I am doing a 75 mile bike ride in a few days. I wanted to get some advice on:
- what to eat the day / night before?
- What to eat the morning of the ride (the ride starts at 8 AM)
anything else to focus on the night before or the morning of a ride
Stocking up a couple of days before hand on complex carbs (pasta etc) is a good idea. Do not eat loads and loads more, but do get extra carbs into the muscles, (storage). Not working hard (exercise wise) for 3-4 days at least before hand will give you the energy and rest needed to do your best.
If you are not sure at this point then in all honesty things are a bit late. Ideally you would have done various long rides before hand where you can see how your body response to eating different foods / energy products while exercising and what works best for you. Some people cant deal with solids while exercising while others need it, (rather than just energy drinks or gels).
It is all very personal to the person involved. I found flapjacks to be great while out riding, they are an awesome source of simple and complex carbs.
I would suggest eating stuff that is not too fillig so you can move with ease, yet the food also has to be very rich in complex carbohydrates. Comlex carbohydrates have the property that they release their energy (the body can utilize it to be precise) slowly and therefore gradualy. A great example of a light food rich in complex carbs would be puffed wheat cakes. It a bit dry to eat on its own, but if you eat a bunch of them you will have tons of energy for quite a while and you wont be full at all. I would also suggest taking something like a sweet musli bar as a snack with you. The musli also is rich in complex carbs and the sugar will give you a quick boost, so you can think of it as a small range extender. If you dont like wheat cakes or you want to find out other foods of this kind, i would suggest visting http://nutritiondata.self.com/. You can search foods by nutrients and you will get tons of alternatives and you can compare the nutritional data.
This may be a bit late, as you said it was "in a few days", however it is good general advice.
I am presuming that you have been training and working up to the 75 mile ride, and during those rides is when you should be trying out different nutrition and hydration strategies to see what works best with your body and tastes.
The meal the night before does not have much impact on the ride the next day. By that I mean that one meal will not atone for poor nutrition in the weeks leading up to the ride, and if you are eating and fueling properly during training, it will not add much to the mix.
What you want to be doing is replacing calories according to your exertion level, and realizing that most people at a higher effort cannot really process more than 2-400 calories per hour under exertion. The "exact" amount is really person dependent, and also related to effort and environmental conditions. There are many different strategies for doing so.
Some like to use energy gels or energy chews, which are approximately 100 calories per serving, and water to wash them down with. Others prefer to have water bottles mixed with things like Gatorade or Carbpro to provide both electrolytes and calories. Some riders are able to tolerate solid foods, and will have things like crustless PB&J sandwiches. I am partial to rice cakes (Allen Lim has a great recipe using actual ingredients. It's all about what you can tolerate, and the way you find that out is by practicing it while you are training.
You get energy through a process in your body that's called metabolism. You have two kinds of metabolism: carbohydrate/sugar metabolism and fat metabolism. You can train your body (and you have genetical tendency towards one or the other) how well both those processes are functioning.
Carbohydrate/sugar metabolism tends to give you fast and a lot of energy, but it also creates a sugar crash* after a period (about 2 to 3 hours).
Fat metabolism takes a longer time to transform fat into energy but it is very consistent. This makes it ideal for activities that take longer than 2 hours. If you read journals from some people that did amazing performances such as running 1000 miles in 11 days (Stu Mittleman), you read that they only eat fats.
Creating a well functioning fat metabolism might take a while, it will take your body some time to develop that part of the metabolism. It is worth the effort.
I do not recommend you to only rely on fat metabolism because you do need carbs for a healthy functioning body.
I advice you to eat fats (biological meat, fish and coconut/olive oil) until 18 hours for the race and carbs after. As a snack during the race: raisins and almonds are a good combination as well as banana's. I won't advise you to take energy bars to soon in the race but pack one just in case you feel very hungry in those last 10 miles.
*Sugar crash means a sudden absence of sugar in your blood. This results in a tired feeling, mentally and physically.
A good nights sleep is important so don't eat a 2 am and try and get back to sleep. I have rode lots of long rides and I believe the key is a good pace and lots of water with honey and sugar mixed in. Meals during training should be healthy, veg salad and complex carbs, save the simple carbs for racing and quick power release they only last 20 mins and you bonk afterwards if your riding the 100 + distances. Ultimately you know your body. I've known people to have a night on the town and a cigarette in the morning and be fine? Not for me chef. Good luck and enjoy it.