Originally Posted by Geoff Archibald
IMO you need to concentrate on hydration and glycogen replenishment. For that, I'm a big fan of gels with lots of water and some food. Based on what I've read from Mark Twight's mountaineering book, gels are formulated for maximizing gastric emptying which is the passing of water from the stomach to the gut for absorption. The stomach does this most efficiently with a certain amount of sugar present, the amount in a gel serving, which is good for about 750-1000L per hour. The sugar also helps in keeping the glycogen system going. You'll also need some electrolytes in there for water absoption or you'll just pass it all. Some protein helps with the insulin spikes.
If you don't like gels then eating foods high in sugar should accomplish something similar. I think that Paleo for Athletes gives a similar strategy for all day events but with a Paleo twist (obviously).
Your body has more than enough energy in the form of fat so carbs during the day are not that important and eating too much will cause more harm than good. You want to pack the high energy foods in at the end of the day.
This strategy worked well for me with 7 workouts in 2 days at the comp I was in 2 weeks ago and has worked well for big mountaineering and climbing days.
So what are you recommending? Gels and hydration over the course of the day, or just eat a big meal at the end? Your post seems self-contradictory.
FWIW, my own experience with all day events is that glycogen replenishment is critical, and carbs are the fastest and most effective way to accomplish that.