Chatter, a blog friend if mine, in a recent post brought up a new problem for him that confounded me once before. Hydration. If you don’t stay hydrated when exercising you’re done for. In fact, I know a guy who used to brag about “pissing crystals” after a long ride. Well now that he’s a little older, he tried that on a 45 mile ride a while back and passed out. On his bike. He hurt himself but thankfully just enough to wake him up.
Rookies and noobs might get the impression that if you just drink a lot of water and you’ll be okay. This is an oft made mistake. You read that last sentence correctly, a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, water is good but it’s not complete. There’s more to it than just H2O.
Which brings up another blog friend’s recent post about another problem I ran into very early into cycling (but after I’d been running for a decade with no trouble). The post centered on how she recently found out that Propel is nothing more than flavored water. The other side to this coin is electrolytes. Cycle long enough and fast enough and you will burn through your body’s store (I can go through my reserves in as little as five hours). Where I went astray is that I was just drinking water… Not only did I deplete my “reserves”, by drinking a lot of water I diluted what little I had left.
Therein lies the rub my friends, and where this gets really fun is that I absolutely LOVE water when I’m cycling – and this is about the only time that I really enjoy it.
So, here’s what happens when I don’t use some kind of electrolyte replacement solution: First, I bonk a little bit. While it hurts, I can push through this to an extent and maintain some composure and most of my speed. The downside is, it sucks and hurts quite a bit. Next up is cramps, and not just little baby cramps, we’re talking about legs start locking up cramps. Now, I’ve only gotten to the cramps one time – I learned my lesson after that.
Point is folks, it’s summer time. It’s getting hot, so please… Take your hydration seriously:
Butt remember, while water is awesome, you need the electrolytes too.