of easily digestible food (I like using 1/2can of creamed rice - 250 calories) along with a jell or some snakes. Energy bars have about 300 calories, so that's another good option if you have the money and patience to eat them. That gives a good 500 calories per hour to keep me topped up. Usually when you least want to eat is a good sign that you really need to eat. About 30km into our ride home it started pouring cats and dogs on us and became very miserable out. When we get cold and wet is usually the time when we don't feel like we need to eat and it's very inconvenient to mess around with food. It doesn't take much to go without food or water for an hour when it's raining and cold out, so this is the time to be very cognizant of this.

By the end of the ride 8hrs later I was still full of energy. This has everything to do with the nutrition throughout the ride and not nearly as much as the fitness level. Without the nutrition you can't use the fitness on these longer rides - I don't care who you are, you won't overcome a few thousand calorie deficit!

The 30min to 120min after the workout is the best window of opportunity to get some carbs and protein into the body for it to rebuild.

It's not complicated and I wish that I had taken the time to learn a bit about nutrition in my younger days. It's no different than a gas tank in a car. You won't go anywhere if it's not kept topped up.