By – ALICIA EVANS
Whether you’re carrying fluids on your back or on your bike, the reservoir needs to be full...and it should also ‘empty’ throughout the event! If we think that dehydration begins to occur in advance of you actually feeling thirsty then we should look at ways in which you should prepare for your race.
Here are some points to consider:
- Hydration pack or drink cage?….If reaching for your drink bottle on your down tube means steering into trees or your fellow competitor you may be best with a hydration pack. Yes, your back may be a little warmer but for the most part your hands can stay on the bars where they should be. And you can carry additional tools in your pack as well.
- Your starting level of hydration prior to the event is as important as during. If you expect to be riding for a while drink up in the days leading up to race day. If you’re a solo competitor you may set your watch as a reminder to drink or get your pit crew to monitor it.
- When to drink on course. Choose wider sections of trail where other riders can pass if need be and where it is less technical, especially if reaching for a bottle. Ensure your drinking tube is within reach when you commence your lap/s.
- Beer is a liquid, but it is better left for post race hydration!
- Like beer, coffee is as much a part of your race prep as your pump, but it is not considered part of your hydration practices! In fact the opposite may apply.
- The amount you will need to consume will obviously depend on how long you are racing. If you’re on a 5-person team and completing a lap an hour, then you probably don’t need a drink with you on the bike
- Alternating between water and an electrolyte will help keep your system balanced and enable you to take on carbohydrates. The water will be a welcome change to sugar gels, bars and other snacks.
- As a simple rule
- 1 hr exercisewater1-3hrs
- 1-3hrs water /carbohydrate
- 3+ hrswater/carbohydrate/sodium
- Use training rides to learn how much you sweat, what drinks work best for you and how this would then work for a 24hr period. It can be weather dependent, don’t be fooled by cool weather, we are constantly losing and using fluids.
- DO NOT try something new on race day. What goes in, will quickly come out if it is new to your body and trying to be digested while you’re exercising.