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  1. #1
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    When is it too hot to ride?

    Hello everyone,

    A question that's come up in the past few days concerns heat and cycling Clydesdale's (or Athena's for the matter). Here in Athens, the temperature has been rising steadily for the past week or two and for the coming week we'll see most days reach 36 to 38 degrees Celsius (97 to 100+ Fahrenheit).

    Since I'm a newbie (1-1/2 months) and a Clydesdale (270 lbs),and my work hours make me commute at mid-day at least three times during the week; when should I think about taking other means of transportation other than cycling? My main concern is a long(ish) stretch of my commute done by a coastal road which offers no shade.

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    I live in central Florida and due to my schedual I get out at about 4:30 if it's not raining. Tis about 95-98 degrees here at that time. I actually like it. The wind will cool you down and you get a better sweat on. Feels like you are doing more. Def bring 2 water bottles and trust your body...if you start getting a lil dizzy, sfind some shade and chill out for a minute. You'll get used to it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    If you are healthy you can adapt to the heat. But stay hydrated. And go slower. Your heart rate will rise in the heat.

  4. #4
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    If you are healthy you can adapt to the heat. But stay hydrated. And go slower. Your heart rate will rise in the heat.
    Thank you Cujo2811 and Goldfinch for all the advice!

    I am healthy, but being overweight (morbidly obese) will probably cancel that out. To be honest I'm worried about pushing myself to the limits, and what the symptoms are before I drop. (as you can probably tell, I've been living a couch-potato life and my work isn't all that physical either (IT Engineer).

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    Look out for the symptoms of heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion:

    sweating and suddenly no more sweat
    feeling chilly or cold
    dizzy or faint
    nausea
    vomiting
    heat cramps in larger muscle groups

    These can lead to unconsciousness. Once you've had heat stroke, you become weaker to it and can get it over and over again.

    What I suggest is taking a very easy pace, wearing some sort of light colored cap to keep the sun off your face and carrying one of those plastic ice blocks that's frozen. When you need a break, put the ice block on your neck to help keep your core body temperature where is should be.

    Do take drinks but be careful not to OVER drink. Water poisioning is a horrible horrible thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

    When I was in the military, they said that in over 100 degree weather, you had to rest 15 minutes per hour. I think that's pretty wise advise. It is possible to exercise and work in the heat, but you must rest more and take more little breaks. For us Clydes and Athenas, the rest becomes more important.

    Rona

  6. #6
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Thanks Rona, this is very very interesting info! I knew that over-hydrating was bad, but I never new about water poisoning! I usually drink around 2-3 liters of water a day during the summer because I sweat alot. After reading the wiki, I'll try and keep that down.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    I rode once last year in 104F temps. It was quite the adventure. A few things I noticed:
    • I didn't have power and rode slower.
    • My HR was higher (as goldfinch said).
    • I needed food (I don't normally eat on this 25-mile route).
    • I drank one of my bottles of water, and used the other bottle for dousing my head, neck & shoulders.
    • I stopped about half-way to get some cold water from a shop, ate my PowerBar, and that helped alot. But I needed more. I should have been munching little bites throughout the ride.

    I've been riding this year in 100F+ temps this week, and watching my water & food intake and stopping refilling more frequently for refills and haven't had any problems.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Definitely I would follow all of the advice given above. It's been 100+ degrees here for about 20 days so far this year. I'm not sure that you ever actually get "used" to it, especially with humidity of 80% or higher, you just learn to deal with it. I rode at 6 am today to beat the heat and it was already 85. Like the others have said, stay hydrated and listen to your body.

  9. #9
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    I'm stupid that way,
    I've recently been riding in temp's above 95* even as high as 104* ("106*" indicated on my bike computer on a few different parts of my route). My rides are anywhere from 10 miles to 25. Preperation is to eat a good breakfast, drink lotsa water before I go.... visiting the bathroom SEVERAL times before my bladder'll give me a break. Then when the food has digested, no more than 2 - 2 1/2 hours has lapsed after eating, and I'm psyched to go hit the streets.... I'll take another large swig of water, make sure I put my water bottle on the bike, and RIDE!

    But at this time I'm not dieting (THAT'S gonna change soon!), I have no blood pressure problems, in good health, I have lotsa muscle density for strength & endurance, fat-a-plenty with which to retain water, and I tend to subscribe (stupidly) to, "what does not kill you, makes you stronger".

    If you see a short fat white boy laying alongside a green Randonee in the middle of the road, I'll be okay..... just point me to the rainbow by way of a yellow brick road, and assure me that those flying monkeys I see aren't real.....

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hairy Hands's Avatar
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    I ride in 100 degree temps every day this time of year. I do believe that the heavier the cyclist the worse the heat is on your body. More mass = a harder time dissipating heat. As I have lost weight, I seem to tolerate the heat better. I would definitely get a Heart rate monitor. It tells me immediately that I need to slow down or to get under a shade tree for a while. My heart rate will top out and will not go down even after I have purposely slowed down. I also started using Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, and it has slowed down my cramping issues in the extreme heat, as well as settled my stomach on hot rides.
    ~John~

  11. #11
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    If you feel its to hot or whatever you don't have to commute. However if you do then drink plenty of water, take your time, and don't over exert yourself.
    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  12. #12
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    I disolve Gastrolyte in my water when the outside temperatures are high. Gastrolyte contains sodium and potassium and other electrolytes. It reduces cramping and water intoxication.

    Tell us how far your commute is and if there are significant hills.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  13. #13
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    I disolve Gastrolyte in my water when the outside temperatures are high. Gastrolyte contains sodium and potassium and other electrolytes. It reduces cramping and water intoxication.

    Tell us how far your commute is and if there are significant hills.
    Thank you to all for this info!

    Skilsaw, my commute is usually around 6-7 miles each way... that might sound like nothing, but it's done away from bike paths, on pavement with slow moving traffic and very dangerous conditions. Because of the heat, most cars have their windows rolled-up and can't hear my bell (or screams); and since most drivers in this country are totally unfamiliar with cyclist, they don't pay attention making it a challenge to be seen, let alone leave the necessary safe spacing!

    Another thing I've noticed is the quality of the asphalt; in places, especially near bus stops, the asphalt has large grooves from the tires and is particularly slippery or otherwise sticky because of the heat. I mention this because a few days ago when overtaking a bus, I went over such a groove and lost my balance for a moment. Luckily the bus driver was slow to accelerate otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation!


    Luckily, the terrain is quite flat with some small slopes which I can (now) cope with ease.
    Last edited by Telly; 07-09-11 at 11:48 PM.

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    You might want to read these two links.
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ00316
    http://www.weatherimages.org/data/heatindex.html

    Together, they suggest one exercise extreme care when exercising in hot and humid enviornments. Greece is definitely that type of environment. Heavier people tend to not manage core body temps as effectively as leaner-bodied people. That's the issue.

    FWIW, researching over-hydration suggests the number of over-hydration reports is miniscule in comparison to dehydration reports. I live in South Louisiana and don't even think about over-hydration in the summer --- I carry 3 water bottles and routinely empty them on rides, sometimes multiple times on the same ride. YMMV

    Drinking 2-3 liters of water per day is not excessive for the average person, even when not exercising in the heat.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 07-09-11 at 06:05 PM.
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    I'm finding my heat tolerance has taken a plunge. I used to cycle in the simmering humid heat of southern MS. Was I comfortable doing it? No, but it didn't debilitate me either. Now, if the sun's out and it hits much over 80, I just feel like I'm broiling, my skin turns bright red (not sunburn) and I feel nauseous. If I push on, I get sick. It's not dehydration, I drink plenty of water before I start the rides and take swallows often. If it's cloudy, or even better raining, I'm fine.

    So, I sit and stare mournfully out the window as I pedal on my trainer, waiting for 'bad' weather.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telly View Post
    I am healthy, but being overweight (morbidly obese) will probably cancel that out.
    Don't kid yourself, you are not healthy.

    I'm not taking a shot at you, but, being over-weight is a serious issue.

    You may not have any current alarm bells going off, however, you certainly will if you live long enough to die pre-maturely.

    Take a lot of water with you when you ride, and drink even if you don't feel you need to.

  17. #17
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    I realize this won't help those who commute, but I've been dealing with the heat by riding at night. It's nice and cool and I have most of my local roads to myself. (I have a bright headlight and taillight, of course.)
    --
    Mike

  18. #18
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aenlaasu View Post

    So, I sit and stare mournfully out the window as I pedal on my trainer, waiting for 'bad' weather.
    I'm not making fun of you, I promise. Believe me, I know how tough the heat can be. But there's just something about that statement that I find refreshingly ironic.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wiredfoxterror's Avatar
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    I live in the hot sticky humid subtropics. I always have water with me, and wear some kind of cool bandana and usually a mositure wicking shirt and a hat to keep the sun off my head. Midday riding the coolie bandana is a necessity around my neck, and they also have hats with the cooling in them - see here. I've never used the coolrag, but a friend does and swears by it because it keeps her head from sweating into her eyes. Ride slower than usual during the high heat - do you have high humidity? And enjoy the breeze off the water when you can. Believe it or not, you do get used to it. Just don't over extend yourself. Take it easy and it does get easier each time.
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  20. #20
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    QUESTION:

    I've noticed that bpm, per my POLAR heart rate monitor, may seem to elevate on some hotter rides.... But the differences haven't been significant enough to take note of
    - UNTIL -
    I read goldfinch's post above that mentioned heart rate willl rise in heat.

    So my question would be,
    if I am to monitor myself riding in the heat via my bpm, at what point should I become suspicious, concerned, alerted to an increase of beats per minute???

  21. #21
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Both heat and humidity are most likely going to increase your heart rate. I assume you know the rough calculation of your maximum rate? You cycle within 60 to 90% of that maximum?

    You might check and see if you are getting dehydrated by weighing yourself before and after riding. You might want to weigh yourself naked. Go for your ride. Know exactly how man ounces you drank. Weigh yourself naked when you come back. Figure out how many ounces of water you either drank or lost for how many ounces per mile need to consume.

    (Of course I say all of this and then wimpy me is creeped out by monitoring my heart rate and I just go by how I feel. . . )

    Know the symptoms of heat stroke. I suffered from it many, many years ago and forever I am more susceptible to heat stroke.

    I am leaving off the issue of electrolytes. One issue with drinking a lot of water is that it can throw the electrolyte balance off, leading to "water intoxication." It can be an issue, especially for those of us who are out of shape, exercising a long time and drinking a lot of water, more than what they really need. Here is a link that talks about it: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/h...ponatremia.htm
    Last edited by goldfinch; 07-10-11 at 12:37 PM.

  22. #22
    What, me worry? Telly's Avatar
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    Before starting on this post, I'd like to thank everyone for your advice (Seve, your post was a startling wake-up call, and I appreciate it!).

    I decided to test out my commute (partially) during the hottest hours of the day here (2.00 pm) when the temperature was slightly above 100F (37.5C), and remembering your advice and stories, here are the results:

    Heart-rate: unknown, but I'm buying a monitor ASAP!
    Fatigue: I felt tired almost immediately, as though I was going against
    the wind or uphill, but after finding a steady, slower pace I
    was fine
    Hydration: Plenty before, during (every 15-20 minutes) and after
    Side-effects: Luckily none, except for the slower pace and obvious increase
    in sweating I was doing fine with no dizziness, loss of breath or
    muscle cramps.

    There was significantly less traffic on the road, and I didn't have all the extra weight on the bike which I haul for my commute; have to keep those things in mind on Tuesday when I start off to work mid-day!

    Again, thank you all for the hints, tips, warnings and stories... if it wasn't for this forum I would still be driving myself to an early grave (pun intended!) lol

  23. #23
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    NEVER too hot to ride. Columbia SC...We've had 45+ straight days of 90degree heat. This morning at 6am I started sweating loading rolling the bike out of the garage. Just drink, constantly. For mid afternoon rides I've got two bottle racks on the frame and two on the back of the seat. That gets me at least 30 miles in the 95degree95%humidity joy that we call summer.

    Also: To quote the rules....HTFU.
    Why is abbreviation such a long word?

  24. #24
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    95 degrees 95%humidity ???!!







    5

  25. #25
    Junior Member Kiwikat's Avatar
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    I said to myself that it was too hot and humid to ride today but I got myself out and did the whole local trail anyways. I really don't like riding when the DP is above 70. Actual air temperature doesn't seem to bother me at all, just the humidity. I did go through more water than usual tonight. I should have probably brought a second bottle.

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