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How to keep from getting dehydrated?

Old 08-22-19, 10:43 AM
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How to keep from getting dehydrated?

Hi All,

I'm in my 8th decade and started road biking about a year ago. My goal has been a 50-miler, which I finally accomplished yesterday. However, I experienced significant leg cramps for the last five miles and again, last night. Last night, pickle juice relieved the cramps but those last five miles, yesterday, were pretty difficult. Good thing I've gone to clipless pedals. At one point, with my right thigh cramped, I had to use my left leg to pull up on the pedal to push it back down again.

Prior to the ride I had a glass of water and a cup of black coffee laced with MCT power.
During the ride I had:
Maurten 160 drink mix in 17 ozs. of water after 13 miles. I then refilled my drink holder with 17 ozs. of mixed Zip-Fiz.
I sucked down a Maurten jell pack around 18 miles and drank the Zip-Fiz at around 20 miles.
I refilled my water bottle with another shot of Zip-Fiz which I drank around 28 miles, along with another Maurten jell pack.
I drank the last of the Zip-Fiz at 37 miles and a last bottle of water at 42 miles. Right leg cramped up pretty badly around 45 miles. Eventually it subsided as I pedaled home.

How much more do I need to drink (or eat) and when... to stay hydrated and avoid the leg cramps?

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 08-22-19, 10:59 AM
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how is your hydration the day/night before?

Sounds like you had 2-3 bottles over 50 miles? Might be too little. Might be okay, depending on you. (In the FL heat, I'd probably be closer to 4-5 24oz bottles for a 50mi ride, but that's me. In the summer I plan for 24oz/10-15 mi).

--what are your typical distances? (like, is 50miles twice what you normally do?)

I use Hammer Endurolytes (https://www.hammernutrition.com/prod...olytes-extreme), an electrolyte pill. In your locale, in the heat/humidity, I'd probably be doing 2 pills/hour. ZipFizz markets itself as an energy mix, not an electrolyte replacement, so perhaps you're missing out there (thinking it helps more than it is).
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Old 08-22-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
how is your hydration the day/night before?

Sounds like you had 2-3 bottles over 50 miles? Might be too little. Might be okay, depending on you. (In the FL heat, I'd probably be closer to 4-5 24oz bottles for a 50mi ride, but that's me. In the summer I plan for 24oz/10-15 mi).

--what are your typical distances? (like, is 50miles twice what you normally do?)

I use Hammer Endurolytes (https://www.hammernutrition.com/prod...olytes-extreme), an electrolyte pill. In your locale, in the heat/humidity, I'd probably be doing 2 pills/hour. ZipFizz markets itself as an energy mix, not an electrolyte replacement, so perhaps you're missing out there (thinking it helps more than it is).
Thanks, superdex,

My typical mileage is 25-35 miles at 60-85 miles per week, riding every other or every third day. I have, however, had three rides over the past month above 40 miles. Any recommendations on an electrolyte replacement?
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Old 08-22-19, 02:34 PM
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Old 08-22-19, 02:57 PM
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To improve TODAY you needed to over-hydrate (not too much or else you will have sodium/potassium issues) for three days. The reason I say "Over-Hydrate" is that if you are hydrating properly you will feel like you are going to burst. The general rule of thumb is after experiencing dehydration you drink until you urinate clear two times. Then resume tracked hydration. I use "shaker bottles" labled with oz/ml on the side. Some people use gallon jugs. Just stay consistent.

Just as important as hydrating is being able to use that water. You require sodium. A lot of things are low sodium now but if you are an endurance athlete you need the extra sodium. When I was at MCRD Parris Island we put extra salt on EVERYTHING. We drank normal gatorade not the low sodium junk. You have to replenish your electrolytes.

Balanced and measured intake days or weeks in advance is what you are going for. They say the way you hydrate 2-3 days in advance determines your output of that day. So be consistent with your water intake.

Also see your physician. I was seriously injured so badly it brought my dreams to a screeching halt. Rhabdo, low sodium, low potassium, dehydration and other factors all can cause life-threatening complications. My protein levels were so high in my blood stream that it indicated my kidneys were shutting down. If you are riding century rides, iron mans, triathelons, running marathons ect you NEED to see a doctor regularly.

At 27 years old I lost my opportunity to be a Marine, and nearly lost more than that. Months later here I am starting over and rehabilitating my body to get back to where I was just a few short months ago.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:15 PM
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Med-tent studies have shown no difference between the hydration or electrolyte status of those who bailed from foot races due to cramping. That's not the usual problem, which is performing at a level to which one is not accustomed. IOW, working your muscles to rebellion. That's a nice present from our DNA to prevent us from seriously damaging ourselves. Just keep at it, especially hard efforts on hills. Non-cyclists think riding on the flat is the only smart thing to do, but in reality cycling is all about riding hills.

As far as hydration goes, my practice is to drink enough water so that I need to pee about every 3 hours. That said, on my first solo century, hilly, on a warm summer day, I drank a total of 34 oz. water and ate one candy bar and one orange. I got tired, but didn't cramp. I was a college student and rode my bike everywhere in a very hilly area. For electrolytes, probably doesn't matter on a "short ride" like 50 miles unless it's a hot day. Calories on the bike are another story. They make the ride. On a ride of over 3 hours, I'll shoot for ~200 calories/hour, all or almost all carbs. I keep track. I'm only 74, hoping to keep at it for a long time to come.

Good for you! I remember my first "adult" 50 mile ride when I was maybe 52. At about 40 miles I was sitting in a ditch watching the world spin around. Low blood sugar. I ate a Clif bar and was fine in a few minutes. Randonneuring wisdom says that whenever you feel bad, down, or disheartened while cycling, eat something. OTOH, they're mostly not skinny people.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:39 PM
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Not sure if this is proper, but a cyclist friend and past PCP who alerted me to my Prostate Cancer when she did a DRE sent me this article .....

Subject: Hydration report Time MagBy Markham Heid August 9, 2019Dehydration is a drag on human performance. It can cause fatigue and sap endurance among athletes, according to a 2018 study in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. Even mild dehydration can interfere with a person’s mood or ability to concentrate.

Water is cheap and healthy. And drinking H2O is an effective way for most people to stay hydrated. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adult women and men drink at least 91 and 125 ounces of water a day, respectively. (For context, one gallon is 128 fluid ounces.) But pounding large quantities of water morning, noon and night may not be the best or most efficient way to meet the body’s hydration requirements.

“If you’re drinking water and then, within two hours, your urine output is really high and [your urine] is clear, that means the water is not staying in well,” says David Nieman, a professor of public health at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus. Nieman says plain water has a tendency to slip right through the human digestive system when not accompanied by food or nutrients. This is especially true when people drink large volumes of water on an empty stomach. “There’s no virtue to that kind of consumption,” he says.

In fact, clear urine is a sign of “overhydration,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. And some of the latest research supports Nieman’s claim that guzzling lots of water is not the best way to stay hydrated.
For a 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers compared the short-term hydration effects of more than a dozen different beverages—everything from plain water and sports drinks to milk, tea, and beer, to a specially formulated “rehydration solution.” Based on urine analyses collected from the study volunteers, the researchers concluded that several drinks—including milk, tea, and orange juice, but not sports drinks—were more hydrating than plain water. (Lager was a little less hydrating than water, but a little better than coffee.)

Of course, no one’s suggesting that people dump water in favor of milk and OJ. Water is still hydrating. So are sports drinks, beer, and even coffee, to some extent. But the authors of the 2015 study wrote that there are several “elements of a beverage” that affect how much H2O the body retains. These include a drink’s nutrient content, as well as the presence of “diuretic agents,” which increase the amount of urine a person produces. Ingesting water along with amino acids, fats and minerals seems to help the body take up and retain more H2O—and therefore maintain better levels of hydration—which is especially important following exercise and periods of heavy perspiration.

“People who are drinking bottles and bottles of water in between meals and with no food, they’re probably just peeing most of that out,” Nieman says. Also, the popular idea that constant and heavy water consumption “flushes” the body of toxins or unwanted material is a half-truth. While urine does transport chemical byproducts and waste out of the body, drinking lots of water on an empty stomach doesn’t improve this cleansing process, he says.

In some rare cases, excessive water consumption can even be harmful. “In athletes or people who are exercising for hours, if they’re only drinking water, they can throw out too much sodium in their urine, which leads to an imbalance in the body’s sodium levels,” explains Nieman, who has spent a chunk of his career investigating exercise-related hydration. Doctors call this imbalance “hyponatremia,” and in some cases it can be deadly. In this scenario, sports drinks and other beverages that contain nutrients and sodium are safer than plain water.

While hyponatremia and excessive water consumption aren’t big concerns for non-athletes, there are better ways to keep the body and brain hydrated than to pound water all day long. Sipping water (or any other beverage) a little bit at a time prevents the kidneys from being “overloaded,” and so helps the body retain more H2O, Nieman says.

Drinking water before or during a meal or snack is another good way to hydrate. “Drinking water with amino acids or fats or vitamins or minerals helps the body take up more of the water, which is why beverages like milk and fruit juice tend to look pretty good in these hydration studies,” he says. Some of his own research has found that eating a banana is better than drinking a sports beverage when it comes to post-exercise recovery. And he says eating almost any piece of fruit along with some water is going to aid the body’s ability to take up that H2O and rehydrate. (These hydration rules apply to athletes as well, he says.)

The take-home message isn’t that people should drink less water, nor that they should swap out water for other beverages. But for those hoping to stay optimally hydrated, a slow-and-steady approach to water consumption and coupling water with a little food is a more effective method than knocking back full glasses of H2O between meals. “Water is good for you, but you can drown in it too,” Nieman says.

Contact us at editors@time.com?subject=(READER FEE... Stay Hydrated.
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Old 08-22-19, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MrArrow View Post
To improve TODAY you needed to over-hydrate (not too much or else you will have sodium/potassium issues) for three days. The reason I say "Over-Hydrate" is that if you are hydrating properly you will feel like you are going to burst. The general rule of thumb is after experiencing dehydration you drink until you urinate clear two times. Then resume tracked hydration. I use "shaker bottles" labled with oz/ml on the side. Some people use gallon jugs. Just stay consistent.

Just as important as hydrating is being able to use that water. You require sodium. A lot of things are low sodium now but if you are an endurance athlete you need the extra sodium. When I was at MCRD Parris Island we put extra salt on EVERYTHING. We drank normal gatorade not the low sodium junk. You have to replenish your electrolytes.

Balanced and measured intake days or weeks in advance is what you are going for. They say the way you hydrate 2-3 days in advance determines your output of that day. So be consistent with your water intake.

Also see your physician. I was seriously injured so badly it brought my dreams to a screeching halt. Rhabdo, low sodium, low potassium, dehydration and other factors all can cause life-threatening complications. My protein levels were so high in my blood stream that it indicated my kidneys were shutting down. If you are riding century rides, iron mans, triathelons, running marathons ect you NEED to see a doctor regularly.

At 27 years old I lost my opportunity to be a Marine, and nearly lost more than that. Months later here I am starting over and rehabilitating my body to get back to where I was just a few short months ago.
Actually a moderate sodium diet has been shown to be best for endurance athletes. Most Americans get far too much sodium in their daily diet. I eat a natural foods diet and have to work at it to get ~1500 mg/day. My hot weather performance is very good. I seem to lose less salt than those who eat a higher sodium diet. The idea that more salt is better is current bro-science, but the real science behind moderate salt intake seems sound. See:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554439/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0413161306.htm
https://www.hammernutrition.com/know...rmance-health/

74 y.o. still hard at it, 11 hour rides over mountain passes no problem. Did 250 mile 18 hour mountain rides in my 60s, multi-hour pass climbs in 100+, probably still could but been there, done that. Looking forward to my annual 10-day unsupported (of course) backpack in the Cascades with my wife in a couple weeks.

No excuse for your getting rhabdo. The military does not do everything right, in spite of what comes down the chain of command. We thought we proved that to everyone's satisfaction in the 60s and 70s. Someone should have gotten at least a reprimand.

Neither overhydrating nor overdoing the electrolytes is a good idea. One should eat a moderate-salt diet, much less salt than the average American diet, and take only enough electrolytes to produce continuous mild thirst during exercise, no more.
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Old 08-22-19, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Actually a moderate sodium diet has been shown to be best for endurance athletes. Most Americans get far too much sodium in their daily diet. I eat a natural foods diet and have to work at it to get ~1500 mg/day. My hot weather performance is very good. I seem to lose less salt than those who eat a higher sodium diet. The idea that more salt is better is current bro-science, but the real science behind moderate salt intake seems sound. See:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554439/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0413161306.htm
https://www.hammernutrition.com/know...rmance-health/

74 y.o. still hard at it, 11 hour rides over mountain passes no problem. Did 250 mile 18 hour mountain rides in my 60s, multi-hour pass climbs in 100+, probably still could but been there, done that. Looking forward to my annual 10-day unsupported (of course) backpack in the Cascades with my wife in a couple weeks.

No excuse for your getting rhabdo. The military does not do everything right, in spite of what comes down the chain of command. We thought we proved that to everyone's satisfaction in the 60s and 70s. Someone should have gotten at least a reprimand.

Neither overhydrating nor overdoing the electrolytes is a good idea. One should eat a moderate-salt diet, much less salt than the average American diet, and take only enough electrolytes to produce continuous mild thirst during exercise, no more.
You nailed it. Moderate is correct on intake. For me, we didn't get the average american diet on MCRD so as much salt as possible was the answer. For most people moderate sodium intake is the answer. I just always warn people that doing low sodium options when doing endurance running/cycling/climbing isn't necessary. They will typically use what they can intake. Most people that get beyond average distances or time already have started towards their diet. Seeing a nutritionist could be a good idea. I've always stuck to the eat all colors in the day, if you go out to eat substitute one item for a vegi option, don't do soda, and eat natural whole foods whenever possible.

As far as my rhabdo... yeah I went in with a pre-shipping load of running too much to begin and being much older than the average recruit. I can't entirely blame someone else as I contributed to that end. But what I can say is that doctors were convinced I was denied food and water during strenuous training. I lost 12 lbs of muscle in 10 days. My CK levels were off the charts. There was an investigation into the injury because it occurred so rapidly that a doctor threw a fit and wanted heads to roll. It is what it is.

The lesson to take from this is 1)see your doctor regularly 2)intake proportionate amounts of nutrients to water 3)use any scientific tools to your advantage in training. We have apps for everything and research is published endlessly on endurance athletics and the effects of different training methods. Formulate a plan and stick to it. I spent too much time switching early on to see the results of any individual plan.

GET MONITORED!!! you should know your BP, blood sugar, potassium and sodium trends. For real it could save your life. I damaged my kidneys and lord knows what that means for me when I'm older. I saw guys have high fevers (107!!!), hypernatremia, rhabdomyolysis, severe dehydration complications, hypovolmic shock.... ALL of which were avoidable by planning and executing a dietary and hydration guide. Find a simple way to track it and stick to it. Having an injury that people can't see or understand makes you feel like a b*** trust me. Don't land in my postition. Starting this thread was an important step in the right direction OP.
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Old 08-22-19, 11:41 PM
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I haven't bothered to read all the replies, but I personally don't like my water flavored so if I'm going to be doing a hard effort in the heat I will add ten to twenty drops of electrolyte solution that is almost flavorless to my water and has no additives (no sugar, no sweeteners of any kind). Also, I'm not sure about the brands you mentioned. The first one, Maurten, seems to only have sodium added to it. You need all the electrolytes, not just sodium. I like https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/f...te-concentrate because it has a very good electrolyte profile.

Most rides I do (20 to 50 miles) I need 0 to 1 water bottle (but I go into the ride well hydrated). Sometimes, if I'm riding especially hard and it's really hot out, I'll need 3 bottles of water. If I go into a ride dehydrated (which pretty much never happens), then I could easily need 5 bottles of water.

But, do understand that for hydration, electrolytes are THE most important thing to being hydrated. Personally, I like to keep my electrolytes and my energy sources separate (I fuel with Cliff shot bloks and I hydrate with plain water or water with electrolyte drops). When I was starting out in cycling I needed added electrolytes much more than I need them now, so if you're new, and especially if you're doing distances and efforts that are new territory for you; electrolytes are going to be absolutely key to your hydration needs.

The best natural source of electrolytes are coconut waters (I like the ones by VitaCoco 'cause they're the most natural). You only want to drink these when you need them, though. I have a friend who isn't an athlete but for some reason gets carried away with drinking these and they make him sick when he drinks them all the time. Everything in balance. Your body is always trying to be in balance. When you ride really hard/really far, your body loses electrolytes through sweat that if aren't all replaced (the Maurten only replaced one of 4 or 5 essential electrolytes) then you're going to end up with problems (leg cramps being one of them).
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Old 08-23-19, 02:48 AM
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I go with one 750 ml bottle of WATER every 1 to 1.5 hours ... maybe a little more if it is hot or windy ... maybe a little bit less if it is cool. That seems to work for me.

I may also have a bottle of coke, iced tea or apple/orange juice during a break.

For electrolytes, I use electrolyte tablets like Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes or food like salted almonds & potato chips.

Works for me!
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Old 08-23-19, 04:01 AM
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I'm 80 y.o. and am prone to moderate cramps. Early in my cycling career cramping was a serious problem that mostly went away with increased fitness and improves ability to deal with it. I agree with the comment about electrolytes. I use Hammer Nutrition products also. How much to drink during a ride will depend on how much you perspire and that is dependent on individual metabolism and outside temps. The easy way I've found to gauge fluid intake is to get in the habit of weighing yourself before a ride and then at the end. A weight loss of 1 1/2 pounds indicates you need to drink more and it seems to work best to drink before feeling thirsty. In a short period of time you will be able to gauge how many water bottles are needed.

I weigh 155 ponds on a light gravity day. When I first began cycling, for a 50 mile ride I needed almost three water bottles. Over time, about 8 years, for the same ride two water bottles will do because the body adopts, even at our age, and becomes more efficient. It also helps to be well hydrated beginning the day before. Additionally, I use this, https://www.rei.com/product/753419/s...SABEgKZtPD_BwE, and something from CVS pharmacy called Leg Cramp Relief which I find very effective even after cramping has begun.
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Old 08-23-19, 06:43 AM
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Thanks to all who replied! Sounds like I drank more than enough water but didn't provide for adequate electrolyte replacement. I will investigate the options you suggested and, eventually... try it again!

One further question: Do you eat (breakfast) before a long ride? (I don't). If you do, what do you eat and how far in advance of the ride do you eat?

Again, Many Thanks!
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Old 08-23-19, 08:59 AM
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Since my greatest fear on a long ride is going hungry I will eat pretty close to the start of the ride (like an hour); but if it's a shorter ride I'll try not to eat less than 2.5 hours before so that I can ride harder (I don't want to be digesting). Since I have a hard time not riding hard, eating close to the start of a long ride is my way of kind of forcing myself to pace myself for the first half of the ride. If you are doing a long ride in the morning you should definitely eat before the ride! Each person is different, though; I have a very high metabolism, especially since I'm riding so much right now and basically I have to eat all the time (like every two to three hours).

Are you on a special diet? Why do you take MCT powder?
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Old 08-23-19, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDyno View Post
One further question: Do you eat (breakfast) before a long ride? (I don't). If you do, what do you eat and how far in advance of the ride do you eat?
Depends on the type of ride and length. I will mix in fasted rides in the morning (not eating anything) for metabolism training (https://blog.trainerroad.com/program...sted-training/) but for a 50mi ride (kinda the threshold of what I consider "long" --YMMV), I will eat something, whether bagel and PB or a bowl of cereal, an hour-ish prior (sometimes just-before the ride because I'm in a hurry and need to get out the door). I've done a couple longer fasted rides where I either bring food with me or stop somewhere.

For me, rides in the 20-25mi length (my typical lunch-time ride) I rarely eat before and almost never eat during. I'll have my lunch when I get back. Again, YMMV and depends on your goals.
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Old 08-23-19, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Grotug View Post
Are you on a special diet? Why do you take MCT powder?
My wife started a Keto diet about eight months ago, about the time I got my first serious road bike. Since she's the family chef, I eat what she eats and by default, was also on a Keto diet. A supplement to the diet was MCT oil and a distance biker/Keto advocate I know suggested rather than food, drink some strong coffee laced with MCT oil before each ride. I did and progressed pretty rapidly at first. I no longer follow a strict Keto diet (I've lost over 25 pounds from riding... now a tic over 160) but I have been using the MCT laced coffee before rides. I find the MCT oil has helped my... my... uh... Memory!

I can see that as my mileage progresses I'm going to have to make some nutritional adjustments.
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Old 08-23-19, 12:25 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
Depends on the type of ride and length... For me, rides in the 20-25mi length (my typical lunch-time ride) I rarely eat before and almost never eat during. I'll have my lunch when I get back. Again, YMMV and depends on your goals.
My typical ride is in the 20-30 mile range before which I just do the coffee and MCT oil. I'm starting to think I need to make time for some carbs. And... I certainly need to add electrolytes!
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Old 08-23-19, 01:04 PM
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Yep, you're ready to add carbs to your diet, especially regarding anything longer than say, 25mi. That's the hardest balance I think when trying to lose weight and perform/progress with an endurance sport. You do need carbs, especially during longer efforts. The Maurten gel is fine, but it sounds like maybe a small meal before your longer rides may help too.

When you say, "I drank ... at 42 miles," are you saying you drank the entire bottle at once, or sipped on it over the course of a few miles? Just curious....
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Old 08-23-19, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
... When you say, "I drank ... at 42 miles," are you saying you drank the entire bottle at once, or sipped on it over the course of a few miles? Just curious....
In answer to your question, I find drinking while riding awkward, and a little unnerving. I stop and drink the whole bottle and then start up again. I'm beginning to think that's a bad idea.
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Old 08-24-19, 06:03 AM
  #20  
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I read your first post as saying that you are "in the 8th grade" and I'm like ... he has a wife??

You definitely don't want to drink the whole bottle at once. Sipping a little at a time before you get thirsty is the way to go. Same goes for the carbs. You want to eat small amounts during the ride before you're hungry.
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Old 08-24-19, 01:28 PM
  #21  
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Even among medical experts and researchers there's no consensus on causes or cures for muscle cramps. Most of us experiment until we find what works for us... and then proclaim we've discovered the One True Cure.

My One True Cure... for me only:
  • DripDrop electrolytes. Usually in the baby aisle at Walgreens. Costs the same as NUUN, so a little pricey, but often discounted so I'll stock up. Comes in single serve waterproof Mylar packets, so it's easier to tote than NUUN tablets and some other electrolytes. I can stuff a packet of DripDrop in any seat bag. Usually I tuck a couple into a jersey pocket. Check the DripDrop website for details. It was developed specifically as an oral alternative to IVs for dehydrated kids suffering from cholera and severe dehydration, which can thwart attempts at IVs. There's nothing magical in the ingredients, just the perfect blend of familiar ingredients. And the flavor is mild and inoffensive without being too sweet, salty or bitter. A friend who's employees work in the heat all day switched from Gatorade to DripDrop after I told him about it. It works really well and really quickly when the symptoms of heat exhaustion hit. (Propel packets are good and cheaper but not as good as DripDrop.)
  • Creatine. By all accounts it does no harm at the recommended amount, and at a minimum causes us to retain water, which is a good thing for exercising in the heat. I can't say for certain whether it helps strength in short burst exercise, as some weightlifters claims. But it has helped my heat adaptation and endurance in long rides in Texas summer when the heat is over 100F. I'll start using creatine in water or homebrewed energy/sports drinks a day before a long hot ride, and again on the day of the ride. By the day of the ride I've put on 2-3 lbs in water weight, and can see and feel a slight puffiness. Theoretically that helps reduce the risk of joint and muscle injury. Seems to help. This summer I've finished several 50-60 mile rides that occasionally finish after noon. Before this year I'd often bail out early, around 30 miles or so, from heat and dehydration.
  • Magnesium lactate. Seems to be more effective than other forms of magnesium for preventing/relieving muscle cramps. There's also potassium lactate but I haven't tried that yet. These and other ingredients are combined in Sportlegs, but that's pricey for the convenience. Only issue with mag lactate was some gassiness the first few days. After that, no problems.

While researchers and readers differ over interpretations of whether electrolytes "work," user experience consistently indicates it does work. I've seen cyclists suffer heat exhaustion from using only plain water, then recover quickly when given an electrolyte drink. These anecdotes range back to early recorded history. Posca was used in ancient Rome as a thirst quencher, and every laborer working in the heat has a cultural variation of Haymaker's Punch. These usually contain water mixed with vinegar or soured wine, salt or brine, a little honey or sugar and occasionally some herbs or ingredients believed to have beneficial properties. The consistent ingredient is a form of sugar, sometimes in the form of alcohol, which aids rapid absorption of water and reduces bloating. So sugar-free electrolytes may not be a good thing. However sugar alcohols like maltitol may be effective substitutes, although sugar alcohols cause GI upset and gas for some folks.

Some of my cramps result from injuries, including a broken neck and back in 2001, and busted up shoulder in 2018. No surprise from those cramps. I have no idea what causes some of my own cramps that weren't caused by injury. A few days ago my left bicep suddenly spasm hard as a rock and didn't let up for 15 minutes or so. It was as sore later as I'd be from doing 50 pullups after not having worked out for weeks or months. I do regular full body exercises -- stretching and range of motion at a minimum, light weighs and resistance or full body weight a couple of times a week. My muscle tone is pretty good.

Occasionally my neck, upper back and shoulder spasms, or quads and hamstrings, are so severe and painful I've immediately flopped in the floor to avoid worse injuries from falling. Sometimes the neck spasms can be dizzying and disorienting, so at the first hint of trouble while I'm riding my bike I'll pull over and look for a soft landing spot if it gets bad enough. Most of the time it's just a nagging ache that limits my rides to 20-30 miles.

It's not due to diet or hydration. That's all taken care of. My medical checkups show no deficiencies attributable to diet or hydration.

Might be a metabolic or endocrine disorder. My thyroid quit thyroiding a couple of years ago, then I had thyroid cancer (removed with surgery, no metastasis or chemo). I still have half of a thyroid but it doesn't seem to be working and the endocrine doc has gradually increased my levothyrozine dosage over the past year. Still doesn't feel like enough some days. Other days my energy and strength are pretty good. And I've had Hashimoto's for many years, a pesky but non-fatal auto-immune disorder. Lots of weird side effects associated with that, including psoriatic arthritis, and mimicking the symptoms of fibromyalgia with non-specific aches and pains that defy diagnosis.

I take a bunch of other supplements too, but it's difficult to say whether they really help.

BTW, regarding drinking while riding, that comes with practice. I remember struggling to regain that natural sense of balance on the bike back in 2015 when I resumed riding after many years away. I'd also stop frequently to chug water. But with practice and experience I was able to maintain balance with one hand while reaching for a water bottle.

But some of my friends prefer Camelbak hydration backpacks. There's a drinking tube that most folks mount near their mouths or on the backpack chest strap. Roadies tend to be purists so I don't often see them using anything but water bottles in cages on the downtube and seat tube, but I have seen a couple who use the Camelbak backpacks on long rides.

Some folks carry water bottles only in their jersey rear pockets. I've done that to carry spares, but never as the sole source of a water bottle. Sometimes I'll freeze a pint size Mylar drinking pouch, tuck it into my center rear jersey pocket and it'll thaw slowly. Keeps me cool and provides a little water in case I misjudge the distance to the next water source.
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Old 08-24-19, 09:18 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by DrDyno View Post
In answer to your question, I find drinking while riding awkward, and a little unnerving. I stop and drink the whole bottle and then start up again. I'm beginning to think that's a bad idea.
That would make me feel sick! I'd probably be seeing the whole bottle on a projectile return trip into the ditch!

Sip your water. Nibble your food. Your stomach handles small quantities much better than large.
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Old 08-24-19, 10:21 PM
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THANKS to y'all (I live in the South now) for your responses and suggestions!

Canklecat, thanks for the tips... I feel your pain! I went flying off my bike about six months ago and broke my left clavicle.

Machka, I didn't mean to give the impression that I chug a full bottle. I stop at one of several rest stops along my usual route and, over the course of five to seven minutes, slowly drink the contents of my water bottle, refill at a water fountain and head out. Today, however, I started to take sips while in the saddle. I can see it gets easier and, I drink less water while taking less time for my stops.
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Old 08-25-19, 06:01 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by DrDyno View Post
THANKS to y'all (I live in the South now) for your responses and suggestions!

Canklecat, thanks for the tips... I feel your pain! I went flying off my bike about six months ago and broke my left clavicle.

Machka, I didn't mean to give the impression that I chug a full bottle. I stop at one of several rest stops along my usual route and, over the course of five to seven minutes, slowly drink the contents of my water bottle, refill at a water fountain and head out. Today, however, I started to take sips while in the saddle. I can see it gets easier and, I drink less water while taking less time for my stops.

I’m not in my 80’s. Let that be known. But, I have noticed the following things:

If I drink “extra” the night before and morning of a ride seem to last longer.

If I eat some form of breakfast I seem to last longer.

I absolutely must eat on the ride, eat early on the ride, and continuously eat small amounts on the ride tend to be able to keep going and going.

Lastly, I drink on every downhill and have usually downed my 1st bottle before my friends have taken their first sip.. and I’m pretty much always the first in the pace line and to the top of the hill.
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Old 08-26-19, 09:24 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by DrDyno View Post
Today, however, I started to take sips while in the saddle. I can see it gets easier and, I drink less water while taking less time for my stops.

There's also a camelbak -- I know in the heat it may not be super comfy to have one on your back, but if grabbing the mouthpiece and sipping with both hands on the bike is easier, go for it
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