Tour de Taco
It's all about the Tacos!

Hints, Tricks, etc for the MS150 or Extended rides

Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry.


It is very easy to become dehydrated! Even when I think I'm doing it right, I sometimes screw up. It can happen to you. Part of my MS150 training each year is re-learning to drink as much as I need.


How much should you drink? That depends on a lot of factors. How big are you? How warm is it? How hard are you working out? The only sure way: measure.

How? Bathroom scale. Weigh yourself before you ride. Note the temperature. Ride and drink about what you think is right. After riding, weigh yourself. For each pound you lose, you are down 16 oz of liquid! Meaning you need to drink more! Different temps will mean different amounts of liquid.


Under 60 F, I need about one 24 oz bottle of water every 15-20 miles. Over 60 definitely one every 15 miles. Over 75, I need about one every 10 miles. It is up to you to figure out your needs. If I go with the 1 every 10 miles on the MS150, I don't get cramps!



You need calories. If you are riding over 30 miles, you should be drinking some sort of "Gatorade". You need calories and you need electrolytes.


Your muscles have enough energy for about 2 hours of light to moderate exercise. Beyond this the muscles run out of their fuel: glycogen. The muscles still need food, so they pull glucose (dextrose mixed with water) from your bloodstream. That's the fuel intended for your brain! If you keep exercising, this leads to low blood sugar. You feel tired. If it becomes bad enough, you will become dizzy and can actually pass out! In biking, this is called "bonking".


Put the calories back in! Fruits and carbohydrate foods are very good. They contain easy to digest sugars which your body can use right away. Some people like protein. I personally stay away from protein while riding; I think it interferes with the absorbing of fluids and carbohydrates. Fats can cause similar issues.


What to eat? Bananas are nearly perfect. Power gels are great. Power bars, shot blocks, sport beans, etc. All have calories. JAT Fuel is electrolytes and super easy to absorb simple sugars.


How much should you eat? If you aren't bonking, you're eating enough. You can also use a calorie meter from a bike computer. These vary widely on how they calculate calories burned, and you don't need to put back every single calorie. Unlike hydration, this is no simple way. If you aren't bonking you're doing OK. If you are getting tired, try more!


On the MS150, over 5 hours, I use 8 oz of power gel or about 800 calories. I also drink 6-7 bottles of fluid at about 100 calories each. So I consume something like ~1500 calories over 5 hours. YOU need to work out what your body needs.

How often to stop?


It is an individual thing. If you limit yourself to 2 water bottles and you know how many miles you can ride per bottle, multiply A by B. I ride for endurance and carry four 24 oz. water bottles or about 3 liters. This will generally let me go 40 miles. The more you train, the further you should be able to go without stopping. The more fluids and "food" you carry, the further you can go without stopping to refill. But it does add weight.


Some people like to travel fast and light and stop every 20 to 30 miles. They eat bananas and fruit at the stops. They refill water bottles and head off. Figure a bare minimum of 5 minutes per stop if you are just refilling water bottles. Bathroom breaks, eating, etc., the time is more like 15-20 minutes. Stops add up.


A person who rides 20 miles per hour and stops for 15 minutes every 20 miles, takes 1 hour and 15 minutes per 20 miles. A person who rides 17 miles per hour and stops for 15 minutes every 40 miles is on the same pace.

What about those vitamin Waters and zero calories drinks?


Vitamins are for long term issues. Read up on what vitamins are and specifically the diseases they cure. You are not going to get scurvy on the MS150; you do not need extra vitamin C.


Minerals are a whole different issue. You definitely can sweat out some minerals. I use a Zinc/Magnesium supplement after riding. For some people, calcium is supposed to prevent cramps. If you use calcium, get some which readily absorbs!


Zero Calorie drinks? Forghettaboutit!!! Weren't you reading above? You need the calories. If you are trying to lose weight and you keep your workouts under 2 hours, go for it. But for endurance riding, NO WAY!

More info coming soon!