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Old 02-23-06, 09:09 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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Hydration- what's the rule of thumb?

Ok, haven't had to worry about fluids on a 5 mile ride, but now planning to increase distances. Do any of you have a rule of thumb of when to start drinking. I think it is better to hydrate sooner than later when start noticing symptoms.

Is it 10 miles, 13, 16, or what rough distance when you start drinking? I need a rough guage of how many water bottles to carry for different distances. thanks
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Old 02-23-06, 09:40 AM   #2
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Don't wait until 10 miles to start drinking. Drink before you are thirsty. If you get in the habit of grabbing the water bottle for a drink every 10 or 15 minutes, you should be fine.

I don't know what the general guideline is for volume, but for a 20 - 25 mile ride I usually drink two large water bottles (this is a 1.5 - 2 hour ride for me), and then I usually drink more as soon as I am done, so I suspect I should drink more along the way. I also try to eat a piece of fruit along the way for the energy, and it does provide a little water as well...

EDIT:

I also bring and drink water even on a short ride, as it keeps the good habits going.

On rides over 20 miles, I sometimes use dilluted gatorade for the electrolytes and energy... I also started my metric century with a couple of single serving sizes of orange juice for fluid, energy and a little treat along the way.
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Old 02-23-06, 10:05 AM   #3
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depends on:
ambient temp
%RH
level of exertion
wind and evaporation rates

the number of miles ridden is remotely related to dehydration.
one rule of thumb is DO NOT WAIT TILL YOU'RE THIRSTY - it's too late then.
another one is sipping small amounts frequently is better than gulping down big quantities at a time. (my 2 liter camel back is very convenient and since having it I believe my hydration is better). For long distance rides (>50 miles) a bottle with dissolved electrolytes should be prepared to replace the salts. I live in a desert climate and adequate hydration is particularly important.
Keep properly hydrated and good luck with your planned riding volume increase.
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Old 02-23-06, 10:15 AM   #4
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From Chris Carmichael: Originally published in Cyclesport Magazine, April 2004

Anyone who still had questions about the impact hydration has on performance, had their questions answered during Stage 13 of the 2003 Tour de France, when several days of accumulated dehydration culminated in a crisis that could have cost Lance Armstrong his fifth victory. The weather during the race was unbearable, but if the heat had any positive effect it was to push the importance of hydration back into the front of every cyclistís mind.

Over the past several months, Iíve been asked most frequently about making the best hydration choices for specific events. The truth is, what you drink matters as much as how much you consume, and both of these variables change as your events or training sessions get longer. Hydration doesnít begin and end with the fluids in your water bottles though; making sure youíre adequately hydrated prior to starting your workout improves your performance more than anything you eat or drink while on the bike. For most cyclists, this means consuming about a gallon of fluids (128 ounces) every day, which is over a 30% increase over what sedentary individuals need in order to stay hydrated. This gallon of fluids (some of which youíll get from food) doesnít include the water and sports drinks you consume during your workouts, and your decisions about fluids during training depend on the intensity and duration of your workout.

The Hour of Power

Training sessions and races that last about an hour are usually very intense; indoor cycling classes offer just one example. As a result of the intensity, athletes tend to sweat profusely, leading to significant losses of both body fluids and electrolytes. A warm environment in a gym during an indoor cycling class, and/or poor air circulation, contributes to even higher sweat rates. Replenishing ones fluids is the most crucial goal when consuming fluids during these short, intense training sessions. Water or simple electrolyte replacement drinks are good choices because they are rapidly absorbed and most athletes find them more palatable during high-intensity exercise.

Carbohydrate-rich sports drinks have been shown to improve performance by sparing muscle glycogen, and they can be helpful during short, hard workouts because the percentage of energy derived from carbohydrate increases with exercise intensity. However, fluids take priority during this type of training session; if carbohydrate drinks give you stomach problems due to the intensity of one-hour workouts, switch to water or an electrolyte-replacement drink. If youíre consuming an athleteís diet, which is high in carbohydrates, youíll most likely have enough stored glycogen to make it through a high-quality 60-minute workout.

In order to figure out how much fluid you need to consume during a workout of any length, you need to determine what youíre losing through sweat. The simplest way to do this is to weigh yourself before and after your workout; the difference roughly equals the amount of body fluid you lost. You always want to limit this weight loss to less than 2% of your body weight, as performance diminishes rapidly from more extensive dehydration. This means the post-workout weight for a 165-pound cyclist should be no less than 162 pounds, no matter how long the workout was.

Your goal during a one-hour workout should be to replace at least 50% of the fluids youíre losing. A lot of times, this means consuming 16-32 ounces of fluid, which is about the maximum volume many athletes can handle during intense exercise. While it would be best if you could increase this to at least 80% of what youíre losing, the fact that the workout is over so quickly means your performance wonít significantly suffer as long as youíre replacing half of what you lose. Your training would suffer more if the discomfort of drinking a lot of fluid reduced the quality of your efforts. Either way, after your workout, you should drink an amount of fluids equal to 100-150% of the fluid weight you lost.

Fluids for Mid-Range Workouts

As training sessions increase in length, the sustainable intensity tends to decrease, and as a result, sweat rates also tend to decrease. Both of these factors make it easier for cyclists to replace 80-100% of the fluids they lose during rides lasting between one and three hours. You might still consume 16-32 ounces of fluid per hour, but where that only replaced 50-75% of what you lost during shorter, more intense workouts, the lower intensity of your longer workouts allows this same volume to replace over 80% of your losses. Again, after your workout, you should drink fluids equal to 100-150% of the fluid weight you lost.

Glycogen depletion is a major concern during training sessions lasting more than 90-120 minutes, and ingesting carbohydrate during exercise has been shown to delay the onset of fatigue by slowing the rate of glycogen depletion. As a result, at least half of the fluid you consume during these rides should contain carbohydrate. Drinks that perform the best, like Powerbar Endurance, are 6-8% carbohydrate solutions containing mostly glucose, a little bit of fructose, and electrolytes.

Hydration for the Long Haul

During events or training sessions that last more than three hours, significant glycogen depletion is almost ensured, and ingesting adequate amounts of carbohydrate is essential to optimal performance. Since the average intensity of longer workouts is lower than during shorter workouts, consuming 16-32 ounces of fluid per hour is often enough to replace 80-100% of the fluids you lose through sweat. During the hot days of summer, this is likely to increase to 36-40+ ounces, depending on the individual. Drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes should comprise at least half of the fluids you consume, and you should aim to ingest a total of 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. To get that much carbohydrate, youíre almost certainly going to need to eat solid foods and energy gels in addition to sports drinks. With energy gels, itís important to remember to drink about eight ounces of water or sports drink with them in order to most rapidly absorb the carbohydrates.

Beyond improving performance, optimal hydration is critical for your safety and health. Dehydration seriously hinders your ability to cool your body and keep your core temperature within a safe range. All athletes should learn to recognize the signs of dehydration and heat illness, including elevated resting and exercise heart rates, cessation of sweating, and disorientation. Your health always takes priority over performance, and itís very important never to let your zeal for competition threaten your well-being. As the hot summer months approach, paying close attention to your hydration is the best thing you can do to ensure you have a safe and successful cycling season.
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Old 02-23-06, 10:29 AM   #5
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Rule && all,

Thank you. I knew I couldn't neglect this and this gives me some guidelines.
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Old 02-23-06, 10:35 AM   #6
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Well, depends a lot on the temp, etc.

For a 10 mile ride (if I know it is going to be 10 miles) I simply don't worry about it.

For 20, I think about it a little.

For 20+ I plan a bit, and take some precautions as noted above.
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Old 02-23-06, 11:53 AM   #7
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Doesn't matter how far you are going- 10,20,30 or more There are two rules of thumb- At least one bottle per hour (I look at 1 litre per hour as my marker) and the other rule is start sipping early in the ride and keep sipping------ Then sip some more and some more.

I say 1 litre per hour but Even I neglect this in the winter on gentle rides. Then I pay for it. There is no science in this- If you drink enough you are OK. If you get thirsty- it is too late. When it is too late- speed will slow, energy will go and trying to re-hydrate is a 20 minute process. Drink a bottle of water immediately and then another in the next 20 minutes. Then start on sipping, sipping and sipping some more for the rest of the ride.
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Old 02-23-06, 01:16 PM   #8
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Thanks stapfam.
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Old 02-23-06, 02:51 PM   #9
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My generalized rule of thumb is one large bottle per 10 miles. But most important for me is to take in lots of electrolytes. Straight water dilutes electrolytes and can lead to cramping. The longer the ride and hotter the temperatures the greater the risk of serious cramping.

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Old 02-23-06, 03:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al1943
My generalized rule of thumb is one large bottle per 10 miles. But most important for me is to take in lots of electrolytes. Straight water dilutes electrolytes and can lead to cramping. The longer the ride and hotter the temperatures the greater the risk of serious cramping.

Al
Good point Al, and the electrolyte in the drink for longer rides is just as important. I use a camelback and this has water with a little bit of flavouring in it, but the water bottle has my favourite Isotonic in it at double strength. The cramp setting in on the longer rides does not have a chance with this set up but then I also munch continually on snacks, and in these are a few salty snacks to help with the hydration. Seems funny that taking in salt helps alleviate thirst, but it does. Those snacks are Cheesy biscuits or crisps, but definitely out are peanuts. Trying to chew these with the lumps in the trail can get a bit dangerous.
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Old 02-23-06, 03:33 PM   #11
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Ok, got more details. 40-60 mile ride, 3-4 hours max, elevation change 500 ft . Forecast
start 43f, end 52F, 30-21% humidity, winds 12mph

I'm thinking two 24oz gatorades, 24oz water, 1 water bottle and a couple energy bars should do it. Is that anywhere close?
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Old 02-23-06, 04:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Ok, got more details. 40-60 mile ride, 3-4 hours max, elevation change 500 ft . Forecast
start 43f, end 52F, 30-21% humidity, winds 12mph

I'm thinking two 24oz gatorades, 24oz water, 1 water bottle and a couple energy bars should do it. Is that anywhere close?
Seems about right but take a bit more food for the 60. I would suggest fruit cake or dried fruit as extra. Also if heading for a long climb- drink a bit more before the hill to save slowing for reaching for the bottle.
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Old 02-23-06, 04:40 PM   #13
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Thanks. Some tend to drop out early, or split into subgroups depending on goals. The first hour is the together part. elevation looks downhill the 20 miles out and uphill the 20 miles back. Since the total elevation change is only 600 feet, it sounds more like a light rolling terrain.

If I can get my work done friday, I think i'll give it a try and see what happens. With this group there's no shame in quitting after the first hour. I know I can do an hour, but don't know about 3-4 hours. But if total distance is just 39 miles, it should be doable.

Again, thank you, I'll carry more food.
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Old 02-23-06, 04:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Ok, got more details. 40-60 mile ride, 3-4 hours max, elevation change 500 ft . Forecast
start 43f, end 52F, 30-21% humidity, winds 12mph

I'm thinking two 24oz gatorades, 24oz water, 1 water bottle and a couple energy bars should do it. Is that anywhere close?
The best advice I got on fluids and nourishment on long rides is to eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty. I suspect the quantities vary depending on your conditioning and the temps.

I'm the absolute worst at not drinking enough. Depending on the weather, to drink enough I have to watch the clock and take a drink either every 10 mins or every 15 mins again depending on the temps. If I don't watch the clock, I'll go at least 30 mins without drinking and get way behind on fluids.

I'm the worst at hydrating. For a 60 mile ride in 40 degree temps I've only been running through one 24 ounce bottle of fluids.... My kidney stones are proof that I don't hydrate enough...life long issue I always have to work at.

Usually I'll take one banana and that suffices for a 60 mile ride for me. If I eat pancakes and a banana before the ride I don't usually take any nutrition.
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Old 02-23-06, 06:37 PM   #15
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Everyone's body utilizes water at a different rate. Everyone's requirements are different. On a one hour ride with my son, I drink at least 24 ounces of water and should probably drink more. I'm a sweater. I sweat like a Ho in church. Even my feet are squishy. My son on the other hand may take a sip or two from his bottle that was only half full to begin with. He doesn't even sweat! He has nearly zero body fat. I wear a short sleeve shirt on a 40 degree day. He layers two shirts and a fleece parka just to stay warm. Everyone is different.
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Old 02-23-06, 09:02 PM   #16
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Don't forget that we need to drink as much in the winter as in the summer. We lose more fluid from breathing when it's cold than when it's hot.
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Old 02-23-06, 10:24 PM   #17
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I find many of the above responses very interesting. Duration, speed, elevation temperature...too much thinking for me. My rule is really simple...if I get on the bike, I bring water. If it's a long ride, a 3L Camelbak and a bottle or two with a sports drink for electrolytes. If it's a short ride, a 90ml CamelBak waist pack. Just having the tube near my mouth makes me drink more and my ride is more comfortable. (I don't like reaching for bottles.) BTW, once I'm on the bike, I really can't even feel the Camelbaks.
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Old 02-24-06, 07:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolba
Everyone's body utilizes water at a different rate. Everyone's requirements are different. . . . . Everyone is different.
+1

Hard and fast rules just don't work.

I bicycle for hours without needing to eat anything. Others need food regularly (including my wife, who can't believe how I can go on and on without food).

Same with water. On shorter rides, I just don't even think about water. OTOH, she looks as if she is preparing for a safari through the Sahara!

Each person needs to find their own needs and how to satisfy them through experimentation.

I can no more tell you how much to eat and drink than you can tell me.
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