When you bike, you sweat.
When you sweat you need to drink water.
When you drink just water, you need to give your body electrolytes as well.
"But Why?" You may ask.
Electrolytes are the gate keepers of support materials for a rider's muscles.
When you push your muscles you are using up electrolytes in the process. When one releases liquid from their body, in any form, it is primarily excess water and electrolytes. So you've got to replenish them!
I'm going to try to briefly go into how electrolytes are made but please understand, I am no Bill Nye.There are four things used to make up electrolytes, Sodium, (Na) Potassium, (K), Magnesium (Mg), and Calcium (Ca). When any of these elements get diluted in water their ions become charged. All of our cells use that charge as a driving force.
My version: No electrolytes, muscles no move good.
If you go to the grocery store and ask "where is your potassium?" I doubt you will get the answer you are looking for. So to help you out we've created a chart of a few of our favorite hydration mixes and their levels of the 4 elements that contribute to electrolytes. Everybody's body is different so you might want to experiment with varying amounts of the elements. Find the levels that work for you and have a great ride!
BRAND Serving Sodium Potassium Magnesium Calcium
EFS 32g 300mg 160mg 150mg 100mg
Skratch 12g 180mg 20mg 6% 2%
Perpetuem 69g 210mg 80mg 8mg 35mg
These are not the end all be all hydration mixes, just some of our favorites around the shop. Each brand and type have their focus and niche. I suggest doing a little research on a few you may be interested in. This is a great strategy in trying out different nutrition. My favorite is Skratch, so to talk a little bit more on the topic of hydrating is Aaron from Skratch Labs!
Keep in mind that your body only keeps stock of what it needs. The best system for hydration does not start during the weekend ride, but the start of the week. The body does not know your future plans and activites so it is only set up for what you are doing currently. This means you should prepare the body to hold more fuel through the week so it is prepared to stock up during your active moments. A combination of exercise and electrolyte consumption days before high levels of activity is best.