Have you ever bonked on a long group ride because the pace was too hard to let you open, chew and swallow solid food? Racers are masters of eating on the fly. Here are 6 of their tricks for meals on wheels:
Eat when you're at the back. You don't have to pedal as hard when you're sheltered in the draft. You'll be out of the way of other riders as you pull out food and shove it down.
Eat when the pace eases. Look for descents, lulls in the action or tailwind sections. Even a heart rate 5 or 10 beats slower will enable you to chow in greater comfort.
Pre-peel your bars. Most energy bars are hard to open on the fly. Do it before the ride to make it lots easier to finish the job with one hand and your teeth.
Take small bites. Shoving half a bar into your mouth makes it tough to breathe. Smaller bites can be tucked back by your molars to chew, leaving an airway on the other side.
Opt for bite-sized nutrition. You could also go with one of the many bite-sized bars or chews available. Then you can just grab a handful and eat one or two at a time.
Don't be dainty. Table manners go out the window in a fast group. Forget what Mom said about chewing each bite 20 times. Take a couple of hearty chomps and swallow. Repeat.
Opt for gel. If solid food is still too hard to handle despite these tips, try energy gel. If gel packets are still too tough to deal with, transfer the gel to a small flask. Open the nozzle with your teeth like you do a water bottle, squeeze in a mouthful, swallow, go.