Flapjacks, bananas, gels and energy bars are the common provisions that cyclists will stuff in the pockets of their cycling jerseys to sustain themselves on longer rides. Having seen the low-carb light, I try to pack some good fat to keep me going when I feel like I need an energy hit. I’ve noticed that I now need much less food before, during and after riding. Pre-primal I’d get really hungry during some rides and if I ran out of food I’d spend the last few miles fantasising about gorging myself, pedalling squares and bonking out. As soon as I hopped off the bike I’d have an insatiable appetite, sometimes for over 48 hours after the ride.
One of the first things that I noticed post-primal was that I didn’t feel as hungry during rides, even during fasted rides. I also tend to eat about the same amount on 100 mile cycling days as 0 mile cycling days. This is probably because my body has adapted from burning glucose and glycogen and is an efficient fat burning machine. Having said all that I do take food with me on long rides, particularly as it is hard to get good low-carb primal food at some café stops and many feed stations at cycling events.
Here are the usual things that I pack:
I like macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans and brazil nuts. Macadamia nuts are probably my favourite as they pack a hefty fat punch and I find them satisfying. I sometimes put in some roasted, salted nuts as they are tasty and can replace salt lost through sweat.
A couple of boiled eggs at the café stop on my club run are usually enough to sate my hunger.
Polish smoked kabanos (check the labels, some contain sugar) and cooked 100% pork bangers (again, check the labels for rusk or crumb) can be wrapped in cling-film and stuffed in the back pocket easily.
I make my energy bars from fat (coconut oil or butter), ground almonds or coconut flour and other additions that I find in my store cupboard such as dark chocolate, chopped nuts, espresso or dried fruit. Coconut oil imparts a sweet taste and means I usually only add a dash of maple syrup or honey to my bars. I’ve tweaked a couple of recipes I found on the internet (here and here) and will post my take on the recipe later.
A few squares of nice 70%+, dark choccy are good for energy and to lift your mood while tackling those killer hills.
Hydration is obviously important, particularly on hot days. I used to pop low-cal flavoured tablets into my bidons, but hated the fact they contain a list of non-primal additives and sweeteners. I now concoct my isotonic drinks with the juice of half a lime or lemon and a small pinch of salt in my water bottles.
I sometimes throw some Babybels into my jersey pocket. They fit nicely and are easy enough to unwrap whilst spinning along.
I am the proud recent owner of a food dehydrator. My home-made biltong is very tasty and will be the subject of a later blog. Beware shop bought jerky or biltong; it usually has lots of additives and a good hit of sugar. I pack a strip as it’s nice to chew away at while pedalling along and I can pretend I’m a cowboy.