Question: Last summer I guzzled four bottles on a hilly 75-miler. I just rode the loop again for the first time this year—in the cold—and drank only one bottle. Does cooler weather have that great an affect on fluid needs? Or was I just not drinking enough? — Steve S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: No, cooler weather doesn’t have that great an affect on fluid needs—although that’s how it feels.
You sweat nearly as much when it’s cool as when it’s hot and humid. But the sweat isn’t as noticeable because it evaporates in the cooler, dryer air.
In additon, the additional clothing your wear in cool- and cold-weather riding often literally covers up the fact that you’re sweating underneath it all.
As a result, you don’t realize how much fluid you’re losing on cooler rides. That’s a problem, because performance deteriorates markedly when you’ve lost as little as 2% of your body weight as sweat.
Start all cooler rides with two full bottles. Drink a couple of swallows every 15 minutes. When you run out, replenish at a convenience store or service station. I’ll bet your performance (and enjoyment) improves.