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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-01-07, 06:05 AM   #1
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Tips for riding in the heat

With 90 degrees F temperatures coming 'round here in NJ, I thought it'd be helpful to post this. Everyone here knows to drink water while riding, but a recap won't hurt.

Be careful riding in the heat. Drink water often, cool down if you feel you're overheating or having trouble thinking straight. Listen to your body. My rule of thumb is that, if I'm having trouble remembering to watch the road, or keep a good distance from parked cars, I pull over.

This article is a pretty good summary. Links to a lot of tips on how to detect heatstroke, and how to treat it. Also, make sure to ingest something with salt and potassium. Banannas are good. Lightly salted nuts arte good as well, but they tend to get caught in the throat, so you have to , yep, keep drinking water. If your pee is clear you're doing well. And if you don't have to pee, keep drinking until you do. Anyone know if protein intake has any effect on heat tolerance?
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Old 08-01-07, 06:14 AM   #2
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Skip the banannas and use potassium vitamins that way you don't have to eat so many. Drink something at least every 45 min of riding and if you get thirsty it is time to stop.
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Old 08-01-07, 06:21 AM   #3
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This article is a pretty good summary. Links to a lot of tips on how to detect heatstroke, and how to treat it.
Actually, by the point you have heatstroke, you're probably not going to be self-treating, but are in for a fast trip to the hospital. Dehydration -> heat exhaustion -> heat stroke, that's the progression, and of course the key is to become more skilled at detecting heat-related symptoms early and become better at prevention. Hydration is key to prevention, but one other tip that the article mentions (and that frequently gets overlooked) is getting acclimated to heat: the more time you spend in the heat under non-exercise conditions, the better you will be able to handle the heat when you exercise. On the other hand, if your house is air-conditioned and your car is air-conditioned and your workplace is air-conditioned, the heat is going to hit you a lot harder. Think about adjusting the thermostat or cutting out the A/C altogether -- humans can survive pretty warm temperatures.
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Old 08-01-07, 06:26 AM   #4
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Skip the banannas and use potassium vitamins that way you don't have to eat so many. Drink something at least every 45 min of riding and if you get thirsty it is time to stop.
I'd heard that the body olerates potassium better when it's in the form of food, as opposed to a supplement. Anyone have proof on this?
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Old 08-01-07, 06:54 AM   #5
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FWIW, here's my $.02

Drink a good sized glass of water before you go out riding.
Drink roughly 1 bottle of water per hour. More if you need it.
Start using electrolite replacement drinks after the first hour or two.
Being thirsty is your body's way of telling you that you're slightly dehydrated. Drink before you get thirsty.
If you haven't had to pee in a few hours, then you're slightly dehydrated.
If your pee isn't clear, or pretty close to clear, then you're slightly dehydrated.

If you EVER stop sweating during strenuous physical activity, this is a serious warning sign. Get off the road, find some shade or air conditioning, and get some fluids in you. You're pretty close to heat stroke at this point, and your workout is definately done for the day.

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Old 08-01-07, 08:21 AM   #6
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I freeze my water bottle so they stay colder longer.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:26 AM   #7
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There is a saying in the hiking biz..."Clear and Copious"...referring to two qualities which should alwys describe your urine.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:31 AM   #8
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I freeze my water bottle so they stay colder longer.
I'm not entirely sure icy cold drinks are good for keeping body temperature down... I think they may do the opposite, but perhaps I'm thinking of hot drinks in winter...

Although I know with dogs it's not good to give them ice water in the heat.

Anyone with better info on this?
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Old 08-01-07, 08:44 AM   #9
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Regarding the water temperature - I asked the same question at my coaching class when we were discussing hydration. To the instructors knowledge (he's a trainer for the University of Iowa football team), there are no official studies relating to humans. I've also heard not to give very cold water to dogs or horses, especially after a workout.

By the way, I'm a Cyclone fan (Iowa State), not a Hawkeye. So I'm cool with you other Big 11 folks.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:18 AM   #10
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I'm not entirely sure icy cold drinks are good for keeping body temperature down... I think they may do the opposite, but perhaps I'm thinking of hot drinks in winter...
Are you saying that hot drinks in winter (or cold) lower your body temperature? How d'ya figure?

The problems of keeping warm and keeping cool are a little different. In both cases, the most important thing is to regulate the core temperature, and to counteract the environmental challenge. The difference is that in order to preserve body heat in a cold environment, you reduce circulation to the extremities, whereas to lose excess body heat, you increase circulation to the extremities (and that's an ovesimplification too, but it's close enough). I suppose that a very cold drink in hot weather could have the effect of tricking your brain into believing that all's well (and, from the brain's perspective, it is) and that there's no need to push circulation to the extremities...but if that happens and the extremities get hot, that's just not a huge deal anyway. The opposite is not true in sub-freezing temps. In that case, hot liquids would reassure the core that all is well and that it's okay to push circulation to the extremities, thus helping to preserve fingers and toes from frostbite.
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Old 08-01-07, 10:14 AM   #11
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Ah! Cool. Glad to have that clarified.

I remember when I lived in Yuma, Az (possibly the closest summer temps next to Hell), I was amazed at all the coffee people drank. Common wisdom was that it helped keep you cooler in the long run.

As for being in the cold, I wasn't sure what the rule was. You drink warm stuff outside in the winter just by instinct. But I do remember there's a rule about not drinking alcohol in the cold... it restricts those blood vessels just as you were saying, lil brown bat.

Anyway, I do like the icewater idea for starting out so you have cool water late in the ride.
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Old 08-01-07, 10:27 AM   #12
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I'd heard that the body olerates potassium better when it's in the form of food, as opposed to a supplement. Anyone have proof on this?
I don't know about absorption, but I do know the amount of potassium in supplements is deliberately kept extremely low, almost to a useless level. There's a lot of potassium in things that are in the form of potassium chloride, but that's extremely erosive to the digestive system. This is why getting it from food is better. Well, it's not just better, it's the only way - unless you have some prescription potassium supplements. A single banana contains a lot more potassium than a supplement does, so why not just eat the banana. But that's assuming you actually need potassium during a ride, which is questionable. Unless you have some kind of medical abnormality, your body should have plenty of potassium, and it should be able to conserve it if necessary.
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Old 08-01-07, 10:28 AM   #13
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There are several problems with alcohol in the cold, number one being that it interferes with your judgment and thus your self-preservation instinct. Physiologically, alcohol dilates the surface blood vessels (that's why people who have been drinking get flushed), which speeds heat loss. It's also a diuretic, which decreases your ability to thermoregulate in either temperature extreme.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:36 AM   #14
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If you're riding in the heat and you're not replacing electrolytes, you'll be in a world of hurt after a couple of hours.

I never go on extended rides without Enduralytes in my jersey pocket.

I still drink plenty of water, as well as some sort of sports drink (I prefer Cyclomax and Heed). For long rides, rides with lots of climbing, and centuries, I use Perpetuem to get the bulk of my calories. Liquid calories are absorbed and put to use MUCH faster than calories from food that has to be broken down and digested, and I find that the "breaking down and digesting" process is detrimental to my performance.

I'd much rather ride the bike while feeling good than ride the bike while being nauseous and having cramps. But I'm funny that way.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:47 AM   #15
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Too much protein intake riding on a hot day or too much fatty food and it'll be coming back up the way it went down......

Exercise draws blood away from the stomach and high density, difficult to digest foods just sit there, because stoomach motility is also reduced. Basically, it'll slosh with the water you're drinking and up it comes!

Stay with light and easily metabolizable nutrients and small amounts at a time. This is where liquid nutrition comes in handy!
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
With 90 degrees F temperatures coming 'round here in NJ, I thought it'd be helpful to post this. Everyone here knows to drink water while riding, but a recap won't hurt.

Be careful riding in the heat. Drink water often, cool down if you feel you're overheating or having trouble thinking straight. Listen to your body. My rule of thumb is that, if I'm having trouble remembering to watch the road, or keep a good distance from parked cars, I pull over.

This article is a pretty good summary. Links to a lot of tips on how to detect heatstroke, and how to treat it. Also, make sure to ingest something with salt and potassium. Banannas are good. Lightly salted nuts arte good as well, but they tend to get caught in the throat, so you have to , yep, keep drinking water. If your pee is clear you're doing well. And if you don't have to pee, keep drinking until you do. Anyone know if protein intake has any effect on heat tolerance?
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Old 08-01-07, 11:48 AM   #16
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There are several problems with alcohol in the cold, number one being that it interferes with your judgment and thus your self-preservation instinct. Physiologically, alcohol dilates the surface blood vessels (that's why people who have been drinking get flushed), which speeds heat loss. It's also a diuretic, which decreases your ability to thermoregulate in either temperature extreme.
Both extremely accurate! Great post, l_b_b!
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Old 08-01-07, 11:51 AM   #17
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I'm not entirely sure icy cold drinks are good for keeping body temperature down... I think they may do the opposite, but perhaps I'm thinking of hot drinks in winter...

Although I know with dogs it's not good to give them ice water in the heat.

Anyone with better info on this?
Cold drinks are good, but need to be SIPPED! Not guzzled. You will get cramps and possibly barf if you guzzle it on a hot day after exercise. Sip it slowly and deliberately. Try to sip every few minutes during your ride and for a while after as well to recover fluids.
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Old 08-01-07, 12:04 PM   #18
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Skip the banannas and use potassium vitamins that way you don't have to eat so many. Drink something at least every 45 min of riding and if you get thirsty it is time to stop.
Every 45 min? I try to drink a bit every 4-5 minutes. In hot weather I want my first bottle to be gone in about 30 minutes if it's a small one, 45 if it's a large one.
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Old 08-01-07, 12:18 PM   #19
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Every 45 min? I try to drink a bit every 4-5 minutes. In hot weather I want my first bottle to be gone in about 30 minutes if it's a small one, 45 if it's a large one.
I'm a "sipper" so I take a mouth full every 5 +/- minutes or so. I put down a large bottle an hour unless it's really hot then, it's on every 45 minutes. Hense my need to figure out a way to carry 4 bottle instead of just 2.
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Old 08-01-07, 12:39 PM   #20
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My top tip for riding in the heat? Get a Camelbak. It moves the water access to a more usable position which means you'll be more apt to use it. Bananas are a good thing as well.

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Old 08-01-07, 12:47 PM   #21
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I'm a "sipper" so I take a mouth full every 5 +/- minutes or so. I put down a large bottle an hour unless it's really hot then, it's on every 45 minutes. Hense my need to figure out a way to carry 4 bottle instead of just 2.
Hmmm, Rochester, MN. My brother lives there, nice place. I've never carried more than two bottles, even for longer, hot rides. I've always come across some little store, gas station, or whatever that would allow for a quick water stop. I usually support them by buying a bottle of gatorade and something to munch on and pouring half of the gatorade in each bottle and then topping it off with water.
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Old 08-01-07, 01:27 PM   #22
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My hot weather riding tip is don't be afraid of it and make sure you get out there as often as you can as long as you can, and to drink a lot of full strength electrolyte drinks, especially critical if you are a heavy sweater as I am. If you do not need to urinate during and after reasonably long rides, hydratioin is insufficient. DRINK LOTS and OFTEN! And RIDE LOTS and OFTEN.
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Old 08-01-07, 01:44 PM   #23
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I like the idea* of hydro packs, but the actuality of it grosses me out.

Gatorade and other sports drinks are* electrolyte drinks, aren't they? Why do people use other things? Or should I not be relying on it? I've been using those propel powders mixed into my water. Does that count?
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Old 08-01-07, 01:49 PM   #24
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I like the idea* of hydro packs, but the actuality of it grosses me out.

Gatorade and other sports drinks are* electrolyte drinks, aren't they? Why do people use other things? Or should I not be relying on it? I've been using those propel powders mixed into my water. Does that count?
They're not all nutritionally equivalent. Furthermore, some (many) that are sold in liquid form are too concentrated to be a good rehydration drink at full strength -- they will slow down your small intestine's ability to absorb water, and thus will slow down your rehydration.
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Old 08-01-07, 01:55 PM   #25
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Thanks, Raiyn! I've been wanting a Camelbak...
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