Question: I’m careful to keep myself hydrated. I drink two large bottles every 30 miles, using both water and sports drink. On a 50-mile ride, I refill both bottles, making up a new batch of sweet stuff with a pre-measured amount of powder.
I ride with a friend who drinks about the same amount I do. However, I urinate about four times during a 50-mile ride, while my friend doesn’t go at all. Am I consuming too much fluid? — Joe K.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Everyone is different in terms of kidney function, so you shouldn’t compare your urination frequency with that of your friend.
That said, you may be drinking too much. Doing so can lead to the serious problems of hyponatremia (decreased sodium concentration in the blood), especially if you drink only water during long rides.
In any event, it’s hard to enjoy the ride when you’re always looking for suitable bushes.
You might try reducing the amount you’re drinking. Not to the point of risking dehydration or bonking, but to see if it reduces your need for pit stops.
One more thought: Bike seats can press on the urethra and irritate it, making it feel like you have to urinate. This happens when the pelvis is rocked forward too far. So you might also consider a position check.
When I was competing in triathlons, my doctor told me that I was probably over-hydrating (diluting my electrolytes and leading to calf muscle cramps). I cut back on pre-race coffee and pre- and mid-race water and cramps went away.