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Long Distance Cycling::Eating on and off the bike

As an American female in middle age, I am bombarded with images of youth and skinniness. All my life i've struggled with my diet to stay an average weight for my height. But no more. Cycle over 200 miles a week and you can stop turning down that bowl of ice cream. Yeah, yeah, I take vitamins and work hard to get lots of veggies and fruit into my diet. Here's what I've found works for me while I'm training.

I've added extra protein to my diet, and found recovering from long rides is easier. I put soy protein powder into fruit smoothies that I drink after my training rides (protein powder, banana, plain yogurt, frozen strawberries mixed in a blender). I eat more meat than I did before I started training.

If I don't have time to make a fruit smoothie after a ride, I drink a Gatorade or equivalent drink with electrolytes in it to replenish my carbohydrates. Like the protein powder, recovery seems faster (don't need as many naps and fewer rides with "lead" legs). My favorite drink is Orange flavored Ultra Fuel from Twin Labs (you can order this from USA Gold at 800 817-5500.)

On rides over 100 miles, I try to drink at least one V8 juice. At first I thought this was the worst taste I could put in my mouth, but the potassium and salt do wonders for my legs, especially late in a ride or if I've started to have leg cramps.

Getting powdered drink and liquid food powders to mix up in a water bottle with lukewarm tap water is often a hopeless task. No amount of shaking works. Even if the water is cold, keeping the bottle cold is impossible. Ultra Fuel powder mixes well and tastes okay when warm. Of the food substitute powders I've tried, only Spiz (full name is Spizerinctum) mixes and tastes okay when warm. One warning though, drink the Spiz right after mixing it; leaving in a water bottle for very long seems to cause upset stomachs. You can order Spiz and Ultra Fuel from USA Gold at 800 817-5500.

Comments or suggestions? Send me an email.