Tuesday 15 February 2022

How many calories will I need?

profile of route

Thinking about how much food I'll need for the solstice ride, (sponsorship link). Most estimates say up to 500 an hour. So the maths is 16 multiplied by 500, equals 8000. It seems a bit high; I don't think I can eat that much. 

Looking at the profile above - read left to right - the toughest parts are in the last third; although it's never particularly flat. I'll be on my own so no resting in someone else's slipstream. So maybe the high requirement is right.

In order to save time I intend to minimise stopping for food. The three bags I'll have on the bike will contain tools and spare inner tubes, extra gloves, a rain jacket and power packs to charge various electronics as well as food. I won't need more clothing, that will have been sent ahead of me for my stay in Cornwall and the return journey.

The 8000 calories will have to come from a variety of sources to keep it interesting. After around seven hours I stop wanting to eat. The distance is as much a mental challenge as it is physical.
I have been testing a few options: energy and protien bars, snacks and sandwiches. I need to have food that won't upset my stomach, and not contain too much fibre. I now realise it might be tough to achieve.

Here is my list:

Outdoor Provisions bars, each around 159 calories. They are my favourite, after trying many different suppliers. I have taken a subscription, so that should say a lot. I can eat up to seven one after the other. They are the easiest to open on the move too. I guess I could take a break from them at five and return later in the day.

Tribe protein bars, each around 230 calories. Very sweet, so maybe three will be enough. I do like their protein shakes post ride. The best I've tried. I subscribe to these as well. As with OP bars, I get a discount. It means I have the shakes, and the bars for cafe stops that don't provide a vegan option.

Trek protein bars, again around 230 each and also sweet.

Fig rolls, a whole pack is 590.

Pringles are heavy hitters at 1064 per pack. And you know how morish they are.

A pack of caramel rice cakes are 612.

Soreen lunch box snacks come in bags of five, each around 100 calories. My favourites are the apple.

Finally my lunch most days; peanut butter sandwiches. About 250 each.

So how does that add up?

Outdoor Provisions    x10 1590
Tribe                           x3    690
Trek                            x3    690
Fig Rolls                            560
Pringles                            1064
Rice Cakes                         612
Soreen bars                        500 
Sandwich                   x2    500 
Total                                 6206

I'll have a big breakfast, but there is a limit to what I can eat in one sitting.
To be honest, I'm not sure how I'll eat enough. On top of this figure there is another 2000 or so calories that the body needs regardles of exercise. 
Fizzy and energy drinks could be helpful, but I don't much like them. The same goes for energy gels; my tolerance is very low.

How do long distance athletes do it? Especially if they don't have a support team.
Is it the right balance?

Should it be less snacks and more real food? 

Keeping hydrated shouldn't be a problem, water is quick and easy to purchase. I can add energy and hydration tablets. If only there were more drinking taps I wouldn't have to buy bottled water. I've read about a scheme to provide free tops ups, the info is out of date though. It says Whitebread have signed up, so potentially 3,000 Costa stores, Premier Inn hotels and restaurants might be a good source. It is said churches are worth looking out for. But then their tapes are for watering purposes; does it mean it's safe to drink?