Learning to Fuel on the Bike
Being able to comfortably eat and drink on the bike is important for triathlon, and also for cyclists. In triathlon, your hydration/fueling on the bike can make or break your run, especially in the longer races, so it is critical you are comfortable reaching for that water bottle. If you aren’t, then follow these steps to comfortably eat and drink on the bike.
- Take one hand off the handle bar – briefly and put it back on. Next take the other hand off. Practice this while riding so you get comfortable taking your hands (one at a time) on and off your handle bar.
- Now reach down and briefly touch your water bottle with one hand. Try doing this with both hands. (not at the same time!) I like reaching with my left hand, as that makes my right hand available for the rear brake in case I were to need to slow down suddenly.
- Once you are comfortable locating your water bottle with your hand (eyes stay on the road!) then take it out of the cage and put it back in. Repeat.
- Now you can take the bottle from the cage, drink from it, and put it back. All the while your eyes should stay on the road. Now you should comfortably be able to hydrate during your ride!
On longer rides and races, we’ll often want solid foods on our rides. I recommend a box on your top tube to stash food, and it’s useful to carry other items as well. If you know you will definitely be eating a bar, you can unwrap it ahead of time. I like breaking mine into bite sized pieces and then keeping it in a sandwich baggie. That way it’s ready to eat and you can save any pieces you didn’t eat. If you use gels, you can tape them with electrical tape across the part that tears. Then when you need it you can rip it off with one hand. The empty gel packet can be stuffed in your box if you have one, in a pocket, or in the elastic in your shorts.
Now that you are comfortable eating and drinking on your bike, you’ll be ready to fuel yourself for a great run in your triathlon or to really hit the roads for some cycling adventures! If you have any questions regarding these tips, please go to my website, http://neoendurancesports.com, and click on the Contact Us tab or leave a comment here on the blog.
Coach Nicole is the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. Please visit http://neoendurancesports.com to learn more about how Coach Nicole can help you with your cycling skills.