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  1. #1
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    Race Hydration - bottles versus hydration packs

    What is the consensus out there for using bottles versus hydration packs during races? Specifically, here in Arizona it obviously gets quite warm and in later summer we even get some higher humidity.

    Our team, as a rule, has instructed all riders to come with 1-2 liters of water in a hydration pack, at a minimum, for all rides and races.

    We have a handful of advanced riders, placed in Varsity this year, that have been riding/racing bottles for 1-2 years and are extremely comfortable reaching/drinking while riding.

    We have some coaches that are insisting on hydration packs only and several others that see the benefit of bottles.

    Just curious what some other teams take was on the topic - thanks.
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  2. #2
    Rue
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    Hydration packs seem to fade out as skill levels rise. They make drinking easier for inexperienced racers, but as competitive level goes up, racers tend to opt for handups and weight savings.
    Last edited by Rue; 08-27-2019 at 10:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    On my daughter's team, freshman and sophomore used hydration packs. JV could choose, and varsity were bottles only.

    During practice they also drilled on doing proper hand-ups, and every category got a turn in the feed zone.

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    If you're talking NICA, the typical course will take the varsity kids less than 30 minutes to complete, many cases closer to 20 minutes. We instruct our kids away from hydration packs. The added weight isn't necessary, they can inhibit the movement into proper body position and they also stop the body from cooling as well as it would without the pack.
    Same holds true for the slower divisions. (We do Varsity, JVA/B/C/D as well as Freshman and single lap racers here in Utah.)
    This is what the feed zone is for and why our team practices it. Drink bottles and dump bottles.

  5. #5
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    It gets hot in more places than only the entire state of Arizona. LOL

  6. #6
    4AM
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    Bro I've raced without even carrying water, just drink at the feed zone and that's it. The only race I did that was the only race I podiumed last year. I did a whole other 6 race series at the same time and didn't carry water for any of those. Moral of the story... Water is way overrated


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dschwartz View Post
    What is the consensus out there for using bottles versus hydration packs during races? Specifically, here in Arizona it obviously gets quite warm and in later summer we even get some higher humidity.

    Our team, as a rule, has instructed all riders to come with 1-2 liters of water in a hydration pack, at a minimum, for all rides and races.

    We have a handful of advanced riders, placed in Varsity this year, that have been riding/racing bottles for 1-2 years and are extremely comfortable reaching/drinking while riding.

    We have some coaches that are insisting on hydration packs only and several others that see the benefit of bottles.

    Just curious what some other teams take was on the topic - thanks.
    i use (and will probably always use) a bottle. my $12 set up has never cam out, even when doing chunky and slippery enduro.

    i bought a bottle cage and 28 oz bottle from walmart. its really easy, better than a hydro pack since you don't have to clean it out as much.

  8. #8
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    A bottle may attract more dust/mud in a race than you would normally experience on a fun after work ride.

    If the train conditions allow plenty of opportunity to ride one-handed (during a race) a bottle will be fine.
    I ride with a bottle quite often. I can slow down and/or not pedal to insert bottle to cage but in a race I'm riding harder or not willing to navigate terrain at higher speeds than usual for a given section with one hand and give up a few pedal strokes.

    With a pack I can drink whenever I want and the valve isn't dirty either. When my bottle is dirty I first take a swig to rinse my mouth then a drink...that's more time involved.

    I have a race coming up, I will have a bottle with sports drink and my pack. Bottle will be supplemental so drinking won't be as often from it but I can still utilize it.

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