Tag Archives: sweat

Riding Fit… Riding Smart…

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Riding fit… riding smart… my new motto. I am 66 years young… and not getting any younger ;). This past July I rode my longest ride in terms of miles and days (5500 miles in 16 days). It was the best ride to date.

As I have gotten older I have noticed things don’t function as well as in the past. I am not as strong as I once was. Fatigue takes a toll on me physically and mentally. I get pains in places I have never had pain before.  I don’t like these changes. I have had to adapt these to my riding style.

My daughter Katie is a triathlete and knows how to keep her body functioning at its peak. I asked Katie for some advice and tried to incorporate her tips into my ride.

I’ve always known it is important to stay hydrated, but she suggested replenishing my electrolytes. When you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. Many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better. Electrolytes are what your cells use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, heart & muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. The human body needs various kinds of salts to be healthy and to function normally. Serious salt imbalances, like those that occur with dehydration, may lead to heart and nervous system problems that, unless they are rapidly resolved, can result in a medical emergency. So you can see why this is important to a rider and very important to an aging one…

On previous trips I had, on occasion, bought a sport drink when we stopped. Katie suggested I drink one at every stop. That was a bit of a problem since we sometimes stop in the middle of nowhere and drink just water. Now I would have to carry sports drinks too… Katie suggested we carry electrolyte tablets that we could add to our water. That way we didn’t need to carry both. I actually carried several different brands (Hammer Nutrition & Nuun tablets and Mio Fit liquid). The brand I liked the best because of taste and it seemed to give a better boost of energy too, was by Hammer Nutrition (Electrolyte Fizz Tablets). I am amazed how much this helped. Even on long mileage days I felt great at the end of the day.

I have had a few back problems that have put me out of commission for days. This is always a concern when I am riding. Back problems on a ride would not be good. So far so good. I did have a problem with my back several months before our trip. Since this would be a long trip with many days in the saddle I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent any back problems. Katie suggested I do exercises to strengthen my back muscle. She gave me some exercises to do, but I modified them to suit me and my back. The exercises seemed to help a lot. I never noticed any pains hefting the Goldwing off the kickstand or any pains when staying in the saddle for hours on end.

The other issues I’ve had in the past were getting a good night’s sleep. Long hours in the saddle, not sleeping in my bed and the excitement of the day sometimes take a toll. I have trouble getting to sleep but once asleep I’m out until the alarm goes off. So on this trip I would take half a Ibuprofen PM and one Ibuprofen (muscle relaxer and helps with stiffness) an hour before bed. I slept really well during the whole ride.

Another concern is getting sick while riding. It’s no fun being sick (even a little sick) and having to ride. No fun for you and no fun for the other riders having to worry about you being sick. As a precaution I took an “Airborne” every night. I don’t know if it kept me from getting sick but it couldn’t have hurt and I didn’t get sick…

Riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car… I’ve found too that knowing your limits is as important as all the above. Of course this is continually evolving. Exceeding your limits will put you on shaky ground both physically and mentally. Staying within your limits makes for an enjoyable riding day. At the end of the day you can wind down and reflect on all the fun of the day instead of wishing you had made better choices.

Having taken these steps to ride fit and smart, I can see myself riding for years to come. It was a great ride and an even better ride not having to deal with any above issues.

I hope this is of some use to the older riders and the younger ones too.

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…