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It is our wish for you to have an enjoyable experience participating in our events.
The following is some information you may find useful.

Event Preparation

For athletes, water regulates body temperature like antifreeze and lubricates joints like quality motor oil. However, experts caution that gulping too much water during endurance events can result in an unexpected breakdown. Most athletes know they need to replenish water lost in competition to avoid the energy drain caused by even a slight case of dehydration, but many are unaware that over consumption can lead to hyponatremia, a rare but potentially deadly condition.

Hyponatremia is too low a concentration of sodium in the blood. Experts are unsure of the cause, but many believe that drinking too much water thins the body's sodium stores. Sodium is pivotal in regulating the balance of water in the body. Sodium helps draw water through tissues. A mountain biker may feel as though he is carrying a reservoir in his belly, but he will still feel dehydrated.

Though still quite rare, symptoms of hyponatremia - which include bloating, nausea, headaches, cramps and disorientation - has occurred in riders in our events. Untreated hyponatremia can lead to collapse, convulsions and sometimes death.

Experts are by no means warning against water. By far, dehydration is more common than overhydration. Yet, vigilance before, during, and after the ride may prevent hyponatremia. In the days before the event, increase your intake of salt, which contains sodium. That doesn't mean you need dump a carton of Morton's salt on every meal. "Instead of adding sugar to your morning oatmeal, add a little bit of salt, and don't look for low sodium foods leading up to the event," says Lisa Dorfman, author of "The Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Guide: Peak Performance for Every-one from Beginners to Gold Medallists" (John Wiley & Sons, $16.95).

During the event, riders can snack on food such as pretzels - low in fat and protein, with high carbohydrate and sufficient sodium levels. Take sips of fluid, maybe 2-4 ounces, every 15-30 minutes. Instead of straight water, alternate at each fluid station between water and Gatorade. When you finish, grab another sack of pretzels and wash them down with a sports drink. If you decide to use a supplement or change your diet, be sure to try these changes for a couple weeks to see if they are effective. DO NOT MAKE CHANGES IN YOUR EATING OR DRINKING THE DAY OF THE EVENT!!!!!

We also recommend you eat meals high in carbohydrates such as pasta in the 2 days prior to your event. This will give you the fuel you'll need for the first 3 hours of the event.

We shouldn't need to tell you that your bike should be in good working order. It is important that you be prepared to do minor repairs if needed. You should have the following tools with you during the event and know how to use them: chainbreaker, multi tool (spoke wrench, allen wrench, etc.), Spare tube, Tire pump, Tire patches, Optional: duct tape, chain lube.

Bring enough water and food to last you through your ride or between Aid Stations. Depending on your ability and the temperature the day of the event, you should be prepared to carry at between 2 and 4 quarts of water at the beginning of your ride and between each Aid Station(s). If you do not perform well in the heat bring the upper limit, keeping in mind the advice given on hyponatremia. Try to eat at least 500-750 calories per hour. What I recommend is to eat a packet of gel type food or energy bar every hour. Mix in bagels, boiled potatoes, pretzels, apples etc. Eat and drink before you need to and you'll do OK, if you don't, be prepared for pain.

We will provide water and fruit at the aid stations and water will be available from the support vehicles. Remember, Vision Quest Riders can leave a bag with your food and it will be transported to aid station #2 at the Holy Jim Parking area. The bag must be marked with your name. We ask that you put your supplies in one bag and the bag is durable enough to be handled without falling apart. Bring sunblock and use it. If you have a susceptibility to poison oak, purchase Poison Ivy block at your drugstore and apply it before going down Holy Jim Trail, and reapply accordingly.

We will be doing trail maintenance and will do our best to make the trails as clear as possible. Be prepared for whatever the Mother Nature gives us. It could be mild, hot, cold and/or raining. Dress accordingly. Vision Quest riders can leave excess clothing at aid station #2 so bring a big enough supply bag to hold it. We will not be responsible for stuff left loose at the aid stations. A bike helmet is required or you will not be allowed to participate. If this information/advice is obvious to you, we apologize, but we want to be sure everyone goes into their event with their eyes open. Remember Counting Coup riders have 1 aid station, Vision Quest riders have 2.

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