Besides keeping up with hydration and carbs, which electrolyte is most important in maintaining muscle endurance for longer rides like centuries? I'm guessing it would be potassium or calcium. Trying to plan ahead on which snacks or drinks to use for my next ride, RSVP, Seattle to Vancouver.
The five major electrolytes for endurance athletes are Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+), Chloride (Cl-), Calcium (Ca++), and Magnesium (Mg++). Of these, I would say sodium is the most important one, followed by potassium.
Sodium is the most abundant and perhaps the most important of the electrolytes. Na+ is found in higher concentrations outside of cells in our bodies. All cells depend on sodium and potassium to bring nutrients inside the cell and to remove waste. Nerve conduction–a process important for thinking and for activation of muscles—is also heavily dependent on sodium and potassium. Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is table salt and often referred to simply as “salt.” Many foods contain sodium. Deficiency of sodium is called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder in the U.S. Hyponatremia in athletes is usually due to sodium lost in sweat. Other disease processes may cause hyponatremia, but the symptoms of hyponatremia are the same for athletes and non-athletes. These include fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle spasms or cramps, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, confusion, or decreased consciousness. Vomiting due hyponatremia can cause Na+ levels to drop even further. - A Tale of Five Electrolytes.