• Posted Jun 28, 2004

Once and for all, the final word on getting tanked before your ride.

Once and for all, the final word on getting tanked before your ride.

By Donny Quixote Quixote Cycling Programs

“I need to replenish my carbs.”
Lisa Vetterlien; Reason for drinking a can of Schlitz beer after taking 2nd place in the 2004 Quad Cities Criterium.

Admittedly, diets suck. No one likes to keep track of their caloric intake and balance their protein-to-carbohydrate-to-fat meals or the follow the happenings of Atkins, South Beach, blah blah blah-give-me-a-friggin-break! Why, because when it comes time to party we don’t have much of a choice (socially and literally) but to slam back a few beers at the pub and all of our diet tracking work gets tossed right out the window anyway.

But what happens when you drop those drinks before a ride or a race? Well, probably more than you think when sober and more than you feel when intoxicated. In the most simple explanation, beer is empty calories. In your diet you want to consume the maximum amount of nutrients in your daily caloric intake. Caloric intake is based off of your size, sex, age and aerobic activity. Beer has little to no value per calorie and you could be taking in as much as 150-200 calories per beer.

So when you pound back all these empty calories your body is taking it in and absorbing next to none of it (which is why you have to urinate so much when drinking). Now you’re urinating a lot and not replacing any of it with quality H2O, so your body begins to dehydrate.

Dehydration is the loss of water in your body, and water is the carrier for oxygen to your system. If oxygen isn’t getting to your muscles then your muscles fill with lactate faster than usual, hence your heart rate spikes and you feel more fatigued.

“But what about drinking after the race? That can’t hurt, right?”

Not necessarily so. During a hard effort you can loose a lot of water through sweat. Water that needs to be replaced even after your exercise is over. If you drink beer directly after your ride/race then you slow your recovery time and risk feeling sluggish for even longer.

So feel free to drink some beers and have fun, just remember that while you’re having so much fun the next day in the saddle might not be as easy as you want it to be.

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