I know we always talk a lot about eating enough on the bike and how much bonking sucks. Bonking happens when you ride your bike for several hours but don’t eat enough to replace some of the energy you’re burning. You get extremely weak and pedal like a zombie back home.
But drinking on the bike turns out to be kind of important too. Who would’ve known?
Today I rode outside for the first time in Boston this year. If you’re curious about the roads, this Texan will tell you that she did the Allis loop and all of those roads are fine. Even the small, quiet, unsalted ones. You sort of pay attention to cars coming on the narrower roads and there’s no problem.
I digress. I’d brought two bottles of drink mix, because mixing certain stuff in water makes it melt at a lower temperature, eating solid food with lobster gloves is a pain in the !, and I thought I’d be clever. It was in the 20s and my drink did not indeed freeze. But 2.5 hrs into the ride, I’d finished both bottles.
So what do I do? I stop in front of a gas station, a gas station that has FAUCETS and WATER inside, I open my bottles, tip the tiny bit of slush that has sort of accumulated at the bottom into my mouth. “What a good-looking gas station,” I say to myself. And then I keep riding, with two EMPTY bottles. Idiotic mistake #1.
Two paths diverged in Weston and I took the one less traveled by, which is to say I turned left and added a half hour onto my ride. With two empty bottles. I essentially decided to ride, in the cold, for the next hour, with nothing to drink. Idiotic mistake #2.
Thank you, Jessica Ginese. Boston currently does not look like this.
The trees are deader.
Now, at no point did I bonk. But as the next half hour passed, I got really damn thirsty. I don’t mean, I felt like taking a sip from a bottle. I mean I was so thirsty that I started fantasizing about dixie cups of ice water. Just water. For this next half hour, I saw house after house after house but no stores with faucets. You know, like the one I stopped in front of and neglected to enter.
By the time I was about half an hour from home, I was so thirsty that the only thing I could think of was getting home to drink some water from a dixie cup. In retrospect it makes total sense that I should’ve gone and found some store and filled up my bottle, but I was so overwhelmingly thirsty that it’s like my brain shut down and could only think about that dixie cup. I’d started playing a game an hour before, thinking about my demand elasticity for water and how much I’d be willing to pay for a dixie cup. It started at 5 cents but shot up to $30 by the time I was almost home. Folks, I was willing to spend $30 on a cup of water. No, I don’t have a lot of $30s lying around to blow on water. I was just THAT thirsty.
Finally, I got home, wheeled my bike in the common room, walked straight to my bedroom, grabbed a glass off my desk, walked to the bathroom, and drank 6 glasses of water. No kidding. 6 glasses, mate. That’s almost half a gallon — half of one of these —
–in the space of about 15 seconds. Have you ever heard of the gallon-in-an-hour challenge? Bet I could’ve done it in 5 minutes.
I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled that much water in so short an amount of time, ever. Then I ate something so there wouldn’t be just a boatload of water for my body to handle.
Fill your bottles when they are empty. Literally, proverbially, spiritually, but mostly literally.