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What do you do when it's really hot outside? I'm in Dallas, and though I think our high is gonna be around 100 today, it was 91 and sunny when I was out a short while ago on my lunch break. 9 1/2 mile course, usually average between 15.2 and 15.9 mph on it, and today I did 14.8. Note that my average speed is calculated only when I'm moving, so breaks didn't factor in much except for slowing down and speeding up over a few seconds each.

I took two full water bottles and drank 1.5. The several gulps of the 2nd one were like a rock in my stomach, telling me I drank too much. I didn't seem to sweat much more than otherwise, but the last mile or so was slower than usual from lack of energy. Oddly, though I ate a half hour before my ride I still felt hungry for the last mile; the sensation went away once I was sitting down in the car again.

I wore almost knee-length roomy lightweight utility shorts, cotton boxer-briefs and a cotton t-shirt. Helmet isn't expensive but has several vents, maybe 10ish. I keep my hair trimmed short and have thinning hair anyway :p . Standard sunglasses (not cycling type).

What are the most beneficial things I can do to do better when it's hot out. I don't care about getting my speed up (listed it to show the effect of the heat), but more that I enjoy the ride.
 

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Rule No. 1 is don't ride at mid-day

We luck out around here--it gets that hot, but it usually cools down 30 degrees when the sun goes down. My recollection of Dallas is that it's 85-90 all night long, which makes it tougher.
I enjoy riding or running when it's 90 or so, but our humidity is a lot lower than yours. It also takes awhile to get acclimated, and didn't you guys warm up suddenly, just in the last few days? You may feel better later on.
CoolMax or other wicking jerseys will help, but not a lot. I usually ride in T-shirts, and sometimes I soak them with water as I go (again, our dry air helps). It's important to drink, and you should start an hour or two before the ride--be tanked up when you leave, don't try to catch up on the ride. You probably didn't dehydrate significantly in that fairly short time, but the lack of sweating is a possible danger sign on longer rides. Try a few swallows every 10 minutes, rather than belting a whole bottle at once, and ride slowly for a few more days until you get used to it.
Even with all that, though, 100 in Dallas humidity is pretty hot, so take it easy.


Zaurusman said:
What do you do when it's really hot outside? I'm in Dallas, and though I think our high is gonna be around 100 today, it was 91 and sunny when I was out a short while ago on my lunch break. 9 1/2 mile course, usually average between 15.2 and 15.9 mph on it, and today I did 14.8. Note that my average speed is calculated only when I'm moving, so breaks didn't factor in much except for slowing down and speeding up over a few seconds each.

I took two full water bottles and drank 1.5. The several gulps of the 2nd one were like a rock in my stomach, telling me I drank too much. I didn't seem to sweat much more than otherwise, but the last mile or so was slower than usual from lack of energy. Oddly, though I ate a half hour before my ride I still felt hungry for the last mile; the sensation went away once I was sitting down in the car again.

I wore almost knee-length roomy lightweight utility shorts, cotton boxer-briefs and a cotton t-shirt. Helmet isn't expensive but has several vents, maybe 10ish. I keep my hair trimmed short and have thinning hair anyway :p . Standard sunglasses (not cycling type).

What are the most beneficial things I can do to do better when it's hot out. I don't care about getting my speed up (listed it to show the effect of the heat), but more that I enjoy the ride.
 

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That sounds like a lot of water,

in less than 40 minutes riding. I'd say hydrate before the ride, drink one bottle or less on a ride of that length -- and pour the other one through your helmet vents if you're feeling warm.

Real bike shorts (tight lightweight lycra) are cooler than 2 baggy cotton layers, and a light synthetic bike jersey (with a long zipper for ventilation) is cooler than a cotton t-shirt. (The fabric wicks moisture to the outside where it can evaporate easier -- cotton soaks up and holds a lot)

Another trick is to start with well-chilled bottles. You can fill a bottle about1/3 of the way with water and put it in the freezer the night before. Before the ride, fill the rest of the way with water. You'll have a big block of ice in the bottle keeping the water chilled (for a while).

For longer rides in hot conditions, sports drinks like Gatorade work better than water, because you need to replace the salts and your gut absorbs water quicker when there's a little sugar in it. Just don't get your bottles mixed up and pour Gatorade on your head -- that's a sticky mess.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did actually down two Gatorade sport bottles (of water) over the couple hours before the ride, so I should have been fairly hydrated though I also had a pretty large thing of coffee before those waters that may have counter-acted them. I might be able to push the ride on my lunch break up a half hour, but that's about it; I'm going to look around to see if there's a decently close place (to home - this is close to work) where I can ride before work instead of on my lunch break.

The more I think about it, the more it was the sun itself that was killing me -- the temperature didn't bother me much in the shady portions of the trail but when I was going down concrete that had been baking in the sun ... I guess morning rides are an important thing to investigate though I did come across a few other cyclist and joggers. Cycling apparently just isn't a sport where hitting the snooze button before the second note is appreciated. :D

Anyway, thanks for all the advice and ideas; I'm going to give several of them a whirl. Especially since I'd like to work up to a century this year.
 

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The best rule of thumb is to hydrate at the rate of about 24 to 30 ounces of water per hour and take a good electrolyte supplement. I like the Hammer Nutrition products but there are others out there too. Hammer has a lot of info on their website. Also, hot weather is something you have to train for. It is always harder early in the season until your body adapts.
 

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Could just be a bad day, too...

Occurred to me when I read your second post that it might just be an off day for you. Even when I was in really good shape, running marathons in my 30s, I occasionally had days where I'd be much slower than my average, or I'd feel sick to my stomach or lightheaded or something. ECGs and other tests ruled out most likely serious problems, and my doctor told me not to worry about it.
I've always kept a fairly detailed exercise log, and several years ago i plotted my speeds and times against a biorhythm chart I found online. I didn't (and still don't, really) believe in the notion that we run in regular, predictable cycles, but nearly all my top times came when the biorhythm chart said I was in a "double high" or "triple high," and most of my really bad days came when I was in a double or triple low (Google "biorhythms" for an explanation--and I really DON'T believe it. I'm just mentioning it as an item of general interest).
 

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Zaurusman said:
What do you do when it's really hot outside? I'm in Dallas, and though I think our high is gonna be around 100 today, it was 91 and sunny when I was out a short while ago on my lunch break. 9 1/2 mile course, usually average between 15.2 and 15.9 mph on it, and today I did 14.8. Note that my average speed is calculated only when I'm moving, so breaks didn't factor in much except for slowing down and speeding up over a few seconds each.

I took two full water bottles and drank 1.5. The several gulps of the 2nd one were like a rock in my stomach, telling me I drank too much. I didn't seem to sweat much more than otherwise, but the last mile or so was slower than usual from lack of energy. Oddly, though I ate a half hour before my ride I still felt hungry for the last mile; the sensation went away once I was sitting down in the car again.

I wore almost knee-length roomy lightweight utility shorts, cotton boxer-briefs and a cotton t-shirt. Helmet isn't expensive but has several vents, maybe 10ish. I keep my hair trimmed short and have thinning hair anyway :p . Standard sunglasses (not cycling type).

What are the most beneficial things I can do to do better when it's hot out. I don't care about getting my speed up (listed it to show the effect of the heat), but more that I enjoy the ride.

Where do you ride BTW?

I acclimate to the Dallas heat by wearing very lightweight sleeveless jerseys and drink lots of water before. This is more important than water during the ride IMO. Especially if it's as short as yours is.

lobster claw
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for rule-of-thumb figures, percy -- this'll give me a good baseline to start from.

It could have just been an off day. In retrospect, it felt like that just as I was about to start out, but I had one last week or the one before and it went okay and at a good clip in spite of that so this time I dismissed it. I've had times like that when I wanted to weight train and just couldn't do as many reps as most days so maybe this was similar.

I can't remember the name of the trail, culdeus, but it's in the Los Colinas area and starts with a "C." Fairly popular. One end starts in that mess of bridges around Valley View/635/MacArthur. I'll pop off the main stretch next ride and check out the sign that has its name. It's pretty cool with the slight exception of occassional kamikaze squirrels that almost hit your front wheel and the 4 or 5-foot snake basking stretched across the concrete trail the other day. Also has some dirt trails that a co-worker likes to take his MTB on.

Mebbe I'll try skipping the morning coffee on the next hot day and start it with Gatorade instead. Can't experiment this week; going back down to the 70's tomorrow.
 

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Dunk test

Zaurusman said:
What do you do when it's really hot outside?
If your stomach feels like you can't take any more water, then you probably need some electrolyte intake. However, there's a limit to how much you can sweat, and as your skin becomes saltier, the water in your sweat doesn't evaporate as fast - colligative properties, doncha know. So a simple thing you can do is to pour water on yourself - it washes away the salt so that evaporation rates rise, and it guarantees that you're wet everywhere you can be wet, which improves the total heat loss. Cooler water is obviously better for this purpose.
 

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1. Avoid the hot part of the day, if possible. In the summer here, the hot part of the day is 110+, and in the evening things cool off to the low 100's.
2. Ride. Your body will acclimate to riding in heat, and the rate at which you lose electrolytes will change.
3. Down some electrolyte stuffed drink before your ride......an hour or so.
4. A decent way to judge whether your drinking enough is to weigh yourself before your ride and after your ride. A net weight loss means you should have had a bit more to drink. Gaining weight also doesn't help, over a ride, as it just might lead to an upset stomach.
5. Become religious about drinking regularly. I hit the bottle every 10 minutes.
6. Review what you're wearing. Another layer or different material can make a big difference when it comes to staying cool. I wear a cap thingee under my helmet (at first to keep from frying my scalp) and found that my head is cooler with it on than without it. The clothing companies make undershirts that are designed to do just that: keep you cooler.
7. Don't wear black body paint.
8. Don't crash during the hottest part of the day, when you are most likely to suffer burns from the scorching pavement.
 

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Here is a question regarding heat: I'm planning a cross country journey this year, do I need to worry about the hot ashphalt affecting my tires?

ie. If it gets super hot, will my tires wear down faster?
 

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culdeus, the trail's called "Champion" or thereabouts.

Thanks for the advice, guys. Though I'm bummed that I can't wear black body paint anymore. :(
 

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iherald said:
Here is a question regarding heat: I'm planning a cross country journey this year, do I need to worry about the hot ashphalt affecting my tires?

ie. If it gets super hot, will my tires wear down faster?
I'd say you don't have to worry about it. Tire temp is going to come from several places: conduction from the pavement; friction with the pavement; flexing of the tire casing. The heat from the pavement is going to be the biggest contributor, but rubber has lousy thermal conductivity so 150 degree pavement does not mean you'll have tire temps of 150 degrees. Given the loads on tires, heat from friction will be at least an order of magnitude less than heat conducted from the pavement. Also with loads in mind, heat from casing flex will be minimal. I don't notice any extra tire wear during Tucson summers when pavement temps can easily exceed 140-150 degrees. I think you're more likely to see wear resulting from carrying extra weight and the tires just being abraded away.
 

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Don't forget the other half of the formula. Eat properly. Lots of fruit, veggies carbs etc. If you don't have any gas in the tank, even with drinking water/Gatorade you can still feel like crap. Hydration should be an all day thing anyway, especially with the hot weather here already. Stay away from caffeine or large amounts of it, it dehydrates the body. If you have cotton mouth and/or very thirsty you are already in trouble, you can be on your way to having some sort of heat injury such as heat exhaustion. Read up on heat injuries, its good stuff to know. Heres a link: http://www.putnam-fl.com/brd/PCPS/heat_injuries.htm


By the way Z, I ride over on the same trail from time to time.
 

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Jeff in Texas said:
Don't forget the other half of the formula. Eat properly. Lots of fruit, veggies carbs etc. If you don't have any gas in the tank, even with drinking water/Gatorade you can still feel like crap. Hydration should be an all day thing anyway, especially with the hot weather here already. Stay away from caffeine or large amounts of it, it dehydrates the body. If you have cotton mouth and/or very thirsty you are already in trouble, you can be on your way to having some sort of heat injury such as heat exhaustion. Read up on heat injuries, its good stuff to know.
This is mostly true. If you're not adequately fueled before you get on the bike, then you'll be starting off at a deficit, and that deficit will exacerbate dehydration. Also, studies have shown that most people, at least in the US, are not adequately hydrated, so maintaining hydration off the bike is equally important, especially when dealing with extreme conditions.

Whether you eat on the bike, combine energy drinks with eats, or just subsist on energy drinks and water while riding comes down to rider preference.
 

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I'll second the vote..

for a jersey with a 3/4 or greater zipper..really allows for airflow around your body..
I love them and rarely buy anything with a shorter zipper anymore...
 

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I've seen a couple recommendations against cotton, and I have some questions. Granted, I only recently re-entered bicycling and the last time I did any long rides in 90+ F weather was ~20 years ago. I'm sure I'll get some experience this summer.

But I am an experienced motorcyclist, and one of the tricks I have used on long hot motorcycle rides is to wear a cotton t-shirt under my riding suit and then soak the cotton t-shirt with water. As I ride, water evaporates out of the shirt, providing an evaporative cooling effect that feels like air conditioning.

Would this concept not also work on a bicycle? I would think that this would not only help keep you cooler, but also reduce perspiration. Or am I missing something?
 

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undies said:
I've seen a couple recommendations against cotton, and I have some questions. Granted, I only recently re-entered bicycling and the last time I did any long rides in 90+ F weather was ~20 years ago. I'm sure I'll get some experience this summer.

But I am an experienced motorcyclist, and one of the tricks I have used on long hot motorcycle rides is to wear a cotton t-shirt under my riding suit and then soak the cotton t-shirt with water. As I ride, water evaporates out of the shirt, providing an evaporative cooling effect that feels like air conditioning.

Would this concept not also work on a bicycle? I would think that this would not only help keep you cooler, but also reduce perspiration. Or am I missing something?
Key note in that statement is "under my riding suit" with cotton it will get saturated and then in a 20mph wind (created by riding) cause chafing. Inside as a second layer this can't happen. I know because this used to happen to me when I was too cheap/poor to afford decent tops. The modern jersey dries out fast enough that it doesn't stick to skin and dries much quicker. Plus adding that zipper gives a quick boost of cool air to core area.
 
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