Adventures on the Road: Advice for Outside Rides

Outdoor rides are a huge part of training for triathlons. Although, admittedly, I probably spin inside on my Cycleops proportionally more than riding outside during the year, making time to ride outside and get used to being in the saddle is definitely of paramount importance. Figuring out who to ride with, when to ride, and nutrition during rides can be an arduous task — but it doesn’t have to be!

{With whom/when should I ride?}

I rarely bike outside alone. If I do, it’s usually only a local ride (as in less than 2 miles at my house at any point) to do a hill workout. I usually bike with my dad on Saturday or Sunday mornings. The earlier the better, because less traffic is a lot easier to ride in than traffic-filled busy roads during the afternoons.

It depends on the type of rider you are, but I would recommend always riding with someone. This has nothing to do with your skill level — even if you are an experienced rider, it’s always the safer option to have someone near you in case of a flat tire, not knowing the route, or in the case of an accident. If you don’t have a parent or friend who also does triathlons who can ride with you, contact a club in your area here (we’re also working on starting networks of youngtri followers and members to ride together! as of now you can connect with others through our Facebook page and group).

{What should I do about nutrition?}

Finding a nutrition plan that works for you can be filled with trial and error periods. Since I have stomach issues (IBS & lactose intolerance & gluten sensitivity… blah), it has been difficult for me to find a nutrition regimen that works. Before I had a regimen down and was aware of my stomach issues, I have gotten sick and had nutrition issues during races, especially once during the Rev3 half when I almost didn’t finish due to nutritional problems. In order to find what is best for you, test out different products during shorter workouts, and then integrate them into your longer, more important pieces.

Make sure that you have tested a beverage, a bar, and a gel — the combination of these three items help tremendously in longer workouts (although preferences vary among individuals). For shorter workouts, I often just have water beforehand — sometimes a gel. However, for medium to long workouts, I use Vanilla Bean Gu energy gels (they are available in a ton of flavors), Pure organic wild blueberry bars (they are gluten and dairy free, taste great, and have 6g of protein), and nuun. Nuun is an electrolyte enhanced drink tab that comes in a few flavors — kind of like a gatorade-type beverage without sugar and with only 4 calories per serving. It tastes good, and isn’t too heavy. I would also recommend using salt tablets during extremely long workouts in the heat.

Gu energy gels state that you should have one “15 before every 45”, but I don’t usually follow this exactly. I listen to my body and take as needed — but I try not to go longer than an hour or so without one (although during my 100 mile ride that lasted about 7 hours I only had 5 gu gels. I had 1 3/4 of the blueberry bars and quite a bit of nuun and water).


My nutrition preferences – gu, nuun, and pure organic

Some other brands that I would recommend are Hammer, Odwalla, Infinit, and Clif (I’ve used their shot blocks as a Gu alternative). Go to your local cycling/running/triathlon store and check out what they have to offer — buy a few gels, bars, and drinks in different flavors and experiment until you find a regimen that works for you!

More advice for riding next week. In the interim, enjoy the summer weather and your outside runs, rides, and swims :).


on my 100 mile ride through new jersey & new york!

Tri Hard,