If there is one thing I can say about cycling nutrition (eating on the bike) is that, it depends. Nutrition in general is a lot like financial advice. It needs to be tailored to the individual. What works for one person may not work for another. Yes, there are some “rules of thumb” but just because some Pro uses it doesn’t mean it will have the same benefits for you. I struggled for years to try and find specific supplements and food I could eat over the course of a season and not end up with stomach issues. Now-a-days dialing in your nutritional needs and tolerances has become more of a science than in the past. Blood tests, even DNA tests, have taken individual nutrition to another level.
Much like a portfolio manager searching for alpha, I was always looking for something to help speed my recovery or boost insurance while remaining clean. It takes a willingness to try new things, which like reaching for alpha, comes with some risks. I always felt that the risk was worth it if it wasn’t race day.
After 20 years of racing one of the most interesting transitions I ever went through when It came to my diet and nutrition (and I don’t mean I was on a diet) came when I finally hired a coach. Timing and volume became as important as the actual food itself. With the right training I became more efficient at burning the fuel that I had and tapping my body’s reserves. Lesson learned, if there is anything in life you ever really want to get better at, hire a professional coach. Period. It’s quickest way to improve your game. Whether its biking or business, swimming or selling, coaches can get you there faster.
As for your nutrition, well it depends. Two good rules of thumb for most recreational cyclists, eat less than you think you need. Most people don’t ride enough to actually “need” to fuel while on a ride. Drink more than you think you need. Most people need to drink more anyway. And don’t worry the extra weight wont be the reason you don’t win the sprint to the next county line sign.