Beat Dehydration With Liquid I.V.

It can be a struggle to stay on top of hydration when you’re racing—especially mountain bike races, where taking your hands off the bars is a challenge, or for cyclocross races where you may not have a bottle at all. So when Liquid I.V. came across my desk, I was intrigued. The company claims that drinking one bottle spiked with Liquid I.V. can provide the same hydration as drinking two to three bottles of water, which isn’t hard to believe as water can be slow to enter your bloodstream. I was impressed, however, with how quickly Liquid I.V. perked me up during a hot, hard mountain bike race and how little I needed to feel really great.

The company credits its trademarked “Cellular Transport Technology” (CTT), which uses a specific ratio of potassium, sodium, and glucose based on World Health Organization science to create an osmotic force that allows fluids to be absorbed from the upper digestive tract, which is twice as fast as water and faster than sugary, more carb-heavy commercial sports drinks, which have relatively high osmolalities and can get stalled out in the gut. This isn’t new science. But it’s one of the newer applications in the sports hydration market.

Hydrate the right way by avoiding these three common mistakes:

With 500 milligrams of sodium and 370 milligrams of potassium (the same amount in a small banana), Liquid I.V. has one of the higher electrolyte concentrations of the newer generation of low-carb hydration products. It’s also lower in carbs than most, delivering 12 grams, mostly in the form of beet sugar and dextrose.

On the bike, it’s been nothing short of amazing. I used it during a multi-day 550 mile charity bike ride and never once felt the tell-tale power drain of dehydration. More impressive was how well it performed during a 25-mile mountain bike race, where there are only a few stretches each lap where drinking is an option. This time I chugged several ounces on each straightaway as I always do, and was pleasantly surprised to feel instantly energized. My belly felt light, my legs felt strong, and my last lap was faster than my first. Even though the race was long for XC, I didn’t finish feeling depleted. I’ll definitely be packing some to pour into my system before ‘cross races. (To properly train for your next big effort, check out our Big Book of Training.)

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