Energy Gel


did It Seemed Like Thin Air yesterday. Had plain water through out the whole workout.

What a stupid mistake. I had to take a break into the middle and my legs totally gave out in the last 15mins. Have to skipped it and forward to the warm down section.

I have not taken any energy gel before. Would like to ask all the other experienced riders here on the experience on consuming energy gel for such a long workout.

Thank you so much.

I’ve just looked in the app and I’ve done It Seemed Like Thin Air 4 times over the years. Each one was on a Sunday morning, so it’s highly likely I’d have been well fuelled before hand (big bowl of porridge with added fruit).

The last time I rode it was January this year and I actually put in my notes what I ate during the ride. That was 3 gels and 1 small chocolate biscuit bar. Strava says I burnt 1500 calories but I’m not sure how accurate Strava is for this figure.

I would start fuelling around the 30 minute mark, probably during the recovery from the first proper block and then keep it coming. I’d save a gel for early in the big 40 minute flogging - a physical and mental boost to get you through it.

Sorry, not much time. Big Yes! on needing nutrition.
Not necessarily from gels.

I would like to recommend the following pdf:

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I use an energy powder added to water for most hard rides, and just an electrolyte drink for shorter workouts. A gel would be exceptional

This is a good one for trying out different foods beyond mixes and gels. I’ll usually have 1-2 bars by the end depending on how I feel. Helps out later on when I’m on the trail for more than marathon distance.

Keep in mind that the recommendations for carbs/protein per kg are only guidelines and should be adjusted to your individual circumstances. I’m still about 20 pounds over my ideal body weight. That said, I need to factor this into the recommendations so that I don’t overeat while fueling my workouts. See this comment from @Coach.Suzie.S

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Thank you everyone for your advice.

Will definitely take note of it before I start on another tough and long workout again.

One thing that wasn’t mentioned but is in the Eating To Suffer document and I’ve learned this through experience: Bonking is no fun. You’ve been there. So how do you miss this? You start fueling 48 hours (yes, two days) before by upping your carb intake. You’ll hear tales of big plates of pasta the night before. Not that. Just enough to get your body creating more muscle energy storage. Something like a protein bar and then a filling meal for dinner/supper the night before concentrating on carbs/fats (too late then for added proteins). During the ride, try to use something that will not cause stomach distress. Some folks use gels, some protein bars, and still others energy drink mixes. You’ll have to figure this out for yourself. Everybody is different in what works and what pulls them off the bike running to the Loo. Best of luck conquering the dreaded bonk.

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With that session being over 90 minutes long, it’s a good idea to try and include some exogenous (consumed) carbohydrates. A good carby meal beforehand will cover you for sessions up to 90 minutes, but after that point when doing higher intensities, your glycogen stores will be very depleted. A gel or energy drink is a good idea as the fuel will get into your system quicker than something like a bar or flapjack that has more fibre, fat or protein. And start consuming those carbs before the 90 minute mark or it will be too late!
I used to feel that gels were only for racing, but since using them in harder training sessions, I’ve found my performance in them has improved. Unfortunately it won’t stop your legs from hurting! Hope that helps


@Coach.Andy.T This was helpful. I raced yesterday and could feel the bonk coming on at about the 1:15 mark. A quick snack and I was back to peak form for the rest of the race.


That is exactly my experience too. Energy drinks and gels work best for me during an intense ride or training session. Energy bars only work for me during lower intensity endurance rides, although I might eat one an hour or two before a hard training session as a carb boost.


Just did ISLTA after some time off SUF and riding outdoors. Did it with my last numbers:
First mountain - crushed
Second - went well but started feeling light headed so ate a bar after this one
Third - started feeling sleepy
Fourth - did it for honor

Paused as I felt I was falling asleep on the bike, no motivation, no snap in the legs, the breathing was OK but the energy wasn’t there (nearly bonking) and so I took a gel.

It seems I was deep into glycogen depletion as as soon as the first MAP interval hit in "the mountain" I just couldn’t care less and just wanted to sleep. I think I underestimated nutrition for this one. This workout is like an intense group ride for over 3 hours.

I am blaming nutrition here, but maybe I lost shape or I’m fatigued from all the riding and running but do not underestimate carbs intake before this one. I’d rather go with Gels over energy bars as no time to chew enough and energy is needed ASAP !DAMN!

Sleepy? That sounds terrible! What was going on with your HR? Sounds like you might need some extended recovery?

HR was OK yet after 30 minutes in I didn’t feel snappy anymore and wanting to nap. Indeed it might be a good idea to dial it down for a few days and relax.