Summer is here. Like, really here. The heat and UV rays are merciless. Here we deliver advice on hydrating, replenishing, and blocking the sun.
Summertime Heat: Battle the Sun
We have some tips and reminders about the fluids you need to perform and have fun on your summer rides.
An hour before your ride, sip on 16 to 20oz (1 bottle) of water or electrolyte and let it do some work. Eliminate what you don't need. Your body will let you know.
MAINTAIN DAILY HYDRATION
If you hydrate properly on a regular basis, you won't need to worry as much about getting dehydrated during a typical moderate ride. The old eight 8-ounce glasses of water is a good habit. Research says regular gym-goers begin their workouts under-hydrated. Make drinking clean fluids a habit.
KNOW YOUR SWEAT LOSS RATE
If you know your sweat rate, you will know the rate and amount of hydration you need to replace the loss. To determine your sweat rate, weigh yourself before and after a short ride. An hour ride is a good indicator of what you're losing through sweat alone.
TOP OFF AS YOU GO
Assuming you've consumed 16-20 oz. before you hit the road, then take in about six to eight ounces (two to three gulps) every 15 to 20 minutes while you ride.
ELECTROLYTES & SPORTS DRINKS
There are dozens of sports drinks and electrolyte products, ranging from purple sugar water to beet-tinis. Basically, electrolytes help our cells work, sending electrical impulses that influence our heart, muscles and nerves. They also play an important role in fluid balance and hydration in our cells, tissues, and our muscles. Lack of sufficient electrolytes can contribute to muscle cramps, delayed muscle soreness and spasms following exercise and for some can contribute to headaches.
Personal preference weighs heavily on this choice, but start with a baseline of the stuff you need, or the stuff you lose on a ride.
Your drink should contain these essential items
Lots of foods provide electrolytes in their everyday, natural form, so it's smart to load your diet with electrolyte-rich foods. We will go over these in another story.
WHAT ABOUT SUGAR?
Many sports drinks have sugar, whose purpose is to give you fuel and fight the bonk. The consensus in our shop is to get your carbs from gels and food. Will Black, general manager and ultra-experienced bike racer, says that drinking a sugary drink throughout a long ride makes his stomach parts very angry. He drinks water and a clean electrolyte drink for hydration and chemical replenishment. Fuel comes in more solid form, like Clif gels, Bloks, Bonkbreaker bars, Clif Bars, Honeystinger Waffles, and Skratch chews.
ELECTROLYTE PRODUCTS OF CHOICE
These are natural, super clean, and designed for specific hydration needs.
- Exercise Hydration Mix A sports drink containing simple sugars, electrolytes, and only real fruit for flavor. A little more sodium and sugar for hydration while you're sweating.
- Hyper Hydration Mix This is not for everyone. It is packed with sodium and electrolytes for the athlete who is embarking on a body-crushing Texas sweat party.
Simple Electrolytes and sodium, with a pleasant, lightly sweet flavor and effervescence.
These are some of our showcase products, but we have something for most tastes and biological needs. Come in a talk to one of our hydration specialists.
Salt & Salt Tablets
During long efforts, along with fluids, you lose sodium, or salt. Sodium is important for these reasons. First, it's believed to increase the rate of fluid absorption from the gut into the bloodstream. And faster fluid absorption means faster hydration and less dehydration.
The second benefit of sodium is that it helps athletes maintain a higher blood volume, which in turn keeps body temperature and heart rate from rising during prolonged exercise.
The major salt-related risk to the health of endurance athletes is hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition also known as water intoxication. Hyponatremia results when the sodium concentration of the blood falls too low due to prolonged sweating combined with excessive fluid consumption. Symptoms include dizziness, muscle cramping, confusion, and stomach bloating. Severe cases can lead to seizure, coma and even death.
Because hyponatremia is characterized by low salt concentration in the blood, some experts advocate consuming extra salt during exercise as a way to prevent it. However, it is also said that hyponatremia is caused by drinking too much water, thereby reducing salt concentration in the blood.
- Salty snacks: pretzels, chips, crackers
- Electrolyte drink with sodium
- Salt Tablets
Since every body is different, you should observe how your body loses water and salt. This determines which, if any, replacement products you take.
We all know hours in the sun does permanent damage to our skin, including risk of cancer. In addition direct exposure to the sun heats the body, dehydrates, and saps energy
This is a no-brainer, right? Liberally apply a high SPF sunscreen that is sweat resistant, unscented, and sticks to athletes' bodies.
These Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves provide sheer, lightweight protection for legs and arms that block direct sun. Soak them in cold water before your ride and they provide long-term cooling.