Have you ever been in a fast group on a long ride? You can get so focused on sticking with the paceline that you’re too busy, or too nervous, to eat and drink.
That’s a real problem because soon you’re bonked, dehydrated and struggling to maintain the pace. It’s dangerous, too, because a tired rider is a squirrelly rider.
Here’s how to keep the calories going in, even in close company:
—Do your dining in the caboose. Sitting at the back of the rotation lets you take on food and fluids without disturbing anyone. There’s no one behind to be endangered by your movements or get taken down by a dropped bottle.
—Use your bottle without looking. Keep your eyes on the road and riders ahead. Grip the bar on top near the stem for stability, then use your other hand to grasp the bottle in the fat part just below the top. Put it up to the corner of your mouth and raise it to the side so it doesn’t obscure forward vision.
If you think about the path your hand travels as you take out the bottle, it’s relatively easy to reverse it without looking down. If necessary, use your thumb (grasping the bottle) to feel for the side of the cage. Then center the bottle and slide it in. Practice will make this automatic.
—Prepare your food for easy access. If you’re comfortable riding no-hands, simply reach into a jersey pocket for your energy bar, peel the wrapper and start eating. Then hold it in one hand and put the other on the bar top near the stem.
If you don’t like to ride no-hands, simply open the wrapper before the ride. Then use one hand and your teeth to do the rest on the move.