Nutrition & Health

  1. Drink like a fish before, during, and after rides. (If you are not going to the bathroom at every pit stop, you are not drinking enough). Drink at least two water bottles (32 to 44 ounces) per hour in hot weather. On long rides, you need to replace electrolytes lost during the vigorous exercise. Use of Gatorade, PowerAde or other “sports” drinks can help. The minerals (sodium, chloride, and potassium) are important for muscles to work effectively. Carry a water bottle around the office, home, garden, in the car. Become accustomed to always taking in fluids. Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry. It’s hard to recover once you “hit the wall” with regard to water and energy depletion and can be very dangerous.
  2. Eat high-carbohydrate foods and increase the percentage of carbohydrates in the days before the big ride. Eat rice pudding, yogurt, muffins, whole-wheat cereal and toast, oatmeal and lots of pasta. You will build muscle and have reserve energy.
  3. Use extra salt because you will lose a great deal of sodium when you sweat.
  4. If your back is sore, raise the stem on your bike until its top is an inch or two below the top of the saddle. If you are prone to sore backs, strengthen abdominal muscles by doing ‘crunch’ sit-ups.
  5. Stretch your neck before, during and after rides. Change the position as you ride.
  6. On long rides, become skilled at eating while riding. Do no wait until you “feel” hungry because your body will have already depleted its energy reserve. Do not eat while riding in traffic, going down hill or (uphill which is very hard and dangerous to do) or when out of breath as the danger of choking increases. You may want to clear you nasal passages before eating because you will need to breathe through your nose while chewing. If you need to, spit out the food rather than choke if you need to focus all your attention on riding.
Check out “Bicycling” magazines for additional training, riding, nutritional, safety, equipment tips.