May 2023 Top Talk -Portland Bicycling Club

May 2023 Top Talk

Pioneer Ride Hydration. Proper hydration is essential for any physical activity, but it is especially important during long bike rides, like the Pioneer Century®. Cycling requires a lot of energy and fluids to keep your body functioning properly. Failing to hydrate adequately can lead to a host of problems, including cramps, headaches, and dehydration. In this article, I’d like to address the importance of proper hydration while on long bike rides and provide tips on how to stay hydrated. 

Why Hydration is Important. The human body is made up of about 60% water, and water plays a crucial role in maintaining many bodily functions. During exercise, the body loses water through sweat, and if this fluid loss is not replaced, it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramps, headaches, and even more severe conditions such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. It can also impair your performance, making it more difficult to pedal and concentrate on the road ahead.

How to Stay Hydrated. To stay properly hydrated during long bike rides, it is essential to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after the ride. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

  1. Drink Water: Drinking water is the simplest and most effective way to stay hydrated. You should drink at least 16 ounces of water two hours before your ride and continue to drink water during your ride, taking small sips about every 15 minutes.
  2. Use Sports Drinks: Sports drinks can provide a good source of electrolytes, which help maintain proper fluid balance in the body. They also contain carbohydrates, which can provide a source of energy during long rides. Be sure to choose a sports drink that is low in sugar and high in electrolytes.
  3. Eat Foods High in Water: Eating foods that are high in water content can also help keep you hydrated. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries are excellent sources of water and can be easily consumed on the go.
  4. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can both dehydrate the body, so it is best to avoid them before and during your ride.
  5. Monitor Your Urine Color: Your urine color can be a good indicator of your hydration status. If your urine is light yellow or clear, you are adequately hydrated. If your urine is dark yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated and should drink more fluids.

Conclusion. Proper hydration is essential for anyone who participates in physical activities, but it is especially critical for cyclists on long rides. Dehydration can impair your performance and lead to serious health problems, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your ride. By following the tips above, you can stay properly hydrated and enjoy a safe and comfortable ride.

Mark Barnes, President

To read the Quick Releases newsletter associated with the May 2023 Top Talk, Go to Table of Contents.