Nutrition for Endurance Biking

Hi all

I’ve been racing for quite some time and I wanted to see what the forum does for events that are 6-8 hours long? These events would be outdoor (i.e. no fridge within arms reach) and largely self-supported. I generally have energy bars, gels, sport drink (I also drink water separately following a bad GI experience in an ironman), and some solid food such as fruit or sandwich. The solid food is really dependent on the course and my access to it. I also try to snack on beef jerky during the ride (terrain allowing). For whatever reason, I really respond well to the jerky.

Curious to hear what works for you.1


Hey there.

The ones where there’s zero access to food are a right pest. Or maybe in your case if you’re racing you don’t want to go find a shop. Either way zero food is a pest.

For me - I Literally fill every single pocket and so on with as many bars as I can if various types. It isn’t often massively well thought through as it’s limited by the space available. But variety is important to me. I include slightly more chewy/solid bars like SIS energt bars - they ‘feel’ like I’m eating something. I use min cake which is pure sugar. Some standard gels, and I do make sure one if my gels has some caffeine in it for the second half (time wise) if the ride. Just in case I need a psychological boost :rofl: (no idea if the caffeine helps or not)

After a while it becomes a real suffer fest trying to eat, especially when it it pushing over 7 hours. Other times I’ll start rationing towards the end - which can be up to about 11 hours … seems to depend on the day.

In short, I literally carry as much as I can carry anywhere on me (and sometimes a small top tube bag - which reminds me …. better go find my top tube bag before Saturday - thanks)


@Joey_Roa I am similar to Sir @Martin - I use bars that are either rice based or nut and date based. I also like packets of Maple Syrup. I have also used a bottle and a bladder - the bladder for water with electrolytes and the bottle with some Scratch brand meal replacement (maltodextrin) that I drink in the beginning and middle of the race to get extra calories. Where there are aid stations I generally go for the peanut butter and jelly on white bread which I find is the perfect blend of easily digestible carbs and protein for me.

Even where there are aid stations I find it ideal to try and manage as much nutrition as I can on the bike so that I don’t lose too much time during the stops.


I suggest listening to this podcast where this topic is discussed (among others):

One of the key ideas is that you need to focus not just on fueling for the race, but keeping your glycogen stores filled all the time. In endurance events you will almost always deplete your stores faster than you can replenish them. If they are low to start, you will not perform your best.


Hi @Joey_Roa

The distinction between two rides of that length determines what I take and what I use off the bike.

A training ride of 6-9 hours, such ride I carry 4-7 electrolyte fizzy tabs, one sachet of liquid carbs with caffeine for the last +hour of the ride, and a heavily concentrated carb mix in a bottle which is supplemented with plain water in a hydration pack on the back. I will usually stop along the way after 4 hours for something to eat, route dependent but aim for waffles and ice cream, or egg/avo/toast/bread.

For a race of +6 hours, no waffles and avo toast. But will stop to top up with water and have a mouth full of coke and some other edible thing to change the taste of the on-bike stuff. A stop of 60-90 seconds far outweighs the effects of bonking or being without nutrition.

I don’t do gels, never had the stomach for them, and don’t do bars.

I do start with 2 plain bagels and 3 bananas and maybe 5 stroopwafels in my pockets and try get those down first, not after the waffles or avo toast on a training ride, nor after race aid station food.

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I’m with you on the caffeine, @Martin… If there’s a station with a coke/cola, it’s amaaazzzinngg.

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Thanks, Jon. Peanut butter seems to be a universal! :slight_smile:

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@Joey_Roa @JSampson
I am totally a peanut butter sandwich fan… and Pringles potato chips!
Also as previously mentioned hydration is critical with a regular schedule of intake that you follow from the start-


I have my Garmin set to beep every 10. Sip and sometimes gulp. Don’t skip any though. And the ‘if you are thirstly, drink’ absolutely applies out here in the Desert. You will suddenly find yourself in serious need of an ambulance shaped Uber.


I have refined my approach based on a lot of 15hr plus rides. I now plan, carry and consume a real food bar (veloforte 42g of carbs) for each hour. Plus an extra if terrain is hilly. Also carry a ginger flapjack for every 3hrs and a couple of emergency jellies.

I use mountain fuel in my water and typically increase concentration after 2hrs. Biggest challenge isnt just the weight of food/ fuel if completely self supported but getting enough water. Especially if its 2 day adventure.

I sip roughly every 10 to 15 mins but have to consciously make the effort if terrain is challenging. If roads are really rough i will always stop and drink/eat as a moment to grab a bite of a bar and get fluids in is better than bonking a few hours later

If opportunity arises I will always get something like a burger / chips in middle of the ride. Hope that helps but its a really personal thing and takes practice and experimentation to find what works