Introduction: Desert endurance racing risks dehydration but little is known about effects dehydration has in extreme racing conditions. We aimed to study the correlation between dehydration, assessed by urine concentration, and reaction times in desert endurance drivers.
Methods: We collected urine samples, observations and medical history from drivers and immediately tested reaction times using an application. GraphPad was used to assess for correlation, and its significance.
Results: We found a statistically significant correlation between urine colour and reaction time (p < 0.0001) and urine colour with heart rate (p=0.0042). There was no correlation between blood pressure and reaction time or urine colour.
Solo riders had more concentrated urine and longer reaction times than drivers and co-drivers.
Conclusion: This is the first study to use urine colour as a proxy of hydration status in desert endurance drivers.
We conclude the greater the degree of dehydration, the slower the reaction time. Urine colour can be used as a proxy for dehydration in extreme environments, allowing self-assessment of hydration and ensure adequate hydration when racing in order to maximise performance. This result shows adequate hydration may enhance performance; reducing race times and reducing the risk of dehydration in desert endurance driving.