What do you guys recommend for energy sources for longer muni/distance rides? any supplements or whatnot? or just more training?

Nuts, chocolate bars and sports drinks :smiley:

Sports drinks work and they taste good but they are super bad for your teeth due to all the acid in them. Energy bars are good but it’s best to drink lots and lots of water.

I recently thought about bringing along energy gels but I read a much cheaper alternative is gummy bears. I might try that here shortly.

I like Clif Bars, since they are great sponsors of trail-builders and our local trails in general. And they don’t taste like plywood glue (PowerBar). But real food is also good. If it’s a really long ride, I bring a real lunch. Something like a sandwich and snack, and an extra drink if I can. So for a long ride like Downieville, where food is absolutely essential, I have an actual lunch for mid-ride. Also some of that other stuff for in between.

I never put anything other than water in my Camelbak; other stuff requires more/more frequent cleaning. So I’ll carry a Gatorade/Powerade as the alternate drink.

I also really like Shot Bloks, which are like little squares of candy for a short term burst. Those are good for late in the ride, to keep you going. And Power Gel or similar products; but again, they give you a short-term burst, and are more appropriate for race-type situations.

Gummy Bears are not the same thing as energy gels, even though they may taste the same/better. But they are cheaper! :slight_smile:

Right now the snack of choice in my Camelbak is a mixture of some spicy trail mix with some non-spicy fancy nut, raisin and M&M’s trail mix. Yum.

BTW, terrible thread title. Please try to make thread titles in the form of a sentence that describes the topic. “Energy” could be almost anything.

Like gasoline and enriched plutonium which are both excellent sources of energy.

A couple of tablespoons before going out gives me a really good sustained burn, and I have packets with about a tablespoon in them for mid ride snacking on longer rides.

I haven’t found anything else that compares to the quality of the energy I get from almond butter. I used to have two clif bars on a ride, now I can finish the same ride without stopping to refuel.

Tablespoons of what?

One thing that actually works better than those gel packs is honey. It is pre digested energy of the simplest form. Your body doesn’t have to digest it to use it, so you can get quick energy by eating a shot. Plus, it tastes much better than those gel packs.

There you go.

For long rides I like using First Endurance E.F.S. (no FI by the way), it’s an electrolyte/amino acid mix that works very well for me to maintain a good steady stream of calories and salts. Really helps maintain energy levels for me. I also supplement with assorted energy blocks and gels and normal foods. Just choice foods that don’t melt or crush too easily. I also always have a baggie of sea salt with me in case I get too far off in my electrolytes; always brings me back around just taking some pure salt. Another favorite combination of mine is diluting a Coke/Pepsi in a water bottle or bladder; another nice way to keep a steady stream of calories and much better than drinking warm water on a hot day (yuck!). But experiment, what works for one may not work for another. The important thing is to have a variety of snacks on hand in case something doesn’t sound good you have other options.

Good luck!

Eating well before the ride is key. Whole grains are good here.

During the ride, eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty, lest you bonk.

Water works fine for me. I take Hammer Endurolytes with me when I know I’m going to sweat a lot. Without electrolytes comes cramping. Yeeowch.

Food can be tough on long rides. When you expend a lot of energy, your body shuts down the digestive tract… eating isn’t always welcome or fun. Find foods that are easy to eat. Sweet potatoes and boiled eggs work well for me, and go down much easier than clif bars. Dried fruit and nuts are good too, but harder to digest, at least for me.

For eating while riding I use Gu energy gel. It’s gross but it really works… just don’t use it as a substitute for food. A friend used honey, straight out of the bottle… it’s no Gu but it sure is a tasty energy gel.

Wow, talk about degrading the environment!

I go solar in the summer months, wind if I get a nice straight away, otherwise I haul along some food.

I’m think he was referring to the Almond Butter, but it could be something more like what Harper was suggesting :roll_eyes:

Couple more things I thought of (too late for my above reply). Coming from an ultra running background I’ve spent A LOT of time on foot either in races, training or long epics so I have some experience with nutrition on the go.

  1. Instant mashed potatoes. Prepare them ahead of time, allow to cool and scoop them into multiple snack sized plastic baggies. When you want to eat simply bite the corner off a baggie and eat it like a gel. Yum! Lot’s of starches, salt, etc…

  2. Ensure/Boost or similar products. Find them in the geriatric sections of grocery stores. I’d avoid the dairy versions. It’s a liquid diet supplement that has a lot of easily absorbed calories and nutrition. Can sit like a brick for some folks; I like to mix it in a water bottle with water to dillute it.

  3. Dilluted X with water. Basically a reoccurring theme of mine I’ve used for 20+ years. Mix Coke/Pepsi/Mountain Dew/Tea etc… Mix in various sugary drinks into a water bottle or hydration bladder with water. Dillute to taste and keep cranking. I like this method especially when you can’t keep ice or get ice to keep things cold. I also like it because when things get really hot or if I’ve been going for a long time, sometimes my stomach can get a bit sour and taking in solids isn’t so easy; but I know I need calories so get them via liquids.

Good luck!


Not only tablespoons are good to eat:

I like nuts, but I find them too dry sometimes to eat during the ride, so I started using chocolate coated ones. Nice taste and full of energy… the only problem is when it is too hot and it all melts. I also like some dried fruit on a ride.

peanut m&ms might help solve the melting issue because of the sugar coating.

Thanks for all the replies. I really like the honey idea, being a big honey nut anyways. Whats the best way to carry honey on the trail?

How much does she weigh? If she’s light enough, just carry her on your shoulders.

I’d just put the honey bottle in a small zip lock sandwich bag to prevent leaking, and throw it in a backpack or something. When you want some, just pop off the lid and squeeze about a spoonful’s amount of it directly into your mouth.

It sounds a little weird just to eat straight honey, but I actually start to crave it when I’m working hard and need energy.

Real food for ultra long rides.

I’ve taken to peanut butter sandwiches or making my own date scones.

Most energy gels get sickly after a while, and they are nothing more than marketing ploys- they don’t provide you with sustained energy and they’re bad for your teeth, and they taste like detergent.

Same applies with most ‘energy bars’…although some are ok. Someone make a savoury bar and I might be interested.

If I have to use energy drinks in a racing situation (I’ve done a couple of 24hr/12hr type races) because it goes down quickly- I use Ensure Plus or some other nutritional supplement. If it’s good enough for sick people, it’s good enough for athletes. They provide fat and protein and not just sugar.

I’m not convinced energy gels are bad for your teeth, assuming you’re eating them with water. They’re only in your mouth like 30 seconds and get rinsed down easily.
Aren’t foods like bread and dried fruit are more likely to get lodged on/between your teeth, lingering long enough to cause cavities?

I use them when I don’t want to stop, like when racing or practicing for a race. Any solid food gives me stomach cramps when I’m pushing hard.

My rides are usually about 2 hours long.
In the past, before riding I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But I found myself burping a lot while I rode. I replaced the peanut butter with rice syrup fluff and it’s been better. Peanut butter probably has fat and protein that isn’t useful during a 2 hour ride, but I’m not a nutritionist. I might just remove the jelly too since it’s probably not adding anything more than the fluff.