I’ve recently been on a reduced carb diet (lost 22 lbs), but it has affected my stamina on the trails
Since I have a kid in the house, we have PopTarts. I’ve been eating one right before a XC 36er ride and I can blast up the tougher spots that used to take me down. It actually surprised me the first time. The difference was quite remarkable.
I always have a trailmix bar in my pocket in case I hit the wall on a ride. But since eating a PopTart before the ride, I haven’t needed it.
PBJ is good pre-ride food. I’ll also do scrambled egg whites on wheat. Or oatmeal with fruit and nuts tossed in if I’m feeling super ambitious.
During long rides, I think the important thing is regular food intake, moreso than what the particular food is. When I did the 100 Miles of Nowhere, I was eating and drinking something every 5 miles for the entire 100. Don’t let the tank get too low, or else you can bonk. I ate a lot of PBJs, but also drank a number of Boost brand energy drinks. These can get heavy to pack along, but I was on a set course with a rest area. I think Peanut Butter Cups are a pretty ideal ride food as well, and while I normally won’t go near them, the “Chewy” brand of snack bar is pretty moist, and easy to chew and swallow while you’re riding and breathing hard.
For quick energy before a climb, I used to favor Carb BOOM energy gel, and the SportBeans by Jelly Belly. But I’ve recently discovered that I like Sour Patch Kids even more, and the calorie boost is about the same for a lot less money.
Then of course there is the 3 Musketeers bar…in my research the fastest-acting energy source on the planet, save adrenalin.
I usually either do a protein/berry smoothie before or after a ride with tons of ginger (anti-inflammatory, son!). But I agree that during the ride its all about steady food intakes. good carbs are really important for a long burn. Mint Chocolate clif bars, granola bars covered in peanut butter, the ol standard trail mix, and fruit leathers rock my world. If its a truly long ride and I’m self supported (uni or 2 wheel), I try to actually nibble on a real meal (rice/beans, hummus sandwich) at some point.
I try to avoid anything with too much added sugar. I did a 100mi bike ride where I had too many sugary sports drinks and I dropped off the planet for the last 4 miles. You really can’t beat fruit when it comes to quick energy that won’t drag you down.
Down here in Memphis the heat has been 95+ and often 100+ for much of the summer. Anything with chocolate (choc covered peanuts are a favorite of mine too) tends to become a sticky gooey mess.
Honestly, i’ve never carried PopTarts on the ride. I suspect they’ll easily break and turn to a sack of crumbles. I guess that’s not really a problem. Sometimes my hard granola bars to the same thing. Eats all the same.
Like others, I’m looking for less expensive ways too. I usually get grocery brand trail mix or granola bars. Several can fit in my gear.
I’ve tried the gel packs a time or two, but only during races. Gets in the system quick. But I prefer real food. And Maesto8 is right. It all needs plenty of water to process.