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Cycling and My Water Problem

June 2014

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:

Yup, that'll do.

Yup, that’ll do.


Dude, this poor woman didn't even get the right end!  Fail!

Dude, this poor woman didn’t even get the right end! Fail!

Butt remember, while water is awesome, you need the electrolytes too.




  1. magnuminsp says:

    As I have found out, especially running in high humidity places, like Orlando in October….you need to replace electrolytes and salt.

    This was painfully evident at the “Race Around the Lake” last year where I had cramps that felt like I was struck by lightening in both legs. I could barely move for almost 2 miles!

    The last half marathon I ran in Fort Lauderdale, I switched my water in my fuel belt for Gatorade and drank water at the water stations. The result was a cramp-free run and only 6 minutes off of my personal best…….with no training at all for the race and 10 pounds heavier!

    It must have something to do with age as I never recall having cramps when I was younger or drinking a lot of water either!!

    Speaking of water…..the last girl in your photos has a hot butt…..she needed to cool it off! 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      LOL! Good point about that butt…

      On the Gatorade, I love the stuff but hate it on the road, it’s just too sugary. I still drink it because it’s easy though I’m thinking about switching to Nuun tablets.

      • magnuminsp says:

        The G2 isn’t as bad. Powerade, especially the mixed stuff at the races, is terrible!!! I am going to try the powered version of Gatorade next.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I like the G1 for before and for the mix, if you stick with the Blue, Orange or Fruit Punch you’ll be okay – we go through the big cans of that like it’s going out of style. The yellow and grape are gnarly for certain.

      • magnuminsp says:

        Thanks! I am old school…Green! 🙂

  2. fastk9dad says:

    Gatorade, lemon/lime powder, is my choice. I can do the blue if I can’t find the other stuff but it’s not my preference. I also have some single serve powder packets I can put in my pockets for long rides so I can make my own mix at stops if needed. I’ve tried a few other tablets but find they are all way too salty for my taste and G2 does what I need so they aren’t giving me anything. I do want to try some Skratch Labs thought as it looks interesting.

  3. I feel like I still haven’t gotten the hydratiom thing down. I keep pouring it on myself just like the chicks in your post here. No wonder I get such odd looks — I’m doing it wrong!

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