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Hydrate or die...

Hydrate or die! This was something a river guide said to us like ten times a day 12 years ago when my family and I rafted the Grand Canyon. I still hear him saying it every time I start sweating.

For the second time in my life (and in August again) I got heat exhaustion. I was outside in 100 plus degree heat but was chugging water the whole time and taking breaks going into the house for some air conditioning and it still got me. Normally on a day like that I pop salt tablets but I was out of em, and so foolishly preoccupied with my project that I blew off picking some up from the drug store because I "just wanted to get this thing done".

My muscles cramp randomly and very painfully. I can barely hold my phone the next day. It's almost paralyzing. And scary. Muscle control just goes away.

I never had the dizzy spells they say you're supposed to get. It seriously snuck up on me and today, the day after, I'm useless. (Not that I was ever very useful.)

Anyway, I'm mentioning this here because V2R is quickly approaching and after the 500 we all know how deadly heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be. As this is my second bout of it I feel like I am obligated to get on a soap box and preach to all of you- racers/codogs/ crews/fans /course workers about being well hydrated.

If you haven't started to drink lots of water already, you are getting a late start. You need to start hydrating immediately. Weeks before the race, not the night before. So get on it. Today, right now. And maybe, share this with your teams and loved ones. This is important.

We've had these conversations/threads before. Perhaps some of you could share your hydration strategies and magic recipe/diets and maybe we can prevent some poor soul from going through what I'm going through today because this really sucks, bad.

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Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
Pedialyte seemed to help me, recommended by a special forces nephew. Start consuming it at least four days prior to event.

Then keep sipping water throughout exertion.

Hope you feel better soon, Dan!


Well-Known Member
At the 500 I mixed pedialite and water the week leading up the race, worked out pretty well. Pure pedialite is pretty sweet so it tends to dry out my mouth a little, so the water mixture was nice.

I've also heard its best to drink warm water when you are in the heat of battle as your body doesn't have to work as hard to process it.


Well-Known Member
Yesterday, I just installed the camelback hydration system that goes into my helmet (DYI from PCI). So pre-hydrate as much as possible.... and drink a ton during the race. I'm also using the catheter kit for the 1st time. Should be interesting peeing while driving. I've never done that before.

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Jerry Maguire
If you guys are hydrating the day of or the day before it will do you no good. Proper hydration starts DAYS before the event. At the start line of the Baja 500 I was shocked to hear people say they'd been hydrating since the night before and I knew they would not make it and most did not. I was hydrating all week leading up to the Baja 500.

Also, if you do not regularly exercise you should take extra precaution. Fitness plays a huge role in how you will react to extreme temperatures while under physical exertion. Look at some of the top names in the sport and you will all see them training regularly and hydrating in advance for the race.

Kyle D

Well-Known Member
I am a heavy equipment field service mechanic in Las Vegas and I can attest to how well pedialyte works. I drink half of a bottle every day with dinner and it makes all the difference when compared to just plain water. In the last few years the heat has gotten harder to handle and this summer I started trying that after a bad day at work where I drank five gallons of water. I woke up the next day and could barely move cause of the cramping. That was early on this summer and since drinking the pedialyte I've never even come close to this feeling again. Being someone that's in it all the time no matter whether there's a race or not I just wanted to say to everyone that when you feel thirsty your too late so don't get to that point!!! Don't be the dumb horse that has to be led to water!!!!


Crayola Killer
One very important thing that has been left out is eating food! You can drink all the water you want but if you are not eating food as well it's a moot point.

Race car/body analogy:

Radiator= Water
Gas= Food

You have to have both. Why do you think the professionals always try and scarf down a sandwich at the pits. Keep both tanks full and you will be just fine.


Well-Known Member
Timely topic Dan. A few other pointers from Hammer Nutrition:

Keep fluid intake during exercise between 16-28 ounces per hour.

FACT: In general, most athletes, under most conditions, will satisfy hydration needs with a fluid intake in the range of 20-25-ounces/hour - roughly the equivalent of a standard size small or large water bottle. Lighter athletes and/or athletes exercising in cool weather conditions may only require an intake of 16-18 ounces/hour. Larger athletes and/or athletes exercising under very hot and humid conditions are the ones that can consider a fluid intake in the range of 28 ounces/hour, perhaps up to 30 ounces/hour in extreme conditions. It's important to remember that regular fluid intake over 30-34 ounces hourly significantly increases the potential for serious performance and health problems.

Replenish electrolytes with a balanced formula (not just salt!) in amounts appropriate for conditions.

FACT: Salt (sodium chloride) cannot fulfill your entire requirements for electrolytes. The minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium also must be replenished to ensure the proper functioning of key body systems. In addition, your daily dietary sodium intake, fitness level, acclimatization, and the environmental conditions (heat, humidity, etc.) all affect the amount of electrolytes you will need to replenish during exercise. For a balanced, full-spectrum formula of electrolytes, replenish with Endurolytes. Choose regular Endurolytes, Endurolytes Extreme, or Endurolytes Fizz in doses appropriate for the conditions.


Well-Known Member
Yesterday, I just installed the camelback hydration system that goes into my helmet (DYI from PCI). So pre-hydrate as much as possible.... and drink a ton during the race. I'm also using the catheter kit for the 1st time. Should be interesting peeing while driving. I've never done that before.

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It was convenient while talking to people at the driver's meetings, but I could never relax enough to use the catheter while driving my race truck.... It gave me confidence that if I did have to pee, that I wouldn't soil my seat or make my race suit look funny.....:D:D:D


Well-Known Member
It was convenient while talking to people at the driver's meetings, but I could never relax enough to use the catheter while driving my race truck.... It gave me confidence that if I did have to pee, that I wouldn't soil my seat or make my race suit look funny.....:D:D:D
Lol. Too funny. I might be saying the same thing. Just knowing you could pee if needed does bring some confidence to keep drinking fluids while driving. I'll keep you posted.

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Wendell #527

Well-Known Member
My job is managing about 25 crews doing laborious oilfield work out in the sun in beautiful Bakersfield, CA. I have seen SO many problems caused by energy drinks. We can't stop people from drinking them altogether but we sure recommend against drinking them in the summer. I have done a lot of 500 and 1000 mile races over the years and I use what I learn at work. NO ENERGY DRINKS.


Well-Known Member
Good topic and certainly timely. Thanks Dan200 for starting it.

In talking about hydration with Vipe Desai from HDX, this has been an ever-growing topic. Its not only about the drivers/codogs, it about keeping the entire team hydrated. I know Vipe has been working with Team Renezeder and did a hydration test all three days at the Glen Helen LOORS for the entire team and certainly faired well in a very hot race weekend.

I am going to try and paraphrase what I have learned and certainly looking for everyone's input.

Moving forward to this upcoming weekend racing, Hydration is going to be key this weekend for V2R and LOORS. Hot weather is on tap and there will be plenty of it -Reno and Sparks will hit 97+ degrees.

I would encourage racers and teams to start hydrating now, drink water but also be sure to get minerals and nutrients - like electrolytes and amino acids - flowing through the body. These ingredients help to absorb and retain water so the water isn't just flushed out through sweat and urine.

Dehydration is the direct result of a shortage of water along with essential minerals and nutrients like electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids and minerals in your body. The human body is made up of 75% water so even just a 2% drop in water can decrease performance by 10% in athletes and basic functions and everyday tasks for the rest of us.

Understanding why hydration is critical can be summed up with one word - viscosity. The viscosity of blood is its resistance to flow. A greater viscosity means more resistance to flow, or thicker blood (dehydrated). A lower viscosity means thinner blood (hydrated).

Low viscosity during exercise or competition is critical because this is where a significant amount of stress on the body occurs, so it’s vital to maintain optimum hydration levels for blood flow to allow the body to perform at its best by allowing minerals, nutrients and oxygen to flow smoothly throughout the body. You’ll be in a better state to perform but also to recover and reduce injury to the body.

And when blood gets thicker due to the lack of water, it has to work harder and its not able to efficiently deliver oxygen along with minerals and nutrients to muscles, the heart and the brain. All key organs that racers and crew need to keep hydrated in order to perform at their best and recover faster.

Staying hydrated is critical to the body and understanding what is going on inside should help you to understand why hydration is key for all of us, especially athletes!

I know I dropped a lot of info here but I hope this info helps. I snagged the Pee-Chart from HDX's website for your usage and consideration. Be safe everyone.



Rescue Director
Great topic. I can tell you my team and I are over preparing in every way we can.

Every pit will have medics at it.

We will have three additional teams roving along the highway between pits.

At the finish in Tonopah right by the BITD box can we will have our 30' blue and white command post trailer. This will be staffed all night long with medics in the camp adventure area. Bottled water, cold towels will be handed out at the finish line. If people get to the point we have to iv hydrate we are preparing our best to do so. There is a national shortage of iv saline right now but I have 10 cases in order.

We will also have a team staying overnight at the tonopah speedway. This is going to be overflow for camping people.

Please know we are doing all we can for your safety in this race. That being said, know that much of Nevada has little to no medical facilities. Until you reach Hawthorne. We are working with the emergency services along the way to make sure we don't deplete all their resources. We will monitor BITD all night and be there if you need us.

Start your hydration now and be ready.

I have 30 medics, emt's, nurses and doctors along the way. Let's hope they are all just more spectators out there waving as you go by.

David Nehrbass

Motorsports Safety Solutions


Well-Known Member
I second the Endurolytes (Hammer Nutrition) recommendation. I've used them for endurance mtn biking and Baja and they work great.


Well-Known Member
Being a 2-day VtoR on day 2 you're going to get dehydrated. This happened to me at NORRA 2015. Hydrated up to the start of day 1, then like I normally do stayed off liquids on race day. I can normally handle this so I don't have to stop and pee. I'm not in a fast class to wear a catheter. By the end of day 2 I was dehydrated and while driving my section in day 3 I really felt it and knew I was in trouble. Fortunately the radio call that said "if you're out here get comfortable because it's going to be a while before we get to you" got me fired up and onto the finish line.

Don't forget about hydrating for day 2!