Aid Station Strategy Gravel

Here is a question I have for the group:

I have a gravel race coming up soon. The beginning of the race is a 3000 ft climb that takes about an hour. There is an aid station halfway up and then another at the end of the downhill before the next climb in the race.

I typically get my hydration and fueling from a hydration pack. I eat gels as well.

Part of me was wondering if I should forego liquids for the first part of the race, get the climb completed, and then fill up with water at the aid station for the rest. Part of me says just carry the drink in the hydration pack and an empty water bottle in case I need to fill up at the aidstation.

Temps should be in the 60s and overcast.

So the question is, are there worthwhile gains in foregoing 1.5 liters of water for a climb of this length or am i risking too much?

Not a comment on your water strategy as I feel that’s personal, but I’d say this depends on if you’re racing to win or racing to finish. Most of the fast people will skip the first rest stop.

Thanks. I’m racing to win, and typically I don’t stop at any aid stations, but I am wondering if not carrying that weight up first climb and refilling later is a good option.

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Coming off of BWR NC - anyone who told me to start next time without fluids I would politely tell them to pound off.

I calculated that I needed enough water/calories for 5hrs of racing… well I blew through that in 4hrs of racing and filled up on another 2L of water that was basically gone by the end of the race which was 6hrs. I only stopped once for the extra 2L and I imagine I saved more time by never stopping then the weight would have mattered on a climb. I ended up consuming 5.4L of fluid for the day vs my idea of only needing 3.4L

I was able to blow by guys at the aid station that ultimately passed me but this was due to physical shape they were in but if I had to stop at all the time difference would have been noticeable.

The biggest thing is you have no idea how the race is going to unfold and you dont want/need the “I have to stop” mentality hanging out over you.

That is my $.02


Thanks, I like this thought. Additionally, I used a bike calculator and realized the 3 pounds may cost me a minute. The options to stop or not stop is definitely worth that minute, especially if I am in a lead group and they all continue on.

Thanks for chiming in.

Everyone has a plan til they get punched in the face.

I always try to skip the first aid station to give myself to get a some extra minutes on people. This last weekend at Bwr I was going to skip the first aid station but I was already through more water than expected.
It’s definitely personal and I need about a liter an hour, I usually have 3 liters on me for long events.
Next time I’ll probably just keep 2 bottles and refill every station. bwr was pretty quick with fill ups at each station I might had lost about 2 minutes total stopping at all 3. They had a decent system going for them. It all depends how each race sets up their aid stations , if it’s packed with lots of people trying to get water bottles re filled it sucks. Luckily I didn’t think that was the case this past weekend.

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