First, ride at a level you can ride. You don’t want to go out so hard that you blow up on the first climb and have to be taken off it.
Second: And this is VERY important. Don’t ask for fueling advice in a forum. Seriously. What works for some folks might cause you to become violently ill.
Third: Now about fueling. Eat what makes you feel refreshed. If it’s a gel, go for it. If it’s a bacon sandwich, likewise. What you don’t want to do is eat something that makes you feel ill. Also, eat OFTEN. Not a lot, but keep the carb engine fueled.
And as always, your mileage may vary.
Yep. I’ve seen folks come here and ask about food/hydration and then fall ill on the next ride. I have a fellow rider who cannot tolerate gels. It’s vomit city if he eats one. His wife can chug them down all day. She cannot tolerate bars. Reverse that scenario. Same with drinks. Some folks cannot drink ‘sugar water’ without bonking. Others cannot tolerate anything with proteins in them. You must figure out what works for you and then follow through. Also, what works for a two hour endurance ride might not work for a one hour climbing/threshold ride.