Sunday, February 10, 2013

A couple of good questions from a customer

As the race season picks up, I get more and more questions like this coming through my inbox.  Read on, but please be advised that it gets a bit graphic about external catheters. If you are going to Sebring, have a GREAT race! 

Hi Dana  

I have a Bent Up Cycles Aero bag I can put two bottles of water in, but for a century ride, I need more water. Do you have any ideas how I can carry more?  I’m thinking about riding the century at Sebring on Feb 16.

I rode the Suncoast bike trail last sat - 86 miles – and I had to stop 6 times to pee and only had water for fuel.  How do you ride long distance and carry enough water and how do you take a leak while riding? I lost about 15 min stopping and only had an 16.8mph average speed. Those guys at Sebring will kill me.

Some guys use a hose and I don’t know how to do it.  Do you cut a hole in your shorts and let the hoses go down along shorts or along seat?

I won’t have any help so I have to carry enough water to make it back from the 50 mile turnaround at Sebring.  Do you have any ideas?

Sincerely, RS

Hi RS,

In my experience, many recumbent riders have to pee during the first couple hours of riding.  I guess it is something about the recumbent position that puts pressure on the bladder – I’m not sure, but I know that I will have to pee once or twice in the first 1.5 hours of a ride.  If you are one of the riders that have this issue, there isn't much you can do about it...

Catheters work for some, however, they are not 100% (they can come off and then you have wet shorts).  They fit on like a condom with a hose coming off of the end.  The hose runs down your shorts and then hangs at your side as you ride.  If you go this route, make sure to route the hose on the left side so you are not peeing on your chain.  It also takes some practice, so try it before the event.

Sometimes, if you are riding with a group, everyone may agree to stop together.  Another suggestion is to bolt off the front to get ahead of the group so you don't lose so much time.  However, you have to tell the group that you are doing this. Otherwise, they may take it as an "attack" and try to keep up with you.

Finally, at an event like Sebring, there are going to be many groups racing down the road.  If you lose your group at a stop, just jump on the next one that comes by.

In regards to hydration and nutrition, it is imperative that you have some sort of plan - you cannot ride 100 miles on just water.  There are a variety of powders out there - Hammer Nutrition and Infinit come to mind.  If you are going to try any of these products, race day is NOT the day to do it.  The general rule is you should be consuming 200-300 calories per hour.

Personally, I prefer real food.  I fill each side pocket of my jersey before a long ride - one side gets a mix of raw almonds, cashews, dried cranberries, and if it isn't too hot, some chocolate chips.  The other pocket gets filled with dates.  I can carry 900 calories this way, which is enough to get through a fast century.  I may also stick a piece of fruit or two in my bag.

For an event like Sebring, you should really try to get someone to support you.  Bring some extra bottles with you and ask someone if they don't mind bringing extra bottles out to the turnaround point so you can grab them.  Everyone is pretty friendly there and you shouldn't have a hard time finding someone to help.  Just make sure you know what kind of car they drive and where they will be.  The turnaround is generally the worst place to meet, as everyone else is there.  In 2010, we had our crew set up about a mile before the turnaround.  That way, they saw us as we came by and could get our stuff out.  We then stopped at the car on the way back to get our stuff.  This was a great opportunity to drop off clothing and pee as well.

I hope this helps.  Have a great race!

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