Strategies for Fueling Long Events ( 10-12 Hours or Longer)

My A-event for this summer will be the 2023 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP). The route is 206 miles this year and I’ll be doing it in one day, aiming for a sub-12 hour finish. The route will have five main aid stations and 13 mini aid stations along the route.

I have had great success with fueling on the bike at 90 g of carbs per hour using drink mix in my bottles, supplementing with gels and chews as needed.

How would you go about maintaining a fueling rate of 90 g of carbs per hour over 10 hours (as a nice round number for the sake of argument) from the perspective of optimizing what I would carry versus what I could grab at aid stations?

Assume two 24 oz bottles on the bike, jersey pockets, and perhaps a frame or top tube bag.

I don’t know the specific items that will be available at the aid stations and I haven’t done this event recently enough to have intel from previous experience. The last time I did this ride was 32 years go :skull:

  1. Stuff pockets and/or frame bag with as much drink mix and gels as will fit and go as far as I can on that. Wing it with aid station food until the finish line.

  2. Carry enough fuel to get to 50%-ish of carb intake per hour and supplement with aid station offerings.

  3. Just send it.


There may be some additional perspective from the other coaches but I think the biggest thing you can do for yourself in an event that long is variety; I would still focus on tons of CHO but have a lot of different options because you’re inevitably going to get sick of whatever you start with. I would also plan on trying to include a bit of protein and fat in your fueling strategy; not necessarily for fueling sake but it might make your stomach feel better and prevent breakdown of muscle.

1 Like

Wow, that’s a long time to run on gels and mix. If it works for you, great! But for longer, less intense rides like this, I really try to get some real food in me too. Bagels with PB or cream cheese work well

1 Like

Variety is helpful, I like this order and the key tho is frequency ----> every 30 minutes.