4 Nutrition Secrets for Your First Century Ride

"Train the way you expect to perform," Matson said. "You're not stopping and doing an hour-and-a-half coffee stop halfway through your (century ride)."

Get Food in Your Bottle

While Matson is not opposed to eating solid food on the bike, he has found that the easiest way to get the nutrients you need is by putting your food in your water bottle, in the form of powder.

"You don't have to open a package, you don't have to unzip anything," Matson said. "You just reach down to your frame, grab the bottle and drink. If you mixed some sort of food with it (a powder), you're going to get what you need."

More: 8 Tips to Lose Weight From Cycling

Matson recommends energy drinks that include carbohydrates, a little sodium and other electrolytes.

If you prefer solid foods, Matson suggest energy bars that you break up in advance and put in your jersey pockets, or energy bites or cubes. If you need "real" food, try portions of bananas, oranges, grapes, bagels, bread or muffins, all of which have a high glycemic index. Of course, you should know well ahead of time what your body responds well to, based on your preparation. Use your training rides to try different foods and test what works.

Take Control of Your Fuel

With supported century rides taking upward of six or seven hours for some, you will likely be at the mercy of aid stations. But what if your stomach won't agree with what the aid stations offer?

More: 9 Post-Ride Recovery Rituals

"If you mix three bottles, put two on your frame and a third in your rear pocket, that's about as many as you can carry and pre-mix in the parking lot or at home," said Matson, who prefers to carry just two and leave his pockets for other items. "If you're doing a century, you're going to be out there for five hours or more."

Matson recommends drinking about one large bottle per hour, so you'll probably run out of your own drink halfway through the ride. So Matson suggests that if you have a certain sports drink you are used to consuming on long rides, measure out that drink powder ahead of time, put it in a baggie and stuff it in your jersey pocket.

"When you get to the support station," Matson said, "you mix your own powder with water."

More: 6 Tips for Tackling Your First Century

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