Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | February 18, 2010

Cycling Performance Tip #4 – Determine Your Hydration Needs

Generally speaking, cyclists should drink 4-8 oz of fluid every 15 minutes, depending upon their sweat rate (I’ll give you a quick and easy way to estimate sweat rate in my next tip).  For most people, this adds up to about one bottle per hour (more on a hot, humid day).  This is perhaps the most important step you can take to ensure a successful ride.  Dehydration has a dramatic, negative effect on cycling performance. For instance, dehydration of only 2% of your total body weight can impair your performance.  Dehydration of 5% can reduce work output by as much as 10%.  As a general rule of thumb, bring two full bottles on every ride, especially if it is a hot day.  For high temperature rides of more than an hour, consider using a hydration system.  This serves a dual purpose.  First, it allows you to conveniently carry a large volume of liquid.  Second, by freezing the water (or filling it with ice), the hydration pack can help lower your core temperature.  Remember, it is very important to practice using the hydration pack prior to an important event or competition.  They can be a bit cumbersome and you don’t want to fumble with it while riding in a 25-mile an hour paceline!

NEXT POST – February 22, 2010

Cycle Log: Intensity Phase Week 4

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