Prep for 100 miles

Hello all,
Looking for some advice on what to eat before / during / after a 100 mile cycle?

I’m on Amazon looking at energy bars, gel, etc but I don’t know where to start?

As far as I’m aware I should pack the carbs before and during the ride, protein for recovery?

I was thinking about porridge a couple of hours before, an energy bar after 35, stop for beans on toast after another 35 and a second energy bar during the last 30?

Is it normal to take a break for lunch or would most people do 100 miles straight?

I’ll be doing about 1k incline every 35 miles so probably 6hrs cycling at a guess.

I would say it depends on what your regular diet is, as well as how many miles you’re used to riding. For example, I am keto-adapted, so a 100 mile ride for me involves only about 60 grams of nuts and no breakfast. If you’re carb-fueled, though, you’ll probably want a mix of carbs, protein, and some fat a couple of hours before the ride, and then eat some carbs regularly during the ride, as well as drink water regularly, plus probably some sort of carb/mineral drink mix (for electrolyte replacement). After the ride, protein, for sure, but I’d say not too many carbs (at least not right after the ride). Everyone is probably a little different on this one, though.

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Well the furthest I’ve cycled in one go is 50 miles so this is double of what I’d consider quite a long bike ride. It’s taking me weeks of training to build up to.

My diet is neither healthy or unhealthy, it’s quite neutral. Cereal, sandwiches, fruit, snack an evening meal of pasta, roast, chilli, and a bar of choc every couple of nights.

So for me, 100 is a huge. When I do a 50, I try to load up in carbs but I’ve never tried anything over the counter for that - usually pasta.

The thing that’s confusing me is the choice of protein and carbs.

I’m starting at 10am and I will have had a normal breakfast.

I’ve done half of this route before and it took me 4 hours, so I’ll be cycling for 8 hours solid.

I want to start introducing the food I’ll eat on the day but all the bars I see are protein, that’s post workout isn’t it?

Would a 20 minute stop for beans on toast be a bad idea / would it bag you up rather than fuel you up?

Fuelling strategy depends on what you are currently eating and what mileage you are used to.

A good pasta or rice meal the night before and a decent cereal or porridge on the morning of the ride. I eat simple flapjack bites (1 approx every 10 miles) that are available in most supermarkets and on a 100 will schedule in a pit stop about halfway.

Personally i don’t go near gels or science inspired energy foods. I stick to ‘normal’ carbed sweet & savoury foods that won’t play havoc with the digestive system.

Remember that a little food and often is the best strategy. Eating too much in one go will divert blood supply from your legs to your stomach as your body tries to break down what you have eaten. This will likey leave you feeling sluggish and potentially

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It really is a case of finding out what works for you.

Personally I’d have a bowl of pasta the night before, a bowl of Jordan’s cereal on the morning of the ride and a banana before the start.

I struggle to eat much while riding, but find that I can handle Jelly Babies. So I stick about half of a big bag of those in my pocket for a long ride. I also carry one or two Cliff energy bars, but normally have to stop to eat them. I can take them onboard while riding if I have very small bites (I struggle with the whole chewing/swallowing/breathing thing).

Gels are good, but you need to get used to them. Start using them during training so that your stomach gets used to processing them if you plan on using them.

The main thing is hydration. Find something that replaces the essential stuff that you lose while riding and get used to using them on your training rides. I use the High5 zero energy tabs. Make sure you keep drinking regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty.


From experience, these are the two most important things you need to know:

  1. Drink plenty of water, with electrolytes.
  2. Your body can only process ~60g of carbs per hour. You should be aiming to eat approx 20g of carbs EVERY 20 mins after the first 30 mins of your ride.

Stopping for some proper food half way is fine but that your body wont be able to process a large meal very well.
Mix up the food, don’t just have gels. You don’t need to spend loads either, a couple of fig rolls is just as good as an energy bar.


Ditto what Tim mentioned. Based on Ironman experience backgroud, carbs at 60 to 90gm per hour (sourced from what you can stomach), and regular electrolyte/fluid replacement regulary according to your fluid loss per hr are essential considerations for a non stop 100+ mile ride.

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Cheers all,

I think based on the above I’m probably going to avoid gels and protein bars altogether.

I’ll prep as if I’m doing a 50 but have enough small doses of carbs to see me through to 100.

Those flapjack bites sound like they would do the trick.
I usually train with water, I’ve never introduced electrolyte replenishment - I think I’ll order some in to introduce it into my routine.

Cheers everyone.



I recently rode a 100 miler on zwift (although less climbing than you have planned).

As you are home, take advantage of that:

  • You can eat more normal foods, have lots of water/electrolytes on hand.
  • Change your bibs when needed, have stretch, have a shower, eat a meal etc

in terms of what to eat, start hydrating a couple days before and keep your levels up.
Have a healthy breakfast or oats, cereal fruit etc
Have a lunch break on your ride, you would in the real world right?

Break down the distance into chunks, I went for 80km - 40km -20km -20km with food, stretching inbetween.

Get some decent entertainment infront of you. 6hrs with no views is a long time!

goodluck and hope you enjoy it


Nice to hear someone who has done similar recently.

My original plan was:
35 miles - stretch and snack
35 miles - light lunch
30 miles - finish

I struggle to eat while cycling so the above suits me much better.

Good call on change of clothes - not sure if anyone has experienced a technical fault half way through a ride but getting back on the bike in cold / soaking clothes isn’t pleasant - especially if the cold fan is still blowing.

And (although this is a fueling thread), do not overlook correct pacing. I’ll add that you should maybe have experimented on your 50 mile rides with how you feel after getting off the bike for a light lunch and then getting back on to continue riding. For some it’s fine, but some people will find that after stopping it can be hard to get your rhythm back and/or your legs feel a bit wooden—not so much from the lunch as from asking your legs to start/stop/start. That you’re working this out in a formal thread suggests you’ve got the foresight bit covered, but maybe just to be sure, have everything ready and available beforehand (clothes/food/extra hydration) so that you don’t have to spend time and energy making/readying it during the stops. Good luck!

and make sure you’ve packed those peanut/ banana sandwiches protein etc for when you’ve finished, in your check in bag.
nothing worse than finding your “goody bag” has little to eat and your starving and have to get home depleted.

@Ewan_McDonald Any updates? Did you do the ride? If not, when are you planning to do it? We’ve got the popcorn out.

It’s next Sunday (16th) - The London Pride (London 100) has opened as a virtual event, cycle 100 miles on your own route.

I’ve been experimenting and 35 miles seems to be my natural point of needing a break.

I used Hi5 electrolyte replacement tablets in my water today, worked well. I tried eating but it’s a def no no while cycling - I’ll wait until my breaks.

So I’m doing 35 + 35 + 30 and keeping my fingers crossed that London routes will be on.

I have a Watopia route as a backup. I’m trying to keep the 100 mile ride less than 5K incline, but whichever

During my two breaks, I’ll change clothes and have a small amount to eat then straight back on the bike.

If the London route isn’t available you could select it using the Meetup function on the companion App.

^ Yes. You will be able to do a London route even if it isn’t “open,” so don’t worry about that. Shane Miller shows how, if you’re not already aware. Sunday the 16th? Are you planning a longish ride before then (maybe a mid-week 100k), to test if your hydration / food / breaks system will will work as you want it to, or will you not have time during the week? Also, if the ride has gone virtual, do you know if anyone will be doing specific 100mile group rides on the 16th in honor of the event? If you could find a group at your pace, it’s always good to go faster for free.

Great new tip - thank you :grin:
Looks like it will be London.

I’ve noticed that a 100 mile London pride route has been added but it’s a 9K elevation which is a bit too much for my first attempt at 100 miles.

It involves climbing leith hill ten times.

I’ll train twice during the week, but 1hr45 slots only. My friend recommended I may want to consider 4 x 25 instead of 35,35,30 to give me more opportunities to eat / boost energy.

I’ll echo a lot of what people above have said. Water, plenty of water. Some sort of electrolyte drink is important too. But mostly water.
I like a PB&J sandwich in my bag for longer rides. Recently, I’ve added a few new potatoes, as a savory item to break up the sweetness. I do like the gels, but you’ve got to find one that your body likes. I recently bought a box of a new (to me) brand. First try, just didn’t feel good. Second try, well, let’s just say I’m NOT going for a third try. Fortunately, it was a Zwift ride, not out on the road. So it’s been back to my tried and true gel brand for me.
Whatever you do, don’t try anything new on the day. And listen to your body! And finally, don’t forget to have fun!! That’s something that gets lost sometimes, but it’s supposed to be fun.
Good luck, and have a great ride!!

@Ewan_McDonald In case you didn’t see it already:

London Pretzel is 574m climbing per lap x 3 laps.