Earlier this year I wrote a blog post on ‘Conquering Cramp‘ in which I commented on my troubles with cramp, previous strategies, the results of a sweat test and the personalised hydration plan I had received for using Precision Hydration, electrolytes that match how I sweat. Unfortunately DVT then got in the way. I have since used them for indoor turbo training, but this weekend I finally had a chance to test them in earnest at a long race.
I cannot recall any 12-hour time trial (or 100 mile for that matter) where I haven’t suffered with uncontrollable cramp in my leg, sometimes lasting for several hours. Since the DVT I had even more reason than before to stay on top of my hydration. Being able to ride a long race without cramp was not just a relief but also made the whole experience a lot more pleasant (as pleasant as being in the saddle for 12 hours can be some would say).
As per the hydration plan I made sure to preload with H2Pro Hydrate 1500 (which adds 1500 mg of sodium per litre). Steadily sipping from my bottle both during the journey up the day before the race and during the night. I finished my last bottle with H2Pro Hydrate about 1 hour before my race.
During the 12-hour time trial I consumed a staggering amount, yet at the end of the race my skinsuit was still caked in salt and I never needed the toilet. That just goes to show what a heavy sweater I am, and it wasn’t even a hot day!
Below is an overview of what I consumed during the race:
- 3 small bananas (providing c. 1 mg of sodium and 400 mg of potassium each)
- 2 energy bars (17 mg of sodium each)
- 3 tubes of energy chews with extra caffeine (140 mg of sodium + 40 mg of potassium per tube)
- 3 tubes of energy chews with extra sodium (300 mg of sodium + 40 mg of potassium per tube)
- 6 x 800 ml with 1 tablet of H2Pro Hydrate 1500 and 1 tablet of H2Pro Hydrate 1000 (providing 1250 mg of sodium per bottle)
- 6 x 800 ml of energy mix (already containing 520 mg of sodium) with 1 added tablet of H2Pro Hydrate 1500 (making for a total of c. 1270 mg of sodium per bottle)
- 3 x 500 ml of Ambrosia rice pudding (with each bottle containing 400 g of whizzed up rice pudding diluted down with c. 100 ml of water, providing 99 mg of sodium per bottle)
- 1 x 600 ml of chocolate milk (a treat on the finishing circuit but also provides 300 mg of sodium)
- 1 x 500 ml of flat coke (just a nice little boost to morale and alertness)
In total I drank 12.2 litres in 12 hours. Not only did I consume a fair few carbs to power me around the course, I finally also managed to take in sufficient sodium to match my needs. During the journey home, I made sure to stay hydrated sipping H2Pro Hydrate 250 and I also regularly moved my legs to prevent DVT. I had asked my friend Rob who was handing up bottles to me during the race to keep a few SweatSalt capsules in his pocket in case of emergency cramp, but luckily I didn’t need them.
I still have a few more long races lined up this year for further testing, but so far I am pretty happy with this new hydration strategy… and it may have contributed to a nice PB of 265 miles in the 12-hour TT, despite being trapped indoors on the turbo all summer!