To compare the physiological and performance effects of ad libitum cold-fluid (CF) and ice-slurry (IS) ingestion on cycling time-trial (TT) performance in the heat.
Seven well-trained male triathletes and cyclists completed 2 maximaleffort 40-km cycling TTs in hot (35°C) and humid (60% relative humidity) conditions. In randomized order, participants ingested CF or IS (initial temperatures 4°C and –1°C, respectively) ad libitum during exercise. At each 5-km interval, time elapsed, power output, rectal and skin temperature, heart rate, and perceptual measures were recorded. The actual CF and IS temperatures during the 40-km TT were determined post hoc.
Performance time (2.5% ± 2.6%, ES = 0.27) and mean power (–2.2% ± 3.2%, ES = –0.15) were likely worse in the IS trial. Differences in thermoregulatory and cardiovascular measures were largely unclear between trials, while feeling state was worse in the later stages of the IS trial (ES = –0.31 to –0.95). Fluid-ingestion volume was very likely lower in the IS trial (–29.7% ± 19.4%, ES = –0.97). The temperatures of CF and IS increased by 0.37°C/min and 0.02°C/min, respectively, over the mean TT duration.
Ad libitum ingestion of CF resulted in improved 40-km cycling TT performance compared with IS. Participants chose greater fluid-ingestion rates in the CF trial than in the IS trial and had improved feeling state. These findings suggest that ad libitum CF ingestion is preferable to IS during cycling TTs under conditions of environmental heat stress.