Staying hydrated is key. Not drinking enough on your rides will lead to certain disaster. Dehydration is very difficult and time consuming to recover from. And, it’s no fun at all. Better to stay on top of it.
Managing hydration starts before your ride. You should be drinking plenty of water in the hours leading up to your ride with a goal of starting out with a “full tank,” so to speak. Then, a good rule of thumb is to be sure that you’re drinking a bottle per hour of riding. Finding the balance between water and sports drink is personal, but a good rule of thumb is to alternate between each – water one hour, sports drink the next.
You need to consciously stay on top of hydration, as once you fall behind its difficult to catch up. A great mantra I picked up somewhere along the way is to “drink when you are not thirsty,” meaning that once you’re really thirsty – it’s too late.
On longer rides you can keep tabs on your hydration level by monitoring urine output (yes, seriously). Your goal here is “clear and copious.” You should be peeing a lot, and the clearer the color, the better. If you don’t meet the “clear and copious” standard, then start drinking more immediately and make a point of catching up. Again, this may take some conscious effort.
Photo Credit: Dawin Bell