Posted by: forgingahead | June 22, 2009

Bento Box Breakthrough

First off, a big THANK YOU to everyone who chimed in about fuel – how much – how often – what types.

The result?

I had a GREAT ride this weekend! Night and day energy-wise. Bert commented several times about how chatty I was and more my normal self. AND I was able to keep closer to him on most of the ride.

HUGE improvement.

What worked?

Well, the Bento Box (mine is actually made made by Fuel Belt) is sheer brilliance. Half the fun of eating was zipping that puppy open and sifting through it for my next tasty treat.

Clif Shot Blocks
. YUM! I only bought one to try and was sad when that was gone. Those things are tasty little morsels of chewy flavor that gave me just the perfect boost. Definitely stocking up on those.

Lara Bars. Jen was right. So small and so many calories made from real food. LOVE them. I can personally vouch for Apple Pie, Cinnamon Roll and Banana Bread. Yum.

Sunrise Energy Bars from Costco. Each one is 130 cals of oat and dried fruit goodness. Tasted like a healthy cookie and I ate 3 on my ride. My friend Vikki introduced me to them and I am forever in her debt.

I know how hard it is to find stuff in that giant warehouse of a store so here’s a photo.

sunrise energy bars

Eating constantly. Sarah reminded me to eat every 15 minutes and that – coupled with eating more calories – made the difference. Did not have any noticeable swings in my energy.

We were in Sacramento and the forecasted heat did not arrive. Still, it was about 20 degrees warmer than our usual cycling climate and that made for a very pleasant day. We started at 6am and rode 50+miles up and down a lot of hills. Around Folsom Lake. Across the American River. Through spectacular canyons.

The ride took about 6 hours (we got a little lost here and there) and I ate 1,200 calories which seem like the perfect amount.

So all in all a definite turning point in my cycling development. And gives me renewed hope for completely the Livestrong Ride in 3 weeks!

Oh, and since the heat didn’t really happen I defaulted to my long-sleeve jersey and didn’t try the arm coolers yet. I’m sort of dragging my feet because I really need the medium sized ones and they only had large. So I hope to get to the OTHER Sports Basement in the city and try to do a swap.

So thanks again for all of your suggestions, great ideas and encouragement! Have a beautiful day.


  1. YES!!!!!!!! SO SO SO SO GLAD all the recommendations helped! Isn’t it amazing when you finally can see the difference in being well-fed vs. NOT? It’s pretty amazing. Reminds me of last year when I rode around Lake Tahoe and the guys were putting a little bit of salt in their water at each rest stop. I decided to try it myself and WHOA what a difference a little salt makes! You might want to try that too. Not a lot, just a little.

    Did I say every 15 minutes? I think I meant every 10-15 miles. But you know, if every 15 min works for you, then THAT’S WHAT MATTERS. I try to go by this rule (for me and my fuel I carry): 1 water bottle per hour and eat something every 20-30 minutes.

    It sounds like you had a great breakthrough and I am SOOO happy for you. Way to go, Kathleen! You’re gonna be SO READY for that ride!

  2. Sounds like an awesome weekend!!

  3. Glad you figured it out. You’re gonna have a great ride.

  4. ah yes, the ‘I should eat more, then I won’t want to kill everyone riding near me’ revelation! I still end getting reminders about that lesson every now and then

  5. You’re going to have an amazing ride! Congratulations on your breakthrough!

  6. 6 hours…1200 cals is about right esp if you were climbing a lot. Sounds like you got to try a lot of things that worked well. Make sure you are hydrating ~1 bottle an hour depending on your sweat rate.

    I just picked up some arm coolers…will see how they go this weekend.

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