For this years 100 mile TT I was worried about carrying enough water. I’m pretty thin and generally don’t feel the heat, but dehdyration can be very costly. I was still hoping to get by without relying on a helper. This means trying to work out how to carry enough drink for four hours.
Earlier in the year, I bought a couple of SIS 1 litre water bottles. I reckoned that 2 litres would last a long time.
The bottles are 1 litre by making the top half wider. This means (unlike some 1 litre bottles) it’s the same circumference for fitting in your bottle cage. The good side is you get a 1 litre water bottle. The downside is there is always a risk of a top heavy water bottle popping out.
Previously I’ve bought 1 litre water bottles and the circumference was wider than usual. You had to really squeeze into bottle cage, and you always felt you were going to break the cage.
One important thing I’ve learnt is if you’re doing a race – always check your equipment in training. Never buy some new water bottle (or other hydration system) and try for first time in an important race. Anyone who has done a long race, will say the same thing.
In my first 100 mile time trial in 2005, I had two disasters.
- At start line by aerobars came loose because I’d adjusted at the last minute ( I was very luck another chap at start line had an allen key)
- After 30 miles a 25 gram carbon fibre bottle cage broke. (I never use those ultra light carbon fibre bottle cages any more. 10 gram saving is not worth it)
- Similarly I stopped using an aero bottle because it twice jumped out of bottle cage in training.
Earlier in year, I went for a training ride with these two, one litre water bottles. After 50 miles, On a 15% descent on rugged roads, one water bottle (put on seat tube) jumped out, smashed – all liquid gone. I could stop and buy more water, but it was very good job it wasn’t a race.
I believe it fell out because:
- I used one of this side entry bottle cages.
- The water bottle was 100% full and it becomes quite top heavy.
- Also I didn’t like the 1 litre water bottle on the seat tube, because it sometimes rubbed my legs because it was wider than usual.
For the remaining 1 litre bottle cage. I bought a standard aluminium bottle cage (Lezyne) which looked pretty robust and importantly was very tight fitting. I’ve used many times, and it’s never fallen out. Therefore, I was confident in this position it would be safe and not jump out.
The only downside is that to take water bottle out and put back in, is a little bit of fiddling around. The side entry bottle cages are much easier to use.
Is that extra 200 ml worth the extra hassle?
In my case, 1.8 litres was just about enough. It meant I didn’t have to stop during the race. 1.6 litres would have been insufficient. But, if it had been 1 or 2 degrees hotter, I would have needed a 3rd or 4th bottle, and you might as well use 800 ml bottles and save the extra weight.
Also, I would really prefer not to use the 1 litre – it feels less aerodynamic, it’s heavier and it’s not so easy to get out and put back in. But, it’s still useful for certain situations and I would recommend for some people who feel they might need such a bottle. But, be prepared to make sure your bottle cage is good enough.
SIS 1 litre water bottles. at Evans Cycles £4.00 – good value
1 litre water bottles at Wiggle – not tested these