From the Coaches: How to fuel your cycling

To my understanding, exercise inhibits the insulin response. If you cannot wait after a meal, eating something after you start exercising might be a second best solution.

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I remember at somepoint there was an “eating to suffer” guide by the sufferfest, wish there would be a new one out! :slight_smile:


This is another option, something easily digestible during the warm up with the same routine of chewing lots or swilling in the mouth to get some of the sugar into the blood stream quicker (we absorb some sugars through our gums)

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I think the turbo session or TT guidelines here can be applied to that. The TT guidelines would be more for optimising performance in a session. For a KoS effort that would require something quite different! Somewhere between RR, hard turbo, and ultra endurance!

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Andy, you just gave me a Eureka moment. I’ve wondered why I sometimes feel a step behind in the afternoon when I’ve put in a hard workout early in the day. I think more carbs will solve this. Thanks!


What a great article!
And thank you so much for adding information about women.
Any adaptations needed for older riders? I’m 64 yr old female.


Interesting article, as well as the recent episode of the Knowledge podcast.

I have signed up for a beast with the below profile this summer, and must admit I am a bit uncertain on how to approach my fueling. Must admit I am not very good when it comes to fueling. I bonked in the very same race after approx 160 km last time (2019), but that was due to a mix of a relatively high pace, underfueling, and sleep deprivation (less than 6 hours/night on average the week prior, and the race starts 9 PM) I believe.

Me thinks I should aim for a mix of solid food and easy carbs almost all the way through given the length of the event. A challenge could be bringing enough nutrition, fluids in particular, as feeding outside the fueling stations is not allowed. Mandatory 3 min timeouts for the lead group at 145 km and 249 km, but that is a pretty short time to refill bottles and load up on fuel (maybe clothing change as well depending on wheather).

For the record I aim to stay with the front group for as long as I am able, although I do not expect to stay all the way, but finishing within the top 10% would be a goal. Managed to stay with the front for 160 km last time, aim to come better prepared and in even better shape this time, expecting to stay with the front longer.


Hi Ann,

Yes actually, something I’m looking more into is nutrition for after menopause as hormone levels change significantly. As estrogen is significantly lower, it is very important to consume additional protein, as muscle atrophy rates increase. What this means is after exercise you want about 30-40g protein, during the day 2.2-2.4g protein per kilo of body weight overall. Also try to consume some BCAAs (leucine too) during training. Hope that helps and let me know if you’ve got any other questions


That’s a hell of a challenge! And that was before I saw the distance and just saw the elevation!

For fuelling, I would recommend taking some energy drink sachets you can put in pockets/bags to add to water, then aim for as high energy density foods as possible. So bars that have sugars and nuts are quite good as intensity will be high aerobic but not threshold work for that duration. Start with large amounts of energy in the bottles to start, and carb up well the day before.

Other good high energy density foods are the simple peanut butter and jam (jelly for the US riders) sandwiches in simple white bread that’s been packed down as flat as possible. Rice cakes are really good and easy to digest too (dessert rice, not the air filled crispy rice cakes)


Great article and great commentary here.

I have struggled with fuel management for longer events like gravel grinders, I am used to lots of stuff like CX races and TTs. I stumbled onto Dr Alex Harrison’s YouTube channel fairly recently (Saturday Morning | Ride and Run Faster). He discusses the biochemistry at a level most of us can understand and also the solutions to many of the fueling problems a lot of us have experienced. Read what Coach Andy says, listen to Dr Alex apply it in training to adapt it to what works best for your rides and events.

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Thank you so much Coach Andy. Really helpful. I am sure there are lots of us older ones!


Thanks for the feedback and advice. Considering looking into making my own bars to ensure I get stuff with high carb density to reduce the volume of what I need to carry.

Good tip to bring portion sized drink mix, but access to enough fluid will potentially still be a challenge though.

Have planned some races prior, and thought I’d practice proper fuelling there and try to find what works (and not).

Try this for longer rides

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Wow! That seems like one crazy cocktail :flushed: Already googling maltodextrin, and MCT powder.

Thought I’d try some recipes from Vélochef, and although there are rice cakes and the likes, there is nothing like that magical potion I don’t think!