In a word: loads
It’s not often we get to talk about hot weather being a problem in the UK but we are in a bone fide heatwave. Here’s how to hydrate on a MTB.
To give you an extreme example, Tour de France riders can get through nearly ten litres of fluid in a single race stage if the weather gets over 30°c.
The key point here is that when the temperatures are much hotter than normal, you need to exponentially up your fluid intake. We’re talking more than double your normal amount. At least.
Everyone is different but a rule of thumb is that you should be looking at consuming one litre every hour if you’re mountain biking in temperatures around or above 30°c.
This may present difficulties for those riders who no longer bother wearing a hydration pack. Er… tough. Either dig out your old Camlebak and bladder and get on with it, or plan a route that takes past a refilling opportunity every hour.
And if you’re riding for more than a couple of hours it really is a good idea to add some electrolytes to your water. It’s also a good idea to take some electrolyte tablets with you on your ride. They’re only dinky after all. Stick a couple in a ziplock bag. Even if you don’t end up needing them yourself, chances are one of your riding buddies would be glad of a bit of plink-plonk-fizz on your hot ride.
Beware so-called energy drinks. Especially more generic offerings you find in petrol stations and corner shops. Your stomach doesn’t want to have to deal with processing these types of drinks in hot weather.
Other tips: wear sun cream and if you’re going to be out for a few hours, consider wearing a lightweight long sleeve top to prevent sunburn on your arms, also try to find the most vented helmet you can even if it’s a – shock! horror! – road lid.