When dehydration hits, no amount of training helps.
Staying hydrated when racing Motocross can feel more like a game especially when the sun dishes out scorching levels of heat. Dehydration sneaks up on even the fittest of riders and if it bites, at best your ride day ends early, at worst you can get in to some serious health issues.
Additionally, you can also start a Moto feeling ready to take the holeshot (and you just might) but halfway through start feeling the effects of dehydration which can mean the difference between dropping fast and finishing a sluggardly 15th or hanging on for a podium. You might not get into serious health trouble by the end of a race because of dehydration but stamina surely takes a hit along with associated cramping and/or fatigue.
Therefore, when racing Motocross you not only want to start hydrated but remain hydrated throughout the day until the final checkers. So how do you stay hydrated especially on a hot day and with little time to not only take enough fluids but absorb and replenish between Motos? We talked with some of the former pros at MotoSport to see how they figured it out.
1. Start Hydrating Early
By early, we don't mean the morning of the race - more like a few days ahead of the race. Marathon runners employ the same tactic. Guzzling water a few hours before gate drop offers little help as you simply pee it all out and might even offset your electrolyte balance. Drink water regularly throughout the days leading up to your event. Aim for light yellow colored urine as evidence of adequate hydration.
2. Drink Water
Lots have been said about sports drinks but water always represents the best go-to when hydrating. And, in between Motos, cold water not only tastes better when thirst hits on a hot day, it helps lower your core body temperature and tends to absorb faster. That said, drink any temperature water available as quickly as possible to get hydrated before the next gate drop.
3. Pedialyte Works
Yes, we said water works best, and it does, but we can't deny the fact that Pedialyte works wonders and many riders drink it to balance their electrolytes and hydrate after a race. Pedialtye contains less sugar than other sports drinks and diluting it with water helps cut back on the sweetness while providing the necessary salts and potassium to get you ready for more. If you want to keep it Moto, check out this hydration fuel blend from Ryno Power highly reviewed by fellow riders.
4. Avoid Alcohol
For obvious reasons, but alcohol also quickly dehydrates and depletes electrolytes.
5. Avoid Carbonated Beverages
We thought about placing an asterisk next to this since carbonated water works just fine in terms of hydration. But one rider noticed a link between getting arm pump when he drank carbonated water. Therefore, if you struggle with arm pump and drink carbonated water see what happens when you stick with still water.
6. Avoid Caffeine
Another potential asterisk on this suggestion because as studies have shown caffeinated beverages don't dehydrate you. And, caffeine helps get things kick started as lots of racers use it for an added boost in performance. However, you might notice extra trips to the bathroom, therefore, avoiding caffeine or at least limiting consumption on race day helps prevent a last minute lavatory stop when you should focus on the pending gate drop.
7. Cool Off
Your body continues to sweat until you cool off. Don't add fuel to the dehydration fire, so strip off all that gear, get out of the sun and in addition to drinking water, pour some over your head and down your back. The quicker you stop sweating the sooner you can replenish the fluids lost.
8. Cooling Gear
Adding another layer in the heat feels counterproductive but several companies make cooling gear that helps keep you cool which prevents excessive sweating thus reducing the amount of fluid loss.
9. Hydration Pack
Hydration packs get a starring role in off-road racing but that doesn't mean you can't use one in a Motocross race. Hydration packs easily slip on over or under a jersey and add little weight. Most riders don't need one for the relatively short duration of a Moto. However, if you realize a pattern of succumbing to dehydration during a Moto despite your best hydrating efforts, or you plan to race in soaring humid temperatures, a hydration pack not only prevents mid-Moto dehydration but can keep you from falling behind the hydration curve after the race as you prepare for the next one.
Proper hydration goes a long way in preventing heat stroke, a potentially fatal illness caused by high body temperature. Drink water throughout the morning of your race, remain as cool as possible all the way up to gate drop (use an umbrella on the starting line) and have your crew ready with water so you can start replenishing lost fluids once the race ends.