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Riding in the heat(28 posts)

Riding in the heatbianchi boy
Aug 8, 2001 7:37 AM
We're having our first real hot spell of the summer here in NC. It's supposed to hit 99 today with Code Red ozone levels. Not great weather for riding a bike. I was gonna go ride at lunch today, instead after work when I usually go, but it's already 90 degrees at 11:30 am!

What does everyone do in Texas and other places where it gets above 100 all the time? I don't know what the humidity is like in the Midwest and other places where it's been so hot, but 99 in NC feels like 105.

I know you're supposed to drink a lot more water, but are there any other tips for beating the heat? Riding early in the morning is another obvious solution, but that doesn't fit with my work schedule and having to drop off my daughter at school.
re: Riding in the heatPsyDoc
Aug 8, 2001 7:55 AM
The weather in South Georgia has been a bit brutal lately as well. When I have no other choice to ride but during the heat of the day, I will cut my ride short and not ride as hard. The recent death of Minnesota Viking's Korey Stringer makes me think twice about riding when it gets really hot, and how much I should exert myself on hot days. I make sure that I hydrate-well the night before and after my ride. Other times, I simply do not ride or I ride on the trainer; it depends on how my body feels. Another solution might be an early evening ride...around 6:00 - 7:00pm or so. The bike club down here has a couple of weekday rides that leave around 6:00 - 6:30pm. I am interested in what others have to say.
Be Careful ... And Think about salt tabletswink
Aug 8, 2001 4:35 PM
On 4th of July here in St. Louis, temp was in mid 90s and I left about 11:00 for a 40 mile one way ride out to Washington, MO some serious hills but I did the ride plenty of times and thought nothing of it. I felt great, thought I was drinking enough water until both of my quad muscles cramped up so bad that I had to use my cell phone to have someone pick me up 2 miles short of my destination. Never underestimate how much water to drink and how much you will sweat. Later on someone told me I should load up on salt tablets to enhance water retention. And lately I have been taken a few just to play it safe.
re: Riding in the heatspeedchump
Aug 8, 2001 8:05 AM
I usually like to ride with clear or amber lens glasses, but when it gets really hot, I switch to very dark lenses. I know that sounds silly, but to me it makes the heat seem less oppressive when the glare and brightness are toned way down. Of course, that's purely psychological and doesn't help in any real, physical way.
re: Riding in the heatMikeC
Aug 8, 2001 8:12 AM
This isn't intended to be an off-the-cuff response, because I know you said that early morning rides don't fit your work schedule. But... have you REALLY explored that option? I need to be at the office by 8:30 am, so I'm now getting up at 5:15 am, taking care of my bathroom needs, stretching, and am on the road by 5:45. I ride for about an hour, and am in the shower before 7 o'clock.
The only problem is that I need to be in bed by 10 pm!
Also, I've found that one of the most liberating bike accessories is a good set of lights. It opens up a whole world of opportunities that are otherwise written off. I like a rechargeable headlight with a water bottle battery, and an LED taillight with flashing option. My twin headlights easily snap on and off their quick release, and the battery simply lifts out of my front bottle cage. The LED taillight just slips into a loop on the back of my tiny under-the-seat saddle pack.
re: Riding in the heatDaveG
Aug 8, 2001 8:18 AM
A timely post, as I am sitting here debating whether to ride tonight with a 105-110 heat index. I think the answer for folks who live in normally hot areas is that they achieve a level of heat acclimatization. Your body deals with it. The danger is that since we've had a mostly cooler summer here in the NorthEast that I will wilt faster than Bobby Julich tonight in this recent heat wave. Bottom line is you gotta ride.
I agree...Mabero
Aug 8, 2001 8:26 AM
I struggled last night in the heat but figured if I kept pushing then I'll obtain the benefits sooner or later.

Oh and last night's ride was a true indicator that Avg. Speed means JACK! I struggled the whole way and only felt good the last 10 miles or so but the first 10-15 I was dead, I felt horrible. I had done hill repeats the day before but I was like "geezzz"...finally 10 miles later I started to at least be comfortable and then the next 10 or so felt good (relative to the day)...I worked hard and still averaged in my normal range, but if I felt good I would have been so much faster...

It just really showed me the mph average is really that important in the grand scheme of things and the terrain on which you are travelling is what really counts.
Riding in the evenings helps...Mabero
Aug 8, 2001 8:18 AM
When it gets really hot I tend to bike later around 6ish so that the sun is not as intense. But I do bring extra water cause the temperature will be still hot...I drink a lot and I bring extra water that I can put in my helment which reall helps when the sun is not scorching down on me and evaporating it.

I do tend to still ride in the morning and late afternoon but when it gets above 95 I make those adjustments and I am usually fine...I feel it but I get by. Also sunscreen really helps from feeling like you are toast on a ride (put on your back though!) cause that prevents the sun from at least soaking your bodies natural energies...

Also if you are near the seacoast, you will have a lot of wind to help keep you cool. Or pick a shady loop.

Just my .02
I've found the poor air quality has more effect...RhodyRider
Aug 8, 2001 8:36 AM
...than the high temperature. The "midwestern" climate spell here in New England has brought with it extreme heat & humidity but more specifically high ozone and generally crappy air quality. That is what bothers me, the thick stanky air. Compare an 85 degree day with sub-50% humidity to an 85 degree day with 95+% humidity and you find the answer. After 30 miles last night, along the shore, my lungs felt unusually sensitive and I had some congestion this morning. Gotta ride through it, like everyone else is saying.
Where in New England are you from? (nm)Mabero
Aug 8, 2001 9:11 AM
I live in North Kingstown, Rhode Island...RhodyRider
Aug 9, 2001 10:20 AM
...and most of my riding is in & around South County (a/k/a Washington County). It is a great area, I just love it here. You are up in N'Hampshire, aren't you? Must be nice, too!
Agreed...heat I can take, but poor air quality?John R.
Aug 8, 2001 9:25 AM
At first I didn't know what was wrong with me. My lungs actually started burning and I didn't feel as if my oxygen intake was right.

I've had to throttle back on my daytime rides here in central NJ, but luckily my morning rides are much less affected.

John R.
re: Get used to itSteve A
Aug 8, 2001 8:49 AM
The north east has been hit with some high 90 to low 100 degree mark.
You have to ride in order to train if you race, and the last time i checked they race in hot weather. I think if you ride sensible and drink a lot of water and electrolytes you can get through it. Last night there was a training crit,and I thought the pace would go down "not" it went up, go figure 58 crazys out there in 95 plus!! Sunday off road race 95+ and climbs through open meadows with the sun beating down talk about suffer, there was this one river crossing and I could not believe the number of racers who abandoned to float in the river.Anyway I think it's something you can get used to.
Gotta learn to love itCRM
Aug 8, 2001 9:09 AM
There are obviously some serious physical health issues when riding in very hot temperatures but that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't do it. Scaling back the length of the ride and perhaps the degree of difficulty is not a bad idea to be safe.

However, I think the key to riding in the heat (or any other extreme condition) is convincing yourself that you like it. Take a page out of Lance's book: He used to hate the rain and the cold and abandoned many a race when the weather turned bad. Then he conditioned himself to embrace the bad weather and convinced himself that he loved it and that he was better at it than anybody else. His stage win on top of Sestriere in '99 shows that it really made a difference for him.

Me, I love riding when it's really hot. Yes, the air is a little more difficult to breathe, but I like the feeling that every pore on my body is open and bathed in sweat and every muscle I have is as warm and loose as it gets. My mental obstacle is the cold weather. I can't seem to get loose and my quads in particular never feel good on a cold ride. So I guess I gotta convince myself that I like the cold. Ain't gonna be easy!
re: Riding in the heatpstewart11
Aug 8, 2001 9:10 AM
Here in Palm Springs, CA today it is 108 with about 80%+ humididty. While the humidity is not usually this high, the temperature is about average for August with highs into the 120's at times. I commute to work every day except Tu/Th where I do a group training ride at 6:30am. Its a 20 mile round trip (for reference).Here are some things I do to deal with the temperatures.

1- As someone already mentioned, your body does get acclimated to your surroundings. At the beginning of the summer I take it a little easier and in about 1-2 weeks I can tell that the heat no longer effects me in the same manner. I now start to sweat at the mere thought of getting on my bike for a ride. Its the internal clock telling my body to turn on the A/C. It is really amazing how this cools you off for your entire ride. Listen to your body and back-off when needed. If you are consistent with your rides you will definitely acclimate, but it has to be consistent. Otherwise your body thinks you are just playing games:-) The worst part is when you have to stop for a traffic light or something and you start to pour. NOTE:Drink tons of water and sports drinks to pre/re-hydrate and throw the electrolytes back in the body.

2- On longer rides eat salty foods (doritos are a favorite) as this provides a couple benefits. First it replaces the ton of salt you will lose in the heat and secondly the salt makes you more thirsty so you drink more.

3- Wear a bandanna under your helmet. It will keep you cooler and prevent that nasty sting of sweat in your eyes. You can even use a little vaseline or chapstick above the eyebrows to divert some of the sweat as well.

4- Dry heat is easier to ride in than the humid heat. If it is dry your body cools off by evaporation of the sweat, whereas if it is really humid out- the moisture in the air makes this difficult. Your core temperature will rise much faster in the humidity.

5- Bring a cell phone on all your rides. Heat Stroke is nothing to mess with and if needed you can always either call a buddy/spouse for a ride or contact help if needed. (hopefully not)

I hope this hasnt been too long winded a response and wish you luck with your rides. I think in general riding in the heat is definitely managable if you want it to be. Some people use it as an excuse not to ride, but I find that its the consistency that counts both in my fitness and riding ability.

Take Care- Happy Riding

Read up on Heat IllnessKristin
Aug 8, 2001 9:37 AM
After I nearly fainted on a ride two weeks ago from over-heating, I came home and did a search on Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion and got a lot of good information. I've changed the way I approach hot days now. Mainly I make sure to get enough sodium and don't push myself as hard.
offroad=more shade...hit the trails (nm)ak
Aug 8, 2001 9:58 AM
Ride Inside!Taylor_A
Aug 8, 2001 10:05 AM
The heat should not be taken lightly. Over time you become acclimated to some extent, but it can still be very dangerous.

A friend and I got lost for about 2 hours last summer on a mountain bike trail with a temp of about 105. If not for the water coolers at a golf course on the way back, we would have been in serious trouble. I was still pretty sick for 3 or 4 days afterwards.

This time of year, I ride 3 or 4 days a week on the trainer inside and do long rides outside very early on the weekends.
Same here, and I'm taking a couple of days off ...Humma Hah
Aug 8, 2001 10:35 AM
... code orange and 96 F I've ridden, although I try to ride earlier in the morning and not as hard as usual.

Code Red, like today, with a heat index of 105 (110 tomorrow) is a bit beyond the point of negative benefit for me.

If I could make myself get up at dawn and get in a ride, that would be much better. It takes the ozone a while to cook with the hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen, to make the unappetizing-looking air devloping outside here in Northern Virginia at the moment.
re: Riding in the heatdavidl
Aug 8, 2001 10:59 AM
I live in Texas and try to do at least 3-4 days a week starting at sunrise and days I can't make it that early I ride starting as late as possible. If you can't ride early, ride as late as possible when the sun's low. I drink plenty of water before the ride, take 2 bottles [and drink them all up during the ride] and some cash if I have to stop for fluids. I don't ride longer than 1.5 hours during the week. I do my longer rides on the weekends and still start as early as possible. I use sunscreen. I think one just has to get used to it. Good luck.
re: Riding in the heatmackgoo
Aug 8, 2001 12:56 PM
anyone try glycerin?Dog
Aug 8, 2001 1:24 PM
I've read quite a bit about using glycerin to stay hyper-hydrated on hot days. Some report it workds wonders, but you must use it correctly. Any experience with it?

Glycerin Suppository?grandemamou
Aug 8, 2001 2:46 PM
But seriously where did you hear about it? How is it used? I live in southern Louisiana where we we have two seasons Summer and August. If you think summer is hot wait until August.

I ride in opressive heat most of the year. It is a constant battle to stay hydrated. As long as I stay on top of it I'm fine but any help would be great.
other endDog
Aug 8, 2001 2:55 PM
here are some links:
Aug 8, 2001 3:11 PM
A few tips.E3
Aug 8, 2001 5:28 PM
I like 90+ degree days in West Texas. It's a dry climate, humidity would make the heat more difficult to manage.

On my typical 50 mile loop, I take two full-size water bottles of sports drink and a 60 oz. camelback of water. I wear a sleeveless jersey and gobs of sunscreen. I don't pour water over me or fuss with keeping it cold. I drink it and keep rolling, letting my sweat do its job.

The worse thing is changing a flat in such conditions, just standing there with no air moving to cool you off. That's tough.

This may sound nuts, but I was involved in a local charity ride three years ago in which the temperature was 101 at the start (noon) and 110 by the finish. I rode 80 miles and took two breaks totaling about 30 minutes. It was a 24-hour event in which you could ride as much as you wanted. A few hardy honchos rode the complete 24 hours. That day taught me alot about my body and how to manage under such conditions.
re: NC native hereG
Aug 9, 2001 5:09 AM
First of all hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Before, during and after. I have a rule that I take two big sips from the water bottle every two miles. Second, acclimate to the heat-don't go hard or long on those days. I only do a max of around 20 miles on those 95+ days and go at a slower pace(no sprints for me). During the work week I go out around 6pm, but on weekends I get out early morning to beat the heat and do longer rides and/or go harder. Of course, I don't race anymore so I have the luxury of taking it easy. It's actually been rather nice this year up until this week. I knew it was to good to last. Good luck and be safe.
36 miles @ 108 degreesDog
Aug 9, 2001 6:28 AM
Last night I rode 36 miles at 21.8 mph, and it was 108 degrees at the beginning. This time, I took 2 full bottles of Cytomax, plus a 72 ounce Camelbak full of icewater. I nearly constantly drank from the Camelbak, and drank all of the fluids by the end of the ride. That's right, 72 + 28 + 28 ounces (a gallon) in about an hour and a half.

I was perfectly comfortable on the ride. Despite the heat, the cold water from the Camelbak kept me comfortable. I don't normally use one, but I'd highly recommend one on the really hot days, as it keeps the fluid cold (helping to cool your core) and allows you to sip almost continuously.