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Surprised by dehydration

Old 06-14-16, 07:24 AM
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Surprised by dehydration

Saturday I did the Westside Dirty Benjamin, and rode to/from the race. The day started early with temps in the low-70s, but with humidity around 85%. By the end of the race, temps were around 90F and humidity had dropped to 35%.

I started the day with four bottles mounted to the bike (reference photo below): two with Skratch Labs, two with Nuun. Both products I've used many times in the past. During the ride, I refilled two bottle at mile 44 check-point adding some Skratch Labs; I bought a ~32 oz Gatoraid at mile 60; filled one more bottle at mile 66 check-point plus drank some water at the check-point; I had one Hamms and 12 oz water at the finish line; and filled three bottles with straight water for the 17 miles home. Arrived home with near-empty bottles.

I found it was difficult to drink the mixes and Gatoraid once it got up to the air temp. In fact, my mouth is sore a few days later and I think it was from drinking the hot, sweet stuff. For the last 17 miles home, I drank straight water and found it easier to drink once it was hot.

So here's the point of all this: I did not stop for one nature break on the ride, I typically need a couple. Before riding home, I forced myself to pee, and it was that worrisome dark yellow color and not much of it. Clearly, I was getting dehydrated.

The next time I do a ride with these temps, I plan to use only pure water and eat bananas, dried apricots, jerky, and salts snacks for electrolytes. I would be interested to hear other riders' experience riding in heat without electrolyte mixes.



Footnotes:
I do frequent metric centuries, centuries, and a few royals. I do these rides in all temps, from sub-zero to 90+. I am experienced with all the factors, but Saturday was the unique combo of longest ride and hottest temps.

I finished the WDB with my fastest time for a gravel century and highest ranking; despite riding very easy for the last 15-20 miles to keep my heart-rate down to avoid overheating.
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Old 06-14-16, 07:41 AM
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I quit using sports drinks years ago. On the rare occasion I might bring a bottle with HEED if I figure I will have to ride fairly hard to bank some time, but otherwise both my bottles contain water.

I generally try to have a salty breakfast (like a couple salted hardboiled eggs on toast) to get the electrolytes started, and I might have a banana as well for the potassium.

On the ride we use electrolyte tablets, and also consume potato chips, french fries, and best of all salted almonds if I can get ahold of them. Salted almonds are a great source of electrolytes.

Dried apricots are good for potassium, as are baked potatoes with the skins if you happen to stop for lunch. Bananas are OK.

My favourite granola bars are these: Nut bar Range Choc Apricot, Coconut & Cashew and they've got a bit of sodium and potassium. I'll usually have at least a couple of them on a long ride.
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Old 06-14-16, 08:59 AM
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Is it possible that you may have started the ride partially dehydrated? When I go out for a typical two hour ride, I do not eat anything BUT drink two cups of coffee, followed by two glasses of water. Then, for the next hour, I'm peeing before the ride but occasionally, I might still need a "nature break" while enroute. I'm still working on finding the right amount of pre ride hydration to prevent the stop during the ride, it's not an exact science....lol
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Old 06-14-16, 09:07 AM
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I quit using sports drinks several years ago and have noticed no problems with increased dehydration or cramps. I mainly used Gator Ade and didn't like all of the calories as well as the stickiness and goo in my water bottles.

I occasionally use Cliff Shotblocks or gels for long rides on very hot days. I recently picked up some electrolyte capsules (Endurolytes) that contain little or no sugar and used for the first time this past Sunday, for a 50+ mile ride in very hot humid conditions. Didn't have any cramps or dehydration but not sure if that was due to the tabs or not.
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Old 06-14-16, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer
Is it possible that you may have started the ride partially dehydrated? When I go out for a typical two hour ride, I do not eat anything BUT drink two cups of coffee, followed by two glasses of water. Then, for the next hour, I'm peeing before the ride but occasionally, I might still need a "nature break" while enroute. I'm still working on finding the right amount of pre ride hydration to prevent the stop during the ride, it's not an exact science....lol
I did start the morning with hydration in mind, drinking about 8 oz water; 8 oz OJ; and 8 oz milk with my cereal. I skipped the coffee to avoid the diuretic-effect, and drinking hot coffee on a steamy morning was not appealing.

I typically over-hydrate and need many nature breaks, so this was a surprise.
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Old 06-14-16, 09:27 AM
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I've been using the drink that was formulated specifically to be drinkable in very hot weather; to be readily absorbed in high stress conditions and taste good enough that you will actually drink it. Originally called ERG, it is now Vitalyte. I used it by the container in the 70s as a bike racer in New England. When the new drinks came out in the '90s, it disappeared from the shelves; lacking the advertising budget to stay visible. I rediscovered it 10 years ago at REI; except for a few flavor additions, nothing changed. It is still right.

Two of their spoonfuls per WB. About 45 cents per. It is not an energy drink, just a hydration and electrolyte replacement. The body tolerated s it so well it is used on the third world for fluid/electrolyte replacement for dysentery and cholera.

Drinking Vitalyte warm is not an issue at all. I do it all the time. (I have always found I can drink more water and do on hot days when that water is warm. But some of the drinks out there I find very unappetizing warm. For really hot organized rides. I often bring along packages of Vitalyte and just stick to the water cooler at stops.)

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Old 06-14-16, 09:36 AM
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I try to avoid a lot of salty foods; I ate french fries and a veggie burger on a 400km and felt horribly bloated for a couple of hours, and that was for supper after riding all day in the heat. I did a warm(~85F) 200K a few weeks ago and found myself drinking coke and pepsi for the first time ever on a brevet and it wasn't half bad. I've never really been into the gatorade all that much. I also drank 2x710ml bottles of water every couple hours. I brought a few oranges from the hotel breakfast along for the ride and enjoyed those immensely, they seem to have a lot of water in them. I remember the big bags of orange slices from playing soccer as a kid. I like trail mix and dried fruit a lot but find it dries my mouth out if I eat a lot of it on hot days so it's something I use sparingly if it's hot out. I start my brevets with a hot black tea and usually grab hot coffee or tea at a control if it's there. I've never had issues drinking warm water from my bottles along the way.
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Old 06-14-16, 09:41 AM
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I allowed myself to become dehydrated a few years ago , the result is that it ended my planned ride. My urine was not unusually dark, and even though I had assumed I was drinking enough, later it was obvious I was not. It can sneak up on you .
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Old 06-14-16, 12:19 PM
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I don't think you were seriously dehydrated. Your body will tell you when there really is a problem. I had trouble with Nuun, and stopped using them. Gatoraid makes me nauseous, so I don't drink it. Same for Pepsi. I like Coke, but I have been avoiding it. My favorite sports drink is Sprite/Ginger ale if I'm not drinking water or a carb/protein mix.

Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I've been using the drink that was formulated specifically to be drinkable in very hot weather; to be readily absorbed in high stress conditions and taste good enough that you will actually drink it. Originally called ERG, it is now Vitalyte. I used it by the container in the 70s as a bike racer in New England. When the new drinks came out in the '90s, it disappeared from the shelves; lacking the advertising budget to stay visible. I rediscovered it 10 years ago at REI; except for a few flavor additions, nothing changed. It is still right.
wow, I'm glad you said that. I bought some Erg back in the '70s, and it worked great for me, but it was a pain to get. Glad it's still around
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Old 06-14-16, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad
The next time I do a ride with these temps, I plan to use only pure water and eat bananas, dried apricots, jerky, and salts snacks for electrolytes. I would be interested to hear other riders' experience riding in heat without electrolyte mixes.
I just drink water through 200 miles and it nearly always* works fine for me.

I do eat about half a Clif bar hourly which includes 115mg sodium, 115mg potassium, and 12.5% of the magnesium/phosphorus RDA.

* On my last 200k after the coastal fog burned off the air temperature exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit for my climb back over the Santa Cruz mountains, my Garmin reached over 100, and although I was drinking as much as I could (1.5 - 2 liters in 1:40, didn't run out) I didn't seem to be sweating any more. I had to stop in the shade, and didn't pee for six hours after I got home. I don't know if I'd have absorbed more water with electrolytes mixed in.

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Old 06-15-16, 04:38 AM
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If your mouth is sore, try taking some Vitamin B complex. A long time ago, I had a discussion with another randonneur who put me on to this. I used to get tongue and cheek ulcers, but after taking his advice about the Vit B, I seemed to avoid them. I was reminded recently of the positive effect, taking a tablet one evening, and next morning the tongue ulcer had disappeared.
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Old 06-15-16, 08:19 AM
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Thank you to everybody for the feedback! As I read these posts and do some additional reading, I think I've been buying into marketing that makes it appear hydration requires electrolytes. YES, electrolytes are a very important part of hydration. However, hydration with pure water is acceptable, as long as you have the electrolytes in your system.

I maintain a balanced, whole-food diet, and focus on foods/drinks that include the needed electrolytes. I have never had a muscle cramp on any ride or any other symptoms of low electrolytes. Based on this, I feel confident that I can skip all the marketing hype of Gatoraid and other drink mixes. I have enough electrolytes in my diet and I need to focus on getting water in my body on these hot rides.

All of this reminds me of something I know and believe but somehow didn't apply it to my drink mixes: "Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants." Michael Pollan.

Quick footnote: I know I was not dehydrated on Saturday, but I was approaching it.
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Old 06-15-16, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt
* On my last 200k after the coastal fog burned off the air temperature exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit for my climb back over the Santa Cruz mountains, my Garmin reached over 100, and although I was drinking as much as I could (1.5 - 2 liters in 1:40, didn't run out) I didn't seem to be sweating any more. I had to stop in the shade, and didn't pee for six hours after I got home. I don't know if I'd have absorbed more water with electrolytes mixed in.
Last time I rode in those conditions, I was consuming ~2 liters an hour. I stopped sweating at one point and got the chills at least once. I felt quite horrible.. bloated and difficulty concentrating.

Once I got home, I had an extreme craving for salt. I ate some heavily salted food for dinner. After that, I was peeing clear every 15 minutes for a couple of hours. As best I can tell from Dr. Google, I suffered from hyponatremia.

So the point of my story is, just because you're not peeing doesn't mean you're dehydrated.
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Old 06-15-16, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chandltp
Last time I rode in those conditions, I was consuming ~2 liters an hour. I stopped sweating at one point and got the chills at least once. I felt quite horrible.. bloated and difficulty concentrating.

Once I got home, I had an extreme craving for salt. I ate some heavily salted food for dinner. After that, I was peeing clear every 15 minutes for a couple of hours. As best I can tell from Dr. Google, I suffered from hyponatremia.

So the point of my story is, just because you're not peeing doesn't mean you're dehydrated.
Good point, though so far whenever I've stopped peeing it's been dehydration.

I only use a sport drink for shorter rides, and then it's HEED which doesn't give me a sore mouth. For longer rides, I use a food bottle and a plain water bottle and take Endurolytes. For hot long rides, I use a 70 oz Camelbak and one food bottle. The Camelbak makes it easier to drink as much as possible, sometimes every 5 minutes. I take 1-2 Endurolytes per bottle or enough to make me thirsty so I'll drink more. I always use an HRM. For me lack of water makes my HR go up for the effort, very noticeably. Lack of food has the opposite effect. Thus I use the HRM to keep my fueling in the right zone maybe more than I use it to gauge effort.

Maybe the Endurolytes practice has kept me from ever developing a salt craving. I usually ignore the pretzels at rest stops on organized rides.
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Old 06-15-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Maybe the Endurolytes practice has kept me from ever developing a salt craving. I usually ignore the pretzels at rest stops on organized rides.
I would say that's very likely. Whenever I take in electrolytes on hot rides, my hydration seems to stay in the right range easier.
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Old 06-15-16, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by chandltp
I would say that's very likely. Whenever I take in electrolytes on hot rides, my hydration seems to stay in the right range easier.
I always carry more Endurolytes than I could possibly use, so that I can give them away to folks in trouble. I've done that on many a long ride or brevet. It's easy not to take them, since they don't seem to do anything. Until it's too late.
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Old 06-15-16, 04:48 PM
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This is great. I'm in my first real year of Randonneuring, and I started off the season using my normal century load of 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of some kind of sports liquid, refill as necessary. Worked OK on the 200. I started getting sick of the sports drink on the 300, and started getting dehydrated because I didn't want to drink any more. About 75% through the 400 and I said enough, dumped out my lemon sports drink, and filled them both with water. I think water is the way I'm headed now. Especially after hearing much more experienced folks do that as well. At least that's the next experiment.

Water is on the menu, with back up powder in the bag, and electrolytes in the food, - if I work up the guts to sign up for the 600k coming up...

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Old 06-16-16, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I always carry more Endurolytes than I could possibly use, so that I can give them away to folks in trouble. I've done that on many a long ride or brevet. It's easy not to take them, since they don't seem to do anything. Until it's too late.
I've had pretty good luck with my bottle of Salt Stix. I don't like to mix hydration, nutrition, and electrolytes (at least not ahead of time.. if I discover mid-ride I need both then I do that at a rest stop with gatorade or something)
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Old 06-16-16, 08:02 AM
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french fries work great for me. A lot of randonneurs drink chocolate milk, because of the sugar/protein/salt mix. It doesn't sit well in my stomach a lot of the time, but it works well for me otherwise. I did most of a 1200k on reese's cups and chocolate milk. Ever since I had trouble with Nuun, I make sure to have a bottle of plain water on my bike. Your body averages your food intake over time, you don't always have to ingest a perfect mix.
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Old 06-16-16, 09:42 AM
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Chocolate milk works great, until it doesn't -- and that's usually on a hot day when I really need to drink more, and my stomach (after the choco-milk) can't handle it.

M wife keeps buying me more Nuun than I can consume. I seem to have to really need the salt, and to have topped out on water, before I can tolerate the Nuun.
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Old 06-16-16, 02:59 PM
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A similar situation had happened to me last year on a 200k hilly Brevet. It was one of the 1st Brevets of the year where the temperature had reached 30 deg C, and my body hadn't adapted yet. On the last major climb I had 2 bottles of sports drink, but it just wouldn't go down. I need plain water. I cramped simultaneously and repeatedly on both legs. It took me an hour to start riding continuously at a low pace w/o cramping. This was the 1st time cramps actually stopped from riding. After reaching a water station and drinking pure water I recovered fully, and regained my normal pace.
I used to drink sports drinks and electrolyte drinks with very little water. After this incident I've have replaced some of the sports drinks with pure water.
Often on Brevets I have a craving for potato chips. To me, my body is asking for sodium.
Also, my month feels sore when I eat after a strenuous Brevet.
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Old 06-22-16, 09:49 AM
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There is a limit on how much water/electrolytes/dissolved carbs you can absorb per hour of riding. What that limit is is a bit vague but somewhere in the 800-1200 ml/hr range with a few athletes able to absorb more. By absorb I mean transit out of the gut into the bloodstream. It is well established that low molecular wgt sugars increase absorption upto several % and then begin to decrease absorption. The addition of small amounts of electrolytes also enhances absorption, small being well below blood levels of same and at a level where taste is not affected. The bloat sensation basically means your stomach is serving as a reservoir for excess fluids you are drinking, ie above the absorption rate. I have finished centuries with sloshing in my stomach.

The best indicator of fluid status is weight change over the ride. Weight meaning essentially nude weight as wet/dry clothes can mask this. If you are ending up 3-6#
lighter at ~150# rider weight then most of us can tolerate this with only mild decrements in power output and endurance. When you exceed the 5% level of weight
loss on the ride then you will start feeling pretty lousy. This weight change on the ride
itself is almost all fluid loss, there will be some ounces to maybe a pound on really long
rides that represent glycogen/fat/muscle metabolism but little will be burned on shorter
(200k or so) rides. Salt craving is a clear sign of excess water over electrolyte, I have
this all summer long, typically though I am no longer an LSD rider (150k max).

Urine output during a ride is a reasonable marker for in ride hydration being enough for the kidneys to function, but the bettter indicator is pre/post ride weight. Weight may be
difficult to check if you are driving a ways home from a ride and eat/drink at the end,
so taking a scale with you might be enlightening.
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Old 06-23-16, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I always carry more Endurolytes than I could possibly use, so that I can give them away to folks in trouble. I've done that on many a long ride or brevet. It's easy not to take them, since they don't seem to do anything. Until it's too late.
I am with you on this one, more is better then less...

I ALWAYS use Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Fizz in my water and also carry carry more Endurolytes Extreme then I could use and offer it to others when they are in need. It isn't a ton of money nor weight to have it on a ride and the side effects of getting low on electrolytes SUCK if not all out dangerous.

I always know when I am low on electrolytes because I drink the water + Fizz but am still thirsty. I throw back a Endurolytes Extreme and within 20 seconds I am no longer thirsty! But that is just how I react to this stuff
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Old 06-23-16, 08:00 AM
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And sports drinks work great for me -- I might switch flavors halfway through a long brevet if I get tired of fake fruit punch, or occasionally get a coconut water or something else. I find I can't convince myself to drink water a lot of the time, but can drink flavored things. I tend to be pretty close weight-wise when I remember to check before/after, and the hotter it is the less I want to eat actual food, so drinking my calories helps too.
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Old 06-23-16, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by antimonysarah
And sports drinks work great for me -- I might switch flavors halfway through a long brevet if I get tired of fake fruit punch, or occasionally get a coconut water or something else. I find I can't convince myself to drink water a lot of the time, but can drink flavored things. I tend to be pretty close weight-wise when I remember to check before/after, and the hotter it is the less I want to eat actual food, so drinking my calories helps too.
I'm with you on this, though after a time I can get really sick of sweet drinks.
On the back half of a hot 400 I'll actively seek out places that sell plain tonic water.
Sometimes a bit of lime juice in the water will liven things up ( if I can actually find one of those plastic lime things).
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