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Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies)
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What do people with allergies eat on the bike during IM race? I'm allergic to most nuts (everything but almonds), seeds, soy, and in general stay away from branded tri/cycling nutrition. I can eat gels, but prefer not to during the first 3.5-4hrs of the ride (~5hrs). In training and in past races I've tried things like pastries, fig bars, dried sweet potato bits, boiled potato, rice cakes. Unfortunately, most of this stuff is just not enough to sustain a race effort, and most of it is too bulky/annoying to eat while trying to be in aero. I'd go with rice cakes if I could find a ready product or a way to make them such that I can carry all of that stuff with me and not hassle too much over storing/unwrapping. Goal is ~250 cal/hr, and ideally no more than 40g of carbs, so some fat and protein too.

Allergic to: stroopwafels (GU and Stinger, which is a huge bummer because they are super convenient to carry and have at least some useful stuff other than sugar), Cliff Bars, Picky Bars, Power Bars, basically most bars I've ever tried:( Most bars seem to have some weird soy proteins, or nuts (often there's hazel nuts in products that are supposed to be "almond"). I can do Jelly Belly sports beans, but that's just sugar, so similarly to gels, I'd like to stay away from that.

On the run I drip feed Clif Blocks or GU Chews, and do ~2-3 gels over the course of a marathon.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I've experimented with fruit snacks (got a kid in the house so there is always some in the house these days) during 2 hour rides and seems to work ok. Nice to chew on something. I've also used pure maple syrup and that works really well actually. Picked up a jug at Costco and bought a reusable gel tube to fill it with. Something to try out.

There is a brand of "gel" that is instead pure maple syrup in a single serve pack. A bit expensive if you compare the cost per ounce though but you do have the convenience factor.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I would be glad to help, my daugther and wife have many food allergies and its hard for sure. There are some not many and lots of great options for make which are so simple. Last year I helped quite a few locals with bad allergies for IM and other stuff-most ended up making their own which I helped hands on with since they could make it suit what they enjoy. shoot me message if want to chat.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Geez, that's a tough spot.

If you haven't already gone down the homemade path, Biju Thomas and Allen Lim's Feed Zone Portables could be a good cookbook to help you come up with your own solutions.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I'd really try keeping it simple with simple sugars and maltodextrin found in Gatorade. Protein has no place for IM nutrition IMO.

and there's very little nutritional difference between a honey stinger waffle and an oreo cookie. Look at the nutritional info for each. Not that there's anything wrong with either, but just beware of marketing of certain products to athletes. I think a Rice Krispie treat is the greatest training food in the world. Maybe try it if you are certain that chewable food is the solution.


Coach at KonaCoach Multisport
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [Terra-Man] [ In reply to ]
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yes and most of those contain allergens.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I don't have food allergies but do I have a lot of GI problems due to some extensive damage from a 21-month tapeworm infection (yes, it took multiple doctors 21 months to figure out why I was so sick). I've worked very closely with a sports nutritionist for day-to-day eating, training and recovery nutrition and race fueling, and we've found Carbo Pro and SIS power to be the best options for me. For IM training rides and race day I use just these two options for fueling on the bike, and on the run I may mix it up a little if there's something on the course that looks appealing enough that I think I can keep it down.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [Terra-Man] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for reminding me of Oreo! I did try that during an ultra run and that worked well, forgot about that!
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [loxx0050] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you, yes Untapped "gels" or even a straight up syrup works:) My issue with that is the nutrient content - I realize most would be ok with just sugar, but I really want to include some fat/protein in there in the first few hours of the ride and leave straight sugar for the back half of the run as much as possible.


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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I have issues with Soy, and found the EFS Liquid Shot works well for me, where most of the rest I have issues with. I know you said you want solid food, but I used just that for my 70.3 the last 2 years with no issues. Also has higher amounts of Electrolytes than most "gel" type products, and has some BCAA added in. So, no protein, but basically what protein breaks down into, so it does not cause stomach problems.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe I'm dense and have low reading comprehension, but are there any flavors of Picky Bars that work for you? The 'blueberry boomdizzle' doesn't contain any non-almond type nuts, soy or seeds.


I'm also of the opinion that solid food in the first half of an IM bike pays off for later.

Blueberry Boomdizzle Ingredients
Organic Dates, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Brown Rice Crisp (Brown Rice, Brown Rice Syrup, Salt), Blueberries (Dried Blueberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Organic Almonds, Rice Protein (Protein from Whole Grain Sprouted Brown Rice), Organic Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt, Natural Vitamin E (to preserve freshness), Organic Sunflower Oil.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [dangle] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you, you're right: this one might be ok, will give it a shot!
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Suffer from GI issues when racing, stomach is picky on what it will decide works when trying to avoid pulling a tom dumoulin.

Solid food - Home made rice cakes;
into the rice cooker: 1 cup rice, 1L water, 1Tsbp cinnamon, 2Tsbp brown sugar, dash of vanilla extract
after cooked mix into bowl with: big scoop of coconut oil, chocolate philly cream cheese

make into a big square, cool in fridge, cut to size, wrap in wax paper.

Drink:
Skratch - only drink mix i've found that won't upset my stomach. Though i've heard good things about osmos as well now.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Wow, that's a tough break with all those allergies. Like the other guy said, make your own. I make my own gels/fluid just to save money, so you could easily do the same if you had a real reason like allergies.

For the fructose/sucrose, either maple syrup or gatorade powder. For the complex carbs, maltodextrin powder. For electrolytes, either saltstick capsules or sea salt. Measure that all out and test it, keep playing with the ratios until you get something you like. I like about 1/3rd simple sugars, 2/3rds malto. Depends on your own guts and the heat.


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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [RONDAL] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for the recommendations! Yes, this is similar to how I make rice cakes, except they are pretty bulky, it's a nightmare to transport them to the bike on race day so they don't crumble, and I end up eating wax paper... I must be talented this way, but I've made several batches to practice, and while it sort of worked once on race day, I just gave up. Training it's fine: I don't mind carrying a bunch of stuff and I don't have to worry about pulling over or slowing down for a bit to unwrap everything, but in a race I don't think I can do it safely.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Instead of Wax paper you may want to look at "Abeego" I have seen that they work really well, but you definitely would want to keep them and not throw them out, since they are not super cheap like wax paper.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [tyme] [ In reply to ]
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I too have some pretty interesting allergies. I use Skratch and solids until last hour on bike or run I use gels.

Skout Backcountry makes date based bars and word is gels soon too! Their bars are great, compact and easy to digest and my stomach is picky so that says alot. I chomp them into thirds and put in bento box. Also I have made my own bars that are pretty much same as Picky Bars, so simple and cheap, nice to add some instant coffee to them to add caffiene and tastey coffee flavor for racing or such. I love rice cakes but a pain for tris- I use for bike racing often.

Untapped gels are simple too. Read over skratch labs stuff on why gels can be bad on gut and how solid fuel digests, its helpful. Your gut in trainable when it comes to emptying - Asker J has published interesting stuff around it and how to train it- IMO its why most have issues at the run..that and too many gels
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Another great energy source is Agave. I have done several long races and came up with something that worked well. See, agave is low burning so you will not get sugar spiking from what I can find out its also diabetic friendly. Here is what I mixed for myself as GI was and issue and sugar spiking really wore me out:
- Agave, as base
- Sea Salt, to needs
- Instant coffee, to liking also cuts the sweetness, plus I love coffee caffeine isn't an issue for me.
- Hot water, for me I wanted to drink out of one main water bottle easier then a gel and not too sweet.

I would mix the coffee, salt and water then add the agave and put into a water bottle on my aero bars. This gave me more cals then a gel, less sweet, easier to take and I wouldn't have sugar crashing.
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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Hey, I was in a very similar boat this year and had to do a six food elimination diet that included all these food allergens plus a few others.

First Endurance has some of the cleanest nutrition out there - EFS is a great drink option, gluten free and vegan.

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Re: Solid bike nutrition (lots of allergies) [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I carry Medjool dates in a little plastic bag on the bike when I'm training - they're delicious natural sugar bombs. If you want a little more fat/protein in the mix you could take on the pit and replace with an almond or some almond butter since you're not allergic to those. If you want something more like a bar, you could make a version of a larabar with almonds/dates/other dried fruit or anything else for flavor.

For races though, I just use all liquid nutrition - maltodextrin powder and an electrolyte tablet.
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