Question: My girlfriend and I had problems with fluid intake at the Hotter’n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, Texas. We drank lots of water and some sports drink but still hit the wall. The worst problem—we hate the taste of those drinks. What should we do? — Bernie J.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I’ve ridden the Hotter’n Hell twice and I agree—fluid intake is crucial.
Because the ride is so hot, the reason some people have trouble finishing, or even get into medical trouble, is a condition called hyponatremia, or severe sodium depletion.
This can make you extremely uncomfortable, severely limit performance, and in some cases it’s life-threatening.
The solution is to drink enough sports drink that contains sufficient sodium. Downing lots of water along with the drink isn’t a good idea. It dilutes the sodium concentration.
Before your next long, hot ride, find a sports drink that tastes good to you. There are many to choose from. If you don’t like the flavor, you won’t drink enough.
Here’s a trick: Add a pinch of salt to each bottle you consume. Most commercial sports drinks don’t have enough sodium for taste reasons, so you need to add some—even if it slightly alters the taste.