When it comes to winning, losing, and just completing races, it’s easy to get caught up in the conditioning of an athlete or the technology they use and forget the single most important element—fuel. Just look at Mirinda Carfrae’s 2013 Kona race where she lost her bottle of nutrition during the ride and never had the energy she needed in the run. For the majority of athletes, nutrition will be found via a liquid solution. That being the case, every athlete has found their own hydration preference and this post will serve as the first in a series of articles for us here at Aerogeeks to detail the hydration solutions out there as well as our preferences. Because we know that hydration is such an important part of the triathlete’s gear bag, as well as such a personal choice, I thought I would share my favorite article on the topic from Nick over at TriRig (http://www.tririg.com/articles.php?id=0_Hydration).
In this first post we want to quickly cover what your own hydration needs will be and how much fuel we actually need to carry on board the bike. It’s important to remember that carrying 1 or more bottles leads to consequences in both weight and aerodynamics. Weight wise a full bottle can weigh between 1.5 to 2 pounds, so one bottle alone can neutralize all the weight savings of that $3,000 set of Enves. Therefore finding the right hydration setup is a balance between your fuel needs and the cost of carrying them.
Determining your hydration needs is really a two-step process. First is determining how quickly you are going through liquids. Personally, I go through about a bottle an hour while training. During a race I maintain about the same schedule. However, in the first fifteen minutes (coming out of T1) I will drink an additional 8-12 oz. of water. This means I will definitely need a second bottle for any race over a sprint distance. Next you need to determine your hydration options on the course. For sprints and most Olympic distance races you will not have any on-course options while on the bike and will need to carry all of your fuel onboard. For ½ and full ironman distance races you will be able to do fuel pickups on the way if you are comfortable with the choices available. Personally I like to use my own mixes of G Series Pro or EPS and only grab water from the aid stations. My personal fuel strategy is as follows:
Sprint – Single bottle in a BTA (Between The Arms) setup
Olympic – BTA setup and single bottle in a rear carrier
70.3 – BTA Setup with 1 bottle in a rear 2 bottle carrier. Both bottles will contain heavy caloric mixtures. The open spot will be to grab water on the course.
140.6 – Same as the 70.3 setup but extra bottles of calories in the feed bag to restock with my own fuel.
Most people can get by with a little less liquid; a single bottle for Sprint and Olympics. The only person that can really determine what is best for you is you. In the next few days we are going to break down the different ways to carry bottles on the bike. First, we’ll cover our preferred method of a BTA (between the arms bottle). Next will be articles on tube mounted and rear mount options. We here at Aerogeeks hope to answer any questions you have regarding hydration while also exploring all of the available hydration options.
Photo Credit – http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O98TmIY-AgU/T-tS-BR1CJI/AAAAAAAACbY/b3bxhYR0wHA/s1600/drinking+water.jpg