How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

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How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby jmaisano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:33 am

Steve and others,

This may be a painfully obvious question but I think I still need to ask it anyway. How do you drink or consume your fluids while riding? As I understand more about proper caloric intake and hydration I have been trying to understand this very basic concept. As an example of consuming approximately 16 to 24 oz of water per hour, do you find yourself taking small sips of water every few minutes, or do you find yourself taking larger amounts at one time but less frequently? If you’re using Perpetuem how do you split up the usage? Proportion wise I know you divide a 3 hour bottle up into 3 hours, but within each hour how do you split it up? Just like in the water example to you take small sips throughout the hour or do you find yourself taking a potion of it when you first start, some mid hour and some at the end of the hour time frame.

The reason I ask all this is last weekend I joined a group ride made up of riders that I would say are step or two above me. As I rode with them I noticed how infrequently most of the riders seem to be drinking. I seemed to be the only one drinking frequently. It was quite puzzling to me and I began to wonder if I was drinking my fluids correctly. Can anyone offer some comments or suggestion on the best way to consume fluids.

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Re: How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby jwa » Wed May 12, 2010 9:27 am

For me, if I take a drink every 5 minutes, a 24 oz bottle lasts about an hour. You need to experiment to find for you how big a drink that will be, but for me it's about a one-mouthful swallow. It's easy to keep track of by watching my computer and just drinking on every multiple of 5 minutes. Because I'm drinking fairly frequently, it seems easy to adjust for cool/hot conditions by just slightly changing the time interval.

If I am using a 2-hr bottle, I just cut that in half and take a drink every 10 minutes (with additional water as needed from another bottle).

I also find I have to pay more attention to my intake in a race or group ride. With the extra distraction of other people riding up close, it's easy to forget.

Jerry A
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Re: How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby jmaisano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:37 pm

Thank you Jerry
I use my bike computer to do the same and take a drink every five minutes. It just seemed to be so much more then those I was riding with.

Thanks again.
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Re: How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby steve-born » Thu May 13, 2010 5:18 pm

Hello Joe -

Jerry's information/suggestions are spot on and certainly worth considering and adopting, especially if you're riding in a large group or in a race, a time when you can be easily distracted from remembering to drink appropriate amounts of fluids or consume appropriate amounts of calories.

To be honest with you, I've never really had a precise consumption schedule (using a timer, drinking every 10 minutes, those kind of things), probably because I did a lot of training on my own and all my races (ultra distance stuff) found me alone and not in a pack of riders a good part of the time. As a result, over the course of many miles on the bike, I just naturally found what was right for me consumption-wise (how much to drink, how often, etc).

Obviously, the key thing to remember is that if you've made a 3-hour bottle of Perpetuem, you don't want to drink more than 1/3 of that bottle every hour. Additionally, as Jerry alluded to in his post, you don't want to drink too much all at once. In other words, you do want to finish 1/3 of your 3-hour bottle every hour, but you don't want to chug that 1/3 down in the first 5 minutes. Spreading it out over the course of the hour, taking small sips on occasion - and especially when the terrain is mellow (drinking while climbing a 12% grade can be a real challenge) - I believe is the route to go.

Your body is pretty adaptable so while it's absolutely fine and perfectly acceptable to drink on a timed schedule, as long as you don't go overboard (like drinking half of your 3-hour bottle in the first 30 minutes... that kind of thing), you'll be fine. I tend to believe - and this is just my opinion - that if one is TOO rigid in their drinking/feeding schedule, it kind of takes away from the fun of the ride. So definitely give Jerry's suggestions a try and do some experimenting on your own, and most likely you'll find that - by and large - the ideal timing of your food/fuel consumption will evolve naturally.

I hope this helps.


Steve Born
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Re: How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby MegC » Thu May 13, 2010 5:45 pm

Interesting post. I usually slosh gel or perp/endurolytes/water down every 20-30 minutes. I can't imagine doing it more often, but I'm usually riding dirt which makes these things a little more complicated.
~Meg is slow, but always gets there....
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Re: How do you drink/consume fluids while riding?

Postby astroross » Thu May 20, 2010 11:05 am

I ride a triathlon bike and for me my rule is drink the fuel (Perpetuem) every 15 minutes. But it's not a super hard and fast rule, it's the base that I start with. I always use multi-hour bottles and have it mixed to a creamy consistency and it's always like a little reward for the effort I'm putting in. I usually wash it down with a swig of HEED or water.

The water is the variable depending on the weather conditions. I know what you mean when other don't drink, I've seen it both out on the road and in spin class. I personally drink as dehydration is painful and I don't want to go there.

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