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In Need of Practical On-Bike Hydration Advice

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In Need of Practical On-Bike Hydration Advice

Old 06-06-22, 10:02 AM
  #1  
Grudey1
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In Need of Practical On-Bike Hydration Advice

So... I found myself on the floor writhing and shouting in sheer agony Saturday morning as my legs continually cramped beyond any charley horse I have ever experienced before in my entire life. It went away after my son-in-law mixed up several glasses of his post-workout drink mix for me. It was so bad that my leg muscles are still sore today (Monday) from the cramping on Saturday. This occurred after a 52 mile ride in the hot, humid, Houston, TX sun (my single longest ride ever).

I obviously let my hydration and electrolytes get too low even though I drank over 70 oz. of regular water from my Camelback during the ride supplemented by some Propel drink mix in my water bottle.

I have always been a heavy perspirer all my life and being a large guy now only exacerbates the issue. I would welcome any recommendations regarding a high quality drink mix and/or practical strategies for hydration and electrolyte replenishment during my rides.
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Old 06-06-22, 01:13 PM
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I use Drip Drop, Nuun or Scratch Labs.
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Old 06-07-22, 06:15 AM
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As far as strategies, I use the larger 20 ounce insulated bottles combined with a camelbak if its hot enough. I dont add hydration products to the camelbak as that quickly ends up in feeding the funk. I dose the waterbottles and then keep a few extra packets or tubes of the powder in a small bag to add at refill stops. Dont mess around with dehydration as a fellow big man.
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Old 06-07-22, 06:33 AM
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I sometimes get strong leg cramps later in the day after a big ride. It's overworking the muscles, not electrolytes. Occasionally, the cramp is strong enough to be sore for a couple of days. But it stops by itself after a few minutes of agony, no drink mix to cure it.


Electrolytes seem to work for some cyclists, not for others. Cramps must have more than one cause.

It's easy to get behind hydration. I've seen comments that if you are thirsty, you waited too long!
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Old 06-07-22, 07:13 AM
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You're going to have to keep riding and trying different things to find out what works for you.

True, overexertion beyond what you've trained for can cause cramps. But I suspect the fact your cramps went away after drinking (presumably) electrolyte mix is an indication you were low on salt, water, or both.

Some concrete suggestions:
1. Drink a big glass of water before you start. Make sure you're drinking every 15 minutes or so on the road.

2. Find electrolytes that work for you. Concur with the suggestion to put them in a water bottle. FWIW, Heed works OK for me, Nuun used to but upsets my stomach now. Somewhat concentrated lemonade with a hefty pinch of salt in a bottle, drinking 3-4 swallows of that along with 3-4 swallows of water at every drink, usually does the trick for me.

3. If you run low on the road, see if a gas station or convenience store has V-8. It may taste like something your dad or grandmother would drink, but it's one of the best ways to get a concentrated dose of salt in you. Wash it down with plain water.
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Old 06-07-22, 08:44 AM
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70-90oz across ~3+ hours of riding in hot conditions, particularly if known to be a heavy sweater -- sounds like it wouldn't be sufficient fluids, to me.

Back in the day, I used to run distances quite hard, often in hot trail conditions, often for several hours. Proper hydration was critical, as with any other hard activity. Almost never did supplement (with electrolytes) on average hard runs, back then, even if a ~2hr route. But fluid intake was something else.

I used to do about 16oz every 15-20mins. Of course, if running, water weight gets tough to carry much (in packs/bottles), so stopping every once in awhile is vital. Assuming well-hydrated prior to a hard distance run, at 16oz every 15mins that'd be a half gallon (64oz) every hour. If a 2hr intense run, that could easily require 1gal of water for the 2hr stint. On a bike, I'd generally not push nearly as hard, but still.

My suggestion based on what you've described would be: either carry another 50% water with you on the bike (a larger Camelbak plus another 1-2 big bottles), else stop halfway in order to recharge your water stores; and add a suitable electrolytes mixture to your water. It's still a guess as to whether the cramps were due to fluids and/or electrolytes, but it sounds like it, given how it rapidly cleared up with the post-workout fluids.

I suspect that's likely to eliminate the cramping.
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Old 06-07-22, 09:20 AM
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Carry a cable lock on your rides. That makes every place with a bathroom/fluids on your routes a SAG.

However, as some have said, cramps are as much about muscle overexertion as about electrolytes/hydration. Been doing endurance sports for around 15 years now. There is no magic process that will eliminate cramps. You just learn to cope better. Wait till you do multisport if that's on your future horizon. Some muscles will cramp in the water, some more on the bike and continue on the run. You learn to live with it. At the end of a marathon, I basically have to lie still on the ground or sit in a chair for around an hour with no movement. Movement will cause severe/painful spasms in places below the waist.
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Old 06-07-22, 11:54 AM
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Gatorade, or similar, mixed with water, 50/50. Get the largest insulated bottles you can find. I fill mine up with ice cubes then Gatorade and top off with water. If it’s a really warm day I get a small plastic bottle, fill with Gatorade and freeze. Carry that in my back pocket. When the two water bottles are empty I put in Gatorade from the small bottle and fill up. That gives me three whole bottles of water/Gatorade. Just know where you can get water on your ride so you can fill up.

Also, check out a product called Sport Legs. One of the few ergogenic aids I found that actually works. Helps reduce leg cramps from lactic acid buildup.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:28 PM
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More water!

2 things ... I usually drink about 40 oz of water an hour when it's that hot. For your ride i would have drank about 120 oz. Also, the day before the ride, prehydrate. So when you start your ride, your body is already fully hydrated.

Usually when i plan longer rides i make sure there are places to refill my water bottles along the way. Parks, bathrooms, convenience stores. If those aren't options you can load up and bring a ton of water, or stash some along the ride. Finally, carry some dry Gatorade mixes. You can add that to a water bottle or two, to increase your electrolytes.
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Old 06-13-22, 08:03 AM
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I find I really drink a lot on rides, if going by what I read others do. That said, I use camelbak packs, and if it's going to be long, I freeze a bottle or two depending on bike capacity to refill the pack. I'm short, and have always hated reaching to grab and replace bottles on the move. As far as what I fill with, I don't like all the sugary sports drinks, and found that LMNT works for me, with one flavor I've come to like. I mix up at home, and usually throw a couple of packets in a pocket for more if needed.
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Old 06-14-22, 09:54 AM
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I used to get the same issues. I switched to drinking HEED several years ago and have not had any issues since then. I carry small ziploc bags of mix on longer rides so that when I stop to refill my bottles I can mix up more drink.
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Old 06-14-22, 08:15 PM
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Thought I'd chime in! I typically only drink carb mix like Skratch/Infinit, I hate eating while riding throw in about 70g/carb in each of my bottles... If I'm worried about electrolytes, I throw in F2C electrolytes which are a lot cheaper than nuun and are flavourless.
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Old 06-14-22, 08:16 PM
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Oh i also carry 2 bottles on the bike and one in the jersey... I try to go through just over 1 bottle per hour because I'm a sweater..... I also try to plan a gas station or cafe stop in the ride for anything over 3 hours so I can get more water.
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Old 06-15-22, 05:44 PM
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I ride with a hydrapak. Being older fishing for a frame mounted bottle is getting iffy. I don't use additives. You may need them. I don't.
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Old 06-16-22, 02:15 AM
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I use a Camelbak-style bladder in a frame bag. Then I use one of those self-retracting yo-yo things as for key cards and similar to hold the nozzle end of the tube to the bar. Makes drinking on the go as easy as grab, bite, slurp, spit. Ease-of-use has considerably improved my hydration.
Iíve tried using two bladders, one water and one concentrated sports drink heavy on the electrolytes, but it would require a redesign of the frame bag.
I also dose up on magnesium supplements the day before long rides.
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Old 06-16-22, 09:39 AM
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Too much OR not enough potassium can cause painful cramping. Eat a banana or drink a cup of black coffee.
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Old 06-16-22, 09:56 AM
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Thought;
- Dial back the distance on hot humid days. Maybe do 30 not 50
- Stop more often at 7-11's and such and re-hydrate
- For me, 50 miles would be about 4 + hrs., I would want 128+ ounces of fluids for that. I cannot carry that even with a Camelback so would need to replenish at stores.
- Drink tomato juice after the ride and eat bananas. I recently read this here, the potassium really helped me eliminate cramping.
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Old 06-17-22, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I cannot carry that even with a Camelback so would need to replenish at stores.
I often refill bottles at public park fountains. I don't often carry a lock so don't like going in stores if I don't absolutely have too.
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Old 06-17-22, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by igorgroks View Post
I often refill bottles at public park fountains. I don't often carry a lock so don't like going in stores if I don't absolutely have too.
I understand. 2 tricks is to locate the bike in the window so you can keep an eye on it, also loop your helmet thru the spokes on the front wheel and thru the downtube, this prevents somebody from rolling away with your bike unless they dis-attach the helmet, which takes time.
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Old 06-17-22, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I understand. 2 tricks is to locate the bike in the window so you can keep an eye on it, also loop your helmet thru the spokes on the front wheel and thru the downtube, this prevents somebody from rolling away with your bike unless they dis-attach the helmet, which takes time.
When I have too I do the helmet through the spokes. I often ride a fixed gear and am tempted to see someone try to ride off on the thing not knowing how, and falling on their ass. Just my luck I would encounter the one in a hundred bike thief who knows what a fixie is.
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Old 06-17-22, 01:42 PM
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ive been using a lot of pickle juice lately. In theory just concentrated salt water, but i like the taste better

Ive purchased a few of the small vials at the bike shops and refill them with my own when used up -- i just keep a couple of those in my camelbak pockets
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Old 06-24-22, 10:29 PM
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I have cramps when sleeping or waking up in the morning. I seems to be caused by the exertion than the loss of electrolytes. But it helps for me to drink a Powerade before bed, it adds potassium and helps with the cramps. When I ride outside I tend to drink two bottles of water or sports drink for a 2 hour ride. I have tried the pickle juice too, I get a large jar of whole pickles and eat a couple of pickles each day and when I am done I use the pickle juice.
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Old 07-09-22, 04:52 AM
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Bananas, grapes, and or oranges.
Peanut butter crackers, or cheese.cheese.
Cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts.
Hard boiled eggs or small boiled potatoes with butter and salt.

Eat more, drink enough.
Drinking too much can make you internally drowned.

Eating both salty and sugar gives your digestive system something to use with the water.
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Old 07-09-22, 10:54 AM
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Cramps, been getting them all my life in my feet, especially at night. My uncle also and what helped him is mustard and IB PROFAIN. 1 in the morning and at night (though not good for recovery after rides) and that has helped a lot. Mustard, I eat whole grain and not the bright yellow stuff. Pickle juice some love, not for me.

Stop drinking plain water, do not buy Gatorade or other sugar waters. Tablets aren't a bad option. Apple cider vinegar or Himalayan Sea salt your water. change the PH level will hydrate you better than just plain water (Dr. Tommy John.) Camps are most likely a salt issue, could be potassium but without salt the body won't processes the potassium efficiently. Eat fruits high in water as well, apple, watermelon, etc...

I still haven't found a cure for cramps while swimming distance. For biking, hiking and running, salted water, and eating mustard has done wonders.
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Old 07-10-22, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gutter007 View Post
2 things ... I usually drink about 40 oz of water an hour when it's that hot. For your ride i would have drank about 120 oz. Also, the day before the ride, prehydrate. So when you start your ride, your body is already fully hydrated.

Usually when i plan longer rides i make sure there are places to refill my water bottles along the way. Parks, bathrooms, convenience stores. If those aren't options you can load up and bring a ton of water, or stash some along the ride. Finally, carry some dry Gatorade mixes. You can add that to a water bottle or two, to increase your electrolytes.
Yeah. I was going to say that 70 Oz for that distance in that climate is not a lot, especially if you sweat a lot. Thatís less than 3 25 Oz bottles. Back in May I drained my 40 Oz CamelBak in about 10 miles during a ride back to my campsite after a day at the beach. It was in the 90s and extremely humid.
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