When to down a gel?

When drugs don't work: training and health tips!
Negativelycra
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Negativelycra » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:33 pm

Op,
Like you, i am a newbie. I tend to stick to cerial bars, but always carry 2 gels just in case. I've use them twice - first time i was naive to the requirements of nutrition, and hadn't eaten correctly before i left (literally porrige bowl down, straight out on the bike). The first 7 miles killed me, i necked the gel, felt lke a new man.
Second time was my first blast up blaze hill (cat 4 or poss 3, i forget) - i was struggling so much. Stopped, ate gel, got back on and finished it.

Why did they help? It could be the caffeine, the placebo effect (admittably likely), it might be that they actually do what they say on the side. However, i'll keep carrying em because when you feel like shite, they seem to help!

Ps - they taste proper grim though, cerial bars are a much better bet!
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Spin City
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Spin City » Wed Oct 03, 2012 17:25 pm

I just thought I'd give my opinion as someone with Type 1 Diabetes. Having this condition means that I can't let my 'blood sugars' go too low as this can cause serious problems. For a non-diabetic it would be similar to a serious case of bonking. To achieve the aim of keeping my blood sugars up I will consume carbohydrates on any ride over, say, an hour (and maybe even on shorter rides).

The speed that carbohydrates are digested, and ready for use, is dependent on their Glycaemic Index (GI). 'Fast acting' carbohydrates are things that could be called sugary and 'slow acting' carbohydrates are things that could be called starchy although there is a bit of inconsistency in regard to the layman's terms we use and the GI figures that nutritionists talk about.

While I'm cycling I continuously consume a drink with approximately 5-7% of sugar in it i.e. 'fast acting' (and the amount of sugar in this sort of drink is called isotonic) and depending on weather/terrain conditions I'll probably drink about 500ml per hour. On top of this I will eat a portion of carbohydrate rich food i.e. 'slow acting' every hour or so.
Examples of the drinks I have are full sugar Ribena (diluted), full sugar Hi-Juice (diluted) and Fruit juice mixed with an equal quantity of water.
Examples of the food I will eat are Malt Loaf, Fruit Cake, Tea Bread, Banana Bread, Flapjacks, Scones, etc. Towards the end of a ride I might even treat myself to some confectionery e.g. Twix, Snickers, etc (Sorry for the advertising.)
For some reason, and I don't know why, I have never resorted to commercially available sports products. Maybe I'm just too mean to pay the prices.

If I'm on an all day ride then I will have a meal at some point when I will also take a reduced amount of insulin.
I also take some emergency rations out with me such as Jelly Babies or Glucose tablets but it is not very often that I need to resort to using these.
The times that I do will be because of some miscalculation of my requirements rather than just running out of energy.

This seems to work for me and, in theory, there shouldn't be any point during a ride (even an extremely long one) that I will run out of available energy.

Maybe the OP can incorporate some of these ideas for keeping his/her energy levels up whilst out riding.

Rulebritania
Posts: 174
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Rulebritania » Thu Oct 04, 2012 05:56 am

Again Thanks for your thoughts

I can see there are many trains of thought and I thank you all for your input. Basically I can eat whatever I like its a choice of what do prefer. Regarding my original Q. I could carry one on a ride for a quick response to "flaking" (an army term for bonking). This will have the effect of giving me the boost (maybe in my head somewhat) to push on until the gel kicks in.
Where am I going wrong: :?:
The other day I did 17 miles http://app.strava.com/rides/23686820 in the rain having had a bowl of porridge and a large cup of tea. It took me an age to get into my stride and warm up there seemed to be no energy in my weak legs on teeny weeny enclines for a long time. Once into my stride at about the 8 mile point I had half a banana on the move folded the rest up and put into pocket. But eating half at a time proved to be a messy affair for the pocket. I only carried water (750ml) and consumed just over 2/3s of it during the ride, the rest sprayed the dirt from my cleats where I stopped to check my map and stood in mud.

(which thanks to spin city I will look to add something a juice to it. For longer rides an isotonic. Choccy bars: Snickers (Marathon in old money) I will avoid and replace with maltloaf.
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phreak
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby phreak » Thu Oct 04, 2012 06:27 am

With a 17 mile ride on a bowl of porridge it's unlikely that your troubles were down to a lack of food. You're more likely just building up your fitness, or maybe suffering from something else (poor sleep or something). It's also worth considering that your muscles will need a little while to warm up on each ride so don't expect to be at full pace straight away.

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Herbsman
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Herbsman » Thu Oct 04, 2012 06:49 am

I would second the above.

When I first started riding (what I consider to be) longer distances I would feel like sh+t for the first 20 miles and struggle to keep up with my riding buddy, thinking "WTF is wrong with me?!". Then after an additional 30 miles of feeling fine, I would bonk spectacularly, despite a cafe stop and taking energy bars, energy drink etc with me.

It seems like such a long time ago, I can't actually believe that was me...
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SBezza
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby SBezza » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:58 am

A bowl of porridge would have done for the 17 miles and the rest of the morning in all honesty. There are times when my legs feel like lead, it is just how they are some mornings. Cold wet mornings it can be even worse, and it might take a few miles to loosen up and feel comfortable, that has nothing to do with food however.

As mentioned above, it could have been for a variety of reasons, but not being recovered from a previous ride is the most likely cause (well that is the case with me 99% of the time), depends on how hard the previous ride was and how long ago it was.

Negativelycra
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Negativelycra » Sun Oct 07, 2012 14:55 pm

I too have done the porridge / first 8 miles are drastic trick. I decided i didn't eat early enough, not had the same problem since :)
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polska1979
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby polska1979 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 21:16 pm

quick tip if your eating porridge, chuck a handfull of berries (cranberries, blueberries,blackberries) in with it. THe natural sugar in these will provide you with a kick before the slow release of the porridge.

just a tip i was given by my personal trainer a few years ago.

as for gels, i take a few with me just in case i scoff my food and feel a bonk coming on. try to steer away from caffeine though, the crash can be awful if you time them wrong.

I try to only use them in the last 30 minutes of a really hard ride >4hours &lots of climbing and sprinting/intervals

not saying they improve performance, just stave off the dreaded bonk

andyrr
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby andyrr » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:33 am

Your requirement to take-on some form of food ('proper' food or energy gel or similar) will depend on a few factors
What you have recently consumed.
What energy you have burnt
What you anticipate your energy requirements will be
What level of effort.

If I was going to race or ride a decent length training ride or +2hrs or so then the pre-ride fuelling is important.
Bowl of porridge or rice pudding allowing sufficient time for this to digest before starting the ride : 2 - 3hrs for me.

Race-level effort of +3hrs then I might carry a gel to consume around 1/2way round, eg riding a 50 mile TT or road race.
A hard training ride of that length then I'd consume something part-way round - a gel or some easily digested energyy food, eg banana, cereal bar.

3hr training ride at a medium pace - will carry something to eat, probably 1 item I'll plan to have around 1/2 way round and 1 more as emergency, so cereal bar or similar and gel as get-me-home. I've sometimes carried a gel with my for a number of rides, not needing and I return home each time until one day I realise I'm going to be out for that bit longer than anticipated so I reach into the pocket and the gel saves the day !

If you are going out 1st thing in the morning then if you aren't able to have a decent pre-ride breakfast you'll need to carry more with you as opposed to a post-work ride when you can take on a decent lunch.

A reason for feeling rubbish for the 1st few miles can be that your body is trying to digest the food you've just eaten - that sounds like you have not had sufficient time to allow it to digest so either get up earlier, delay your ride or eat less before heading out.

Gels aren't all that expensive if bought in larger quantites - they're normally £1.25 or so each but can be < £1 when bought as a box or if you catch an offer on them.
Not a huge amount really.
If you aren't carrying a large saddlebag then once you load up with 2 x bottles on the bike and pockets are stuffed with pump, tubes, jacket, phone etc it doesn't leave much room for the 3 bananas and malt loaf !

Spin City
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Spin City » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:03 pm

I think porridge is an excellent pre-ride breakfast but as others have said, it has a low GI (Glycaemic Index) which means it takes some time for the carbohydrates to be fully digested and available for use. (I think it's possible for your energy requirements to get ahead of the digestion process which can cause some problems.)

My advice would be to add some extra ingredients to your porridge, as follows:
Some 'fast acting' carbohydrates such as Brown Sugar, Honey or (my favourite) Golden Syrup added when it's ready to be eaten.
Also, some fruit (either fresh, dried or frozen) and some nuts or seeds can added about halfway through the cooking process. Examples of fruit you can use are Banana, Apple, any berries e.g. Blueberries or Rasberries, Raisins, Sultanas, Mixed Fruit, Prunes, Dates, Dried Apricots, Dried Figs (which I don't like), etc
Examples of nuts or seeds you can use are Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, etc and Mixed Seeds such as Pumpkin, Linseed, Sunflower, Sesame, etc.

My two personal favourite porridge breakfasts are i) sliced Banana, Sultanas and Golden Syrup and ii) chopped Dates, chopped Walnuts and Brown Sugar. The choices are endless though.

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DaxPlusPlus
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby DaxPlusPlus » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:19 pm

I find museli is spot on for my 25+ mile commute - it's got raisins and nuts as well as oats. I use the no added sugar and salt versions. I can eat it and then be on my bike 20+ minutes later and seems to work for me.
Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

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Rulebritania
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Rulebritania » Mon Oct 08, 2012 17:13 pm

Wow all very helpful and I'm gonna enjoy trying these. I also have noticed I feel better after 5 miles or so.

I'm also struggling on hills, to that end I am starting to climb stairs instead of the lift to the 8th floor coupled with my riding. This week I will concentrate on strength in the legs by pumping on the upper cog at a lower cadence.
What do you reckon?
Don't call me sir I work for a living

Trev The Rev
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Trev The Rev » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:36 pm

Rulebritania wrote:Wow all very helpful and I'm gonna enjoy trying these. I also have noticed I feel better after 5 miles or so.

I'm also struggling on hills, to that end I am starting to climb stairs instead of the lift to the 8th floor coupled with my riding. This week I will concentrate on strength in the legs by pumping on the upper cog at a lower cadence.
What do you reckon?


Best prepare well if you intend climbing 8 floors. Eat a good carbohydrate meal 2 hours before, an energy gel 15 minutes before, and remember to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes like Gatorage even if you are not thirsty before during and after the climb. Consume another gel between the 3rd & 4th floors. Use your brown inhaler 5 minutes into your warm up. Consume at least one recovery drink immediately after you get to the 8th floor and use the blue inhaler. Make sure you only use the lift on recovery days. Pushing too hard on recovery days is a big mistake. Remember to download all power and heart rate data and send it to your coach. Work on your climbing step and ensure good even power through the whole stride. You might consider introducing a blood bag the evening before your hard stair climb but check with your doctor before withdrawing blood and ask him to check out your blood results to ensure there is nothing suspicious going to show up on your blood passport. Stick to the micro doses of EPO. Make sure any banked blood bags are clean and not 'glowing' for testosterone or growth hormone. Always check the thermostat is working properly on your fridge. Send blood sample to doctor via different courier. Do not use the same courier who delivered any drugs. Remind wife / girlfriend to make sure she has 'the prescriptions' just in case of drug bust. Ensure entry phone video is working so you don't answer door to drug testers. Contact lawyers to check on any outstanding court cases.

slowsider
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby slowsider » Tue Oct 09, 2012 17:13 pm

Are you sure that's safe, Trev ? :roll:

Rulebritania
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Rulebritania » Wed Oct 10, 2012 08:03 am

Trev The Rev wrote:
Rulebritania wrote:Wow all very helpful and I'm gonna enjoy trying these. I also have noticed I feel better after 5 miles or so.

I'm also struggling on hills, to that end I am starting to climb stairs instead of the lift to the 8th floor coupled with my riding. This week I will concentrate on strength in the legs by pumping on the upper cog at a lower cadence.
What do you reckon?


Best prepare well if you intend climbing 8 floors. Eat a good carbohydrate meal 2 hours before, an energy gel 15 minutes before, and remember to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes like Gatorage even if you are not thirsty before during and after the climb. Consume another gel between the 3rd & 4th floors. Use your brown inhaler 5 minutes into your warm up. Consume at least one recovery drink immediately after you get to the 8th floor and use the blue inhaler. Make sure you only use the lift on recovery days. Pushing too hard on recovery days is a big mistake. Remember to download all power and heart rate data and send it to your coach. Work on your climbing step and ensure good even power through the whole stride. You might consider introducing a blood bag the evening before your hard stair climb but check with your doctor before withdrawing blood and ask him to check out your blood results to ensure there is nothing suspicious going to show up on your blood passport. Stick to the micro doses of EPO. Make sure any banked blood bags are clean and not 'glowing' for testosterone or growth hormone. Always check the thermostat is working properly on your fridge. Send blood sample to doctor via different courier. Do not use the same courier who delivered any drugs. Remind wife / girlfriend to make sure she has 'the prescriptions' just in case of drug bust. Ensure entry phone video is working so you don't answer door to drug testers. Contact lawyers to check on any outstanding court cases.


I'm not sure you actually have a bike having wrote all that nonsense and if you do you really need to get more...... Saying that seeing as though you are in and reading this, you also have no idea (unless you actually do know me) about what level of fitness I am at and what condition my body is in through injuries sustained during service to my country giving you the freedom to write your clearly well thought out advice. Cycling being non impact gives me an opportunity to get out and do a form of fitness without having a massive impact such as running or rugby/football. I hate gyms and swimming is so boring that I feel when I'm in the pool like stopping and sinking to the bottom. Funnily enough I did consult my doctor who thought that cycling was might only serve to aggravate another injury and she is right I am in the process of having to alter clothing in an effort to protect the neck from the cold. Thank you for your thoughtful advice. Joining this forum also allows me to gain advice and guidance from the wealth of experience that are here when not riding.
Don't call me sir I work for a living

Trev The Rev
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Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Trev The Rev » Wed Oct 10, 2012 09:14 am

Rulebritania wrote:
Trev The Rev wrote:
Rulebritania wrote:Wow all very helpful and I'm gonna enjoy trying these. I also have noticed I feel better after 5 miles or so.

I'm also struggling on hills, to that end I am starting to climb stairs instead of the lift to the 8th floor coupled with my riding. This week I will concentrate on strength in the legs by pumping on the upper cog at a lower cadence.
What do you reckon?


Best prepare well if you intend climbing 8 floors. Eat a good carbohydrate meal 2 hours before, an energy gel 15 minutes before, and remember to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes like Gatorage even if you are not thirsty before during and after the climb. Consume another gel between the 3rd & 4th floors. Use your brown inhaler 5 minutes into your warm up. Consume at least one recovery drink immediately after you get to the 8th floor and use the blue inhaler. Make sure you only use the lift on recovery days. Pushing too hard on recovery days is a big mistake. Remember to download all power and heart rate data and send it to your coach. Work on your climbing step and ensure good even power through the whole stride. You might consider introducing a blood bag the evening before your hard stair climb but check with your doctor before withdrawing blood and ask him to check out your blood results to ensure there is nothing suspicious going to show up on your blood passport. Stick to the micro doses of EPO. Make sure any banked blood bags are clean and not 'glowing' for testosterone or growth hormone. Always check the thermostat is working properly on your fridge. Send blood sample to doctor via different courier. Do not use the same courier who delivered any drugs. Remind wife / girlfriend to make sure she has 'the prescriptions' just in case of drug bust. Ensure entry phone video is working so you don't answer door to drug testers. Contact lawyers to check on any outstanding court cases.


I'm not sure you actually have a bike having wrote all that nonsense and if you do you really need to get more...... Saying that seeing as though you are in and reading this, you also have no idea (unless you actually do know me) about what level of fitness I am at and what condition my body is in through injuries sustained during service to my country giving you the freedom to write your clearly well thought out advice. Cycling being non impact gives me an opportunity to get out and do a form of fitness without having a massive impact such as running or rugby/football. I hate gyms and swimming is so boring that I feel when I'm in the pool like stopping and sinking to the bottom. Funnily enough I did consult my doctor who thought that cycling was might only serve to aggravate another injury and she is right I am in the process of having to alter clothing in an effort to protect the neck from the cold. Thank you for your thoughtful advice. Joining this forum also allows me to gain advice and guidance from the wealth of experience that are here when not riding.


My attempt at satire was aimed at the sports drink, gel & bar industry and riders & coaches who are too dependent on these products. I was also having a poke at pro riders (and amateur riders) who stray over to the dark side.

I was in no way having a poke at you and I apologise if I offended you in any way.

Rulebritania
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:17 pm

Re: When to down a gel?

Postby Rulebritania » Wed Oct 10, 2012 09:23 am

Trev The Rev wrote:
Rulebritania wrote:
Trev The Rev wrote:
Rulebritania wrote:Wow all very helpful and I'm gonna enjoy trying these. I also have noticed I feel better after 5 miles or so.

I'm also struggling on hills, to that end I am starting to climb stairs instead of the lift to the 8th floor coupled with my riding. This week I will concentrate on strength in the legs by pumping on the upper cog at a lower cadence.
What do you reckon?


Best prepare well if you intend climbing 8 floors. Eat a good carbohydrate meal 2 hours before, an energy gel 15 minutes before, and remember to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes like Gatorage even if you are not thirsty before during and after the climb. Consume another gel between the 3rd & 4th floors. Use your brown inhaler 5 minutes into your warm up. Consume at least one recovery drink immediately after you get to the 8th floor and use the blue inhaler. Make sure you only use the lift on recovery days. Pushing too hard on recovery days is a big mistake. Remember to download all power and heart rate data and send it to your coach. Work on your climbing step and ensure good even power through the whole stride. You might consider introducing a blood bag the evening before your hard stair climb but check with your doctor before withdrawing blood and ask him to check out your blood results to ensure there is nothing suspicious going to show up on your blood passport. Stick to the micro doses of EPO. Make sure any banked blood bags are clean and not 'glowing' for testosterone or growth hormone. Always check the thermostat is working properly on your fridge. Send blood sample to doctor via different courier. Do not use the same courier who delivered any drugs. Remind wife / girlfriend to make sure she has 'the prescriptions' just in case of drug bust. Ensure entry phone video is working so you don't answer door to drug testers. Contact lawyers to check on any outstanding court cases.


I'm not sure you actually have a bike having wrote all that nonsense and if you do you really need to get more...... Saying that seeing as though you are in and reading this, you also have no idea (unless you actually do know me) about what level of fitness I am at and what condition my body is in through injuries sustained during service to my country giving you the freedom to write your clearly well thought out advice. Cycling being non impact gives me an opportunity to get out and do a form of fitness without having a massive impact such as running or rugby/football. I hate gyms and swimming is so boring that I feel when I'm in the pool like stopping and sinking to the bottom. Funnily enough I did consult my doctor who thought that cycling was might only serve to aggravate another injury and she is right I am in the process of having to alter clothing in an effort to protect the neck from the cold. Thank you for your thoughtful advice. Joining this forum also allows me to gain advice and guidance from the wealth of experience that are here when not riding.


My attempt at satire was aimed at the sports drink, gel & bar industry and riders & coaches who are too dependent on these products. I was also having a poke at pro riders (and amateur riders) who stray over to the dark side.

I was in no way having a poke at you and I apologise if I offended you in any way.


Thank you for clearing that up I have no idea about the industry hence I post on here, no offence taken. I hate it when Dr's are right :evil: Woh is me; I seem to hit barriers every time I think "I'll try that form of fitness".

I am determined to stick at this cycling as I love it, its only been 3 months. I like most ex-services think I'm as fit as when I was in my prime then get frustrated (at myself) when I don't meet the standard I think I am.
Don't call me sir I work for a living


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