Tune-Up Tuesday
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July 1

Le Loop Stage 5 and 6: More Cobble


Day 6: Stage 5: 160km LILLE MÉTROPOLE-ARENBERG with 20km bone-rattling, brain-busting, hand-hurting COBBLES!

Thank goodness the 20km of cobbles wasn’t in one go. Today consisted of 11 cobble sections from the famous Paris-Roubaix race. One word: OUCH!!! We were given advice pre-stage: ride them as fast as possible, ride the side gutter with a higher risk of a flat from the stones, ride lower psi–again, with a higher risk of a pinch flat, and relax. I decided to go for the less risk of a flat way, so bounced my way across the 20k of bricks in the road in agony. I had to remove my watch as it was digging into my wrist with every jarring metre! As I was bumping along, I was imagining a massive peloton of pros riding these “roads” at 70km/hr which was unbelievable to me! I made it, and now I can say I’ve ridden the cobbles, but hopefully, I NEVER have to do that again! There are smooth roads alongside which seems like a much smarter choice.


Day 7: Stage 6: 223k BINCHE-LONGWY. This is the longest stage of the Tour. I pulled out and the start was on cobbles! This felt so punishing after yesterday. Unfortunately, I had a mechanical consisting of a stuck dropped chain that required a pretty lengthy derailleur adjustment. Mechanic Andy saved the day and aside from having to stop one more time as my water bottle cage bolt sheered off, I was off at a full time-trial effort, knowing I was going to be the last rider in to feed stop 1, where everyone had to wait for me to roll out and get on with what was going to be a very long and hard day of riding.


The day WAS long! It came with winds (fortunately some of the final climbing was with a tail wind), a torrential downpour, and an 800m kicker at 15% at 220km into the ride! My new riding buddy and now hero, Windy, and I, had a scary incident with an angry car driver who brushed me and sent Windy off the side of the road into a rough shoulder ‘field’ where I watched him chop wood as he stayed calm and eventually came to a stop. How he did not go down is amazing to me and I was so relieved I didn’t have to administer my first aid knowledge or worse CPR which is what went through my mind as our lives flashed before my eyes. Fortunately, this aggression from drivers is rare and I am feeling very lucky. I pulled in after 7:54 of hard riding and was very happy this stage was DONE! Tomorrow’s stage has as much climbing as today but over 50k less distance, and it should be much better weather. Allez, allez, allez, and goodnight!



June 29

Day 5: Stage 4

Day 5, Stage 4:

181 km Dunkerque-Calais.


Today was a special stage as Ollie and camper Ben from Youth Adventure Trust rode with us and we were all inspired by the amazing work this project does to help kids gain confidence and resilience. Ben rocked it on the bike today, telling us all that his favourite part was going downhill 🙂


It was also special today as we all contemplated what went on here during World War II and I felt thankful to be out riding my bike freely and enjoying the beautiful day.


Each day the first 30km or so of the stage takes us to the first feed stop. No one leaves that first stop until the last rider comes in. This keeps the group closer together and also gives everyone an opportunity to ride with all the different cyclists. I also love it because it serves as a great warm up!


Stage 4 was the first stage in France and it had the most spectacular scenery so far. I absolutely love climbing (not so much descending – well I do love descending but I just don’t go as fast as many others) on my bike so, with over 6000 feet of ascent, I was a happy camper! Today from feed stop 1-3 I rode with a new group and the pace lining was once again awesome! Riding in a pace line makes the kilometres fly by as you rotate continuously in a circle, but it also requires a huge amount of brain focus. We worked well together and as a result, we arrived at the feed stops 2 and then 3 relatively quickly. As we started to hit more sweeping descents, I would fall a little bit behind and have to put in a pretty hard time trial effort/sprint to catch back up. It was super fun but at feed stop 3 I decided as it was only stage 4, I had better cruise it in, and I rode the rest of the stage solo. And man, did I enjoy the last incredible climbs and views!




The support in Le Loop is top-notch! The people are amazing, the food is amazing, EVERYTHING is amazing!


At the last feed stop I was rolling out with the group again but I followed the signs (there was a small adjustment to the official route) while they followed the true route so I had to giggle as I rode completely solo wondering if the group was in front or behind and played a game in my mind where I was the breakaway rider in the Tour de France (though not riding quite as hard) wondering if I would be swallowed up by the fast-approaching peloton. Turns out they were in front and so there was no victory of getting my name first on the massage list! Everyone can sign up for a 10-minute massage for 10 Euros and there is a list we all want to get our names on, as soon as we pull into the finish!


Stage 5 has 20km of cobbles and while I watched all the seasoned riders change their wheel set or tires, I became a little more nervous about the bone-shaking experience we are all to experience tomorrow. Let’s do it!

June 27

Today is Day 4 of Le Loop and I am sitting on a bus for the 10-hour transfer day.  Seems a fitting time to write a blog.  We are currently on our way from Denmark to the top of France where Stage 4 will take place from Dunkerque to Calais (171.5kms).


Carmen, Tim (two T Train cyclists), and I arrived on Wednesday and spent the day getting organized:  We took a big taxi van from the airport to our hotel with our bikes and bags, assembled our bikes, and headed out for dinner before falling into bed exhausted (I slept a whopping 1hr and 10 minutes on the airplane so I was tired!).


A few of the early arrival Le Loopers made plans to do an easy 40-50km ride in and around Copenhagen (which turned into 85 gorgeous kilometres) and this was a great way to start to meet new friends and ease into the new time zone.  Copenhagen has more bikes than cars and the bike path infrastructure is phenomenal!  Twenty kilometres of our ride (in and out of the city), as well as much of the riding out of the city, was on the most amazing bike paths. Unlike back home where no one seems to know that you stay right unless passing, it was an amazing experience. Everyone obeys the traffic signals, and it all runs incredibly smoothly. Impressive! Carmen and I hit the official Tour de France store to purchase a few items for memory’s sake and we met some more Le Loopers for dinner before one last sleep before the start of Le Loop.


Recap so far:

Day 1:  13km time trial route around the city of Copenhagen.  With no closed roads and thousands of local cyclists, we certainly did not do this as a fast time trial!  Le Loopers were sent off in groups of 8 or so and it was a fun ride around the city as we stopped to photograph and take in all the city views. After a 90min bus transfer to the start of Day 2, dinner was served and a brief about the next day was given. We started the routine of washing and hanging out our worn kits to dry, and I fell asleep feeling the excitement of riding another stage.



Day 2:  187km Rosklyde – Nyborg route (the pros do bit more due to being able to ride across the 18km Great Belt Bridge).  I must have called out “oh my gosh this is so beautiful!” at every turn. We experienced the most amazing farm fields, small Danish towns, and coastal views!  Most of the ride was on bike paths and we had warm weather with some sprinkling of rain.  I had a flat which was quickly fixed with the help of Paul and the Le Loop tech support pump.  My favourite part of the ride was definitely the spectacular poppy fields.

Day 3:  185km Vegle – Sønderborg route.  Today was another beautiful ride through beautiful villages where the locals have decorated their streets with Vive Le Tour signs, painted bicycles and other Tour de France decorations including entire houses painted with the King of the Mountain polka dots!  More bike paths galore, lots of heat and wind, and a few cobblestone roads – that I am told pale in comparison to what I will experience later in the Tour.  EEEK!  Today I joined a new group of 5 new friends and got to experience an organized pace line that was fun and doable on this second ‘flat’ route (and likely the last flat anything on this adventure).




June 21

It’s Go Time!: Le Loop/ Tour de France Ride

I signed up to ride the ENTIRE Tour de France (yes, the ENTIRE Tour de France) a couple of years ago, but it was postponed due to Covid-19. It is finally happening, and I fly to Copenhagen tonight. I’m both excited and nervous. The 21 days of riding begins on Friday June 24, 2022.


I am doing this event with a British company called Le Loop. T Train cyclist, Carmen Wagemen, (recently profiled in this blog) completed this endeavour in 2019. Carmen is returning this year along with T Train rider Tim Gilbert who will tackle the first ten days of the Tour. I am so thrilled to be able to share this challenge these two amazing people. I will be cataloguing our adventure here on every Tuesday of the event but in the meantime, here are some “Fun Facts of the Tour de France 2022”:


*21 stages of riding with an average of 160kms/day with the shortest ride on Day 1 clocking in at 13kms and the longest day occurring on Day 6 at 220kms.


*Elevation gain is almost 48,000 m/ 157,000 feet!


*Day 5 includes 19.4 km of riding on cobble, described as “boneshaking farm roads”.


*Day 12 is 165 kms and over 15,000 feet of elevation gain.


*50 riders are signed up to do the Grand Loop (all stages), and another 50 riders are doing portions of the ride.


Vive La Tour! I’ll be in touch soon!

Coach T

June 16

Riding A Wheel

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU: https://www.pexels.com


No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, but what does it actually mean to “ride a wheel”? While it’s not rocket science, getting comfortable riding in close proximity to another rider or riders does take practice.


Riding a wheel in cycling is also referred to as “drafting.” Drafting is when one rider (or a group of riders, also called a peloton) tucks in behind another cyclist’s bike and rides with their front wheel as close as possible to the back wheel of the bike in front without touching it. Drafting protects the rider from the wind, and as a result, generates 30-40% less power to go the same speed as the lead rider (who is pulling at the front).


The best way to draft is to relax your grip and upper body and ride with your head up. Looking forward (and not down at the wheel directly in front of you) will enable you to be aware of all the dynamics around you and to keep a steady distance from the wheel in front. The number one rule for drafting is to NEVER OVERLAP A WHEEL. This way, if the rider in front must move laterally for any reason (pothole, wind gust, etc.), there will not be contact, thereby avoiding a crash.


When riding in a group or even if it is only two riders drafting each other, do not make any sudden, unexpected moves without warning. Lead or follow the wheel in front in a constant and steady line without suddenly surging or breaking. It is also important for any riders that move from the drafting position to the lead position, to accelerate gradually and not accelerate too quickly, causing a big gap and subsequently causing the riders behind to have to sprint to get back into the drafting position.


Practice by riding as close to the wheel in front of you as you feel comfortable and get progressively closer as your confidence builds. Focus on what is happening in front of you when riding with others. Turning around is dangerous and may cause you to touch a wheel in front of you which can lead to a crash that takes down the riders behind you.


So, stay focused, relax, keep your gaze forward, practice, practice, practice, and enjoy the faster ride with way less effort!






June 7

Five Tips for the Ironman Lake Placid Bike Course


Credit: Mwanner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


We have a number of T Train riders who are getting ready to race Ironman Lake Placid on July 24, 2022. Known as one of the hard bike courses on the Ironman circuit, it’s also one of the most beautiful. I have trained and raced there more times than I can remember and have also led training camps there. Both the climbs and the fast descents on the course mean you’re constantly shifting and that’s part of the fun! Here are a few of my top tips for nailing the bike course.


  1. Be careful coming out of T1 because there is a short and fast descent with a sharp left turn at the bottom of the hill.


  1. Ride the first loop conservatively! EXTRA conservatively!  It’s easy to go out too hard on this two-loop course, especially over the climb out of town when you have fresh legs, and the adrenaline is running high. This climb often catches people off guard as it’s less talked about than the climbs that begin just past the skip jumps, or even those you’ll encounter on the way back into town at the end of the loop. Don’t worry if people pass you as you ride steady and controlled here as you will likely repass them all on the second loop! You should not feel “heavy legs” at the beginning of this course and if find yourself wondering if you are riding too hard, you probably are.


  1. Be sure to ride the big descent down to Keene within your comfort and hug the top tube with your knees both to stay aero and for stability.


  1. Execute your nutrition plan and remember to eat before the big descent and on the flat sections so you don’t lose easy speed on the descent trying to consume calories.


  1. Stretch out by sitting up to eat every 20 minutes or so (or when your nutrition plan calls for caloric and fluid intake) and you can also stretch out your back every once in a while as well as carry your momentum by getting out of the saddle for 10-20 pedal strokes.


Don’t forget to have a look around! The views of the Adirondacks are stunning.

May 31

Benefits of a Brick Workout

It’s customary to see cyclists at T Train finish a ride, do a quick change, and head out into the trails of Crothers Woods or the roads for a run. Brick workouts are critical for the sport of triathlon, but they can also give single-sport cyclists a fitness boost. A run off the bike doesn’t feel like a stand-alone run. Often your legs feel heavy, clumsy, and tired! But, practising your transition to running off the bike even for short distances will allow for adaptation that will both make feel progressively better and become faster! Whether you’re racing a triathlon or just want to mix up your workouts, adding a run stimulus to your ride is an excellent workout.


Below is a short brick session to test out. Be sure to lay out your run gear before getting on the bike so you don’t have too much time to recover between the two activities—you can do that after the run!


WU:  10min ez build to 80% FTP, 2min ez spin

MS:  4 x 4mins at RACE EFFORT, 1min ez spin between

CD:  Get off the bike and practice transition to the run quickly:

RUN:  10-30mins with first half at RACE EFFORT, rest is ez running to finish and cool down.

May 24

T Train Cyclist Profile: Carmen Wageman

We have such an incredible crew of riders at T Train, and their dedication and super exciting pursuits constantly inspire me. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Carmen Wageman through some of hers. No doubt you’ll be inspired too!


Caremen fell in love with cycling while on a cycling trip in Ireland with her husband in 2010. She came home and immediately bought her own road bike. She then set the goal of completing Ironman, which was a huge feat given her serious phobia of lake water after almost drowning during a boating mishap. Carmen sought out therapy and did EMDR to conquer her fears, successfully completing her first Ironman in Kentucky. A year later, Carmen completed the iron distance race in Roth, Germany.


After the confidence of her Ironman results, Carmen shifted her focus to riding for causes she believes in by taking part in charity events. She also continued to tour the world on her bike through cycling vacations in France, Italy, New Zealand, Hawaii, Ireland and many more locations in the US and Canada.

In 2019 Carmen completed Le Loop, which is an organized event that rides the ENTIRE TOUR DE FRANCE. It consists of 21 days/stages of hard riding, exactly as the Tour de France does, starting one week in advance of the official Tour. It has been described as “the toughest endurance race on earth”!


Carmen first heard about the event through a cyclist friend who had done it. She wanted something that would be challenging and push her beyond anything she had ever done before. She was after a life-altering experience. What she discovered was a ride that was much more challenging than she expected, causing her to go “into many dark places,” but she dealt with the many difficult moments well and has grown as a person as a result.


Perhaps the greatest part of Le Loop is that it raises money for the William Wates Memorial Trust: a grant-giving charity which aims to support disadvantaged young people through the mediums of art, sport, and education to deter them from a life of crime and violence. This means the event combines Carmen’s love of advocacy and passion for long-distance riding.


Having conquered the event in 2019, Carmen found herself transformed. She explains that she “sees things differently, is calmer, and is more confident” in her very successful business as a home stager (stagerighthome.com).


As many of us do after completing an epic event, Carmen swore she would never do it. Of course, she signed up to do it again this July!  Now, however, Carmen is even fitter than before, and in addition to all the amazing and dedicated training, Carmen quit alcohol consumption in Sept 2021. It has been almost 9 months, and Carmen is much stronger as a rider because of how fast she recovers from hard workouts. Removing alcohol from her life allows her to sleep better and has resulted in weight loss, both of which have also contributed to her improvements on the bike. This time around, I will be joining Carmen in France to tackle Le Loup. We can’t wait to watch Carmen fly up those mountain climbs and experience more “unexpected life-altering gifts.”


Cool LE LOOP facts:

During the entire Tour, Carmen will climb (on her bike) the equivalent of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Everest. Not bad in 21 days!

She will burn 185,000 calories during the tour. That’s the number of calories in 357 Kit Kats.

She will ride approximately 3500K!

May 11

V02 Max: Short and Not So Sweet

Photo Credit: Bono Tsang (pexels.com)


VO2 Max workouts help to improve your fitness level.  It is great to add these sessions once a week into your training.  VO2 Max workouts increase your body’s ability to use oxygen, increase your cycling efficiency, and build strength and ability to produce power.

Here is a short VO2 Max bike workout:


WU:  Do a nice long warm-up to ensure your body is ready to push some high watts.  Start with a warm-up spin, then get things firing with a step-up set:

5 x 30s with full min rest between and do them at 90/100/110/120/130% FTP

Spin for 1:30 after the last one


MS:  2-3 rounds of:

5 x 90s at 130% FTP/3min ez spin between and 5mins ez spin between rounds


CD:  Cool down spin


Happy hard riding!



May 5

The Places My Bike Takes Me: Cycling Destinations Continued

As promised, here are three more of my favourite riding destinations (one that is close, one that is a far away, and one that is somewhere in-between):

Haliburton, Ontario:  If you like the challenge and the adventure of mountain biking, Haliburton Forest has over 300kms of incredible trails to choose from. There are also many great gravel roads in the area if being off the beaten path, away from busy traffic appeals to you! If riding many kilometers on smooth, tree-lined paved roads, past beautiful lakes is your think then the road-riding in the Haliburton Highlands is fantastic.  T Train rider, Belinda, organizes a fabulous ride for friends that starts from Toronto and ends in the heart of the Highlands, along with a glass of wine and a jump in the cool Lipsy Lake water.


North and South Carolina, USA: There are both flat and hilly options for rides in the Carolinas, but admittedly I am inspired by and love the challenge of the climbing routes.  The spectacular scenery of Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Mitchell, or Ceasar’s Head National Park will make you forget how hard the climbs are!  Hiking in Table Rock or a visit to Hotel Domestique (established by legendary cyclist George Hincapie) make South Carolina a serious cycling hub. I need to go back and ride up Sassafraz Mountain which is the highest point in the State of South Carolina.  Anyone want to join me?


Mallorca, Spain (Spain’s second largest island): Cycling in Mallorca is a dream. The mountain riding in the north is spectacular. The views of the Balearic sea are breath-taking and the mountain switchbacks can feel endless. With flatter options to ride along the coastline, Mallorca is by far one of my most favourite cycling destinations. The famous road to Sa Calobra, designed by Italian-Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti has a one of the most intense switchbacks I’ve ever ridden, and the ride out to Cap de Formentor is mind-blowing. My athlete Anja, just traveled to Mallorca to tackle the “Mallorca 312” which is a gruelling 312km ride all over the island with over 5000m of ascent. She rocked it!


April 27

Some of My Favourite Place to Ride

Having raced Ironman as a professional, I have travelled to some incredible places to race and train. With the easing of travel restrictions coinciding with the start of the race season, I thought it’d be fun to share some inspiring cycling destinations with you! There’s lots more to come but here are three definite winners:

  1. Lanzarote.  Lanzarote is the home of “the toughest Ironman in the world.”  This volcanic island with its unique terrain and intense heat and wind ensures that the riding is both intense and breathtaking. This island is magical to me – I love the vast lava fields that make you feel like you are riding on the moon. Despite the arid landscape, the island is known for its gorgeous vineyards and, of course, the ocean views are spectacular.
  2. Kona, Big Island, Hawaii. Travelling to Kona during Ironman is exciting with so much intensity surrounding the world championship. However, travelling to Kona during other times of the year is even better. Another volcanic island, the Big Island has so much to offer, including fabulous riding. Doing the Ironman course is a must, but riding off the course is even more spectacular. Riding down and through the tropical Hawaiian foliage with breathtaking views to admire Captain Cook Bay is one of my favourite rides. The heat and wind can also be intense on this island and battling these elements make me feel so alive!
  3. Abu Dhabi.  I had the opportunity to race in Abu Dhabi and this was by far the most dynamic trip to date. Part of the bike course was on the Formula One track which was so different from anything else I’d raced. But I also took the opportunity to explore some amazing mosque architecture as well as neighbouring countries of Turkey and Oman while there.

Photo from Triathlete Magazine Canada.

April 19

My Favourite Cycling Quotes

Sometimes even the most highly motivated cyclists need a little extra push! Here are my top-five go-to cycling quotes that I repeat to myself when struggling to stay focused or feel fatigue on the bike. Hope they you find them as inspiring as I do!


  1. “I don’t ride to add days to my life. I ride to add life to my days.” – Unknown
  2. “You are one ride away from a good mood.” – Sarah Bentley
  3. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
  4. “You can’t be sad while riding a bicycle.” – Unknown
  5. “The best rides are the ones where you bite off more than you can chew, and live through it.” – Doug Bradbury
April 14

Leveraging Low Cadence Drills

The research on the efficacy of low cadence intervals for building leg strength on the bike is somewhat mixed. Nonetheless, exposing your body to different stimuli has multiple benefits including helping you become a more well-rounded cyclist. When we always incorporate low cadence work with caution, however, because it does require more force and more torque through the lower joints. We love to incorporate short segments of low cadence work at T Train rather than doing a whole class at low RPMs, and we tend to off-set those intervals with high cadence recovery. Training at a range of cadences allows us to improve pedal stroke efficiency and maximize fitness gains.

Keep the low cadence work to shorter intervals and never push through any knee or other joint discomfort.  Adding some standing segments to your low cadence segments can help riders gain confidence out of the saddle and is great for changing position and stretching out the lower back.

Here is a suggested cadence workout that employs a range of RPM and some standing efforts.

Note:  Do not do the low rpm intervals if you are experiencing any knee pain.


Warm up for at least 10 mins:

2 x 8min main set at 85% FTP with 1 min each at:

60rpm seated

60rpm standing

70rpm seated

70rpm standing

80rpm seated

90rpm seated

100rpm seated

90rpm seated


Shift your gears as needed to maintain approximately 85% FTP and spin easy for 2mins between 8min pieces at natural rpm


Cool down for at least 5 mins at natural or high RPM


Ride strong and enjoy the workout!

April 4

Getting Comfortable Riding Aero (and why you should work on it!)

Nicole Van Beurden

By Nicole Van Beurden


At speeds over 15km/h, a rider’s body is the dominant force of resistance. By the time you hit about 45km/h, 90 percent of your power goes into overcoming air resistance (known as drag). Drag increases exponentially with speed. So, let’s say you work super hard over the winter at TTrain and raise your FTP by 20 or 30W; That’s a huge gain that should relate to big speed in your upcoming races, right? The downside to that hard work is that the faster you go on the bike, the more aerodynamic drag you face. What that means is more of those 20-30W of fitness are put into overcoming that drag. It’s kind of like how the longer you amortize a mortgage, the higher the percentage of your monthly payment goes to interest rather than principle.


The best way to let your fitness gains and hard work show in a race split is to get rid of as many things as possible that are slowing you down (and drag is at the top of that list!). The bike makes up 20-25% of your overall resistance while your body accounts for 75-80%. That makes body position a low-hanging-fruit for immediate speed gains. The most aerodynamic bike on the planet will not make any discernible difference if the rider position is not addressed, so before you think of equipment upgrades, think of position changes.



Don’t think of it as making things faster, think of it as making things easier!

This is especially true if you are training for long course (anything over an hour on the bike). When you train your body to be comfortable in the aero position, you are training it to become relaxed in the aero position. Speed comes only from a state of relaxation (always!). This is why world class athletes make it look so effortless – because they actually are relaxed (even when working hard). Training in the aerobars allows your body to become relaxed and powerful in that position. It also lets you naturally learn how to recruit, train, and take advantage of the powerful upper body muscles of the back, lats, and core. This can only happen when those muscles are relaxed and therefore responsive. Tension is a killer. Imagine a baseball or golf swing, or the snap of a whip, a kink in any of those would lead to a massive loss of power transfer. The same is true for cycling. When you relax your shoulders, neck, and lower back, you become better capable of transferring power from your larger more powerful trunk muscles. You can then leverage that power through your body and into the pedals.


Teach your body to embrace aero!

Producing a powerful pedal stroke comes down to simple motor patterning. Kids are great at developing these because in their world, everything is new and different. Adults don’t tend to love different because it feels a little out of control or foreign – be ok with that. You need to embrace the mindset of a beginner – be child-like in your learning and your body will respond favourably.


Specific training is no joke!

Lastly, if any of the above reasons have you convinced and you hope to race in the aerobars this summer, you need to train that way in order to see your power numbers translate on race day. Study after study (a few listed below) show that cyclists trained in the upright position will reach their maximum VO2, ventilatory rate, heart rate and power output in that position (and not in the aero position). Cyclists trained in the aero position will see those same results only when in the aero position (and not in the upright position). Train specifically so that you unleash your months of hard work in training shine on the race course!



Ashe MC, Scroop GC, Frisken PI, Amery CA, Wilkins MA, Khan KM. Body position affects performance in untrained cyclists. Br J Sports Med. 2003;37(5):441-4. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.37.5.441. PMID: 14514538; PMCID: PMC1751358.

Bishop, Phil & Smith, J & Richardson, M. (2004). Effects of training in an aero position on anaerobic power output. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online. 7.


March 28

Hydration for Cyclists

Hydration is critical when cycling and exercising for many reasons. Core body temperatures rise during exercise and that rise is more pronounced when training and racing in hot climates. Evaporation (sweat) is the body’s very effective means of thermoregulation. However, the more fluid that is lost, the more an athlete’s performance can decline. Good hydration helps us tolerate hot conditions better and can help to prevent muscle cramping. Fundamentally, staying hydrated (by limiting the amount fluid loss that occurs when exercising), helps to keep an athlete’s body temperature from rising, and allows for better performance.


I always recommend that my athletes consume a minimum of one bottle or 500-750ml (25 fluid ounces) of fluid/hour. In very hot conditions, I recommend double that amount or up to 1.5 liters of fluid/hour. Of course, sweat rate differs among athletes so one easy method to assess your own is to weigh yourself before and after a training session or a race (and it may be worth doing this test in different temperatures and for sessions with different exercise intensities). If you weigh less after your session, you should hydrate more. If you weigh more than you did prior to your session, you may not need to intake as much fluid. Another telling sign is the colour of your urine. A darker colour is a sign of dehydration and an indication that you need to increase your fluid intake.


We also loose electrolytes when we sweat, mainly sodium. Replenishing lost electrolytes, therefore, is just as important as replenishing fluids. Rehydrating with water alone is insufficient. Not only does everyone sweat out a different amount of fluid (volume), but the amount of sodium (electrolyte concentrate) loss also varies. One simple test for sodium concentrate is to check your clothing after a training session or a race. If you notice a lot of white salty residue on your clothing, it’s likely you are a higher concentrate sweater. The exact amount of fluid and electrolytes loss for individuals can be determined in a lab setting but this testing is not always easily accessible. It’s important to note that the issue of sodium replacement is hotly debated. Anecdotally, the practice of doing so has worked well for me. For years I thought I was hydrating well until I got my sweat tested. I discovered that I am both a high volume (amount of fluid lost/hour) and a high concentrate (amount of sodium lost) sweater. I used to suffer from major leg muscle cramping in races until I started replenishing the correct amount of sodium for my body. As soon as I took in more sodium, my muscle cramping subsided!


Experimenting with different amounts of fluid and electrolyte intake in order to determine what is right for each individual cyclist/athlete may be needed.


Here is a general hydration guideline to start with:


Replenish with one 500-750ml bottle of fluid/hr. If the exercise duration is more than one hour or in hot conditions, include 300-1000mg of sodium/hr. My advice for electrolyte replenishment (which is based on my experience only as I am not a registered nutritionist), is to start with a small amount of sodium (~300mg/hour) during sessions over an hour and in hot conditions and if muscle cramping still occurs, increase the amount sodium ingested gradually to determine the right amount for you.


Stay on top of your hydration for a better, more enjoyable ride.