People 2000 Miles Across America On A Bike: Everything Wants To Give You A Flat (Part 3) Erik Utrecht May 8, 2015 Join the Conversation Continued from Part I and Part II of a series of lessons learned during Trek's Trek, a 2,000 mile unsupported, solo bicycle ride across the United States from border to border. Fuel You have to fuel the machine. “The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” – Louis CK I love food. And if there was one awesome fact about taking on a solo cross-country bike ride it was that I just knew that I was going to get to eat….a lot. The tricky part about the whole thing was that I had no idea just WHAT to ingest to keep going. For the sake of planning, I broke this part down into two separate parts: Hydration and Nutrition. Hydration: I knew that I was going to need to drink lots of water. (See Also: “Duh”) As a runner, I always worked to pre-hydrate as much as possible because I cannot stand running with lots of water sloshing around in me. On the bike, this was not an issue. One of my few “absolute” rules that I established before I left was, “I will not pass by a water refill spot if I have less than half my supply on hand.” This rule worked out quite well and even in some of the most remote places on the route, I did not run out of water more than twice. The biggest trick is getting yourself to drink water consistently on 80-100 mile days. You won’t seem thirsty, but you are burning through your cell’s water supply like crazy. A good rule is that if you haven’t had to take a leak in an hour, you are not drinking enough. I started out each day with two full standard water bottles on the bike filled with just water. At my first stop of the day, I would start mixing my water with about 50/50 water and Gatorade or like-sports drink to keep my electrolytes up (because the plants crave it). There were many “lessons learned” from this trip (to be covered later) but I believe that my hydration plan worked amazingly. I’d do it the same on a second go-round (assuming of course hell freezes over). On a few 100+ mile days that took me well away from civilization, I added some bottles of Gatorade to my bags just in case. Nutrition: Food, or just as, “Fuel,” for the purpose of an excursion like this was a different animal altogether. Prior to the start of this endeavor, I reached out to a local long-distance bike legend who gave me probably the best advice I could receive. He said, “Eat everything you see. Don’t pass it by. Just eat it. There is no way you can eat enough calories for what you will be doing.” During my pre-ride training, my appetite skyrocketed to the point that I was always hungry. This feeling was only a taste of things to come. Every morning prior to the start of my ride, I would work to find the largest breakfast that I could and then did what I could to stop throughout the 8-9 hour days on the road for “normal” meals at restaurants. One of the biggest challenges while riding, just like with water, is eating even when you may not “feel” hungry. It worked out that I burned roughly 6,000 calories each day for almost a month. One staple that became a must-have at every stop courtesy of a good friend was the Starbucks chilled coffee drinks. At near 400 calories a piece, they have water, milk fat, and chocolate (I actually found the latter helps with joints). For those looking to intake lots of calories and protein in an easy to carry container- peanut butter mixed with honey. Not only does it taste great and pack lots of calories in with each spoonful, but you get lots of strange looks sitting outside a gas station eating it from the jar with a spoon and a smile on your face. By the end of the trip, I had finished off multiple containers of the stuff and I have zero regrets. By the time I crossed the finish line 25 days later, I had lost a total of 30 pounds since day 1 of my training for the trip despite eating everything in sight. In fact, I blew my budget for the trip by severely underestimating the incredible amount of food that I would need. Of all the pieces of gear that you may use to accomplish a great physical feat (covered in part 4), if you cannot maintain your body for the long-haul, the rest is moot. 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