If you've read any or all of my last six posts you've probably come to the conclusion that I'm a gluttonous pig. And I'm talking about the food, not the punishment I was able to endure. And, while if that is the conclusion that you reached, I would not argue with you, that doesn't tell the whole story.
People who have never done, would never think of doing, such a thing as a week long bike tour sometimes ask if I lose weight. Generally, no, I don't. But I don't gain any either, and I eat a lot! What a great deal!
What, and how much, you eat while riding is a very individual thing. On training rides I seldom take more with me than a granola bar. Maybe a little more if I plan to be out for several hours. Or, if it just happens that a ride turns long, I'll stop at a convenience store for a little something.
Some riders eat a big breakfast before a ride. I've done that too, but generally have better luck with something small and several little noshes along the way. Some don't eat more than a little all ride, and replenish with a big meal after. Many have told me they don't do well with too much protein during a ride and stick to carbs.
I've been trying to watch what I eat for the last 8 months with good results. But, when I'm riding a respectable distance every day for close to a week, all bets are off the table. I think I had a post-ride bonk the first day of the Tour de Kota. I'm certain that pie would have helped.
In Colorado, there are often not a lot of options for food along the route. So the CRMBT has stations every 20 miles or so to refill water bottles and have a snack. Yogurt, fruit, pb&j, cookies or crackers, just to keep you going. When there is a convenient place to have some "real food" I've been known to take advantage.
In South Dakota there are usually small towns all along the route, and the organizers work with groups in those communities to fill our needs. Sometimes the tour will stop the sag vehicle at a pulloff and have water available. Other times a group will have free water and snacks for sale, or sell bottles of water, Gatorade, homemade goodies, etc. And if they are far enough along the route to serve something more suited to lunch, most riders will stop for lunch, even if it is 9:30am.
The way I do it works for me. I can't really stomach Gatorade until the end of the ride, or near to it. But I seem to be able to eat tremendous amounts of sweet rolls, rice krispie treats, and pie and keep on pedaling. The trick is to remember that when I get home, I have to stop. Unless I have an 80-miler planned for tomorrow. ;)