Q: I recently rode 170 moderately hilly miles in two days at an average speed of just over 14 mph. It was cool but I still managed to sweat. I drank plenty of water and sports drink and ate a small amount of carbohydrate every 10-20 miles. On the morning before the first ride, I weighed 205. After the second ride, I weighed 212. This weight gain always seems to happen after long rides. Why? — Mike S.
COACH FRED: This isn’t unusual. It’s caused by fluid retention. Some ultra-distance riders have been known to gain 20 pounds by the fourth day of their events. It’s suspected that the stress of long hours of riding in tough conditions causes the kidneys to shut down.
Fluid retention can be dangerous in extreme events like the Race Across America. But it shouldn’t be a problem in short tours like the one you describe.
You probably consumed enough carbohydrate during and after the ride that your glycogen levels were topped off. Along with glycogen, large amounts of fluid are stored, so you weigh more.