Don't spend all day in bed

It’d be nice if we could start every ride feeling fresh as a daisy, but the fact is, hangovers happen. Here’s how to deal with them, how to reduce their severity and duration, and how to get out there and ride anyway.

Concentration and coordination

When out mountain biking, the two skills you rely on most are concentration and coordination. Unfortunately, these are the two most affected by a night out on the lash, mainly due to dehydration.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages your body to lose fluid. That’s why you whiz more when you’re in the pub. In fact, the rodent trying to scratch its way out of your head the morning after is purely down to a lack of fluids and a failure to replace them. So here’s how to get your concentration and coordination back up before you hit that first jump.

Five ways to fight it

  1. Waste water
    Necking pint after pint of water when you wake up could actually make you feel worse and leave you bloated. Your body won’t be able to use it all, and all that fluid sloshing around in your stomach is likely to make you sick. Instead, slowly sip your water every 15 minutes. Your body will able to handle this, and use much more of it.
  2. Egghead
    To most, the fry-up is the daddy of hangover foods. But there’s only one food on your plate you should be paying attention to: the egg. Eggs contain an amino acid that helps the liver get rid of the toxin responsible for making you feel like crap. It’s also rich in protein and helps satisfy appetite.
  3. Magic powder
    Hydration sachets are designed for exercising in extreme heat, when the body loses a tremendous amount of fluids and salts. But they are also great for killing off your hangover. One 500ml bottle is more than enough to wipe away your headache and bring your fluid levels back to a reasonable level.
  4. Wait a bit
    If your ride can wait until the afternoon, then bide your time. Why risk the chance of injury by going out first thing when you’re not totally awake? Instead, go back to bed, drink plenty of water, eat some decent food, and go out when you feel a bit better.
  5. No sweat
    Don’t think that by exercising harder you’ll ‘sweat’ out your hangover. It’s a complete myth. You may sweat out a tiny amount of alcohol, but it’ll have very little effect on how you feel. Take it easy.