The non-stop ride…….
Whether its the influence of the grand tours, or simply the enjoyment of the continuity of the ride, I have found myself increasingly completing solo rides without the usual stop.
My habit has nearly always been to ride about 30-35 miles (50-60 kms), have a short stop to snack and drink, and then resume. So a typical 100 mile ride would include two stops. Now, for the boys in lycra who ride the grand tours, riding a continuous 150 miles (without a stop) is a normal ‘day at the office’. Some have even mastered the tricky art of answering the call of nature without stopping…………. (click here).
If you’ve ever wondered why cycling jerseys have 2/3 back pockets, the answer is very simple…….you can feed on the run. Professional cyclists use a lot of ‘scientific’ energy gels and bars, which can be carried easily, and opened and consumed in a matter of seconds. I, on the other hand, being a ‘normal’ human being, prefer to eat real food, like bananas and fruit bars. If I need an instant sugar boost to the blood stream, a handful of jelly babies does the trick. And, instead of expensive and highly dubious energy drinks, a mixture of water with 25% fruit juice is great for
hydration and restoring energy levels.
My longest non-stop ride this summer was 65 miles/105 kms, which took about 3.5 hours, and the food and drink I had ‘on board’ was sufficient to get me home. Yesterday’s non-stop ride was 50 miles/80 kms. A drizzly morning, with a strong early headwind, saw me struggle down to Olney in Buckinghamshire, but once I turned about to head home, that tailwind restored the energy levels and provided that psychological boost which is a fundamental part of any endurance activity.
A large bowl of porridge for breakfast, mixed with dried fruit and nuts, provided the fire power for the first 35 miles. Then out came a large banana from the back pocket, easily peeled with the teeth and, more importantly, easily consumed. Then what do you do with the peel? Because it is bio-degradable, you just throw it under a headgerow (unlike the wrappings of sports energy goods).
And what of the post-ride recovery food? What better than a Spanish potato omelette (tortilla) with a mixed salad, followed by banana cake with yoghurt? Can it get any better…….?