One other electrolyte that shouldn't be overlooked is calcium. I've found that plain 'ol Tums (your grandparents' antacid of choice) is a great way to get calcium on long rides without the possible stomach upset of drinking milk. I've added Tums to my usual electrolyte solutions, which are:
- Balanced meals with a decent amount of salt (though nothing crazy), protein, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.
- Good hydration for the week heading into the event/ride.
Morning of ride:
- Breakfast with granola, yogurt, small bowl of oatmeal, a poached egg, coffee, juice and 3-4 Endurolyte tablets.
30 minutes before ride:
- a small bottle of water
- a pre-even energy drink with a decent amount of sugars, B vitamins and electrolytes
On the bike:
- One bottle has HEED (24 oz. bottle)
- The other bottle (24 oz. insulated bottle) has a strong "slurry" of HEED, Perpetuem, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of Lipton iced tea mix (for flavor). This stuff is thick and rich, and is very
heat-sensitive, so it is mixed with ice to keep it cool (thus the insulated bottle). This gets sipped throughout the day, and is high in caloric and electrolyte content.
I'll carry pre-mixed slurry powder and will top off the slurry bottle as needed with ice and more mix. I also carry HEED powder to top that off as needed.
I will carry some energy gel with me (my fave these days is GU's Roctane in blueberry, with Honey Stinger's plain a close second), as well as a granola bar and some Clif Shot Blocks in margarita flavor (lots of salt in those). I also carry a small ziploc bag with Endurolytes and Tums, taking them as needed. I usually take the Tums after the 60 mile/3 hour mark, one tablet every 90 minutes, as needed.
I'll also pick up bananas, PB&J or coconut water (really great source of potassium and sugars - more potassium in an 8 oz. serving than in a whole banana - and very light on the system) if they're available on the route.
And drink water, for sure, but not without some electrolytes coming in as well. Otherwise, hyponetremia
is a legitimate concern.
Another thing to take: a tube sock or double-layered women's nylon stockings. Why? You can stuff 'em with ice and put this down the back of your jersey. It cools your core and is remarkable in preventing cramp on the hottest of days (akin to getting an ice water dousing, which helped me a great deal at Mountains of Misery - my write-up of which is here