What snacks should you pack for a century ride?

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A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.

Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.

Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore muscles and  cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.

Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:

Bananas: These potassium-packed fruits are easily transportable and quick to eat. They also are a source of carbohydrates, which are necessary for proper muscle functioning. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, bananas have been compared to sports drinks as a fuel source for cycling performance.

Trail mix: Another easily carried snack option is trail mix. You can buy it prepackaged or make your own. The mix of dried fruits and nuts is a good source of carbs, and adding prunes, raisins and apricots adds potassium as well. Trail mix can also provide your body with vitamin E and magnesium, which are helpful in muscle functioning.

Peanut butter and jelly: This old lunch-time standby also serves as an excellent century snack. The bread, of course, is a carb source, while the peanut butter offers your body good fats and protein. If you’re not a peanut fan, you can opt for almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter, and you can swap out the bread for a tortilla if you prefer.

Energy bars: These are quite convenient, and like trail mix you can get them pre-packaged in the store or make your own. As the name states, these bars will boost your energy levels, and ones with nuts, dried fruit and whole grains will be your healthiest options.

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