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Century Event Fuel Strategy with Skratch Labs Superfuel

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Century Event Fuel Strategy with Skratch Labs Superfuel

Old 08-23-21, 11:57 PM
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Century Event Fuel Strategy with Skratch Labs Superfuel

I'm looking at doing the Hotter'n Hell 100 this weekend. I've done it before in 2015 and I did better than I expected. Like about 5 hours 20 minutes or so. I'm maybe not in the same condition as I was in '15 (I'm six years older in the least).

So, I'm looking to attempt to have some kind of fueling strategy. I ordered some of the Skratch Labs Superfuel mix. I've never used it and I know common wisdom dictates to never do something for the first time at an event, but I think I'm going to put some trust in their product and see how it works out. I'm looking at how to incorporate it into a strategy for the ride and I thought I might ask here.

The Hotter'n Hell 100 is a HUGE cycling event. They claim they have like up to 13,000 cyclists some years. So, to get a decent time you really have to take that into account. Generally speaking the fewer stops the better and it is probably best to skip the first stop or two if you can manage to do so if time is important to you.

That said, I really wish I could save one bottle of that Skratch Labs for the end, but that would leave me with one 21oz bottle to use for hydration and I would have to stop to refill it at least once an hour. That's not ideal from that perspective. I can only imagine taking that last 100g of carbs in liquid form right at the end would be nice though.

The Skratch Labs mix will yield about 100g of carbs per bottle depending on how it is mixed. From what I understand the recommendation is to take on somewhere between 40-60g of carbs per hour. That's about all your body can process. I've also heard up to 90g of carbs might be usable if your body is capable of processing it. I don't frankly know how much I can process, but I usually don't fuel nearly well enough I imagine. Not even close to 60g per hour most likely.

I don't usually use gels because they are too expensive to do training miles with, but I have used them in the past with no ill-effects. So, I did pick up a box of GU Energy Gels (23g carbs per gel). I do regularly use Jelly Belly Sport Beans (25g carbs per bag). I'm also starting to use Nature's Bakery Fig Bars (38g carbs per package) to substitute for my old Cliff Bars (40g carbs per).

After considering saving the one bottle of Skratch labs for the end and deciding that would leave me short on hydration I'm now thinking I may need to use both bottles for the first two hours of fuel. That's going to equate to about 200g of carbs. I'm not sure what happens to what you can't process in an hour? I could just mix the bottles a little lite or heavy depending.

It's going to be hot. So, I am going to use some Nuun Sport as soon as the Skratch Labs mix is gone.

I generally don't mind a solid early on in a long ride. So, I'm thinking I might use these Nature's Bakery Fig Bars for my hour 3 after the Skratch labs is gone. 2 of those will be 76g of carbs which should be more than enough.

I'm considering doing the Jelly Belly Sport Beans for hour 4. 3 packs 25g of carbs each for 75g of carbs.

Saving the gels for the end at 23g of carbs each. I know even the Jelly Beans can be really difficult to chew and swallow toward the end of a long hard ride. So, the gels should come in handy at the end. I'll probably pack 4 of them along with me and just see how it goes.

Sorry for the length of the post. I'm curious if this sounds like a decent enough 'plan' for fuel? I haven't put a ton of thought into this honestly, but with what I've got to work with this is how I think I will plan to use it. I welcome any advice anyone might have on this.
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Old 08-24-21, 06:04 AM
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I've done a couple of 100 mile TTs (unsupported) this year, so slightly different from your event. But fueling wise I had a 2 litre hydration bladder stuffed inside my skinsuit and 2 x 750ml bottles on my bike. The hydration bladder and one of the bottles had electrolytes in it. One bottle had some squash (concentrated fruit drink) in it. I had a top tube bag with a mix of scratch energy chews and nuts that I munched on every 7-10 or so miles, and some slow release energy bars and granola bars taped to my top tube behind the top tube bag and stuffed up the legs of my skinsuit. 2x gels were stuffed up my sleeves. At 35 and 70 miles I had a granola bar. At 50 miles, I had a slow release energy bar, and at 90 miles a gel for the final kick to the end. I did have someone to swap bottles with at mile 65- and didn't need to do so until then. The mix of real food and sport specific worked really well. My system can only take so much sugary stuff, so having nuts and granola bars was a godsend. I didn't need both of the gels in the end, but was nice to have it just in case. Being that your event isn't a timetrial, you shouldn't need to shove provisions up your sleeves and legs, and can probably make use of jersey pockets. With my "hydration bladder baby", I didn't need to stop more than once for a bottle swap. It looks silly (but is apparently more aero), but will allow you to go longer without having to stop and re-fill bottles. If you freeze it, it will help keep you cool on a hot day. The top tube bag was great though, as it was easy access, and I didn't need to come completely off the extensions to grab a handful of nuts and chews. I don't really keep track of how many carbs I'm having. I drink before I'm thirsty, and eat before I'm hungry. It's 100 miles, so you're not going to be at threshold the entire time. Just listen to your body and make sure you take on fuel before you need it. Good luck.
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Old 08-24-21, 09:21 AM
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Wow, 400 Calories per serving. That's a lot of Calories in one bottle to me. But if you are using it alternately with a bottle of water maybe okay. One 24 fl.oz. bottle is 50 minutes of riding for me and sometimes 30 minutes in the extreme heat. I normally only put 180 Calories in them. But sometimes go as much as 220 or so.

If you don't already know for a fact that you can tolerate that many Calories per hour with out getting a sick feeling in your stomach and gut that will sap your desire to put out a good effort, then make sure you treat that bottle of mix as you would a gel or any other food.

Also seems pretty expensive. Makes me feel better forking out the money for my mix that I thought was a little pricey.
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Old 08-24-21, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for the replies. It is true that I really don't know what my limit may be for calorie intake. So, I might go a little lite on the scoops. 5 'scoops' would reduce it to 285 calories and 71.5g of carbs per bottle. I might be tempted to do at least 6 scoops and hope for the best. I'm getting this Skratch in tomorrow. I could actually mix a full 7 scoop bottle and go for an hour ride between now and Saturday just to see how I feel about it. I know that's not ideal, but I've really only caught on recently that these carb loaded drink mixes were a thing that you could do with cycling.

It is expensive. Looks like it works out to about $5 per bottle. The way I look at it though - for an event it is worth it to me. I am forced to spend like $2.50 for a soda if I stop at a convenience store while out driving. $5 for a scientifically formulated carb drink during an event is 1,000% worth it compared to that. I wouldn't drink this stuff during 'training' miles. It lightens the load of what fuel I have to bring in my pockets tremendously for an event where I am aiming to get as streamlined as possible.

I've even been on the search for cheaper alternatives to my usual Cliff Bars and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. That's what led me to the Nature's Bakery products. I just picked up two 24 serving boxes for under $8 each (Sam's pricing - $7.33) on those for my 'training' miles and events too if I like. Those things work out to like 31 cents each vs like $1 for Jelly Belly/Cliff Bars.

The 'plan' that I posted isn't set in stone. Just my initial thoughts on it. I might bring more of the gels. I know I can tolerate the Jelly Belly Beans pretty well and the Nature's Bakery products have been pretty easy to digest. So, there's no worries with those. I hate to rely too much on the gels until the end.

I would just like to have more than enough fuel with me so I don't have to wrestle for it at the aid stations and you never know what you might find at those. Talk about trying something new on event day that you haven't used before. I've seen it all at these type of events. They were serving charcoal grilled cheeseburgers - big fat home-style ones - at one event I attended. It was like the 80+ mile mark aid station and people were falling out from the extreme heat index. It almost made me puke to think about eating one of those big fat burgers at that stage of the ride. I know they meant well. It was a volunteer fire department gesture or something of that nature. Wow, though. That was not very well guided. I feel sorry for anyone who decided to eat one of them without realizing how brutal that could be.
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Old 08-24-21, 03:58 PM
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On timed Century rides I usually get through about 50g of carbs per hour and 2-4L of fluid depending on how hot it is. Judging by the name of your event I presume it will be really hot!
I start with a couple of solid energy bars (40g carbs per bar) in the first couple of hours. I have 2x 1L bottles on the bike and fill those with an energy mix of about 45g each + electrolytes.
From about 3 hours onward I start on the gels at 22 g per shot at roughly half hour intervals. I might also try to nibble on another bar or two if I can, but I'm usually okay with energy drink and gels by that point.
I keep it simple and everything is with natural ingredients, including the gels. No artificial stuff. I carry everything in my pockets, so only stop if I need to refill my bottles.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:48 AM
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If you aren't already doing long rides in hot temps, then go easier than you feel you need to. If your body isn't acclimated to exertion in hot temps, then most certainly you are going to get some leg cramps before the end of the ride even though you know you have plenty of energy left.

If you feel little chills running up and down your back and you get a little muddled in your mind, then find some shade or if none, stop riding and take off your helmet and strip anything else that is holding heat in your head and body. Drink and douse yourself with plenty of water. Some electrolytes will be helpful. Especially if you've guzzled huge amounts of plain water with nothing else.

Enjoy the ride and event though. Let us know what did and didn't seem to work for you.

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Old 08-25-21, 10:07 AM
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Are you planning on not stopping at _all_?

One can get in and out of aids pretty quick if you don't dally around. Bathroom, top off bottles, grab some food and go.

One thing you can do is carry a ziploc of superfuel and refill with it at a later aid station. I've done that before. I wouldn't carry so much food (that's what the aids are for, ain't they?)

To be honest, not sure I'd tackle a 13K-person, 100*F event with a PR mentality. Especially when a Lone Star at the auto-garage about 10mi outside of town* tastes SO good after 90+ miles in the heat. But that's just me.



Looking at the map, I think it was in Henrietta, and I dunno how often, but the year I rode there was an auto-parts/garage that was welcoming cyclists into the A/C w beer. It was AWESOME, and made the pain of 3 flats go away...
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Old 08-25-21, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Oh, I've been riding in the heat all summer. I'm plenty acclimated to it by now. I busted out my first (and second) full 100 mile rides this summer (July) since maybe 2016. They were brutal. I've been pretty badly out of shape and clawing my way back to possibly just as good of shape as I have been in since 2015. I was looking for shade from the sun and going into the kid's water park splash thing just to get my core temp down.

I had a nice 92 mile ride last Sunday clocking in with 17.5mph solo. There was about a 105 degree heat index by the time I rolled in from that. So, I think I'm well prepared for the HHH. I would like to get it in under 6 hours if possible. I did do it in 5:20 in 2015, but we had really fortunate conditions - very mild temps and low winds. Doesn't look like this year will be so kind possibly. Maybe 97+ heat index from the start and winds steady from 10-14mph with gusts up to 20mph. The wind really gets to me, but I am somewhat accustomed to it here. I just try to make it work in my favor on my training miles. No choice on event day. You get whatever it deals you.

I will be making stops. I just won't be slacking off at them. I've seen the guys that finish near the front that don't stop and I have no idea how they do that. I haven't trained specifically for this event. I've just been trying to lose weight. No real intervals, etc. work to push my capacity for maximum performance, but my average speeds have been edging up to near my personal bests and even beating myself on previous rides of the same courses from years past (by a large margin in some cases).

I might *secretly* love to do this under 5 hours, but I know the wind will kill that possibility. I would need to train all year doing something besides 'base' miles to burn off my pandemic pounds to get it in under 5 hours. So, if I can get it under 6 that will be great. The more under 6 the better.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-28-21, 08:02 PM
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Well, no under 5 hour century unfortunately. I just wasn't really feeling that strong. I'm sure I could have done a few things differently and gotten a better time. I likely shouldn't have done that 92 mile 'test' in the heat to see how well I could hold my speed roughly the same week of the event. I probably shouldn't have gone for a ride the Thursday before the Saturday event, but it looked like my Strava 'Fitness and Freshness' curve might reflect that was not such a bad idea. I probably shouldn't have 'carb loaded' as much as I did, but I actually took it pretty easy. I just have been feeling faster recently by being as lite as possible.

I did get a 5:30 century. There was indeed a pretty brisk wind from the SE. Normally, that would be a SW wind this time of year. It basically created a big headwind for the return leg last half of the ride. I actually set a PR for the first half with the tailwind. I only pulled an 18.4mph average overall elapsed time by the end of it.

From a fuel strategy standpoint - the Skratch Labs fuel in my bottles was an awesome idea. This ride has so may people. Maybe only like 7,400 this year, but nevertheless. It is a giant traffic jam for the first 30+ miles. The smaller rides split off at around mile 20 something and it thins out a bit after that, but still a lot of cyclists. Being able to drink my fuel was exceptionally handy while trying to navigate all of those other riders for those first miles.

I actually ended up sucking down my second bottle at about the 1:30 hour mark because I had to take a bathroom break at mile 30 and if I was going to stop then I needed to fill my bottles. I did the full 7 scoops and no problems came from it. I then had a Natures Bakery Fig Bar probably around hour 2 or so. After that I did feel a hint of a cramp from possibly not drinking enough fluid and I switched over to a Jelly Belly with additional electrolytes - maybe another 30 minutes to an hour later. I wasn't pounding it too hard and really didn't feel the need to take on all of my fuel I brought along. I had one more fig bar after another 30 minutes to an hour. Then another Jelly Belly after that I believe. I might have been to mile 70 before I started on the gels. I did end up taking like 4 gels to get me through to the end. So, like 1,800 calories total and the Strava estimate is that I burned 2,583. I took on more than half of what I burned. Seems like I read somewhere that you should take on half of what you burn? I don't think my performance was hurt by a lack of carbs/calories. I was glad I at least had plenty with me and plenty leftover once I finished.

Thanks for the advice from those who commented. It was a pretty decent ride. I didn't really expect to knock it out under 5 hours without training specifically for it. I wouldn't have believed I could do a century in under 6 hours just one month ago when I did my first 2 centuries since 2016. My best average mph was more like 15mph 'moving time.' Actual race time including stops is an entirely different thing, but it is nice to have all intersections blocked and benefiting from others breaking some of that wind too. I just never know how much that will help without an organized group of my own to rely upon, etc.
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Old 08-28-21, 10:51 PM
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Several friends rode the HnHH this weekend and reported conditions were a bit rougher than recent years. A bit hotter and windier. A couple bailed out early and finished with 50, 60 or 75 miles. A few doing their first centuries did the full ride in good time, including one young woman who's been riding less than a year and averaged 17+ mph. But that didn't surprise me, she's a natural on the bike. A couple others who usually ride the full century cut it short this year, but they didn't have as much training mileage this year getting ready.
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Old 08-29-21, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Several friends rode the HnHH this weekend and reported conditions were a bit rougher than recent years. A bit hotter and windier. A couple bailed out early and finished with 50, 60 or 75 miles. A few doing their first centuries did the full ride in good time, including one young woman who's been riding less than a year and averaged 17+ mph. But that didn't surprise me, she's a natural on the bike. A couple others who usually ride the full century cut it short this year, but they didn't have as much training mileage this year getting ready.
I've only ridden this once before and I felt like we had exceptional conditions that year (2015). That was my first year to participate in events and I did it in like 5:21 'chip time' if I remember correctly. The conditions certainly played a role this year. I knew that forecast for the wind they were predicting would defeat any chance of me getting it in under 5 hours. It was hot and the heat index was high, but I'm sure it has been much hotter than that. Low 90s air temp was about all it got while I was on the course. Maybe upper 90s heat index. About what you would expect from an event named Hotter Than Hell.

I caught a really nasty gigantic hornet sting at mile 17 on my right thigh. Wow! That thing was seriously huge. The sting faded away with the rest of the general suck of the endurance ride, but I'm sure that didn't help my speed. I've got a huge whelp from it this morning.

I also had an uncharacteristically uncomfortable issue with my seat/shorts that bothered me almost the entire ride too. Not sure why. I was really squirmy earlier this year until I got my seat positioned a little further forward. Then I got some nice Assos Cento Evo shorts that really made things comfortable for long rides. I've ridden many rides since I did all of that and for whatever reason I just couldn't get comfortable on my seat during this ride. Odd. I did get some new Garmin power meter pedals and switched shoes to SPD-SL road shoes. I set the cleats all the way back which would sort of maybe have me trying to be more forward on my seat, but I've been riding this combo for three weeks with no problems setup like it is. It just wasn't my best day of cycling, but it wasn't all bad either.

The results posted last night. I was 54th of my age group out of 315. About the top 17% I think.. I was overall 383 out of 2579 finishers - which is just under the top 15%. I'm not really disappointed with that. I just know I could have had a better day. I rode pretty conservatively so I didn't end up on the side of the road from overheating. I noticed a few that bailed out toward the end who maybe pushed it a little too hard. They had been ahead of me, but they didn't finish at all most likely.

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Old 08-29-21, 02:16 PM
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Mostly solo riding? If so that's a really decent time IMO. And even if you were in a group, unless it was a group that all members were use to riding as a paceline then that still is a good time.
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Old 08-29-21, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Mostly solo riding? If so that's a really decent time IMO. And even if you were in a group, unless it was a group that all members were use to riding as a paceline then that still is a good time.
Thanks.

Well, mostly solo. I hung off the back of a few people's wheel along the way and tagged along with a few groups too. You can't avoid starting out not being in that mass of cyclists moving out which is good and bad. I had a nice couple of older guys in front of me going through one of the small towns at the start and they waved at the fire dept and then almost lost control locking up their brakes in front of me. Which just looked like it was my fault to the guys behind me that I had to stop quick , etc. You can't help but be behind somebody most of the time with this many cyclists.

There were the usual bike club type groups I'm sure, but there was something that I've never really seen before on this ride too. There were at least two really large groups that were running 2 x 2. They had to be maybe 2 dozen cyclists strong. They were moving like a freight train when they came by. I have to say that I did admire that they seemed to be running a pretty tight group. The thing was that they apparently stopped at just about all of the rest stops every 10 miles then here they come again. It was a pain for a few reasons, but primarily that there were so many of them once they started going past me it would take so long for them to finally pass that I would get stuck behind much slower people than myself and these guys wouldn't budge off their line. I had to wait on them multiple times because they just kept on stopping at all of the rest stops apparently which sort of defeats the purpose of it if you ask me.

I was on the tail end of one group that had a guy flip through the air with a gruesome landing. It was actually a little scary to witness it that close up. If he didn't break any bones it would have been a miracle imo. I don't even know how he was the only one that went down. I was really glad I wasn't actually in that group and I had just barely hung on off the back of it for a short time. I saw another group that must have had multiple guys go down. They were all pulled over sorting out the carnage.

I guess in summary there are definitely benefits to riding in a group, but I also witnessed more than a few downsides out there. There's no question that guys running in a tight group are much faster than solo. It's not cheating, but it almost feels that way when you are doing it solo.

I'm pretty pleased with how it worked out considering my lack of training to improve my strength this year. I haven't even been in pursuit of Strava segments like in years past. I did get a power meter this month, but I haven't really started working intervals yet. I just needed to lose weight this year after slacking off the last several years and then the pandemic really put the pounds on me. I've done a good job at dropping weight at least. So, my finish was about as good as I might have reasonably expected.

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