Riding bikes has been a major part of my life for many years but I never took fueling for all that riding very seriously.
For years I believed a 2 hour ride was too short to need to eat anything. On a 3 hour ride I would bring food, but not eat it until 2 hours into the ride. This horrible strategy would always leave me wondering why I could never recover after a 3+ hour ride, and why I never seemed to get any stronger as a rider.
Combine my poor fueling with the hormonal adventures of getting older and putting on weight despite riding 3-5 days a week, and I was setting myself up for sustained bonking. My instinct was to eat even less when I should have been eating more.
Being able to visualise what’s happening inside your body in realtime is wild. The first couple of weeks wearing the biosensor was just observation. Not changing my habits, but seeing what I had been doing to myself. Noting how different foods affected my glucose level and more importantly how my (lack of) fueling affected my rides.
Here’s a screenshot from my first 2 hour ride wearing the biosensor
This was zero time spent in my Glucose Performance Zone and 66% of the ride spent below 80 mg/dL. From the very first ride it was abundantly clear I wasn’t eating correctly, or eating enough. I was seriously underfueled.
As a result, these are some of the specific changes I’ve started making:
- Eat breakfast 90 minutes before riding (my sweet spot)
- Do not wait 90 minutes before eating
- Start eating something 25-30 minutes into a ride
- Eat every 30 minutes during a ride
- Add Precision Hydration 500 mix into my ride fueling strategy
Here’s a screenshot from a recent 3.5 hour ride:
After some weeks experimenting, the time spent in my Glucose Performance Zone on this long ride was 92%. A huge improvement.
More important than reading a number in an app though, was how I felt. I had good consistent energy during this ride and I didn’t feel destroyed at the end. Recovery time was quicker.
Eating more instead of less has also had a small positive impact on my body weight. In hindsight I was probably putting my body into some type of storage mode before. Chronically not giving it enough calories to do the job.
These are such simple basic changes and honestly it feels quite silly to not have understood how badly I was underfueling myself before. I still have a long way to go before understanding the deeper metrics of things like the grams of carbs per hour that I need at high intensity, and how I perform during various phases of my monthly cycle. But I’ll get there. I can already see the results. And more importantly I can feel the results.