Carb loading (cycling weekly) is reckoned to be useful for exercise over about 90 minutes, so is probably a good idea for all-day riding. Done properly you're taking on extra carbs starting 36--48 hours before the event.
I've seen some advice online but it's all from gel/energy drink manufacturers, so biased towards their products and away from proper food.
So: How does this translate to multi-day riding? Or in more detail:
- Is it as simple as starting loading 48 hours before the first leg, and taking on as much as you can during/between the rides?
- Should you start fuelling earlier in the first leg than you would if the next day was a rest day?
- Should dinner in between be heavy on the carbs to partially refuel, or contain plenty of protein for recovery?
- Is it very different to fuelling the same distance in a single ride
Example (though the question is meant to be a general one):
For rides of a century (160 km) or more I attempt to do it properly rather than just scoffing a big plate of pasta the night before. For shorter (e.g. 100 km) rides I might or might not bother. A week from now I've got a 100 km ride on the Saturday afternoon followed by 200 km on the Sunday. I'm not planning to set any PRs and it's not going to be hilly but for the first and last 100 km I'll be loaded for camping, so I reckon on 5--6 hours door-to-door the first day and 11-12 the second. I have a reasonable tolerance for gels, but get on better mixing them with real food.
A couple of related questions: