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Tightening Up the Century Fuel Plan – For Science

September 2012

I’ve written about how I fuel before a century before so I won’t rehash that, but I’ve been thinking about how I’ve eaten over the last two plus a 90, and have come up with an interesting plan that I’m going to try for my 200k (124.8 miles) next weekend to see how it works…

Based on the information I looked up for my last post on fat in the diet, in which I read that it is possible that caffeine can kickstart the fat burning process, if I’m reading this right, we crazy endurance folks hit “the wall” when we run out of carbs to burn:

She [Krista Austin, Ph.D., CSCS] says runners often hit the Wall because they’re not used to using fat as a fuel source. But by weaning themselves off carbs during training, they discover they can tap into more muscle glycogen when they need it over the last third of a marathon.

It is my understanding that this point is where our bodies switch from burning carbs to fat – and it hurts for a bit, that process.  What if I can make the process easier though?  Would that make the transition less painful – and therefore easier?

Here’s the plan:

I’ll drink my normal 2 cups of coffee in the morning because I need that about as much as I need oxygen.  Then, I’ll start out with the on-board Clif bars at the beginning of the ride, figure two of them by the time I hit 50 miles.  At 60 miles, I’ll switch to the GU Roctane and Energy Beans – with the caffeine…  60 miles would be 10-20 miles before I hit “the wall” which would give the caffeine time to work.

Here’s the hypothesis:

If caffeine does indeed kickstart the fat burning process as suggested, the transition should be easier with the aid of the Energy Beans and Roctane – I could be able to switch from burning carbs to fat a little more seamlessly – without having to mess with my diet.

I’ll let you know how it works out.


  1. IowaTriBob says:

    I would be curious what the plan provides for calorie intake. I remember reading that a 200k ride at an aerobic pace can burn anywhere between 3,000-5,000 calories.

    I’m not a coffee drinker or even much of a caffeine connoisseur but do occasionally have some before longer workouts and find it really helps. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I track everything I do with Endomondo and base my “diet” off of the calories I burn from that plus my basal metabolic rate of 2,400 calories and I’ve managed to maintain my weight for the last several months – so I think it’s quite close to actuals. That said, for a Century I burn 5,300 calories at a pace of 18.9 mph (average). I eat as much food as I can the day before a ride of that length and then have a hearty dinner afterwards and I’m good. I’ve always stuck with the after race/ride refuel within 30 minutes of completion and that’s kept me feeling great.

      The diet tracking app that I’ve been reviewing is more geared toward the newbie – they give a basic/standard caloric intake based solely on frequency of exercise – I plugged in 6-7 days a week and they shot back a 3,104 calorie diet, but that’s light on days where I ride more than 50 miles.

      I hope that answers your curiosity. If not, let me know. I’ll absolutely be posting the results of next Saturday’s test.

  2. […] beforehand, or in the case of cycling, during – as I’ll be trying next Saturday…for science, of course. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  3. […] 5, 2012 Posted in: Cycling, Fitness. Leave a Comment A couple of weeks ago I came up with a little hypothesis that I wanted to test on a longer ride.  The idea goes that caffeine can help the body flip the […]

  4. […] the studies, injecting that much of anything into a rat will give it cancer).  Also I’ve found that it allows me to perform better with less pain – it’s not even a question, and this […]

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