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Hydration

Old 09-25-13, 06:20 PM
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Hydration

Here in Alabama, from around April until sometime in October, it is usually hot and humid even in the early morning hours. I am using a Camelbak hydration system and, in a 2.5 hour ride, I pretty well drain it.

The question is; What are you more experienced riders using?

I'm new to all of this as for as bicycles go. For liquid, I'm using water with lemon added. It seems to taste better and quench my thirst better. Any better suggestions?

I'm not too big on water bottles although I do have a rack for one on my bike.

My son the Sergeant (he now holds the rank I retired at) has repeatedly cautioned me about not taking on enough liquid. The Camelbak holds about 1.5 liters.
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Old 09-25-13, 07:50 PM
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Two 22 oz. bottles with water and sometimes a fizzy electrolyte tablet or two in each bottle usually holds me for a couple of hours. I only use a Camelbak on the road if I expect to go further than that without a chance to stop and refill the bottles, which is a rare occurrence.
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Old 09-26-13, 07:19 AM
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2 One Liter bottles and on long rides, but it's not enough. I try and plan a route that will take me near a service station, stores, etc. where I can get refills. This summer I ventured a bit too far out on rural roads and had to stop and beg for water twice. Two ladies were nice enough to help, one sicced the dog on me.
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Old 09-26-13, 07:32 AM
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First, the problem with humidity is that it doesn't allow for the perspiration to evaporate, therefore you can easily overheat. Make sure you have a moisture wicking jersey on to allow the air and moisture to come to the surface so it can try and evaporate. If it doesn't, then you need to try and change jerseys in the ride to get one that is dry or you could seriously overheat. Sometimes a towel can help, but you also have the problem with the Camelback blocking part of the jersey, so the Camelback can actually be making you hotter.

Camelbacks are great for the amount of water they hold, but are also a pain to keep clean. You may be better off carrying two large water bottles on the tubes, and if you had to, you could get a double or single bottle holder that attaches to the back of your seat. You can always carry a spare in your back pocket. I usually try and find places along the ride that has water, such as a park, fire station, church/school, etc. I also carry a tiny bottle filled with Gatorade or similar to add to my main bottles when I refill them.

Water with lemon is awesome. Gives it flavor and helps clear your mouth. I also use a 50/50 solution of Gatorade and water just so I am replacing electrolytes that I am losing from perspiration. Your body will get used to the amount of water it needs and once you find water stops to refill, you should be fine. Just remember, thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. By the time you feel thirsty, it's usually too late, so stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before your ride, and in the evening after your ride, sip lots of water so that your body has a chance to absorb the fluid. If you drink it too fast, your body will only have a short chance to absorb the fluid, so the rest will just be lost when you urinate.

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Old 09-26-13, 08:01 AM
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I only use the Camelbak if I am going where there is no place to refill the bottles. It gets hot here and I sweat a lot so I weigh myself before and after long rides to help gauge fluid loss.
I try to drink a bottle (24oz) per hour at least on hot days and have drank in excess of 200 ozs and still lost 5 or 6 pounds on a ride. One time I tried to conserve my water and came home 11 pounds lighter. Felt crappy for days after that.
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Old 09-26-13, 08:32 AM
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I try to drink a lot of water before I start riding. I carry 1 or 2 water bottles, but I don't feel comfortable enough with my riding skills yet to drink and drive...particularly when I am trying to maintain at least an 18 mph pace. Half way through my ride, usually 25-40 miles I will drink a bottle of water. In our heat (just now dropping below 90 degrees), when I weigh myself before and after, I lose 5-7 pounds per ride. I then try to drink about a gallon of water over the course of the evening to rehydrate. Hopefully within the next few months I'll be comfortable drinking while riding.
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Old 09-26-13, 08:34 AM
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I use a Camelback (70 poz.) plus one bottle (28 oz.) on mountainbike rides but on the road, just two 28 oz. bottles work for me, even on double centuries. Of course, on doubles you can count on checkpoints every 30 miles or so to refill bottles so usually, no worries.

In extreme desert environments, however (White Mountain, Death Valley, etc.) I will use a Camelback on the road in addition to the two bottles. Not much humidity out there, of course, so the sweat evaporates before you an even see it. Scary dry!

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Old 09-26-13, 08:55 AM
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I live in Central Fl. During the summer, a 70 oz camelback and a 28 oz water bottle will see me through a 50 mile ride. Even with that intake, I come in a bit dehydrated.
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Old 09-26-13, 09:34 AM
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Water is great stuff, but remember, you don't sweat water. You sweat out salt and other electrolytes. You don't necessarily need to drink a sports drink uncut, but you do want to do something to replace what you're sweating out.
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Old 09-26-13, 10:00 AM
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Thanks, folks. This has been a lot of help to me. Genejockey, I was aware of the electrolytes and usually drink either something like Gatorade or, if I have nothing else, Pedialyte. My late wife was a RN and schooled me pretty good on replacing electrolytes. Of course, she was more concerned with illness, but the Pedialyte (if you can stand the taste of the stuff) does work good in this sort of scenario.

I do have to limit my salt intake because of high blood pressure but do very lightly salt some food.
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Old 09-26-13, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SFCRetired
Thanks, folks. This has been a lot of help to me. Genejockey, I was aware of the electrolytes and usually drink either something like Gatorade or, if I have nothing else, Pedialyte. My late wife was a RN and schooled me pretty good on replacing electrolytes. Of course, she was more concerned with illness, but the Pedialyte (if you can stand the taste of the stuff) does work good in this sort of scenario.

I do have to limit my salt intake because of high blood pressure but do very lightly salt some food.
Glad to know I'm preaching to the choir on electrolytes! It seems like a few years back there was a fad for drinking plain water during exercise, and a number of people found themselves with hyponatremia. You wouldn't think, with all the hidden salt in our diets, that it would be POSSIBLE for an American to drink himself into hyponatremia, but it was happening!

Yeah, Gatorade or similar works. I go with Cytomax, myself. Where I live, humidity is low, so at the end of every long ride you get patches of gritty salt crystals on places like your temples where the sweat dries. It reminds you to think of electrolytes!

I don't ride as much now, but I used to go for 5-6 hour rides on warm days (85-90), and go through A LOT of liquid. IIRC, one 5 hour ride I started with 2 x 24 oz bottles of Cytomax, and powder to make 2 more. I drank those 2 bottles, the 2 replacements, then 2 bottles of plain water - roughly 9 lbs of water. And I was 3 lb lighter after the ride anyway! BUT I did not get dehydrated, even though I am sweat profusely.
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Old 09-27-13, 07:54 AM
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As to hyponatremia, I don't think it's a concern on a 2.5 hour ride, especially if you eat before the ride. On long rides, if you eat the right foods you won't have to worry about electrolytes, at least most of us will be fine once we figure out what works for us. Some people do like their electrolyte capsules, though.
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Old 09-27-13, 08:52 AM
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I carry two 25 oz water bottles. In hot, humid weather I usually drink one every hour. In colder weather, I drink less. For rides under 2 hours I drink plain water. I might squirt in some lemon juice, but plain water is OK usually. Over 3 hours I'll certainly add some sports drink to at least one of my bottles.

Back in the 70's I got severely dehydrated on a long, hot, humid ride. I suffered from heat exhaustion and bonked too. Put it this way - I stopped sweating in 95F heat! I'll never, ever make that mistake again. Better to drink too much (as long as there's some sodium in the drink) than too little.

BTW: Retired SMSgt (E-8) here.
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Old 09-27-13, 10:01 AM
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[MENTION=333400]JerrySTL[/MENTION]: Caution on the cold weather: You can get severely dehydrated just as quickly in cold weather as you can in hot. In the Army, when we were in the field in wintertime, the senior NCOs were cautioned to monitor their soldiers' water intake. The information we were given was that, should you become dehydrated in cold weather, you will feel the cold much more and be more likely to suffer hypothermia.

Retired SMsgt? That's Air Force, right? There's those of us who were in the military and those of you who were in the Air Force!! My last overseas duty station was Bitburg AB, Bitburg, Germany. Did love terrorizing the F15 jocks. They did not like our HAWK missiles.

Two recent lessons learned since I started this thread: 1. Cheap bike shorts are useless. I bought more expensive shorts and am doing much better on my rides as I am much more comfortable. 2. Those of you who think Alabama doesn't get a tad on the cool side should have been with me at zero-dark-thirty this morning. I almost froze my biblical beast of burden off!! Will wear a windbreaker or other light jacket next early-morning ride.
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Old 09-27-13, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SFCRetired
@JerrySTL: Caution on the cold weather: You can get severely dehydrated just as quickly in cold weather as you can in hot. In the Army, when we were in the field in wintertime, the senior NCOs were cautioned to monitor their soldiers' water intake. The information we were given was that, should you become dehydrated in cold weather, you will feel the cold much more and be more likely to suffer hypothermia.

Retired SMsgt? That's Air Force, right? There's those of us who were in the military and those of you who were in the Air Force!! My last overseas duty station was Bitburg AB, Bitburg, Germany. Did love terrorizing the F15 jocks. They did not like our HAWK missiles.

Two recent lessons learned since I started this thread: 1. Cheap bike shorts are useless. I bought more expensive shorts and am doing much better on my rides as I am much more comfortable. 2. Those of you who think Alabama doesn't get a tad on the cool side should have been with me at zero-dark-thirty this morning. I almost froze my biblical beast of burden off!! Will wear a windbreaker or other light jacket next early-morning ride.
The issue with water is you need to carry enough, but realizing water is heavy, so you don't really want to carry too much. It's harder for weight weenies, who spend thousands of dollars to reduce weight in grams, to carry an extra Litre or 2 of water at 1kg per litre. Guys like me, who could lose 20kg off the engine, and have one bike at 11kg and another at 15kg, are not so concerned about an extra kg or so for staying hydrated.

I have a Camelbak, but it's hard to tell what the level is inside, until you suck air. Grabbing the bottle and giving it a shake is a good indicator of the water level inside. I have two bike bottles which are L each, if my ride is planned to be 1 hour or so, I carry 1 of those bottles, if it's planned to be longer, I carry both. Rides over 2 hours, I add a 1L non-bike bottle inside a pannier, rides over 3 I will carry two of the 1L non-bike bottles. Over 4 hours, I plan a stop for additional water.
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Old 08-30-14, 06:43 PM
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Revisiting this thread with some lessons learned. 1. Water with lemon is not enough. I now use an envelope of electrolyte powder(ProPel) per water bottle with 1/8 tsp of sea salt added. Any ride over one hour, I carry two bottles of this mixture. I've gotten away from the CamelBak except for very long rides where there is no opportunity to refill my water bottles.
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Old 08-30-14, 07:41 PM
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Are those magic electrolyte tablets readily available from non-LBS sources? any good brands? Something to ask my doc?

Also, it is very important for me to have cold water. I load up my well insulated coffee cup (22 oz I think, fits perfectly in a water bottle cage) with icecubes and fill with water. In 80-85F the icecubes survive for an hour or more and even at 2 hours it's pretty comfortable to drink, i.e. not room temperature.
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Old 08-31-14, 06:22 AM
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The Camelbak issue is strictly one of personal comfort. A 1.5 liter bladder holds as much as 2 bottles. Fluid is 2.2 pounds per liter. Do you want the weight on your shoulders or frame? I don't like packs on my road bike, but on my hybrid may even take a 3 liter (100 oz.) bladder if I don't know when I can refill.
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Old 08-31-14, 01:10 PM
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As Ive read this thread, I've hesitated to post to it for no other reason than it seems you all drink quite a bit more water than I do during a ride, and I live in the desert. I'm wondering if it's because working outside here I make sure to start out hydrated to be hydrated. If you're not starting out hydrated, you'll never catch up during the ride (or working).

I carry one 25oz insulated water bottle with me which will keep me fine for 20 plus miles on all but the hottest days, and I make sure I have refill spots along the way. One thing I do is I hydrate well the night before. I drink more the night before than I do during the ride, and water up again before I leave.

The only mix I use during the ride is a powdered sugar free energy drink that I mix up if I start to run down a bit. If I need electrolytes, I'll get a Powerade Zero after the ride.
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Old 08-31-14, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Cognitive
Are those magic electrolyte tablets readily available from non-LBS sources? any good brands? Something to ask my doc?.....snip
You can get the electrolyte tablets from GNC stores or many of the on-line cycling stores like Nashbar and even Amazon. I wouldn't be surprised if some grocery stores had a few types as the runners like them, also. My LBS has them and I am there regularly, so ou'll hve to decide which options you'd like.

I'm with you on the cold water, too, I fill my bottle with ice to the top, then add water. If I am going to go out in really hot and humid conditions I'll freeze the water in the bottle (don't fill it full, the expansion will grow your contents past the top or bulge the sides, possibly splitting your bottle.) As the water melts I have nice cold water to sip as I ride. No problems here with thawing, either, it is usually in the high 80's to mid 90's during the summer and early fall.

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Old 08-31-14, 02:36 PM
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+1 on the ice water.
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Old 08-31-14, 05:35 PM
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You should give more consideration to water at the temperature you are operating for efficient hydration.

Cold or Warm Water. What's better? | Be Well Buzz
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Old 08-31-14, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jeichelberg87
You should give more consideration to water at the temperature you are operating for efficient hydration.

Cold or Warm Water. What's better? | Be Well Buzz
I'll agree with above 100% for optimum performance. Always had cold water until I got into triathlons. Found that ambient temperature was better when really trying to get the most from my body.

Caveat.....what worked for me has little to do for others but would suggest giving it a tri.
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Old 08-31-14, 11:03 PM
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Used to freeze about a 1/3 full Camelbak bladder and top it off from the faucet before heading out for a ride through the woods. Have only used liquid h2o in bottles on a road bike though.
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Old 09-01-14, 12:02 PM
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I use my camelbak on every ride, it's the easiest way to drink. On hot days or for longer rides I'll add a large bottle, and put ice cubes in both. I carry electrolyte capsules and take them when it's hot. I've had heat sickness before, so I know the signs to look for: slight headache, arms stop sweating. In that case I either quit the ride, or find a shady spot to rest and cool off.

When I first started using a camelbak I had that "where have you been all my life" experience. It makes drinking so much easier. It's got extra storage space for stuff.
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