Cycling Nutrition: How To Fuel A Three Hour Ride

Cyclist wearing OTE Sports cycling gear.

When taking on a long ride of any length it’s worth considering your cycling nutrition. Yes, you may make it round with little to no fuel but two things are for sure

1) You won’t be at your fastest
2) You won’t enjoy it as much

We’ve all probably had that feeling of a ‘bonk’, ‘blow up’, ‘hit the wall’ or whatever you want to call it. Where you totally run out of energy and you have to slow down. It’s certainly not an enjoyable feeling and one that most people want to avoid. Well, with some simple planning of your cycling nutrition, you can not only avoid this but help your body to optimally perform.

For long, endurance-based activities our body depends on our carbohydrate supplies. This is the easiest energy source to use but sadly our stores are limited, hence why we need to keep topping them up throughout the ride. Carbohydrates will always be the main consideration for cycling nutrition

We would suggest aiming to take on board 60g of carbohydrates every hour to optimally fuel a long three hour ride. If you’re really pushing the pace then you may want to up this to 80g. It’s important to remember the hard you push yourself, the quicker you’ll use up your carbohydrate stores.

So What Does 60g of Carbs Look Like?

OTE products have been specially designed to make it easy for you to work out how much energy you are putting in, helping to prevent you from under or over-eating. We have used 20g units to make the carbohydrates maths easy, let’s just quickly break that down for you:


One Energy Gel = 1 x 20g carb unit

One 500ml Bottle of Energy Drink = 2 x 20g carb unit

One Duo Bar = 2 x 20g carb unit

One 500ml Bottle of Super Carbs Energy Drink = 4 x 20g carb unit

One Anytime Bar = 1.5 x 20g carb unit


Now if you’re reading this thinking ‘I don’t eat anywhere near that!!’, don’t panic! Next time you’re out riding, try and take a bit more food with you to eat and just see how you feel. 60g may feel like a lot, but you can build up to it. Just remember; the riders at the Tour de France have to consume nearly 90g of carbohydrates per hour of riding for 3 weeks!! So you can absolutely smash your cycling nutrition for those occasional big rides.

Don't Forget to Hydrate

Hydration is just as important during a long ride as fuelling. Unfortunately, much like fuelling, there is no one-size fits all advice when it comes to how much to drink, however research has suggested that aiming to consume 500ml per hour is a good aim. If your sweat rates feel elevated because of hot weather then it’s worth trying to increase your fluid intake.

Electrolytes are also important to replenish as these are lost during sweating also and are important to prevent cramp and help with muscle contraction. They also help your body uptake the fluid better than just water alone. OTE Hydro Tabs and Energy Drink both contain electrolytes and so we’d recommend using them as part of your long ride cycling nutrition.

What Could A 3 Hour Ride Fuelling Plan Look Like?

Hour 1:

  • 1 x 500ml Bottle with an OTE Hydro Tab
  • 1 x Anytime Bar
  • 1 x Banana


Hour 2:

  • 1 x 500ml Bottle of Energy Drink
  • 1 x Half a Duo Bar


Hour 3:

  • 1 x 500ml Bottle with an OTE Hydro Tab
  • 1 x Half a Duo Bar
  • 2 x Energy Gel

We’d always recommend carrying a little more than needed in case the pace is harder or route longer than expected.