QUESTION: In summer I needed to drink at least four bottles to ride my favorite hilly 65-mile bike loop. Now that it’s 40 degrees cooler, I do the whole ride with one bottle. Is that OK? — Sam S.
RBR REPLIES: Probably not. You sweat nearly as much in the winter as when it’s hot and humid. But the sweat doesn’t show because of all your clothes, or it evaporates in the cold, dry air.
So, you don’t notice how much fluid you’re losing on winter rides. That’s a problem because performance deteriorates markedly when you’ve lost as little as 2 percent of your body weight as sweat.
Start that long ride with two bottles. Drink them in the first two hours, then reload during a quick stop at a convenience store. I bet your performance (and enjoyment) improves.
If you find that the liquid is too cold and that’s part of the problem that is keeping you from drinking, it can also be worth it to buy yourself some insulated bottles or at least carry a bottle in your back pocket so that your body heat keeps it from getting too cold.