I have a question about hydration packs for you biking people out there. Or maybe hikers. I guess both could use it. Do you like it better than water bottles while biking? Can you grab your water bottle cleanly, drink from it, return it to the holder and feel comfortable about it while maintaining your pace? The reason I ask is I’ve been told that for a triathlon, the best time to hydrate yourself is on the bike portion of the race. My first bike ride, I attempted to grab a bottle while riding and it went a little something like this:
I mentally prepped myself for letting go of the bike with one hand by looking around to make sure no one was around. You know, in case something happened, other than what was supposed to happen. I waited for a straight stretch of the bike path and took one hand off of the handle. I immediately put it back on. Baby steps. I took it off again, for a few seconds longer than the first time, and then put it back on. I was building up. Finally I reached down and touched the water bottle, then panicked and lunged for the handlebar. I slowed down. I reached down, and grabbed at air. That didn’t work. I slowed down some more. I reached down, grasped the water bottle and yanked it out. Ha, gotcha! I managed to pull the top up with my teeth, drink some water, and then push the cap back on with my teeth. Now what? To get it back into the holder it would take more maneuvering than taking it out. I was afraid that I’d just place it around the area of the holder and assume I had it in, then hear a thunk as it landed on the ground behind me. It took me a while, and more than a few tries, but I finally got it back into the holder. Meanwhile I had swerved off course and almost ran into a family with 2 kids walking in the same direction along the path. It’s okay, I didn’t hit them and most importantly, they didn’t see me. I didn’t drink from the water bottle again until I was stopped.
In my subsequent bike rides, I didn’t even attempt to get my water bottle from the holder while riding. Mainly because my first attempt was on a bike path and my other rides were out on the road. I had visions of swerving into the road and getting hit by a passing car. No, thank you. While on a ride today, I was feeling parched and wanted, no, needed a drink. But I waited until I got to a safe place to stop before I got a drink. Is the “Grab, Gulp, and Return” (or GGR as I’ve lovingly named it) something that can be learned or should I just throw in the towel and get a hydration pack? I checked my backpack today and it seems that I’d be able to get a hydration pack in there and have it thread through the strap. In fact it might even be a hydration pack backpack, but it didn’t come with one.
Thoughts? Ideas? Emotions? Monetary donations?