OK, it just got really hot. Heat brings a whole new challenge to riding, where your simple goal of training can turn into damaging nightmare if you aren't properly nourished and hydrated. Eddie Martinez, our Floor Manager and Bike Buyer, gives us his educated take on the subject.
Hydration: Before, during, and after.
First, we must stress that everyone is different, and your fluid and nutrition requirements may be much different than your mates. So, you need to pay attention to what works for you.
In the hot months, keep your bottle of water with you on or off the bike. Water is never bad. Start sipping water 4 hours before your ride, and continue at that sipping pace through the day. Don't chug it all at once. Let your body absorb it completely over time. In hot weather, blood is headed away from the gut toward the skin and muscles in order to keep you cool. With less blood flow in the digestive system, the body can't process water fast enough and you end up just peeing it out.
During my rides, I drink about 16 ounces per hour. This could vary, depending on your own body, the intensity of the workout, and temperature.
Afterwards, you need to make sure you replace the water and electrolytes you have lost. Drink water and a 'lytes drink, as well as snack or a meal with protein for full recovery. To know how heat effects you, weigh yourself before and after your ride. If you weigh less, drink more water during your ride.
Post ride it should be something with a menu of lean protein, complex carbs, and electrolytes. My quick go to is a chocolate milk. But, if you have time to eat, go with a sandwich. All said, your ride length should dictate how much you eat after. If your ride is an hour or less, you are not burning enough calories to justify a feast. If you go two hours and more, you'll need to feed during the ride.
Your diet, if you eat sensibly, usually carries delivers enough potassium, magnesium, and sodium to properly fill your electrolyte needs. For rides of an hour or shorter, water is usually enough. For longer, more intense rides, you'll need to replace those electrolytes to avoid cramping and body lock-down.
There are many electrolyte drinks, and we carry several: Scratch, Osmo, Gu Brew, Nuun, Hammer Heed, EFS, and more. We like all of these, but anything you put in your gut gets very personal. I prefer Skratch because it has natural ingredients, isn't overly sweet, and doesn't upset my stomach. On a ride 2-4 hours, I load a bottle of Skratch along with my water.
A ride longer than two hours will depletes your blood sugar, which provide energy to your organs and muscles. To avoid the "bonk" you must replace it with clean, simple sugars in your drinks or other vehicles. The Clif Shot gels and other one-hit sugar products work fast and usually don't upset my stomach. But you must test the products, and see how much is tolerable for you. On a super long ride, six gels might have you doubled over. It may be better to have a less intense carb source like bananas or a peanut butter sandwich.
Come into the shop and talk to staff about their nutrition preferences. Or, drop Shane Traughber a line. He is our Nutrition Consultant in the Pedal Hard Training Center. He can analyze your current state and put you on a plan than could change your life.
Raise your bottle now and take a sip. Cheers to a hot, hydrated, August.