One of the most important things you need to do is stay hydrated. Cycling places extra demands on the body. Sweating is necessary to cool the body down and maintain the core temperature. You can lose 1L/hour or more depending on weather conditions or the degree of effort you put in the ride.
Hydration should be a part of your daily routine,up to 8 glasses of water a day is necessary to keep the body functioning well.
How much to drink.
On a ride you need to drink approx 1 to 2 bottles of water an hour to replace the loss and prevent dehydration. If you wait until you’re thirsty you will already be partly dehydrated. Be careful not to over hydrate as this can lead to stomach upsets and potentially dangerous mineral imbalance.
During a race you lose 200-300 calories per hour. You can replace these with a bar or sandwich. Make sure its something you”re used to eating. On long rides a gel is better absorbed. Read the label and work out how many you will need to replace the calories.
Sweating also causes loss of minerals, this can cause cramping and left unchecked more serious complications. Your body loses minerals quicker than you can replace them. On rides over two hours you will need to replace these.
What type of drink.
There are many cycling hydration drinks, (Sports drinks), on the market. Every rider is different so its a matter of finding a brand that’s suitable for you. Don’t dilute the sports drink to make it go further as you will upset the balance of the product. If you find you are cramping on a ride try a different brand.
Swelling of feet or hands due to water retention can indicate you need to decrease your electrolytes..
Try and have sports electrolytes replacement drink within 20 minutes of finishing a race or session.
Make your own sports drink.
If money is an issue you can make your own sports drink which will save you money but still keep your electrolytes replaced.
Here’s a formula:for a sports drink.
200 ml unsweetened orange juice
60ml lemon juice
¼ teaspoonful Himalayan salt or sea salt
2 tablespoonfuls raw honey.
Mix together and its ready.
Make hydration a regular part of your day. On longer rides and training sessions, drink 1 – 2 bottles of water per hour. Add sports drinks, bars and or gel to replace calories consumed. After the ride use a sports replacement drink. Use a product that suits your needs.
Has anyone made their own sports drink formula? Leave a comment below on how it compares with a commercial product.