Sycling Snippets

by Bobby Nefdt

14. Staying Hydrated during Indoor Training

When I first started cycling I was told that I should not take a water bottle with me if I was riding less than 100km. Bikes didn’t have two bottle cages and consequently we seldom took water bottles with us except on very long weekend rides. I also have a problem in that I do not often get very thirsty during a ride and have to constantly remind myself to drink. This is very dangerous. The importance of adequate hydration whilst riding indoors is imperative especially when riding consecutive days. The reason why we sweat so much on an indoor trainer is because of the lack of air flow and the consequent additional heat given off by our working muscles. We sweat more when we work harder because our muscles generate more heat. The tendency when riding indoors is also to focus on quality rather than quantity, resulting in shorter and more intense sessions.

Air flow allows the heat to be drawn away from our bodies thus cooling us down but riding indoors the lack of adequate airflow on our bodies causes the sweat to drip off us. To improve the airflow onto your body, place a strong fan in front of your trainer and ensure that the room you are in is properly ventilated: door and windows open to reduce humidity.

Three tips to stay hydrated: • Start well hydrated. • Have a good drink before you start riding. • Drink regularly during your session.

Try to drink regularly without overdoing it. I find that I get more thirsty riding indoors than outdoors so remembering to drink is not a problem.

Drink after you have finished riding. Continue to drink after you have finished riding. It is suggested that you take an electrolyte drink to help your body hydrate fully.

You can assess the amount you have sweated fairly accurately by weighing yourself prior to riding and immediately after (with minimal clothing on) to determine your water loss (1kg = 1litre). Your difference in weight correlates directly to your water loss. Your goal should be to minimise that weight difference.

Remember: Water loss is not weight loss!