Now that we have seen the start of summer I thought I would blog about my findings while riding in hot weather.
Seems an obvious one but drink …… drink lots. Maintaining adequate hydration whilst on the move on a bike is hard and particularly hard to gauge exactly how much fluid you are losing.
Drink little and often when riding, and make sure that you have plenty of drink with you and know of places on the route so you can top up your bottles. Rule of thumb I look to drink at least one bottle an hour while on the bike which can be increased depending on temperatures. Little and often especially at the front end of the ride, don’t wait till you are thirsty as you (to a degree) are already now dehydrated.
Using drinks with electrolytes can be a good idea to replace those lost by sweating, which can cause cramping. There is an array of energy drinks available on the market, and I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of different methods of fueling as there is masses of information on this out there. One bit of advice though is to make sure you are mixing them to the prescribed concentrations as your body will only absorb certain % of Carbs and sugars. I train with a much more diluted mix personally and race with the correct concentrate. If the drink is too concentrated it sits in your tummy sloshing around … Not nice. I also have used salt tablets in hot conditions on long endurance rides which for me works really well. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on what you are eating, often in hot conditions, you don’t want to eat/fuel. This is equally important to ensure you avoid the dreaded BONK!
I also ride with many riders that prefer water only and solid food to fuel on rides, I think the best advice I can give on this is finding what works for you and stick with it.
Ride in the Morning
Mad Dogs and Englishmen…… quite simple get your head off the pillow nice and early and beat the midday sun. That way your home before it heats up and you have the rest of the day with the family. Everyone’s a winner.
There is an array of technical cycle clothing available out there at a whole range of prices. Lightweight materials with wicking properties will help you cool off. Vented tops, mesh tops etc. are all good ideas, full length zipped tops allow you to open the top to make use of the breeze whilst moving forward on the bike.
There are some seriously cool bits of clothing kit out there at the high-end market, Rapha uses Coldblack® fabric treatment, which allows black coloured fabrics to have the same heat absorption as an identical white coloured fabric. Sky Team utilised this and was the thinking behind their black kit. Pearl Izumi also do it. Very geeky but cool.
Spend your money on the bits that come in contact with the bike, quality shorts which fit you well make all the difference to your comfort on the bike, cycling mitts padded also stop blisters from sweaty hands and also absorb some of the road buzz. Cycling socks also assist in wicking sweat away and help to keep the temperature down. Eye protection is a must to protect from the UV and more importantly from dust, debris and bugs. Even on the darkest days, I wear eye protection…. Also, this adds to how cool you look 😉.
If you are like me and start to glow red at the merest hint of sun, this is super important, one for comfort and most importantly to prevent damaging your skin due to excessive ultraviolet light. It would be a shame to have to head back early on a gorgeous day due to sunburn. Don’t be drawn into gaining razor sharp tan lines to be worn as a badge of honour to confirm you are a super serious cyclist. Time outdoors will sort that out; the main focus is to protect your skin. Main areas of concern back of the neck, face front of legs above the knee and your calves.
Get out of your gear as soon as possible when you get home, it isn’t pleasant for anyone to be sat in your sweaty gear.
Take on plenty of fluid little and often over the next few hours, and eat as you normally would to aid your recovery, typically a protein rich meal or drink 30 mins after you finish your ride.