Nutrition for Riding a Century
Riding a century can be a great way to experience cycling with friends, the only thing that could ruin the experience is the dreaded bonk! If you don’t know what that means…good for you!
What Is the Meaning of Bonk?
If you do know what that means, then you will make it a point to try to avoid bonking again. A true bonk consists of depleting your glycogen stores so much that you literally have nothing left in the tank. One of the best ways to avoid this is to replenish your glycogen stores throughout the ride. Most centuries have aid stations along the way that can help fuel you but as a rule of thumb it is good to carry calories with you.
For the average person consuming a minimum of 150 calories an hour will be enough to stave off any huge decreases in energy output. For the more competitive/experienced rider their caloric needs can range up to 500 calories an hour.
Getting enough calories can come from a combination of sports drinks, calorie replacement drinks (EFS, CarboPro to name a few), gels, power bars, cliff bars, peanut butter sandwiches, candy. Of course it is good to test what you like and to try different combinations before your century.
Another major part of nutrition before and for sure during a race or a century ride is to make sure you are taking in enough electrolytes, especially sodium. Most sport drinks have sodium in them but that is usually not enough for your body to be able to use through the long ride. As a rule of thumb people should be shooting to take in between 700-1000 milligrams of sodium an hour. This can be a combination of drink powders and more so electrolyte/sodium tablets. I prefer using a product made by a company called Sports Quest and there sodium capsules are called Metasalts(thermolytes).
I hope this information helps you to have a great first or however many races or centuries you have done and improve your times and strength.