I’m asking about cycling, but do answer if you have experience with any endurance workout (running, cross-country skiing, …).
I’m eating a small snack (one banana, one nutribar, ..) every hour during endurance bike rides. The 100 calories provided by each snack replenish only a small fraction of what an hour of cycling uses.
When I started endurance rides (one good thing that came out of the pandemic), I bonked after 90 minutes. With some training, I could now last with water but no food for up to 3 hours, with not much difficulty, but I’m not sure that:
- that’s healthy,
- it brings out the maximum benefit of training,
- it enables remaining competitive enough to stay at the front on group rides.
How do I determine the minimal bounds of reasonable caloric intake during endurance (cycling) workouts?
Possibly related: Occasionally even elite cyclists will collapse during a race (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/mar/22/italian-cyclist-sonny-colbrelli-recovering-after-collapse-at-volta-a-catalunya), though it's unclear whether that incident is nutrition-related.
We can talk about two minimum fueling concerns:
- minimum fueling to avoid bonking,
- a considerably higher minimum fueling to remain at the front of a group.
In one example on July 13, 2022, Tadej Pogačar famously lost a stage to Jonas Vingegaard on the Col du Granon. One possibility discussed in chatters is that Pogačar was insufficiently fueled. Even if we mortals operate on a different level, the worry is the same. How do cyclists make sure they remain competitive on longer rides by not running out of fuel?