Time To Refuel!

My cigar box full of “nutrition” and a chocolate milk chaser!
A couple weeks ago, while riding the Ironman stem (the part of the course that runs from Madison to Verona), I stopped at the BP station on Whalen Road to grab a candy bar and a Gatorade before my ride back to Madison. While there, the woman behind the counter asked me what I like to refuel with after a long ride. She was asking all the cyclists who passed through, so they could stock up on the things that cyclists want and need for a long ride.  


For me, that would be chocolate milk.  Yeah, I’m one of those guys | with a big bottle of chocolate milk by my side at all times.  I started with it back in 2007, when I read an article about how chocolate milk is really good for recovery after a workout | something about the ratio of protein to carbs | I don’t remember exactly what it said, but I took it as gospel and have been drinking it ever since.  In fact, at one point during our training that year, my training partner and I would trade off bringing chocolate milk and chocolate chip cookies for the entire group to share after every workout. It got to be expensive, but everyone loved to train with us.

On the ride itself I sometimes rely on the prepackaged “nutrition” | mainly because it’s easy to carry on the bike.  I also always put the word “nutrition” in quotes when talking about that stuff, as I can’t believe there is anything truly nutritious in those packages.  I much prefer real food, and I use it as often as I can.  My favorite is boiled potatoes. I buy the little baby potatoes, boil them up, put them in a plastic zip-lock bag with a little olive oil, salt and garlic.  It tastes great…and I always tell everyone that it keeps the vampires away. If you don’t have time to do the prep-work, a quick stop at your favorite fast-food joint for hash-browns is a decent substitute.

I don’t remember where I first heard about potatoes as fuel, I think it was from my cycling coach, who also preferred real food to things like GU and Shot-Blocks. A couple of years ago, I was asked about the potatoes and didn’t have a good answer as to why they are so good on a long ride. Doing some research, I found that professional cycling teams have been using potatoes for fuel for years | in particular the Garmin/Sharp team calls them “rocket-fuel.” Good enough for me.

Other good “real” foods for the long ride | bananas, coconut water, and chocolate donuts.  O.K., you might not consider chocolate donuts to be real food, but it worked for Belushi…and I’ve gone from bonking to feeling GREAT after a chocolate donut.  No, I don’t carry donuts with me on the bike, but if I start to bonk in the middle of a long ride, I make a quick stop at the nearest convenience store and for .79 cents, I’m good to go again.

So what do you use for fuel on the long ride? Or to refuel after the ride?