I was fortunate enough to get away to Pennsylvania for a few rides last week to get ready for the Transylvania Epic. I got quite lucky with a day that approached 27 degrees Celsius ! The trails are quite rocky in the area I was in (Emmaus) and so I had planned a solid 'Game-Play' 3 day block (see strava) on my Trek Superfly FS race bike. I haven't ridden duallys much in the last few years so I wanted to get lots of time on the very rocky terrain down there to work out any kinks.
I have always been hesitant with solid food but it is nice to munch on something, especially in the first bit of an endurance workout/race before we get too fatigued, dehydrated and busy worrying about winning!
Personally, after my endurance block, I think I will keep it to 1-2 bars during Transylvania Epic stages and go mostly with Hammer Gel since there is a some amino acid and even a bit of fat in some of the new flavors plus the convenience of having 600kcal in a flask! While I do recommend clients try Perpetuem I don't use it much as I find most stages and races I do are rarely over 4 hours and the simplicity of water/gel is hard to beat!
Big things for me were taking in more then I am used to in xc races and with high intensity workouts ... nailing about 250kcal an hour so that I could really push it or maintain my pace in the last hour AND ALSO RECOVER for the next day. For me to win stages I have to do a better job of this for 2015's race and that is what this month's practice will be dedicated to!
=> Classic Race and Training Nutrition Bike Skills Project Video