When I first started thinking about doing this ride, food was the one thing I was most curious about. Would I be eating peanut butter and jelly and spaghetti every day? Would I get enough of it? I have since learned that the food is one of the best parts of the experience. We have dined in Montana Café’s, University dining halls with unlimited food and options, we’ve been giving $12 cash and sent into town, and even our camp breakfasts are always plentiful and varied.
I’d had a preview of what my hunger might be like during training—waking up hungry and all, but nothing came close to what we as a group feel on an hourly basis. I wake up starving, sometimes when I still need sleep. On my first rest day, I woke up at 5 am, ate 800 calories at Starbucks and then went back to sleep for 3 more hours. Sometimes I need to eat something at 9 or 10 pm, after I’ve already gone to sleep. To give you an idea of what we eat in a day, I’ll use yesterday’s century as an example:
5:00 am: Morning in Thompson Falls, Montana. 70 calorie snack to tide me over to breakfast and also so I can take my first dose of pain killers for the day.
6:00 am: Breakfast at Minnie’s Montana Café. 3 slices of French toast with butter and syrup, bacon. Orange juice. (I have a hard time riding on a really full stomach first thing)
8:00 am: First checkpoint. 1 sleeve of clif shot blocks, nuun tablets in both water bottles, can of Orange Juice
10:15 am: Lunch stop. Greek yogurt with honey and granola, a banana, 1 sleeve of clif shot blocks. Lots of water. Can of Orange Juice. Tanka bites (dried bison and cranberry—donated by a friend of a Big Rider!)
12:00 pm: check point. Loooots of water. It’s getting hot and we’re at the bottom of a long climb. 2 Clif shot energy gels with caffeine.
2 pm: top of long climb, 20 miles to go to Missoula. Lots of water, some Gatorade, a few more shot blocks.
3:30 pm: In camp, bottle of Hammer Recoverite, chex mix and pretzels
5:30 pm: Dinner! Loaded baked potato, bagel with cream cheese and butter, grilled chicken breast, ice cream sandwich
I was a little short on fruits and vegetables during my day yesterday, but there is nothing worse than having to go urgently when on the bike. I’ve found that most vegetables make this a problem, so I’m trying to be judicious about my veggies. The day we rode to Sandpoint, ID I was lucky enough to have a baked sweet potato at the lunch stop. It was fantastic!
Everyone here is figuring out what works for them on the ride and the things we crave. I haven’t visited a fast food restaurant yet—haven’t had to! The ride is just so well organized and we are so well taken care of. I can’t recommend this trip enough!