Rehydration After 50

Actually, in my case this story begins before 40, when I was in Singapore on a dragonboat team. After every practice (and race, like in the photo below) we would haul out the ice cooler to Kallang beach and drink our sponsored beer (Moosehead, eh!).

Until that time I’d never really had many problems with hydration / rehydration, but Singapore is hot and humid all damn year and a one-hour practice could really drain the fluids from me. The short of it is that those couple of beers I had after practice often resulted in a hangover the next morning, or even a headache that night. The happy compromise that I found was to have a sports drink from the cooler before diving into the beer. It even sometimes worked.

I’m the ‘stroke’ at the front

In France I’ve been experiencing the same thing with training, but have managed it pretty well, I think. I don’t cramp on rides much, for example, but I do often get headaches and general malaise after long, hot rides, unless I’m really focussed on rehydration. I like to stay away from rehydration drinks / electrolytes, but I should probably keep more around for the big rides because they do seem to help.

Anyway, yesterday I did a 3-hour ride with a couple of friends and had a beer with lunch after the ride. I also drank a good liter of water before, during and immediately after that lunch. No good; 6 hours later I developed a headache, started sweating for no reason and had ‘the shakes’. It felt like a hangover. My breathing was ‘quick’, for lack of a better word, and my HR went up a bit. Temperature was down about 2 degrees. I ended up going to bed a 8 pm and nursing electrolytes for a couple of hours. And then I was fine.

I feel like this type of reaction is getting worse with age and from the little reading I’ve done it does seem that dehydration is a problem as you get older. My guess is that it is related to fitness, too, like many things. I never once got dehydrated like this during my 3 Haute Routes last year, for example, and I had plenty of drinks after every single stage of those.

Haute Route Peer Pressure

I’m going to stock up on powders of various types to get me through the summer, but I should also probably finally smarten up and realize that ‘I’m not a teenager anymore’, like Shoko keeps reminding me. But damn, how nice is it to have a cold brewski after a ride!

Have any of The Elders amongst my readers experienced a hydration problem as time has passed? Inquiring minds want to know!

14 thoughts on “Rehydration After 50

  1. Not really Ger! I tend to have a good absorption and retention. My biggest problems are when I have trouble to hydrate enough and too soon to an event and end up having to stop for a Pee too often, I think its the minerals tickling the bladder and tricking the body in thinking you have to go. Quebec city trip with you comes to mind! LOL! Fortunately, I can generally go long distances without too much water. Garmin now gives you adaption ratio’s on how much water you used on a ride. I can now Cycle long enough at 25 degrees with a 1/2 bottle of water. How cool is that? LOL!

    • I guess I do remember a few potty stops on the ride, Pierre! Everybody is different, that’s for sure. John has a much higher sweat rate than me, I think, but never complains about headaches, etc. after rides. I’ll get it figured out one day, hopefully before it’s too late!

  2. We’ve been on the same wavelength lately. I’ve only done a couple of rides here so far as I’ve found the heat and humidity oppressive. So I’ve been doing some swimming and trying to relearn the front crawl with about a 1 km swim. One doesn’t associate dehydration with swimming but I have to say I have really been bagged after the swims. I thought it was the swim itself but now realise that I haven’t been rehydrating enough too. Regarding the beer, the last time I was in Canada I noticed in a couple pubs I was in that they served you a pint of water with your pint of beer. And they keep coming around refilling the water. A great idea and certainly a good way to contend with the dehydrating effects of beer. Btw that dragon boat racing looks like fun.

    • That’s a great idea those pubs have, Luc. I have asked for a pint of water once or twice here and if it’s lunch then there’s always a carafe on the table. I think it’s also about how you ‘go into’ the effort, i.e. hydrated or not. In general, when I do all the right things, everything is great!

      As for swimming, I went through that process many years ago and have forgotten the crawl again, I’m sure. You’re definitely using different muscles than when you’re cycling 😉 Have you been to Cafe du Cycliste while you’ve been there, btw?

      • Regarding café du cycliste yes. I dropped by there to get a water bottle as I forgot mine. (Speaking of hydrating)

        • I think I can survive for another season, but I’d like to get another pair of their bibs. One of my go-tos these days.

  3. Hey Gerry: I don’t like additives and bars; typically carry real food (sandwich, dates, …). In summer, I just add some salt to my water bottles. Seems to work well… Last Saturday, I even had a (one) beer after a 90mi ride in high temps

    • How does ‘salt water’ taste, Jan?? I’ve made my own solution for water before, but never just salt. I’m not sure I’d ever want to take a drink on the ride 😉

  4. I am in agreement with Jan..On long rides I take real food..sandwich cut in quarters so I can have a bit a a time. Also I make rice cakes (not the disgusting dry cracker type) and also on occasion figs. Rice Krispy treats are great!! I find it important to take more food than you think you might need, but as Carlton Kirby says, one is never too far from a sandwich (in my area) About hydration, I think Jan is on the right track..I add honey and a dash of salt to my bottles and am never shy about stopping at shops for water, especially in the humid, hot weather. I do use an UnTapped product mix… Lemon Tea Mapleaid which I like very much.
    à propos de la bière après…. pas de problème.

    • Rice Krispy squares were a favorite of mine when I was a kid. It might be time to bring the tradition back, Stephen! Honey and salt is a good tip, too. I’ll try that today. And yeah, I haven’t yet come across anyone with my ‘beer problem’. It’s really a shame because I like it so much more than you all…

  5. Getting old is unpleasant, but it is preferable to the alternative. I suspect you were already pushing your limits when doing “extreme” events such as Haute Route but your youth and fitness helped you through it. When working in the heat, it is advisable to drink 1 quart of water per hour. So are you drinking four quarts during your long summer rides?

    I rarely hit take in that much fluid, so lots of hydration before and after the ride usually helps. So does sugar, in all its forms. Again, that’s not the best advice, but I am being honest here! I rarely feel the headaches that you describe but usually feel very tired/drained after a long ride. Food/Hydration helps. Then by all means get a beer!

    • I think that’s a big part of it, Steve, i.e. prehydrating well. Since I ride 4 times a week I don’t always do that well. I used to be ‘religious’ about a bottle an hour on the bike (still far from a liter, I realize) but not these days, even in big events. In those things I’m also taking in lots of salty food and anything else I can wolf down, so that probably helps a lot. On normal rides I have my banana and whatever else I have lying around. I could do better.

      As for the alternative to getting older, if that’s ‘getting young’ I don’t think it sounds too bad!

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