Riding on Empty … well not quite, but yesterday’s ride was a bit down that line.

I went out for a 3 hour ride yesterday morning, actual ride time was just under 3 hours but I was out of the house for closer to 3:30 hours. I left the house around 10:30 am but got up at 7:30 am to do some work. Day started a bit earlier with a coffee. I had a couple of biscuits with my second coffee and did think I should really have some breakfast before heading out on the bike. Didn’t happen. I tend to do this most mornings. Not skip breakfast but have breakfast quite late.

Was I had finished the bits of work I wanted done I grabbed a handful of dried fruit and nuts and had a few cheddar cheese squares. I made myself an energy drink (Clif Bar) for the ride, got changed and headed out. Note: Except for the energy drink I didn’t take any other food.

The weather forecast was dry for the morning with rain from 4pm so all should be good. I headed out along the A70 and decided after a while to do a reverse route of a ride Fiona and I had done a couple of months back, so carried on to Tarbrax and turned north from there. There was little wind and what wind there was seemed to be favourable early on which could mean a tough ride back. It seemed to be a southerly though as it was right behind me when turning North at Tarbrax. I had to add a detour and go via West Calder to then return to the A70 via Harburn. The wind was definitely southerly now as it was right in my face. To my surprise it wasn’t really against me on the return back to Edinburgh. By the time I got home I had covered 73 km.

From the off my legs felt strong with a powerful ride out of Edinburgh and every climb I took I felt good. In terms of taking on food on board I am aware that usually from 90 min onwards things may start to unravel. 90 min into the ride I was riding into a headwind back up to the A70 and felt as if I had just started out. The only nutrition I had taken on since starting the ride were 2 sips of my energy drink, the bottle was virtually full when I got back home.

I have been coming across more and more info on low carb diets and tapping into your fat reserves and I am trying to play around with this more and more. Yesterday’s ride was an experiment in that direction. Recent runs have been similar but they did have a decent breakfast before them (bacon and eggs usually). John Newsome from the IMTalk podcast has been playing around with these fuelling ideas too using a low carb diet or training in a fasted state. These are experimental efforts for me at the moment and I will continue to do more of these to see how this affects my training sessions and possibly my racing too.

I recently read a race report by Ben Abdelnoor who won the Lakeland 50 this year in a new record time and was astounded what he (didn’t) eat. Check out the report for yourselves here and let me know what you think. If you have thoughts and ideas on training low carb or fasted please post them below.

I’ll continue posting further experiences of this over the next months.