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  1. #1
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    Riding in Arizona Summer Heat

    So, yesterday, I wanted to take a ride in the Arizona summer heat, just to see if it could be done. I rode the Black Canyon Trail Boy Scout Loop at about 4:00. At that time, the temperature was about 104 degrees. I took plenty of water. It was a rather strange experience because while I was riding, I really didn't feel that bad. There was a bit of a breeze and, yes, the sun beat down on me, but, it didn't feel excruciating. I was able to complete the entire loop, although a crash 2/3rds of the way through the ride busted my gears. I was able to limp out by converting my bike to a single speed.

    Although I didn't feel bad on the ride, when I got home, I got a really bad headache and felt really fatigued. I hit bed at about 8:30 and just zonked out. The headache lasted all of the night and I still have the headache now. Maybe the adrenaline during the ride prevented me from feeling the effects of the heat. I was hoping to report on the forum that, after two summers riding here, I was getting acclimatized to the heat and was now able to ride even in the 100+ degree weather. However, the post-ride fatigue and headache have me second guessing.
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    I've been riding Phoenix late afternoon summers for twenty years but never at 4:00 pm. Some people can ride in the middle of the day when it's 110 but not me. Try riding the last two hours before sunset. I eventually figured out how hard to push without overheating but it takes practice. Ice in my hydro pack helps too. I'll drain 100 ounces in 90 minutes.

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    You've never done this before, so you decided to pick some place that's well out of town, with limited shade opportunities, that can have spotty cell reception(depending on carrier), where, if you did need help, it might take a while for it to get to you and/or find you? Anything else I missed?

    That's a total set up to get fu*ked. Glad nothing happened, but damn, this sounds like a bunch of unnecessary risks piled on top of each other. It would have been a lot smarter to go to Reach 11 or something first.

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    Following up on Easy_E ... Glad you made it back alive.

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    So far, compared to the humid hell I'm used to in Austin, this is child's play.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  7. #7
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    Congrats on your heat exhaustion.

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    Riding in Arizona Summer Heat

    Try a few beers after the ride next time- always seems to help!

    But in all seriousness, don't ride at 4:00! That's the hottest part of the day!

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    hah,, it not even august yet

  10. #10
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    They had a small marathon at westworld yesterday purposely held at the hottest part of the day. 2 people were hospitalized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by longhairmike View Post
    hah,, it not even august yet
    LOL
    That's what I always tell the new to AZ folks, when they start telling me it's hot.

  12. #12
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    I guess you guys are right..I always see mountain biking as a sport of pushing the limits but perhaps I was pushing a bit far on that one. I would be interested to know if anyone is able to ride in that kind of weather consistently. I was wondering if you can get used to it over time. I still have a headache and its been almost 24 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I guess you guys are right..I always see mountain biking as a sport of pushing the limits but perhaps I was pushing a bit far on that one. I would be interested to know if anyone is able to ride in that kind of weather consistently. I was wondering if you can get used to it over time. I still have a headache and its been almost 24 hours.
    Sure !!
    You can get acclimated to the area ... But if you're not acclimated, you're just asking for trouble, and even then, you can get into trouble rather quickly, if you don't know what to look for (recognize the onset of heat exhaustion).

    It's just not smart to take off alone in the desert during the summer.
    Next time, take a friend.

    FWIW,
    People who are acclimated, and work in the heat daily, sometimes end up in the hospital because they don't pay attention to the signs their body is giving off.

    Again,
    Glad you're OK ... Drink plenty of fluids ... Down some Gator-aid ... Eat a banana or some potato chips.

    One of the first things they do when someone is admitted with heat exhaustion/stroke is give them a potassium IV ... The banana or chips contain a high level of potassium, and will absolutely help your recovery.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eazy_E View Post

    That's a total set up to get fu*ked.
    Haha, no doubt he came close with a bike malfunction. Wouldn't have taken much more.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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    I have been ring from 11am to 3pm in May, June and July until Monsoon actually starts for over 10 years now 2 to 4 times a week.

    The + is u own the trail the minus is it takes ~2x time to ride and 2x the water. As stated above you have to watch out for how you are feeling and know when to stop and head back.

    I find too much ice in the water makes it very hard for me to drink

  16. #16
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    I ride in the heat of the day all of the time. It's not uncommon for me to go out with 200-250 oz of water, ride for 4-5 hours, maybe a Picket Post out and back at 110 degrees, maybe a Natty C2C2C. You have to be aware that you are pushing very dangerous limits and adjust your performance level accordingly. It also would be wise to do some research on what actually transpires in your body as you are exercising vigorously in the dry heat, and fuel accordingly. HammerNutrition.com has some very informative research based info.

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    I'm similar to mtnbike todd. I've been riding in the afternoon about 2 times a week starting off at about 3:30 - 4:00PM for the past few years.

    It really helps (actually, it's mandatory for me) to 'ride into the heat'. When early May comes around make sure to get a few rides in when it hits the 90's....and then keep going. You can acclimate.

    With that said...on the really hot days my rides are usually shorter than my normal ride and I try to keep near a spot where I can bail out quick if I need to. I'm fortunate in that I live very close to the PMP (near Cavecreek hill) so I can keep in that area and still get a few miles in but be able to bail home easily if needed. Doing a couple of those rides a week makes the weekend morning rides really feel good temp-wise.

    If you are going to ride in the heat make sure don't try to do too much. If you notice that you're not feeling well....it's too late.

    It will all change in a few weeks when we get a little bit of humidity in the air. That really makes it dangerous.

    ...and like mtnbiketodd...at 4PM on a Wednesday afternoon the trails are all mine. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyChap View Post
    If you are going to ride in the heat make sure don't try to do too much. If you notice that you're not feeling well....it's too late.

    It will all change in a few weeks when we get a little bit of humidity in the air. That really makes it dangerous.
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    It's a dry heat ... Until it's not !

  19. #19
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    Everyone has a different tolerance of pain caused by the heat. The guys posting that they do it alot are right on a few things for sure. Never expect to ride at the same pace you do when its cooler. Growing up here since 1980 and always being an outside kid, I learned a few things that make life much easier.

    -Hydrate every day. I drink 1-2 gallons of water/juice per day in the summer whether I am riding or not. Downside- getting up to pee at least once a night, but since I am getting older, I consider it practice for then!
    -Use more gels when riding vs. solid foods. Gels take less energy and water to digest and get into the bloodstream.
    -Use a in ride energy drink. AVOID gatorrades as they have too much sugar. You may have to experiment with what works best for you as far as stomach discomfort etc- and don't judge a drinks taste at home. They all taste like poop to me until I am thirsty, then they taste like the best in the world! And don't get sticker shock. Heed by Hammer Nutrition sounds expensive when you read the price on the carton, but when you do the math on the stuff mixed, it is abou the same cost as gato by the case from the grocery store-and wayyyy better.
    -Drink regularly on the bike. Figure out how much you need to stay okay for an hour (by riding/experimenting) then divide that by four and drink those quarters every 15 minutes. Its easy to forget-set a countdown timer if you need.
    -Post ride- drink water, recovery drinnk or just more in-ride drink. Avoid milks, soda and beer for a bit or match 12 oz beer with 20 oz water if you must.
    -You won't feel hungry many times post ride, but eat within an hour and keep it light. Even if its gels- get some energy in your body.

    Work up to it. If one has not rode in the heat at all, start with mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage or just taking a short walk or hike. Build to it. And remember, anyone can do this. Its like anything else- some people adapt quicker but you can get there if you desire. Every year it gets easier, just like riding makes you stronger every year.

    Hope you feel better and don't give up! Riding in the heat is pretty fun and as gratifying to me as clearing a nasty obstacle. Its just another challenge!
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    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

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    Very well said, cstem.

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    Electrolytes before during and after the ride....

  22. #22
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    Hammer Endurolytes

  23. #23
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    I really like those camelback elixir tablets. High electrolytes, low sugar, no mess in camelback.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    So, yesterday, I wanted to take a ride in the Arizona summer heat, just to see if it could be done. I rode the Black Canyon Trail Boy Scout Loop at about 4:00. At that time, the temperature was about 104 degrees. I took plenty of water. It was a rather strange experience because while I was riding, I really didn't feel that bad. There was a bit of a breeze and, yes, the sun beat down on me, but, it didn't feel excruciating. I was able to complete the entire loop, although a crash 2/3rds of the way through the ride busted my gears. I was able to limp out by converting my bike to a single speed.

    Although I didn't feel bad on the ride, when I got home, I got a really bad headache and felt really fatigued. I hit bed at about 8:30 and just zonked out. The headache lasted all of the night and I still have the headache now. Maybe the adrenaline during the ride prevented me from feeling the effects of the heat. I was hoping to report on the forum that, after two summers riding here, I was getting acclimatized to the heat and was now able to ride even in the 100+ degree weather. However, the post-ride fatigue and headache have me second guessing.
    google "hyponatremia"

    not smart to ride in "the middle of nowhere" in such heat

  25. #25
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    I use to ride mid afternoon during the summer a lot except this year due to a newborn in the house. I work rotating shift work so the weeks that I work nights I would usually hit San Tan MTN beforehand for a quick 8-13 mile ride. I'm usually there 2-3ish. I personally don't mind the heat that much but I drink my entire 3L of water that I bring with me. I have never experienced any signs of heat stress except for a greater amount of fatigue afterwards. Having said that, I have realized that 90% of my crashes have happened during the summer so the heat must affect me even though I dont notice it. I have decided that I am going to start taking it easy during the summer and only ride if I can get to the trail before noon. Also, this may have been mentioned already, there's very few other crazy F*$ks on the trail mid day so if you do get seriously injured and you are by yourself you are SOL ( I usually only see 1-2 other cars during the weekday at San Tan mid afternoon in the summer but I may never pass anyone on the trail).
    Killing it with close inspection.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I guess you guys are right..I always see mountain biking as a sport of pushing the limits but perhaps I was pushing a bit far on that one. I would be interested to know if anyone is able to ride in that kind of weather consistently. I was wondering if you can get used to it over time. I still have a headache and its been almost 24 hours.
    Yes you do push your limits, but also don't exceed them too much. The heat of the day is nothing to laugh at. I have been running in evenings lately starting about 6:30 to 7pm and the shade makes a big difference. At that time of the day the shade from the houses and the low sun is a big deal. Even so I ran in 103 start temp and it was almost too much. I have gotten better aclimated, but they way to do that is in Anthem. The reason is should something happen you are much closer to help in neighbor hood. On BCT nobody will find you and there is no water. If you can ride hard in anthem at 4pm maybe you can hit a trail, but really the question is why? Heat is just a killer and must be taken seriously. Now this headache you have is a result of pushing too hard and should be sign to not do that again.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", Fetish Fixation SS 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  27. #27
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    I have started to augment my training to include a couple of rides during the week during the hottest part of the day. However, it is on the road bike and I make sure not to overdo it and make a conscious effort to stay in Z2. Here is an article regarding heat acclimation training and the benefits/caveats:

    Heat acclimation gives big cycling performance improvements in cool conditions, study finds
    -boom

  28. #28
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    time for a push-it-to-the-limit montage....

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    Ya mean like a field of skeletons, or a fleet of MediVac helicopters ?

  30. #30
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    So, assuming OP did have a critical mechanical failure, what would be the smartest course of action?

    Find or create shade, sit down, conserve water, call Sheriff's Office for SAR? Or if no signal, create shade, wait until dark, and walk out at night?

  31. #31
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    hope for rescue dolphin


  32. #32
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    He was on BCT though. Dolphins just don't stand a chance against gun-toting, slack-jawed, ranch ordering rednecks

  33. #33
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    Might be a good idea to carry a SPOT when riding solo.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azpilot View Post
    Might be a good idea to carry a SPOT when riding solo.
    Roughly $100 + subscription fee, which is quite reasonable. Cheap piece of mind. I read recently something along the lines of a SAR radio/beacon being a better choice than a SPOT. I don't remember all of the particulars, but worth researching for anybody interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eazy_E View Post
    So, assuming OP did have a critical mechanical failure, what would be the smartest course of action?

    Find or create shade, sit down, conserve water, call Sheriff's Office for SAR? Or if no signal, create shade, wait until dark, and walk out at night?
    Situation dependent ... Many answers are correct.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Situation dependent ... Many answers are correct.
    I'm not an expert on serious desert survival. Assuming you'd be stuck there for a while and it'd be a little bit before somebody came looking for you, the best action is always to find or make shade, conserve water as best you can, and move at night, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    Roughly $100 + subscription fee, which is quite reasonable. Cheap piece of mind. I read recently something along the lines of a SAR radio/beacon being a better choice than a SPOT. I don't remember all of the particulars, but worth researching for anybody interested.
    I have verizon and I don't recall having any trouble with signal on BCT.
    Spot makes more sense for really remote areas with no phone signal.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eazy_E View Post
    So, assuming OP did have a critical mechanical failure, what would be the smartest course of action?

    Find or create shade, sit down, conserve water, call Sheriff's Office for SAR? Or if no signal, create shade, wait until dark, and walk out at night?
    Preparation is the key.
    1. You need a friend or family member that knows where you are going and who would be willing to pick you up. Easy for us happily married folks
    IF you are riding with a buddy, you can have him go back to the car and move it closer to your location. Hopefully bring you some water and food.
    2. KNOW your bail out spots - vehicle access points - there are multiple dirt roads that cross BCT - study maps of unfamiliar places.
    3. How much water or electrolytes/food to bring depends on temperature, distance, ascension, condition etc. If you close to home and 1 and 2 above are NO PROBLEM you don't have overprepare. If you are in remote location - bring extra water, food, maybe even chlorine dioxide tablets/filter and emergency blanket in the winter.

    4. If you are in a dire need call the emergency service. You still need to be able give them your location. And in a place like BCT - don't expect them to get you fast. It's a very difficult spot for extraction - with the mountains and the super narrow and rocky trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eazy_E View Post
    I'm not an expert on serious desert survival. Assuming you'd be stuck there for a while and it'd be a little bit before somebody came looking for you, the best action is always to find or make shade, conserve water as best you can, and move at night, right?
    Close enough, except for the water thing ... If you're thirsty, drink it.
    You don't want to become dehydrated if you can avoid it.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    So, yesterday, I wanted to take a ride in the Arizona summer heat, just to see if it could be done. I rode the Black Canyon Trail Boy Scout Loop at about 4:00. At that time, the temperature was about 104 degrees. I took plenty of water. It was a rather strange experience because while I was riding, I really didn't feel that bad. There was a bit of a breeze and, yes, the sun beat down on me, but, it didn't feel excruciating. I was able to complete the entire loop, although a crash 2/3rds of the way through the ride busted my gears. I was able to limp out by converting my bike to a single speed.

    Although I didn't feel bad on the ride, when I got home, I got a really bad headache and felt really fatigued. I hit bed at about 8:30 and just zonked out. The headache lasted all of the night and I still have the headache now. Maybe the adrenaline during the ride prevented me from feeling the effects of the heat. I was hoping to report on the forum that, after two summers riding here, I was getting acclimatized to the heat and was now able to ride even in the 100+ degree weather. However, the post-ride fatigue and headache have me second guessing.
    This post is about 2 months too early. If you think it's hot now...

    BTW, I have yet to turn my A/C on. So there!
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    I have verizon and I don't recall having any trouble with signal on BCT.
    Spot makes more sense for really remote areas with no phone signal.

    Wish I could say the same for T-mobile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Close enough, except for the water thing ... If you're thirsty, drink it.
    You don't want to become dehydrated if you can avoid it.
    That's true but if you drink too much at once your kidneys will remove the excess of water. Also if your sodium is too low, your kidneys will remove excess water even if you are dehydrated to balance the levels.

    Good trick to figure out once water/lytes needs is to jump on a scale before and after a ride. Majority of that the weight difference is fluid loss - it really opens your eyes to know how much you lose. 100 oz camelpak holds about 6.6 lbs of water for reference.
    It's OK loose some weight but if loose five pounds and feel weak and tired afterwards - you are probably not hydrating properly.
    I lost five pounds like that once and it's not a good feeling.

    Electrolyte replacement is a bit harder to gauge I use saltstick capsules - completely improved my rides and recovery. Salty snacks will work too.

  43. #43
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    It's coming soon like it does every year.


  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    I have verizon and I don't recall having any trouble with signal on BCT.
    Spot makes more sense for really remote areas with no phone signal.
    True, and a person would have to determine the likely hood of riding outside of cell service to decide of a SPOT or similar would be worth the expenditure. It also would depend on a persons comfort level of their ability to survive an out of the way mishap.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    IF you are riding with a buddy, you can have him go back to the car and move it closer to your location. Hopefully bring you some water and food.
    That's a situation thing, IMO. If your buddy has a mechanical and is physically fine, with an adequate supply of water, I'd be okay with leaving him. But, if it's something like heat stroke/exhaustion, stay together.

    I read a Grand Canyon story where two college girls decide to go on a hike. They plan a route, but without a map, they don't realize their objective is actually twice as far away as they think it is. It's summer, and they have something like two bottles of water and an apple each. I don't remember all the details, but it's a classic case of "fu*k up stacking." Anyway, one of them eventually falls out. She stays put and the other decides to backtrack and get help(during the hottest part of the day.) The one who fell out and stayed put wound up surviving while the other got heat stroke and dehydration and died.

    Lots of other stories like that. Granted, the BCT isn't THAT remote, I mean it pretty much follows I-17, but if you're somewhere that really is remote, I'd be really careful in splitting up.

  46. #46
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    Still got the headache. Wondering when its going to go away. Maybe I did permanent brain damage on the ride. On a positive note, at least it should improve the quality of my posts on MTBR.com. Always good to stay positive.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    Still got the headache. Wondering when its going to go away. Maybe I did permanent brain damage on the ride. On a positive note, at least it should improve the quality of my posts on MTBR.com. Always good to stay positive.
    Serious question, how yellow is you urine? If it's any darker than very pale, drink more water. Properly hydrated, it'll be very dilute, and you should be peeing every 1 1/2 hours or so, if you're not exercising.

    Found some info for you on Hammer.


    PERCENT WATER LOST --------- SYMPTOMS
    0% --- none, optimal performance, normal heat regulation
    1% --- thirst stimulated, heat regulation during exercise altered, performance declines
    2% --- further decrease in heat regulation, hinders performance, increased thirst
    3% --- more of the same (worsening performance)
    4% --- exercise performance cut by 20 - 30%
    5% --- headache, irritability, "spaced-out" feeling, fatigue
    6% --- weakness, severe loss of thermoregulation
    7% --- collapse likely unless exercise stops
    10% -- comatose
    11% -- death likely

    Average Athlete, average temps Lighter athletes or cooler temps Heavier athletes or hotter temps
    20-25 oz/hr (approx 590-740 ml/hr) is an appropriate fluid intake for most athletes under most conditions. For lighter weight athletes, or those exercising in cooler temperatures, 16-18 oz/ hr (approx 473-532 ml) may be perfect. Heavier athletes or athletes competing in hotter conditions may consider intakes upwards of 28 oz/hr (approx 830 ml/hr).



    Based on the available research, along with the thousands of athletes we have monitored, we have found that 20-25 oz/hr (approx 590-740 ml/hr) is an appropriate fluid intake for most athletes under most conditions. For lighter weight athletes, or those exercising in cooler temperatures, 16-18 oz/hr (approx 473-532 ml) may be perfect. Heavier athletes or athletes competing in hotter conditions may consider intakes upwards of 28 oz/hr (approx 830 ml/hr). We also suggest that to avoid dilutional hyponatremia, fluid intake should not routinely exceed 28 oz/hr (830 ml/hr). The exceptions are heavier athletes, athletes exercising at extreme levels (prolonged periods at a high percentage of VO2Max), and athletes competing in severe environmental conditions.

    20-25 oz (approx 590-740 ml) is the equivalent of the typical regular-to-large size water bottle, and that’s an excellent gauge to work within.

  48. #48
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    100oz/hr for me when I was riding in the hottest temps. After I had lost 50-60lbs 3 years ago, it wasn't quite as bad, although if you put me right back in those temps, I guarantee I'd be sucking down 100oz/hr again while getting acclimated. I've spent plenty of time in full chemical suits and gas masks with high humidity and heat. If you think 20oz/hr is appropriate, you ain't seen nothing, and you have to be very careful, because you can get way dehydrated when drinking what you "think" may be enough. Granted, at 100oz/hr you have to be more wary of not having enough electrolytes, but I've always seem more issues with not enough hydration vs. not enough electrolytes, but again, at those intake rates you must be wary of it all.

    The last couple sentences start to tell the story "...except athletes competing in extreme environmental conditions".

    This is you
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    The last couple sentences start to tell the story "...except athletes competing in extreme environmental conditions".

    This is you
    And I would imagine that by "athletes", they're not referring to weekend warriors. A properly trained athlete should function at a more efficient level. But, this said, on a particularly hot and tough day, my 100oz usually lasts 2-2 1/2 hours, I can ride 5 hours on 200ish oz, although I always take substantially more than I expect to need. You can always bring unused water back.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    And I would imagine that by "athletes", they're not referring to weekend warriors. A properly trained athlete should function at a more efficient level. But, this said, on a particularly hot and tough day, my 100oz usually lasts 2-2 1/2 hours, I can ride 5 hours on 200ish oz, although I always take substantially more than I expect to need. You can always bring unused water back.
    Well, maybe, but are they intending 117 degree temperatures at 3:45pm? Probably not. That is why I think:
    The exceptions are heavier athletes, athletes exercising at extreme levels (prolonged periods at a high percentage of VO2Max), and athletes competing in severe environmental conditions.
    applies here, maybe more than we'd think.

    What would a fit athlete consume doing a race in 90 degree temps vs a weekend warrier on a 2hr ride in 117 degree temps? What if it's a heavier rider? My point is that these numbers may vary widely from these norms, and even you are talking about 50oz/hr, which is low for me for the most extreme situations, but that's kind of where I'm going, the most extreme. To properly prep for rides in the hottest temps, I'd bring at least 200oz with me, and expect to be out for a few hours. Sometimes I planned the ride in Granite Basin or Lynx Lake area so I could refill my water after consuming the 200ish ounces of water. I've just been in enough situations and seen enough to know that people can drink drastically more than 15oz/hr. That's more like what I drink just sitting in my office cube, haha, although yes, I do tend to pee more.

    It really goes back to planning, as has been discussed many times already. Plan to have more than enough water. Plan to not go out too far. Plan to have the necessary tools. Plan to have some backup plans or "outs" if things do not go as planned. Etc...People would give me a little grief for having such a huge heavy camelback, sometimes I even put 2 100oz bladders in there (rather than do the rest with water bottles), but guess how much it weighed at the end of the ride? Virtually nothing, as it was pretty much empty.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

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