Paleo Approach for Ultradistance Cycling Events

by 5 · February 20, 2012 at 05:21 PM

I've started Paleo for Athletes 3 days ago. I felt really lousy on the 2nd day and went out for a 25 mile ride anyway. I felt weak and wobbly but still rode an exceptable time. I felt much better today but didn't ride as it's my rest day. This coming week, Mon, Tue, and Wed I have 25 milers scheduled, then off on Thu and Fri. Sat I'm riding a flat 200K, 124 miles and I'm concerned about what I should eat the day before. I've been hovering around 100g of Paleo approved carbs per day so far.

On the bike I usually consume various drinks made of maltodextrine, gels made from the same, blocks, and Hammer Perpeteum solids. I can tolerate solid food as long as it's not too hot out. I've thought about bringing a baked potato along with me, or buying Baked Lays along the way. Any tips on ride day?

What would be recommended number of carbs for my off days? Post ride? I am also wanting to get leaner, I'm 45, male, 5' 11" at 193 pounds.


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20762 · February 20, 2012 at 05:21 PM

You definitely need to give yourself some time get fat-adapted. My first two-three weeks of paelo were really crappy. I had no energy in workouts (I should have taken those weeks off, but I didn't know then). Even simple warm-ups got me crazy out-of-breath and weak. But in the middle of that third week, it was like a switch flipped and I had endless power and speed. It's crazy. I don't do much in the way of endurance training, I'm a believer in the short-duration, HIIT method. However, I do endurance events (mostly 24+ hour running races, but long-distance cycling too) just to prove that I can still do them (with no training!) and actually finish pretty well. For those, I do not carb up or anything because I've become so good at being fat-adapted that I'd rather just keep it dialed in. An added benefit is burning fat brings it's own water, so you don't have the extra hydration requirements as you do when burning carbs, so that's less water to carry. My last experience was a 10K race done in a fasted state (it was a pretty early start and I didn't want to grab breakfast). I was about 3 minutes faster than I was the year before; and, it was a constant speed. I had this constant low-level delivery of energy. I couldn't sprint or pick up the pace at all, but I was able to maintain a fast constant pace for all 10K and when I finished, I wasn't tired at all, I could have done another 10K.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating endurance exercise being good for you. And if you follow my answers here, you'll know I'm against it. The only reason I do any races (again with NO, ZERO!, training for them) is to prove my "general badassery" with regards to my HIIT being able to transfer into other things. I know it's bad for me, I just do it for ego.

8185 · February 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Dude. Don't go doing massive changes the week before your big ride. You're just BEGGING for problems. Do it after the ride. You need to give your body time to adjust to using fats, etc. That can take up to a month. Certainly doesn't happen in a week.

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3244 · February 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM

I've also completed a number of long distance cycling events while paleo - many 100+K and quite a few between 200 and 300K. Although I can perform in other sports eating pretty low-carb/high-fat paleo, I need more carbs if I'm on my bike for more than a couple hours. I go with baked sweet potatoes (bit hard to carry), gels, dried fruit, homemade bars (almond flour, dark chocolate, coconut oil, dried fruit), almond flour muffins, coconut flour cookies, bananas, nuts, sugary drinks (as un-paleo as it is, Coke is one of my go-to drinks during a big ride). If I need to stop at a convenience store, I'll scarf down some sweet potato chips, chocolate, nuts, etc. If it's not an event but a training ride with no time constraint, I'll stop and get a few burgers (toss the bun), maybe fries. Always lots of coffee with heavy cream.

Incidentally, I haven't done a LD cycling event in a couple of years. I love them, but the stress on the body is tremendous. I do shorter HIIT type rides with lots of sprinting and hills. I'm in much better shape because of it. I'll probably crank out a couple this season, but it's definitely not the focus it used to be.

1078 · February 20, 2012 at 08:04 AM

Mark, check out Mark Sisson's writeup here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/jonas-colting/#axzz1muGQDqTA

The comments are enlightening as well.

I imagine other will chime in, but are you doing just one event or is this a hobby?

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