Blog: Holly Seear, Vox Performance Project participant

Racking up the miles….

Often cyclists using the phrase ‘winter miles, summer smiles’ referring to the long base miles many riders do in the winter months building aerobic conditioning resulting a great foundation to build on ready for summer races and events.

You are NOT however meant to do them in all in 2 weeks in November! But I felt passionately about doing the solo, self-supported, Route to Net Zero ride to COP26 organised by The Racing Collective to promote cycling as an environmentally friendly way to travel and highlight that cycling really does need to be higher on the agenda when discussing the climate crisis. 

I had also, in a moment of madness, entered the Moonrakers and Sunseekers Audax, a 309km ride starting at 10pm on the full moon in Bristol, heading to the south coast and back to finish at lunchtime the next day. 

Combined with some Zwift and commutes I did 1320km and 15735m of climbing in 2 weeks in November. And just to top it off the Vox Performance Project asked for a Zwift FTP test between the two events! (Spoiler alert – not my best performance!)

Luckily prior to this I had spoken to Sean, one of the hydration experts at Precision Hydration. As an experienced endurance rider, with a high sweat rate like me, he was able to help me dial in a hydration strategy for my events. 

I have always known my sweat rate was high with puddles on the floor post Zwift sessions, a soaked ponytail, salt crusts on my clothes and occasional cramping, but Sean and the online sweat test (free on Precision Hydration’s website) confirmed that I am not taking on board enough sodium. 

I used PH 1500 effervescent tablets in 3-4 bottles per day on the way to Glasgow; one at breakfast (preloading), 1-2 on the bike, and one after the ride each day (supporting recovery). The fascinating thing was that when I first tried one at home, I thought they tasted really ‘salty’, but on the event the flavour was almost ‘sweet’, a sure sign according to Sean that my body needed it. PH 1500 contains 3x more sodium than a typical sports drink meaning the preloading is more effective at increasing plasma volume and rehydration is quicker and more efficient.

Not everyone needs this much sodium, so it is important to fine tune it to your own needs. I felt great for both events and despite some hideous weather, dark bleak miles and plenty of 20%+ climbs on a fully loaded bike I didn’t have any ‘down’ moments or energy dips which I am sure was down to good nutrition and hydration throughout.

It has been super useful to have regular calls with the experts from Precision Hydration and Supersapiens. I have always thought I was good at fuelling and hydrating and have used electrolytes for a long time, but this project is giving me the knowledge to fine tune my race strategies for some big goals in 2022! 

Thanks for reading my blog this month, I have already signed up for some more crazy challenges and you can follow my journey on the Vox Performance Project on my social media @holly_seear!

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