by Erick Wikum
Last year’s Tour de France bicycle race occurred during a severe heat wave in Europe with temperatures in the high 90s. According to the NBC Sports Network telecast, while teams typically provide riders with one water bottle per hour, during the heatwave, teams provided riders with triple that amount. This example clearly illustrates that heat, humidity, intensity and duration can have a drastic impact on the amount of fluids needed during exercise.
According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, less frequent or dark urination, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. Insufficient fluids can lead to cramps, exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke. See this link for more information.
Next time you are preparing for an outing on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, whether to walk, run or bike, carefully consider your hydration needs. Err on the side of bringing more fluids than you need in case conditions or the duration of your outing differ from what you expect. Having additional fluid will also allow you to come to the aid of a fellow trail user in distress.
Fortunately, the marketplace offers a wide variety of hydration solutions, including the following:
Bottle: Plastic bottles come in various sizes. Some are insulated to keep your beverage cool. Some are equipped with hand straps for easy carrying. Properly dispose of (recycle) disposable plastic bottles.
Cage: Water bottle cages can be attached to bicycle frames, seats or handlebars.
Hydration belt or vest: Hydration belts and vests include slots to hold one or two water bottles along with pockets to carry snacks, keys, etc.
Hydration backpack: Hydration backpacks include fluid reservoirs of various sizes, a drinking tube, and pockets to carry other items.
Good old-fashioned water can go a long way towards meeting hydration needs. A wide array of sports drinks, which replace electrolytes lost during sweating, are available in bottles or powder or tablet form. No matter which type of fluid you choose, bring enough. Stay hydrated, stay safe and enjoy your trail outing.