Do you know how much water you sweat when you ride for an hour? If you said 1 to 2 quarts, you're right!
When you're riding, you have GOT to replace this fluid loss because water isn't the only thing you're losing, but also vital nutrients. Energy drinks (not Monster or Red Bull) are best because they contain the electrolytes and nutrients lost through sweating.
These drinks also provide carbohydrates which fuel the muscles. Make sure, though, that you listen to your taste buds. If the energy drink tastes awful, you are way less likely to drink it during your workout.
If you're carrying an energy drink in both bottles, dilute your second bottle with water. As your body heats up, it is likely that you will desire the drink to be a little less sweet and have a bit less flavor. Too rich of a mixture can upset your stomach when your riding hard, or even slow down and possibly prevent water absorption.
When preparing for a cycling event or a race, experiment while training to find the most compatible drink for your system. This way you will already know you drink something that works and that won't cramp you up during the important ride. Also test out bottles and hydration packs to see which works best. The hose of the hydration pack and it's large capacity make it a bit easier to use on those longer rides. Bumpy terrain is better with a hydration pack also, so it may be a better choice for off-road racing or riding.
Are you properly hydrated? To make sure, look at your urine. If it's pale yellow or clear, you're good to go. Dark and strong-smelling urine is a reminder to drink more water. If you have to use the restroom during the night before the event it is a good sign of proper hydration.
On those hot summer days, put your waterbottles in the freezer the night before the race. You can also use insulated bottles or hydration system. If you choose to freeze your bottles, fill only half way so you can top it off with drink before the ride. The ice in the bottom will chill the liquid for a while. Ice in a hydration pack can also help cool your torso.
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