Nutrition & Hydration: Ultrafondo

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all doing fine!
I have a mountainous ultrafondo planned in June (200km, 4500m D+) which I am really excited for! Since my “genetic profile” is more compatible with crit racing, lately my training sessions have been mainly focused on riding longer distances and riding with empty stomach during low intensity <2h rides (with some intensity intervals of course).
My main concern however is nutrition & hydration because I’m not used to ride for such a long distance. I have read the precious nutrition guide from The Sufferfest which is great but it doesn’t provide much info for ultrafondos.
I have tried to ingest at least 60g of carbs per hours (500ml of isotonic drink/h and about 30-40g with gels/bars each hour) and fortunately my guts can handle it very well, I might be able to ingest up to 80g/h.
However, there are plenty of differents products out there and your experience/tips are very welcome:

*Hypotonic vs isotonic drinks: which one would you chose for an ultrafondo?
*I have been told not to eat anything on the climbs and only eat on the flats/descents, otherwise it might upset my stomach; the ultrafondo includes a 30km long climb, which will take about 2h00 to climb I guess; how am I supposed to ingest 60g of carbs only with fliuds if I can’t eat antything? Are the “liquid gels” (like the ones from Enervit) a solution?
*Any other tip, experience to share?

Thank you all!

@Nicola Are there any aid stations or do you need to bring all of your nutrition? If you can do a drop bag I would recommend peanut butter and jelly, energy bars (there is one called Lara Bar that is mostly dates and dried fruit that works really well for me) and maple / honey waffles. I also start the day with a bowl of oatmeal before the race. For drinks I do both regular water and water with electrolytes. I don’t generally use a lot of gels or am selective when using them but you may think otherwise. I find it helpful to eat fairly regularly - maybe every 30 min to hour depending on the terrain at the time. Good luck!


Thank you for the piece of advice :slight_smile:
There will be 5 aid stations (3 with food/drinks, 2 with drinks only).
Peanut butter bars are my favorite, they keep nausea away while other bars are way too sweet for my taste. Honey waffles seem like a good idea to include some variation. :slight_smile:

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Hi @Nicola Congratulations on taking on that beast. From what I have seen so far you have the basics covered. Nutrition on a long day like that can be tricky. The amount of calories that you can take is dependent on your size and effort. 60g per hour is pretty good for the average rider. Generally speaking, if you can take in 40-50% of what you are expending per hour you should be good. you do want to take in calories early and often in the form of an electrolyte drink and food. Chewable is best. I agree with @JSampson about the PB& J and the Lara Bars. those are both generally readily available and pretty easy on the guts. Stashing those in your drop bags is a great plan. I would also consider dropping “your” drink mix (either pre-mixed or in powder)so that you know what you are getting. The other thing that I have found to be a godsend towards the 3/4 mark of a marathon day is a can of Pringles (or salty chips) and a coke. Salt, caffeine and carbonation are a wonderful combo at that stage.

I’d save your gels for a snack on the climb or if you feel bonky. Unless you are hammering it on the climb you should be able to tolerate chewing a Lara bar.

Depending on where you will be doing this adventure you may want to consider grabbing a handful of figs and throwing them in your pockets. They are packed with energy and travel well.

Good luck!


Thank you!
I haven’t found any “drink mix tab” that you would take with you and drop in a bottle of water at the aid stations. I have only found electrolytes tablets unfortunately.
I’m planning to take a 750ml bottle with water and electrolytes only to hydrate better.
I was thinking to drink every hour: 500ml of isotonic mix +/- 0-500ml of water with electrolytes depending on the weather.

To take a familiar drink mix with me during the race, I came with the idea of making small portions of isotonic drink mix of ~30g wrapped in clingfilm and stuck them in old empty electrolytes tabs box.
I hope they won’t arrest me for drug smuggling suspicion with this technique however. :sweat_smile:

By the way, searching through the App Store of the iPhone I found an interesting app called “Eat my ride”. I thought it could be helpful to other people as well.
It seems to be effective at tracking and planning your calories input/output.

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Great discussion here on fondo nutrition and hydration.

I recently completed a 80 mile gran fondo and many in the field did not stop during the race. In fact the winner completed in 3 hr 48 minutes with no stops.

Is it feasible to complete a fondo with 2 500 ml bottles filled with beta fuel or flow formula as hydration and supplement with bars and gels for remaining carbs per hour? I assume hydration needs may be dependent on temperate and sweat rate.

Many of the leaders have support staff that hands them bottles on the go without the need to stop.

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If you want to bring your own mix, snack sized plastic bags work really well.

For the question about fueling during a race, in the few I’ve been in there are 2-3 water stations where they recommend you bring crappy water bottles and chuck them and pick up water/gatorade on the fly further up the road from someone standing on the side. They have the sport type bottles with the pull up cap and they break the cover off for you before hand off so there’s not a lot of fuss. I’ve never been anywhere’s close to the fast group on that particular event, but I did work it one year and got to hand bottles out. Quite the rush as they go flying by you and snatch the bottle out of your hands!