82

The simplest answer to your question is that 1) speeds have increased; but 2) speeds would have increased even more except Tour organizers have been consciously making the Tour harder in order to increase the drama, suspense, and entertainment value of the race. That makes comparisons of overall winner's speed quite complex when combined with normal ...


59

What really struck me though was that the average speeds really haven't changed much The chart ranges from about 25km/h to over 40km/h, and that is a big change. As others have mentioned, increasing your average speed requires a non-linear increase in power applied to the pedals. In other words, to increase average speed from 25km/h to 26km/h is easier ...


45

There are a few "pseudo-facts" I think might be at play in this graphic: You mentioned 10% of increase, say from 35km/h to 40km/h average speed. That is a VERY significant increase. Anyone well trained can sustain 35km/h average for some time even in a mountain bike, but FORTY km/h is MUCH HARDER to sustain, and that's because aerodynamic drag is ...


29

Most sources I've read suggest that your body can process at most 300 calories per hour during exercise. And a lot of sources suggest that you only attempt to replace roughly 200 calories per hour at best. You should be able to do this easily without any simple sugars. Your initial budget is much much larger than 1500 calories, you don't need to do a one for ...


21

I am not a bike expert, but a computer programmer. The problem with this question is that there is no control to compare it to. Each year the TDF changes. They visit different parts of Europe, yes it is not 100% in France. This means you can't compare times between years. Weather (not climate) is a concern. The temperature, wind and humidity will impact ...


19

The Tour de France is primarily an endurance event, where team strategy is more important than outright speed. In addition there are UCI rules for racing bicycles. This includes a 6.8kg weight restriction that has been in place since 2000. If you want to compare outright speeds it would be more interesting to look at how the average speed of the time ...


17

Advice in book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald goes something like this, paraphrased: Yes, training without carbohydrates will train your body to use stored fat better. But your capacity to train will go down (not enough fuel!), and net result will be less improvement. It references this study, which compares two groups of athletes on hi-carb and low-carb ...


16

The simplest advice is: just keep it up. Give your body time to adapt to the new workload you're putting on it, and it will get easier and easier. For drinks, you can buy gatorade powder and mix it yourself at home. $19.49 for 9 gallons of gatorade is way better than paying retail price for a quart at a time. As I understand carb loading, it's not ...


16

Bonking occurs when your body cannot metabolise stored fat (and muscle protein) fast enough to replace the glycogen reserves, you deplete the reserves in your muscles and liver, and eventually you run out of glycogen. Fat conversion requires high levels of oxygen, and is slow, so once those reserves are gone, your blood sugar plummets. I suspect your body ...


16

If you go for a ride in the morning, your body's main source of energy is glycogen stored in your leg muscles, which came from the food you ate for dinner the night before. (There is also liver glycogen, and you can burn fat, but it's a slower process.) For most people, muscle glycogen is sufficient for about 2 hours of continuous, strenuous exercise. Once ...


14

Last year I plotted average speed versus race distance and there's an incredibly accurate inverse relationship. http:///www.32sixteen.com/2011/07/25/correlation-does-not-equal-causality/ But to add to my chart and flesh out the reason I think it hasn't increased so greatly. The Tour is a stage race. The average speed we have presented is the average speed ...


14

This would be a great problem to have for most of us roadies. Simply eat more if you find yourself losing more weight than you care to lose. You can alternatively balance with more strength based exercises like lifts, pulls, rows at the gym or elsewhere. Or cake.


13

The EXPERIENCED CYCLIST, who is not, eg, out of shape after a long winter does not need any food for 50 road miles. This is because his muscles and liver have "learned" to store extra sugar/carbs to provide energy over a long period of time. But a beginning cyclist who is not, say, already a distance runner or otherwise used to exercising vigorously for ...


11

I like to carry PowerBars, because they taste sufficiently foul that I'm never tempted to eat them just because I'm bored or peckish. Which means they're there when I really need them. The expiry date printed on them seems to be imaginary, I've eaten them when the foil wrapper is intact but so worn that it's hard to make out what flavour the bar is supposed ...


10

A couple of potential quick fixes: Slow Down A Little If you cycle a bit slower (5-10%) you should find that takes a lot less out of you and it will only add a few minutes to your commute. Take The Bus One Day A Week If you exercise 5 days in a row you're going to feel tired, particularly on the 4th and 5th days. If you work Monday to Friday then try ...


10

You don't mention where you get your calories burn/hour rate, but 800 cal/hour is a very fast ride. 800 cal/hour would be around 220 watts, and that's a lot for 6 hours. When you are riding, some of your energy is coming from carbohydrate metabolism, and some is coming from fat metabolism. The ratio between the two depends upon how hard you are riding, your ...


10

In the past I was used to buy sport drinks - like Gatorade - spending a lot of money and always in doubt about their efficiency. But my sport Nutritionist suggested me a simple, natural and efficient recipe you can make at home for a tasty (and really cheap) sport drink: 500 ml water; 2 tablespoon sugar; 1 teaspoon salt; Juice from one orange; Just mix ...


9

I've almost done this, and its not "easy" but it should be possible. However a non-stop 100 km is much harder than simply doing 100 km. Try working up do it. I don't know what your current distance is for a "big ride" but start with 25 km non-stop, then work up to 50, 75, and then 100 km. Leave early in the morning on your big rides - it seems to help ...


9

I'm interested in how we can maximise restoring energy stores (mainly glycogen, but I'm deliberately being vague) either between closely spaced rides or on long rides. On a ride Here your ability to actually rebuild glycogen stores are compromised as your body is trying to fuel the activity not rebuild your stores. Exercise actually alters your physiology,...


8

Really, any source of food is fine for a 25–50 mile ride. Although for anything of longer distance, you're going to want to add significant quantities of carbohydrates. Nuts are great, but they're primarily fat and protein. Toss some M&Ms and raisins into that mix for an improvement, and make sure there's some salt in them. But really, 25–50 miles ...


8

I think the times you're posting for the distances you're riding, especially on a touring bike are pretty reasonable. Professional athletes, or racers, will ride quicker, but for an amateur aiming for a century your times are fine. On a longer ride, you need more time for rest stops and food and nature breaks. A road bike will make you a little quicker, ...


8

Yep: Keep doing it. When I commuted regularly (10 miles each way but with a 25 mile "shortcut" in the morning) I had more energy than I do now (though admittedly that's in part because of several medical problems). Get a decent amount of carbs, especially in the PM, somewhere between noon and 2 hours before you depart. Don't try to break any records, ...


8

Exercise is fuelled by a combination of carbohydrate and fat. In theory, if you exercise while your body is deprived of carbohydrate it will become better at utilising fat for energy. I know some running coaches advocate this approach for marathon training: Any carbohydrates ingested will be used by the body for fuel, and we don't want this. We want to ...


8

Some personal thoughts/opinions: If you're not riding much longer than an hour or so, you might not need much. Perhaps a sports/electrolyte drink that contains sugars will suffice and be convenient. I use mainly cheap gel bars for a sugar hit, but they get quite boring and eat away at your teeth. Flapjack, oats, etc are good for a bit of variety but perhaps ...


8

General answer to: 'Do I have to be more aware of what I am eating or is it just fine for me to eat whatever I want...?' I'm pretty sure a doctor or nutritionist would tell you that you should eat a balanced diet, not one that is high in calories sugar and fat. I'm also sure a lot of people in this community will tell you that diet gets more important an you ...


8

I'll concentrate first on the carbs side, because the water depends on so many factors. Gels are around 30% non-sugar carbs with the rest water, according to the SIS ones I have here. They're actually a fairly heavy way to carry a small amount of carbs if you can get water along the way, but they're easy to consume while riding hard, and are meant to give ...


7

This question makes a category mistake, I reckon. In that the Tour de France is not a competition done to finish an enormous amounts of kilometers as fast as possible -- as would be the case with a marathon for runners; where they athletes do indeed go faster and faster. The only aim the winner of the Tour has, is to be faster than the number two in the GC. ...


7

Unfortunately, I don't feel able to talk about food QUALITY, since even "vegan" can mean a lot of things these days, and this understanding varies from person to person. Just to illustrate, I'm not sure to suggest cheese, honey, milk and eggs, although I do find these to be excellent heavy-fuels for cycling. Now what I do feel sure to advise, being an ...


7

I too am a type one diabetic and I understand your concerns, how ever I might have some suggestions to help with your problem. I always make sure to carry a Camelbak pack with me to enure I have my Glucometer and other supplies along. I check my sugars before I start the ride, if possible I might have a little extra food at the time, just to get me started. ...


7

I don't think this is problematic. Those gels consist mainly of sugar which is a good preserving agent and are sealed air-tight which means they shoudn't get easily contaminated. So if none of the following conditions are fulfilled, I wouldn't mind using such a gel that is some months over their "best before" date: The sachet hull is intact, i.e. there are ...


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