Top Hydration Tips For Cyclists

Water is an essential element in the proper functioning of the body. If there is not sufficient water in the body, you will feel exhausted easily, lack concentration and focus, and the things that you normally do will seem to be too exacting to accomplish without you getting frustrated. Water is even more crucial if you are doing strenuous activities like biking. That is the reason why you need to have one of the best water bottles cycling so you can hydrate even while on the track with ease.

Many, even professional athletes, find it difficult to hydrate and continues to voluntarily dehydrate, perhaps thinking that they can just wait to drink when they are really thirsty. But if you would reach out for that water bottle only when you feel thirsty, then you  will have a problem in the long run.

Professor of kinesiology at Chapman University and a two-time master’s time-trial national champion Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., explains that the body’s thirst indicator is poorly regulated.  He impressed that one only begins to feel thirsty when the body has already lost two percent of its total volume of water. By this time, other literature indicates that your performance level will have dropped by up to 10 percent.

A dip in the performance level is just the beginning of your problems when you voluntarily dehydrate yourself when you are on the track. Your condition may get worse and you may experience severe muscle fatigue as well as cognitive delays.

Your body is two-thirds water

Your body is two-thirds water

Even if most of us are already aware that the human body is composed of about 60% water, still many find it easy to neglect this basic element needed to sustain life. Water is also released from the body when you perspire, urinate, defecate, even when you breathe. Thus, it is not surprising that you need to top up your body with water at regular intervals during any activity to ensure optimal performance.

Whether you are exercising, doing brisk walking, hiking, or cycling, you need to make sure that your body is properly hydrated. If not, you will be sacrificing your performance level. As a result, the effects of your training will be limited and, as your health and your body are also affected, the recovery process will also be prolonged.

Studies conducted, like that published on the Journal of American College of Nutrition and conducted by Bob Murray, PhD., indicate that a decrease in the normal level of fluids in the body “changes in cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, metabolic, and central nervous function that become increasingly greater as dehydration worsens.”

What really happens when you get dehydrated?

If you regularly ride on your bike, you need to know the science of dehydration. While on the go or doing your exercises, your core temperature increases. To cool your body off, you sweat.  Water is pulled from the blood. As a result, the volume of the blood plasma is lessened. That means your blood thickens. As this happens, your heart begins to work harder to pump out that limited blood supply and carry nutrients to the body and oxygen to your brain and the lungs.

If there is not enough water in the body water, will be pulled from the muscle cells (your muscles and kidneys contain about 79% of water) to maintain essential organ functioning. Once this happens, you will begin to feel cramps and experience other symptoms associated with dehydration.

By that time, you may feel thirsty and you may think of downing a whole bottle of water or sports drink. However as it takes time to move the fluids that reach your stomach out to your bloodstream, you will be dehydrated even more. You can just imagine how your performance will be affected by that. You will feel mentally weak, physically exhausted, and, perhaps, ill. In the end, you may decide to end your training earlier than you should. You will also be putting a strain on your next workout as your dehydrated muscles will take some time to recover.

Top Hydration Tips While On The Bike

It is best that  you take your water on the go from one of the best water bottles for cycling so you can continue to hydrate on a regular basis while on the track. But you should remember that hydration starts earlier than when you have begun your training.

Here are some hydration tips that can help you keep hydrated while on the go:

  1. Drink about 300 to 500 ml of water when you wake up. If you prefer a flavorful drink, squeeze out some lemon in your bottle or glass of water. This will perk you up and replace lost fluids from sleep. The added lemon juice will provide your body with vitamin C that can help build your body’s resistance against cold and flu.
  2. Consume at least 300 to 500 ml of water or any beverage in about 1 to 2 hours before head out for your training. This will give enough time for your system to use the fluids to sustain you for some time while you are on the road. Make sure that you drink just enough and not overhydrate as this will not be good for your body as well.
  3. Water is not enough; drink an electrolyte or isotonic drink. When you engage in strenuous activities, your body uses not only water. You also release sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. Hence, drinking water will not be sufficient to replenish any lost electrolytes in your system. What you can do is to alternatively drink water and an isotonic of an electrolyte drink. You can also combine your water intake with gels and nutrition bars to replenish that carb that you have lost while on your bike.
  4. Hydration should be before, during, and after a training. It is crucial that any lost fluid in the body is continuously replaced, so you will have to drink sufficient fluids before, during, and even after training. You can check how much you have lost during the training by stepping on the scale before and after cycling. You will need to drink 20 to 24 fluid ounces of water for every pound that you lose. The color of your urine will be a good indicator if you are already well hydrated. If you see that it has a clear yellow color, then you are properly hydrated.

Conclusion

Remember that hydration should be at regular intervals. Do not wait until you are thirsty before you drink. Setting your watch timer will remind you when it’s time to take a sip. An interval of about 15-20 minutes will just be right. It will be easier to re-hydrate when you have one of the best bottles for cycling, so keep one with you wherever you go.

Essential Hydration Tips For Cyclists

Participating in a sportive like a Grand Fondo requires that you have the stamina and the strategy to battle against the distance and the clock. As such, you discipline yourself to go through hours and hours of rigorous training so that when the day comes, you will be ready and be at your best.

You also need to make sure that all the gears that you need for the ride will be ready to push you even to your limits. To conquer every possible difficulty on the road and while on the go, you need to make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared as well. It is best that you fuel your body with adequate water so you can function optimally throughout the race. Bringing with  you one of the best water bottles to keep your favorite beverage as you like it.

Hours on your bike on a very hot day while going around a very challenging track without a focus hydration plan can ruin your pacing strategy. It can also make you feel exhausted quite easily, especially when you find yourself ascending a very stiff trail.

Consider these essential hydration tips to keep you in top shape if you plan to be part of any upcoming cycling event in your locale or anywhere else.

Preparation for the race starts days before the event not hours

You need to start hydrating even days before the actual day of the event begins. It’s not even a smart idea to chug down several liters of water a few hours before the gun is fired. Many serious athletes have faced death as they have suffered from a very dangerous condition as a result of this. Hyponatremia is a condition that results in the sodium level going to a critical low because of overhydration.

This causes a person to have a headache, be dizzy, vomit, be confused, and show other critical symptoms like muscle cramps, and seizures. A more serious level of this condition hae already claimed several lives.

Start the day right by drinking about 300 to 500 ml. of wake up

You can make your drink even more motivating by squeezing in lemon juice into it. This can perk you up and can replace any fluid that you have lost while you were sleeping. This will also give you extra protection from virus-causing diseases on the road.

Drink at regular intervals to keep hydrated

Don’t just drink to thirst. Your senses might give you a faulty signal and you may think that you are only thirsty when actually you may already be dehydrated.

Thus, you may say that being thirsty may not be the most reliable indicator of your state of dehydration. Experts indicate that thirst is often not activated until one has lost 0.8 – 2% of body weight.

To be at your optimum performance, it is crucial that you start hydration even before you ride your bike and should continue hydrating at regular intervals throughout the ride. Note that if you fail to replace any lost fluids right away, not only your output performance will suffer. Your overall health may also be affected.

While you sweat a lot, the water retained in your system is lessened. This makes the plasma to thicken and force the heart to work harder. In the process, your body temperature increases. The cycle continues until you finally re-fill your tank.

To ensure that you can continually rehydrate, store your favorite beverage in one of the best water bottles for cycling. You can keep them hot or cold, or any way you want your liquid replacement to be.

Keep one or two bottles of sports drink handy

When you do intense sportives, you lose not only water in your body. You also use up a lot of energy. Keeping a bottle or two of a great-tasting water drink will not only quench your thirst, it will also provide you with essential electrolytes to push your energy level up once again.

Drink to rehydrate, eat to fuel up your body

Although your alternative fluid replacement can provide you more than just water, you still need other energy-giving calorie food sources to rely on. Snack on bars, gels, pieces of fruit that you may have in your belt bag or at any of the well-stocked aid-booth on the way.

If at any point of the race or the event that you feel dizzy, feel heavy, or starts to have a headache, pause for a while and look for someone who can provide you with first aid. Never put your health at risk. Dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to death.

Be ready, bring your best beverage, and hydrate even while on the go to stay at your best throughout the event.

…and this is why I have been away for so long…

One week with Zappi’s Pro Cycling at their pre season training base.

I have just returned from spending a week living with the Zappi’s Pro Cycling team at their pre season training base in Tavira, near Faro in Portugal.

They have been there since January and will be based there until mid April when they will move to Italy for a few weeks before returning to the UK in June for the National Road Race and Premier Calendar series. I will give some additional information about races at the end of this piece.

I had little idea what to expect however I left with a feeling that something special is happening there.

When Flavio Zappi was starting out on his pro career he joined a team called Lema Mobili run by Domenico Garbelli in 1978. It was very disciplined and the whole team lived together with the boss. Out of 12 riders in the team 10 went on to sign professional contracts within 3 years. Flavio was one of these and he went on to wear the green jersey in the Giro d’Italia.  This is the model Flavio is now using for his team of riders who are aged between 18 to 25.

Whilst a guest I was expected to follow, (where physically possible!) the daily routine of the team. This starts at 7am with reveille, signaled by the tune whistled by Elle Driver in the movie “Kill Bill”  (originally the theme to “Twisted Nerve” written by Bernard Herrmann 1968) which is played on Flavio’s iphone as he walks around the accommodation.

07:15 sees the start of 30 minutes of Core Strength training lead by Jack Adams or maybe some Ashtanga Yoga lead by Jacob Loftus. Whilst this is going on Flavio and his wife Jayne will be preparing breakfast. (please see photo link further down for images)

There was unusually bad weather with rain and high winds during my week so training rides were timed to fit with any improved weather windows however usually after breakfast has been cleared away and washed up the plan for the day is discussed and the team prepare for the training ride. If all are fit this will normally be a 3 to 5 hour session. If anyone is recovering from an injury or illness then the ride will split in two with the latter maybe doing an easy 2- 3 hours.

It is beautiful riding in this part of Portugal. You can head north inland on quiet roads and almost immediately can be on a nice long undulating, twisting climb for 20 kms rising about 650 metres to a beautiful high plain. There is no shortage of good routes and often they accompany the local Pro Continental Team, Tavira-Carmin on their training rides. Flavio does the training rides with them, which he finds invaluable in terms of analyzing their progress.

On return to base the riders will cool their legs by standing in the unheated swimming pool for 20 minutes before showering and having food.  Then the bikes are completely checked over and cleaned ready for the next day. Laundry is also dealt with immediately.

Depending on how hard the ride has been there may be a walk on the beach or a yoga session in the afternoon. The last meal of the day will be eaten at 7pm and most are in bed before 10 pm.

The team consists of 8 riders who share 3 bedrooms. Cooking is done by Flavio and the chores of daily communal living are split up amongst the guys by rota. These consist of washing up, outside areas, inside areas and being Flavio’s assistant in the kitchen for food preparation and making food packs of brioche and figs for each of the riders to take on the training ride.

Food is an integral part of daily life and the training. Breakfast consists of homemade muesli, boiled eggs (yoke removed), bread, Jam, yogurt, fruit, juice and tea and coffee. Each member of the team is expected to eat exactly the same and nothing is allowed to be left. This seems fine for breakfast but more of a challenge for a couple of the team for other meals which consist mainly of local fresh fish, and occasionally chicken livers or roast chicken. One of the guys had never eaten fish before leaving for Portugal so this has been a big change of diet for him and the chicken livers well…. anyway nothing is allowed to be left on the plate! The fact is that they are usually starving anyway. Accompanying the main item there is always salad and often sweet potatoes, broccoli (raw), new potatoes and lots of beetroot. I have to say I found the food delicious although the treat Flavio announced that everyone deserved one night of sweet potato and cream lightly dusted with chocolate powder was more unusual.

The routine and discipline is the closest I have come to experiencing life when doing some basic training in the army in the early 80’s. It has some of the same sense of routine, purpose, “get on with it” approach whilst getting to know your team mates and but also the feeling that someone is really looking after everybody and everything – there is someone in charge and you are living together, as opposed to turning up at a club to do some training before going home to your family. It felt fundamental to the building of the team’s character. Flavio jokes that he has got 8 “children” to take care of out there but to a degree it is true. One of the guys was ill earlier in the year and it is Flavio who takes him off to get his blood tested and then goes back for the results, he is the one to massage a calf recovering from tendonitis. He is the one who makes sure noone is being “so lazy”, who gives a serious dressing down to all if standards are slipping. It felt good to see and be part of. I suspect there are not many young riders at this level who will have had the opportunity to live with their team mates and DS for pre season warm weather training and then the forthcoming race season. I suspect that this is most important to maintaining focus and discipline whilst at the same time being enjoyable.  One thing I am sure of is that the guys are experiencing something totally new to them.

Please see photographs at http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamcarey/sets/72157632974703883/

At the time of writing (14 March 2013) the racing is about to get more serious. Here is a flavour of it.

17th March Portuguese National called Classica Labmed [ 18 March Nikita came 3rd overall and Dan crashed when going well and broke collarbone]

20th March 5 day stage race is UCI 2.2 international Volta Ao Alentejo

The team are waiting for confirmation for the Giro del Friuli another UCI 2.2 international in Italy in early May but single day internationals (UCI 1.2) Circuito del Porto and Coppa Della Place are confirmed start of May and start of June. In preparation for the teams return to the UK for the National RR and Premier Calendar Series they have also confirmed entry into the French UCI 2.2 International stage race Tour de la Pays de Savoy.

Then it will be the UK scene with a rest the end of July before building into the second half of the season, races yet to be confirmed.

There are many more national level races in Spain, Italy, Swizterland and Belgium planned/confirmed which are good training races and stepping stones for development between the harder internationals. All the team riders have varied levels and therefore different individual goals but we always race to compete as a Team and as such riders will work to do a job when not capable of individual success.

Riders

Jack Adams

Danny Kelley

Jacob Loftus

Dimitri Paganoni

Sam Parker

Dan Pearson

James Ratcliffe

Nikita Zharoven

Flavio Zappi – DS

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo !!! with Graham Obree….

 MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY FAST NEW YEAR!!

This year we had to go to a new venue, as Mamma Mia my favourite place is not big enough to accomodate our xmas party,

hopefully next yean Jon (the owner of Mamma Mia) will have a bigger restaurant for us….

We had the most amazing evening, my all family was finally over there (after 2 years), my sponsors, my friends, my teams, a great guest speaker (Graham Obree) and most of all the club members…the Zappistas!!!

Racing team 2013

Is this time of the year when lots of pieces are all over the tabel, like a puzzle but I’m getting there…

Sponsorship deals to finalize, car /van to get decal sorted, kit, Xmas party and bikes…

Car and van is this year  a bit more pro level…

…as finally I can afford to buy them rather than borrow them from my very nice and therefore grateful friends like Steve Avery and Duncan Mellish.. 🙂

This year racing team kit will have a different colour scheme…RED is the theme, for passion, power, love and …

Ferrari speed!!

So black follow red and white on the top for those summer sunny day where I want to keep the fresh to be able to attack on those hills…

Yes is a team of climbers with some of them on mix abilities…I want to get them were it matter…on the climb!

My plan is to get those light weight boys and give them the power they need but keeping the ideal weight …6 guys average weight 62.5kg…lets get the wattage now!

But the bike is what I’m so exiting about…the frame was tested by my self during this season…my “Volante” as said in Italian can fly and is also a power machine!

The main difference from “Freccia” is the rear end and a bit more aerodynamic…but the rear is where is not going to give anything back…only forward!

Stiff like a rock, ideal for ultimate performance…not good for the over 50 unless you have a very good core and back…my personal choice is still la Freccia as I like to have  a little more relax in the rear for my 6/7 hours sportives…never the less managed to win a crit and very good at short races.

But I wanted to be different and I spend time with a company that deals with F1 high quality decals, …yes decals!

Back in the 70s was normal and I want to take them back for 3 reasons:

1 The frame is paint less therefore lighter

2 If you scratch it you can replace and your frame will look great again

3 You can customize it

The frame comes as an aggressive black matt finish, but the you can choose the scheme you like…

You can start with black and red …our racing team colour and change during the season for some sunflower yellow and ride the in the summer  like the tour the france leader…

Anyway the team one is compatible with Zappi’s club colors …

And now time to build it…so as you can see if you match it with bar take, bottle cages, tyres and saddle the job is done…

Summer Training for competitive cycling

Hot weather is very unusual in England but when is there you have to deal with.

Assuming that you are a trained fit rider with few month of competition under your belt, you should not need much endurance training. I would concentrate on speed work and power training and appropriate supplement and diet to help your fluid loss. Ideally training during the fresh hours of the day…..

Power training with short boost above your threshold for from a short 45 sec to max 5 minutes (no more than 12) , ideally using climbs and various of them during your training with complete rest between them.

Speed work few option:

a) Very short sprints on flat again complete recharge between them no more than 10

b) Motor pacing no more than 50k

c) Criterium racing

Diet and supplement try to eat more fruits and fresh salads than usual, plenty of carbs and less fats again for fast fuel, mineral salts are very popular and easy to buy, but try not to exceed as is always better for our body to source naturally from food.

MK Criterium

Was very nice last night see my friends at MK Bowl for the usual Thursday summer series criterium.

I decide to go to the race on my bike, lovely afternoon to ride and I wanted to treat it as a good training so 2.5 hours ride easy steady then 1.15 high tempo with lots of intervals and 2.15 back at tt pace, sharing the work with two other OUCC riders (Seb and Nils) on the way back made the return journey quicker.

I like to do crits as training in the summer because is a good way to pick up speed without the stress of do it on training, but is very important to remember that for road racing just the crit is not enough and need to be combined with a daily training, some people that are searching to get a results they go out in the morning for 2 hours, is just another way, I prefer to train just before the race to get properly warmed up, and after to improve my aerobic threshold.

All together 6 hours, at the end I was pretty tired so I think my two companion from Oxford University Cycling Club.

I felt stronger then last year and I attack solo at 8 laps to go, but nobody came across, and after 3 laps the peloton got me, I was not too tired at the endof the race and the anaerobic workout will for sure be very beneficial together with the rest of the training.

Maybe a little old school my training but I was told at the race that in the past was common to get to the race and back by…………bike.

Motor pacing

There is a very interesting way to add “zapp” to your legs, and that is motor pacing behind a car or a motorbike.

If you are doing in a track that’s OK, but you can do it on the road as well, you need to find somebody with a vehicle that knows how important is pacing regularly taking in consideration variation of the course, i.e. small climbing and cornering,.

Safety is a very big issue , therefore you must find very quiet roads, and an expert driver.

Short and fast, this is the key, the first time I did it was when I was “dilettante ” at 19 and after a very hard 4 hours team training with climbs, I was called by my coach in the afternoon to get ready for 5okm motor pacing. Did the job to me, I won for the next two week ends.

Keep this training only for climbing your form don’t over do it or you also loose your form as quickly!

Starting

We all start some point, some because of the older brother passion repressed or just after watching stage of the tour de France. Normally wearing wrong size bike and not appropriate shoes and clothing. But one thing in common to all, the great feel of freedom and adventure.

So lets start get it right:

  • Check your bike size and measure. You can find hundred of website that will give advice on how to measure your body and fit your bike accordingly, one tip don’t get your position to aggressive, you need to train your back  for bicycle riding.
  • Shoes and clothing. Check position of your cleats under your shoes, wear appropriate clothes for the season, slight lighter because you are exercising. If is very cold your head, hands and feet are the most vulnerable. Keep in your pocket wind proof vest or a rain jacket.
  • Food and drinks. Don’t exercise if you just eaten give at least 1 hour or 2, take some energy bar or cake with you and water or fruit juices.
  • Spare inner tube, pump and necessary kit to fix a puncture.
  • Mobile phone and some cash, you never know you mite have a multiple puncture or breaking a wheel over a pot hole, then you need to call for help.
  • Call a friend and enjoy the ride.