Wednesday Wisdom - Hydration Systems
By: Brooks Doughtie
Cary Store Bike Manager
Hydration while bike riding is one of the most important aspects of keeping yourself properly fueled in both training and races. While it can seem overwhelming with different styles and placements of bottles, we'll help break it down for you.
Generally, there are 2 styles of hydration, front between the aerobar hydration systems (BTA) and rear hydration systems.
Front between the aerobar hydration systems are great because they are in front of you and the most accessible hydration system. 2 variations include an aero bottle with a straw that you can easily refill on the go with the quick fill port on top of the bottle. This style also can include an out front computer mount that can be easily seen while in the aero position. Athletes using this system do not have to get out of aero position as they can drink directly from the bottle.
The other out front hydration system is to use a cage system with a regular water bottle. This allows you to use a regular bottle and you simply remove it any time you want to take hydration. The downside is that you may have to get out of aero to drink. Several X Lab cages also allow for a computer mount on top of the cage to allow you to easily view your computer while cycling in the aero position.
Rear hydration systems are great for carrying extra water. The rear cages attach to the saddle rails and can come in 1 or 2 cages. One note on rear cages is it’s recommended to use a gorilla style cage that has a tighter fit on the bottle, or else your bottles may eject out while riding. Go to any Ironman race where railroad tracks are on the course, and you will see a half dozen bottles laying on the ground. These are more expensive but well worth it when being able to keep hydration on the bike.
Wait...I know what you are thinking right now! How am I going to balance turning around every 5-10 mins on the bike to reach for my rear bottle. A quick trick is to drink from either your front aero bottle or downtube bottle, and then use the rear cage bottles to refill the other bottles. This limits the number of times you have to reach back for the bottle!
Now with this knowledge you'll be ready to stay properly hydrated and fueled on the bike and rock your next race. For more information on hydration systems click on the link below and see what best fits your athletic needs.