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  1. #1
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    During Ride Drink

    So I work on a bike and ride 20+ miles throughout my shift (not a whole lot for a entire shift). I also ride a lot in my free time, rec and endurance.

    I am looking for a drink with no sugar (healthy), but is good at replenishing electrolytes. Any suggestions?

    Would be drunk daily so cant be too expensive.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Once you begin a routine intake of Water, there's no replacement and it keeps you lean.
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    Vitalyte doesn't have much sugar, and it's pretty cheap. If you want no sugar at all you may have to roll your own. On the plus side that could be the cheapest option out there.

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    These hydration products contain no sugar.

    Nuun | Optimal Hydration

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    GU Brew is the same. Hammer Nutrition makes one too. Or you can get electrolyte capsules that have no calories. Or make your own. It's easy and cheap. Add it to your drink or make your own capsules.

    As far as no sugar, if you are riding long/hard/far enough, you'll want some carbs to keep you fueled for riding. 100-200 calories per hour depending on intensity and length of ride. If I'm riding less than 3 hours or 40 miles, I'll generally take water. Anything more than that and I'm taking calories/electrolytes with me too. That's on the road. Mountain biking, two hours would probably be a good time range but the miles will be less. Certainly anything 20 miles or more and you'll want to have an energy source with you on the bike.
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  6. #6
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    I guess I worded that wrong. I dont really care about "no sugar" just didnt want it to be a really unhealthy drink.

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    Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix an All Natural Sports Drink | Skratch Labs

    a combination of water and the above works for me. Perhaps try just plain water and an electrolyte tablet (endurolytes - salt stick etc..) both options work for me

  8. #8
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    I'm a big believer in the Skratch Labs product. I drink 20oz before a ride and plain water before. I can notice a real difference when I don't take it.

  9. #9
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    Why not use a drink with sugar in it? I mean, unless you're diabetic, sugar will help give you a good pep up during a long ride. You don't have to drink the super powered, off the shelf Gatorade straight from the bottle, but watering it down 2 to 1 will make it pretty balanced between electrolytes, hydration, and sugar.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexk243 View Post
    I guess I worded that wrong. I dont really care about "no sugar" just didnt want it to be a really unhealthy drink.
    Again, I worded that wrong, I am ok with sugar, just looking for something not terribly unhealthy as it would be a daily drink.

  11. #11
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    Anything short of Gatorade or Powerade or similar is going to be costly and even those aren't that cheap. Do you really need such a drink daily? I mean unless you are really going all out max effort, 20 miles isn't that much riding...not so much that water can't take care of your hydration needs and you shouldn't need the energy boost. As far as electrolytes, you can get those fairly inexpensively or make your own, again, if they are even needed for daily use. For longer rides I'd certainly recommend looking into something like Tailwind Nutrition and/or an electrolyte replacement...I personally am using GU Brew fizz tablets right now with good results as well as Tailwind for my nutrition on the bikes needs.
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  12. #12
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    Unless you're hammering a hard ride, you probably get enough electrolytes in your food. Any low sugar drink that tastes good enough to encourage you to hydrate is probably fine. I'd avoid fake sweeteners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hnetsrik View Post
    These hydration products contain no sugar.

    Nuun | Optimal Hydration
    I use his and like it a lot. Will add one full tablet to my hydration pack or half a tablet in a water bottle.

  14. #14
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    Apple juice mixed with water is good, ~25% apple juice.
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  15. #15
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    coconut water has the highest natural source of electrolytes. i've drank it after a race when my legs were cramping, works fast. make sure you get it in the natural section of your grocery store, that way there's no sugar added.

  16. #16
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    I like it as a pre-ride too. I'll drink some and a bunch of water to make sure I'm hydrated before I even venture out.
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  17. #17
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    I drink water/gatorade 50/5o mix, which I like (orange flavor)
    Last edited by Polished Fuji; 08-21-2014 at 01:53 PM.

  18. #18
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    A Camelbak full of iced Vanilla Coke!

    ...oh wait, no. Iced water always suits me fine.

  19. #19
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    Water in my Camelbak, Tailwind Nutrition mixed in my 26oz water bottle. Tailwind is awesome.

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    Water in my Camelbak (long rides or super high heat only), 20 oz bottle of Accelerade on the bike. Water only first hour, then sip Accelerade in high-heat as well as water. Sugar is not the enemy when doing intense exercise. Be sure to find something that sits well in your stomach. Accelerade never bothers me and gives me a huge energy boost by topping off Glycogen stores as well as providing the sodium I need in high-heat. Short rides under 12 miles I do no pack at all, and just the bottle with water.

  21. #21
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    I pretty much only drink water when riding. Every now and again I'll spice it up with a lemon or a lime but good ole' water works for me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexk243 View Post
    So I work on a bike and ride 20+ miles throughout my shift (not a whole lot for a entire shift). I also ride a lot in my free time, rec and endurance.

    I am looking for a drink with no sugar (healthy), but is good at replenishing electrolytes. Any suggestions?

    Would be drunk daily so cant be too expensive.

    Thanks

    I am replying only because I have an issue with something

    "I am looking for a drink with no sugar (healthy), but is good at replenishing electrolytes."

    Nubster has it right....

    no sugar (healthy) ...what are you saying, that electrolyte replacement drinks with sugar are unhealthy ? because that is incorrect.

    it can be used incorrectly, such as sitting on the couch and that is all you drink...
    same as putting your hand in kitchen sink disposer can be unhealthy if you use it incorrectly

    but if you are riding, a drink with sugar can be more healthy than one without. 60 grams carbs per hour is pretty standard
    ------------
    as far as daily and cheap...I buy bags of gatorade powder by the case and stick them in the cabinet, and mix up gatorade bottles for each ride. I just throw away what doesn't get used when I roll home...mix it weaker or stronger but it does the job fine and doesn't cost much. do NOT order the cans...every damn time someone shipped me cans they arrived broken...bags don't break

  23. #23
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    Hi Alex,

    I think the common thread here is that you need to look at the type of riding you are doing. What you use will vary depending on if you are "riding at work" vs. "a rec ride" or an "endurance ride".

    Riding at work might be comprised of short stints on the bike with periods of rest in between. In this case, your normal meals just might be enough supplemented with some snacks. As someone mentioned above, the American diet typically has more than enough sodium in it from an electrolyte perspective.

    For a recreational ride less than hour, water is typically fine assuming you're starting with a full tank. Generally speaking we have about 1.5 hours worth of fuel in our glycogen stores to fuel us. Between 1-2 hours, aim for 100-200 calories and some electrolytes depending on how hard you are going. Finally, 2+ hour rides you do want to stay on top of your caloric intake per hour as well as your electrolytes because you are depleting your glycogen stores and the sodium is helping you stay hydrated.

    Everyone is different, and I'm the first one to say experiment with different approaches and see what works for you.
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  24. #24
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    I drink Powerade zero calories. I usually just drink it when I bike, so I'm not too concerned with it. It helps and it's alright if you drink it once a week or so. Just make sure to drink a lot of water too.

  25. #25
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    I'm very skeptical of any artificial sweeteners such as those in Poweraid Zero... Acesulfame and Sucralose. Too many unknowns there.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnetsrik View Post
    These hydration products contain no sugar.

    Nuun | Optimal Hydration
    +1 on the Nuun

    Active Ingredients 360.0 mg
    Sodium (carbonates) 360.0 mg
    Potassium (bicarbonate) 100.0 mg
    Magnesium (sulfate) 25.0 mg
    Calcium (carbonate) 12.5 mg
    Vitamin C 19.0 mg
    Vitamin B2 Level 500 mcg

    they also have a natural line...

    I also use OSMO but mostly because I get a deal on it, but I like it better than others, seems to work well on longer rides when I really need it...

    During Ride Drink-nutrition_mens_activetub.png



    I also do the Gatorade 50/50 with water....love that Limon Pepino
    160mg Sodium
    45mg Potassium
    CARBS 21g
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  27. #27
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    I use Cytomax, it works like a champ and I also found that I was able to ride a lil harder for a bit longer (due to the carbs).

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  28. #28
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    If you're sweating a lot when riding, you definitely need to replace the water and probably need to replace the electrolytes. After trying a wide variety of sports drinks, I'm a big fan of Hammer products. Specifically HEED. I didn't like it the first couple times I tried it, but that's because it has a very mild taste and my taste buds were accustomed to sugar bombs (Gatorade, Powerade, etc). After the 3rd or 4th time I used HEED, I realized it was just what I needed -- light but with required electrolytes and some carbs. I highly recommend it!
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  29. #29
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    Coconut water is my favorite drink of choice. Buy one of the little 8 oz ONE or 16 oz metal cans, unflavored is best. It tastes good, and when mixed with regular water will go a long way.

    Apple juice is also good if diluted to prevent sugar rush.

    Put your cocktail in a water bottle, bring some cheese and unsalted cashews or trail mix, and you're good to go!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollyw00d441 View Post
    Coconut water is my favorite drink of choice. Buy one of the little 8 oz ONE or 16 oz metal cans, unflavored is best. It tastes good, and when mixed with regular water will go a long way.

    Apple juice is also good if diluted to prevent sugar rush.

    Put your cocktail in a water bottle, bring some cheese and unsalted cashews or trail mix, and you're good to go!
    I have nothing against coconut water, the part that concerns me is the lack of substantial sodium in it. I sweat *a lot* and have entire jerseys streaked with white, skin turned white and helmet and straps turn white, all from the dried sweat on them. I love the idea of a natural drink, I just worry about not getting enough sodium to replenish what I'm sweating out.
    -------------
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mabrodis View Post
    I have nothing against coconut water, the part that concerns me is the lack of substantial sodium in it. I sweat *a lot* and have entire jerseys streaked with white, skin turned white and helmet and straps turn white, all from the dried sweat on them. I love the idea of a natural drink, I just worry about not getting enough sodium to replenish what I'm sweating out.
    Agreed. You need Tailwind for sure! Tailwind Nutrition

  32. #32
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    TAILWIND is brilliant. That's my go to for races or very hard effort tours... or hard enough to need something like that.

    NUUN is great too and I like to use it when I don't wanna use cash on Tailwind and for more regular riding (which is still usually pretty good effort). It's also great because of the no sugar, better for hydropaks.

    I've used Cytomax as well but don't like it as much as Tailwind. Also I didn't think it tasted very good either (slightly harsh). I found adding a little salt made it better. I also found it to give me a very slight headache sometimes. I just didn't find it as nicely balanced as Tailwind.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    TAILWIND is brilliant. That's my go to for races or very hard effort tours... or hard enough to need something like that.

    NUUN is great too and I like to use it when I don't wanna use cash on Tailwind and for more regular riding (which is still usually pretty good effort). It's also great because of the no sugar, better for hydropaks.

    I've used Cytomax as well but don't like it as much as Tailwind. Also I didn't think it tasted very good either (slightly harsh). I found adding a little salt made it better. I also found it to give me a very slight headache sometimes. I just didn't find it as nicely balanced as Tailwind.
    My own feeling is ridiculously close to your's on these.

    Love Tailwind, love the flavors, love how it works in my body and love that it's a tiny company in Colorado..and love that when you order they put your name on the bag, so my bags actually say they are for me..hahah...silly but cool.

    I like Nuun and Camelbak and many of the tablet style ones. I usually use those on training rides when I know I'll be sweating but I don't want to give myself any more calories, I want to make my body find energy, and not give it easy sugar in my drink, knowing my performance may be degraded a bit. One of the things I read which kinda made me think of this was I think in one of the Scratch Labs books...maybe the Feedzone Portables one, anyway, a study was described where cyclists went until they felt they had no energy, a multi-hour test. The test was to see if the glycogen level tracked with the person's energy level, since the normal idea has been that your body stores ~1 hour of glycogen if you don't actively replace that with calories then you'll bonk, etc. However, the test did not prove that out, infact the test showed quite the opposite, the glycogen available (from whatever method they were using) was surprisingly constant and the bonking or lack of energy seemed to be more a function of lack of electrolytes and obviously muscle fatigue. I know I'm oversimplifying the results but hopefully not getting them completely wrong, but this made me try out riding with enough fluid and electrolytes but no 'easy energy'. I'm not doing this for any long rides, but I have to admit for what I've done it for I usually feel very good on the bike.

    I've only had Cytomax in events where it was a sponsor and while I preferred it over water I was not much of a fan (especially not drinking it for ~11 hours on a very hot charity century ride). It tasted too acidic for me, when I breath hard my throat gets a touch raw anyway, and having any acidic drink just makes that worse.

    Also love Skratch Labs...
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by hnetsrik View Post
    These hydration products contain no sugar.

    Nuun | Optimal Hydration
    Notice the second ingredient listed is sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol, with about 2.6 calories per gram (65% as much as glucose). Once absorbed, it is converted into glucose in the body. So claiming it has zero sugar is playing fast and loose with the FDA approved verbage. Technically correct, the claim is legal although not completely ethically accurate.
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  35. #35
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    Last Saturday I went out on a race preride for a gravel grinder. I decided to run straight Nuun in my hydropak just because and made sure I calculated how many tabs i needed for the oz of o2 I put in my pak.

    It wasn't a constant or race effort as I was with a slower guy and not wanting to leave a man behind in 13-18F weather, but I was still storming up the climbs and want not for the training.

    Nuun worked great for the ride. I think at one point my quads were starting to get a lil crampy when climbing out of saddle but I don't think I was drinking enough really (my tube completely froze for a while) and when I did I was fine to be OoS again.

    However the the major point is that at the end of the ride I definitely was feeling a bit down and worn. That's likely due to it not having as many carbs as Tailwind would have which really helps on those kind of rides. I remember how I felt GREAT after races when using Tailwind at 2x strength. Big difference in those situations.
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  36. #36
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    Osmo is the wy to go! Stay away from calorie based drinks, definitely no Gatorade, too high in carbs. Osmo have sucrose, glurose, sodium and some vitamins. No need to dow gels or other sugary based products while riding, they recoend rel foods, like a Cliff bar. I ride 4-5 days a week normally 30-82 miles and I feel great while drinking this stuff! Omso is geared towards proper hydration and too much calories of carbs slows that way down. Check out them online! BK

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by supercal20077 View Post
    Osmo is the wy to go! Stay away from calorie based drinks, definitely no Gatorade, too high in carbs. Osmo have sucrose, glurose, sodium and some vitamins. No need to dow gels or other sugary based products while riding, they recoend rel foods, like a Cliff bar. I ride 4-5 days a week normally 30-82 miles and I feel great while drinking this stuff! Omso is geared towards proper hydration and too much calories of carbs slows that way down. Check out them online! BK
    That's great that OSMO works good for you. I know others that swear by their preferred product too (Skratch, Tailwind, Gatorade, etc).

    I'm certainly not defending Gatorade (I hate the stuff) but calorie-wise it's not much different than all the others. Gatorade has 100 calories per 16 oz. Poweraid has 100, OSMO has 70, Skratch has 80, Tailwind has anywhere from 67-134 depending on how you mix it (instructions say 1-2 scoops per 24 oz). So I wouldn't say any are out of bounds as far as the number of calories per serving.

    Sodium content is a bit more varied (for 16oz):
    Gatorade: 220mg
    Poweraid: 200 mg
    OSMO: 320 mg
    Skratch: 360mg
    Tailwind: 203-406mg
    -------------
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  38. #38
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    Most drinks are sources of calories, that slows gastric digestion, to make you feel full, that slows you bodies hydration process. Osmo sugar concentration is lower 3.5% rather than Gatorade other sports drinks 6%-8%. The higher the % the slower your stomach absorbs its contents. I am not saying Gatorade doesn't work, but I do get an upset stomach from it, thanks Crohns Disease. It makes sense that calorie based drinks slows digestion/hydration. BK

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riken View Post
    coconut water has the highest natural source of electrolytes. i've drank it after a race when my legs were cramping, works fast. make sure you get it in the natural section of your grocery store, that way there's no sugar added.
    same here. i ride in FL and its hot as balls and nasty humid even in the morining. just sucks the life out of your rides early. I ride with a hydration backpack that i took the bladder out of. I carry a water bottle on each side pocket with a Nunn tab in each one , or i fill them with pure cocconut water. seems to work really good for me. The most important thing to remember about hydration....is not what you hydrate with during riding days, but how you hydrate the day and night before. Another good simple ,cheap drink is plain water with some lime in it. very refreshing and packs some good nutriants as well.
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    Was picking over the forums looking at hydration packs when I came across all this thread. Opened my eyes to a whole new world of hydrating. Good infos!

  41. #41
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    Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes and all natural. I mix it with water and swear by it for long of hot days.
    Round and round we go

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    30 minutes prior of riding I usually have SYNTHA-6 which is a High protein 40 G milkshake and also has 440mg of Potassium and only 3G of sugar and while riding I just drink water and I always have enough energy throughout the ride which can be 30+ greenway or 15-20 hard core MTB.
    They had a TV show awhile back on NGC about this topic and between 2 guys about the same height and weight, they perform the same exercises and during their break, one guy drink just plain water and the other drank chocolate milk then they went back and perform the same exercises and the one that drank chocolate milk out perform the other person plus his original counts. Was amazed.

  43. #43
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    Is it bad to take just water instead of electrolites or other energy drinks? A doctor once told me that I should drink something other than just water to replenish all the stuff you loose after a ride.
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    Your doctor is correct! Water is great for keeping you hydrated but for energy and replenishment of vital nutrients then you should have some kind of energy drink/bar/fruit.

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    It's pretty much BS for most of non-pro athletes Unless you are on some weird diet (but then you should know better anyway, and during ride drink is last thing you should worry about), and unless you train 8h/day, you get more then enough electrolytes and other stuff during your daily meals (there's big chance you get way too much of salt and stuff with your food anyway, so there's no need to add some extra in sports drink).
    So if you are not pro athlete (and if you are, there are better sources to find out what you need then this forum), you are perfectly fine with just water on those short rides few times a week
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  46. #46
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    Yeah I meant for nonpro riders. I ride probably 2-3hrs 3-4 times a week and it's mostly road since I live in a big city and dont have time to go for trails, but I ride probably 40kms average in each ride. So I thought water would do just fine.
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    You don't have to be a Pro to enter cramp city, all it takes is a strong enough effort to get there.

    2-3 hrs ...that depends on the effort. My first race ever was only 2-3hrs in 20 degree weather and I ended up on the ground in cramp city due to drinking straight water lol.

    Once I realised what was going on I downed two cliff bars which got my legs going enough to finish the race.

    The following race two weeks later I switched to Tailwind and never had a problem .


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  48. #48
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    Agreed ^
    you don't need to be a pro athlete, or even be racing. In fact there's no qualification or permission needed at all to replenish what you'r sweating out and using up. The same way there's some who insist that you must be fully hydrated and fueled to perform at peek. When some have learned that for them they perform better being a bit under.
    Round and round we go

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    My first race ever was only 2-3hrs in 20 degree weather and I ended up on the ground in cramp city due to drinking straight water lol.
    And believe me, it wasn't because of plain water There's much more chances you got cramps simply because you went too hard for your condition and preparation, and also because you simply had no experience with racing, then because you were drinking plain water
    I did more more then enough racing (some 20 years of xc skiing, with several years in senior national team etc.) plus few years as coach, so I know few things about this. It's of course easiest to blame wrong diet, especially with all marketing bombing you with "proper" this and "proper" that, but reality is, we get more then enough of all this supplements with proper food during day without need for extra stuff.
    Why I mentioned pro athletes is, because there's so much more training (length and insensitivity) going on there, that without additional supplements you simply don't have chance to get enough of stuff in your body. But I'm talking about 50-60h training/week, not 3-4 times a week 2-3h easy ride. These 2-3h rides might not look easy for you, but when you do something like 15x3min at 95%, climbing 3000m during single 3h ride with talking tempo feels like kids play... and with this 3000 height meters, 80km, 4h ride I try to do at least once a week during summer (with some food of course, but still with plain water only) I'm probably in territory where most of hobby riders never are.
    Primoz

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    Quote Originally Posted by primoz View Post
    And believe me, it wasn't because of plain water There's much more chances you got cramps simply because you went too hard for your condition and preparation, and also because you simply had no experience with racing, then because you were drinking plain water
    I did more more then enough racing (some 20 years of xc skiing, with several years in senior national team etc.) plus few years as coach, so I know few things about this. It's of course easiest to blame wrong diet, especially with all marketing bombing you with "proper" this and "proper" that, but reality is, we get more then enough of all this supplements with proper food during day without need for extra stuff.
    Why I mentioned pro athletes is, because there's so much more training (length and insensitivity) going on there, that without additional supplements you simply don't have chance to get enough of stuff in your body. But I'm talking about 50-60h training/week, not 3-4 times a week 2-3h easy ride. These 2-3h rides might not look easy for you, but when you do something like 15x3min at 95%, climbing 3000m during single 3h ride with talking tempo feels like kids play... and with this 3000 height meters, 80km, 4h ride I try to do at least once a week during summer (with some food of course, but still with plain water only) I'm probably in territory where most of hobby riders never are.
    Yes in my case it was mostly the water. I had actually way over layered and was sweating like crazy. In addition I was sipping my pak tube regularly to keep it from freezing.

    I cramped up so bad from it I was sitting in the snow unable to stand. As soon as I downed a couple of cliff bars and I think something else my legs came back.

    Drinking Tailwind the next race I felt nothing, I was even out of the saddle sprinting across the line and quads were fine.

    Now later in the year I did a couple of tours. Thinking they would be easier pace I mixed my mix at 1x strength (Instead of normal 2x). Well we ended up doing then at race pace and it didn't take long for my calves to remind me of my mixing error lol.

    I made it through the one tour alright I was on road bike, though I was a bit crampy.

    The 2nd tour was a bit worse due to it being mtb tour to 3 trails. Once the calves started I knew I was in trouble. Luckily when things got pretty bad there was a sag point available so I managed to intake a bunch of stuff to counter. I thought the peanut butter was most effective.

    Had no probs this year as I learned my lesson lol.

    Back in March though when we did the Melting Mann course pre ride in 16f... I remember at one point my quads giving a hint of cramps when out of saddle stomping up a hill. All I did was take a few drinks of my Nuun mix and they went away.

    With my chemistry and the amount I sweat I cannot drink straight water at all or I will be in trouble...on hard efforts of course...which is about all the time lol.



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