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Old 06-16-10, 08:01 AM   #1
BluesDawg
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Riding in hot weather

I often hear people talking about it being too hot to ride or how they suffered terribly during a hot or humid ride. This really brings home for me how different we all are. Although I am sometimes uncomfortable on an extremely hot day, I have always been able to ride even in temps above 100F with high humidity. I can recall a few times I have completed century rides in 100+ heat.

Yesterday was the hottest day we have had here so far with a high of 101 and heat index over 110. It had dropped a couple of degrees by the time I rode my weekly hilly 30 mile ride at 5:15pm, but it was still plenty hot. I set my personal best time for this course I have been riding for several years.

I know that genetics plays a part in this. I come from generations of people who farmed in South Georgia. I doubt many people without an inherent ability to endure heat and humidity would have stayed here and raised families under these conditions.

But I wonder how much of this comes from acclimation. I do tend to suffer a bit on the first really hot ride every year. But by June I have always done several rides on hot days. I just spent a week riding 60+ miles each day and living outside with highs ranging from 85 at the beginning to 97 on the last couple of days.

I realize that there are people with physical limitations, and I am not ignoring or downplaying that, but I do think that many people "can't" do things in hot weather mostly because they "don't" do things in hot weather.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:14 AM   #2
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Sure acclimation plays a major role. I was in Saudi woring the flightline in the summer with heat indexes of 140 degs. At night with temps in the 80's it would feel chilly. One winter in Fairbanks I was working out side in -55 weather. Had a warmer sunny day of 15 degs a few weeks later and I was walking around in a T-shirt thinking "man what a nice day"

What you have to worry about riding in the heat is a heat induced heart attack. It has happened to a few cyclists over the years even though their arteries were perfectly clear.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:16 AM   #3
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....
I realize that there are people with physical limitations, and I am not ignoring or downplaying that, but I do think that many people "can't" do things in hot weather mostly because they "don't" do things in hot weather.
There is "doing things" and then there is "doing things with a lot of intensity". I am one of those whose performance is affected a lot by high heat... always have been. I grew up in the deep south and thought nothing of the heat back then ("must be Eskimos living as far north as Atlanta") but I did not try to do high endurance things I am doing these days. The problem comes when "heat limited" folk get mixed in with those not so limited and try to keep up with them... then you have difficulty and danger.

So I agree with you somewhat, but I would have to be on of those early starters on a ride like BRAG.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:25 AM   #4
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I also enjoy hot weather riding.

Water, wicking clothing, head winds and some shade every so often make it good.
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Old 06-16-10, 08:46 AM   #5
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I'll take hot weather riding any day over cold weather riding. Living in the Houston area I too have no problem with riding in hot weather but cold weather is another story.

If it's below 50 degrees I don't ride. I have a hard time in cold weather.

Sarge
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Old 06-16-10, 09:12 AM   #6
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After working outside most of my life, I seem to adapt to different weather pretty well. When it get really hot I try to get out a little earlier, but it's still hot when I'm done of course. I get down to 185# for a short time anyhow.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:20 AM   #7
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The hardest part of riding in the heat is waiting at stoplights or, heaven forbid, dealing with a flat or a mechanical.

I will carry a 24 oz bottle of water for every 15 miles I plan to ride in heat like we are currently experiencing or on home turf stop at water points I know.

A bandanna is a must accessory for rides in this heat. I'll use it to mop my face and water it down and cool my neck.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:26 AM   #8
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After working outside most of my life, I seem to adapt to different weather pretty well. When it get really hot I try to get out a little earlier, but it's still hot when I'm done of course. I get down to 185# for a short time anyhow.
I'm constantly amazed at how much water weight I'll shed even drinking water at the rate I do.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:28 AM   #9
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I also enjoy hot weather riding. One of the side benefits for me is that none of the joints ache during hot weather (well at least not as bad as they do in cold weather). Just the other day my oldest son and I set out on an afternoon ride with high heat and humidity. As we shot down the short hill from my driveway, he said, "I love that first whoosh of air. It let's you know that there is much more relief from heat when you ride instead of running." I hadn't thought about it that way, but I had to smile. I couldn't imagine running in the same weather.
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Old 06-16-10, 10:20 AM   #10
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People that run in this heat are a lot tougher than I am.

My wife will express dismayed amazement as I head out the door to ride in 90+ heat and I tell her every time that as long as I'm moving I've got a cooling breeze. Plus when riding, unlike running, you can rest and keep moving and cooling.
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Old 06-16-10, 10:55 AM   #11
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I have no problem in hot or humid weather where I ride is because it is partially shaded. The only time I don't ride is when there is a smog alert which we have had the past few days here in the city. I just stay in all day. Bad air quailty will do me in fast.
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Old 06-16-10, 11:05 AM   #12
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I tolerate heat well, too. But it does take some getting acclimated at the beginning of every summer, it seems. Last year, carrying around an extra 10 pounds, I struggled more than usual in the summer. This year, with that weight gone, has been a lot different. Last Sunday, riding a 200k on a windy and humid 96 degree day, I rode stronger than I have in a long time.
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Old 06-16-10, 11:11 AM   #13
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Can an old (almost 67) runner who has logged over 71,000 miles--most all of it in the South--the last 23 yrs in Tallahassee, FL make a few observations? Thanks. When the DEW point is up over 70, my HR is 10-15 beats higher than the same pace on a 50 degree day. Slowing down comes naturally. Very few folks PR (Personal best times when it is hot and humid). Hydration is important. If out over 2 hrs some drink enhancers(I use Motor Tabs) are a good idea. You can gradually condition yourself to deal with heat and humidity. Be very careful. Heat can kill.

Biking is much easier in the heat. Sat I rode 60 miles with the temp and humidity over 90. When I run 10 miles in the same conditions I really feel it. May I mention a product that has worked great for me. It is a recovery drink called Endurox R4. I cut the recommended "dosage" in 1/2 and drink a Polar bottle--24 oz cooling down and usually another Polar bottle while showering. It makes a big difference. I recommend fruit flavor and lots of ice.

I lose less salt as a fit athelete than someone who has not trained and acclimated themselves. People run across Death Valley in a 135 mile road race. Enjoy the heat--BUT--be careful. Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Enjoy the journey. Nick
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Old 06-16-10, 11:26 AM   #14
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I do pretty well in the heat. I sweat profusely so on a long hard ride in hot humid weather, I can suffer hyponatrimia. I can put it off pretty well by eating table salt when I start hitting 3+ large water bottles consumed and I still have a ways to go.

I do fine in cold weather. Even after living in central Florida for 20 years, I can go to a cold situation and be pretty comfortable when most people are bundled up. I can ride well in cold weather. I think my cut off was around 20 degrees but I have not had that is central Florida. I SCUBA dive too. My wife is a far better diver but I can handle cold exposure better in my skin (just a nylon lycra shell) than she can in a 3 mm wet suit.
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Old 06-16-10, 11:45 AM   #15
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I just drink more. Handle hot weather lots better than cold these days.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:05 PM   #16
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Some of my best races have been on the coast in Mexico and Guatemala, where it gets quite hot in spring and fall (the highlands are always like springtime in that part of the world). But then I'm one of those people who keep the leg warmers on until it's 20 deg C (68F) or higher. Even though I live in the Pac NW, my performance drops when it gets cold. I remember being in a cross-country ski race years ago. Temp was slightly below 0 C. I had vest and gloves over the racing suit, but the guy who won the race was a German who had been on his country's Olympic Nordic Combined Team. He showed up at the start line without any gloves on!

One thing I learned very early in my racing career was that if you show up early for your race, always sit in the shade on a hot day. I once sat in the sun waiting for my criterium to start. By the time the race started, I was feeling totally drained. I think I got dropped on the 2nd lap, feeling a bit dizzy! So lately, whenever I've been to races at the velodrome, I always seek out friends with a tent on the infield. And you're always shifting your chair to stay in the shade. Once on the bike, though, no problem!

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Old 06-16-10, 12:17 PM   #17
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When I saw the forecast for my time in Tuscaloosa, Al this week I left the bike at home. I'm not riding in a heat index of 110, period. The Tues. evening ride I wanted to do was rained out anyway. I just can't ride in the heat for whatever reason. It's more than metal attitude for me because I have tried so many times with the same miserable result.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:47 PM   #18
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Temperature is not a problem - providing enough water and electrolites are taken. Pure water and I will be taking too much for comfort. Clothing and I still wear a wicking base layer and I do have better jerseys for wicking away moisture than others. But once you get up to speed- then the heat seems to disappear. Air current over the wicking jerseys and I stay cooler.

I do not suffer with sunburn except in one spot and that is the back of the neck- So I wear a cotton Scarf around the neck. (Only piece of cotton cycling gear I own.) Sweat running from the scalp into the eyes used to be a problem till I started wearing a cycling cap and when worn back to front- offers more protection for the neck.

But Haven't done a ride above 85degs in years. We just don't get that weather over here except a few days in August when I have to be at work and driving around in a car without air conditioning.
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Old 06-16-10, 01:06 PM   #19
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Out where I ride humidity is a non-issue (dry heat); I thought I used to enjoy riding in very hot conditions, but as I've gotten older it would seem the tolerance band is shrinking. Now, if the temps are 95 F or above, the ride starts at the garden hose w/ a total head to foot drenching and is quite an enjoyable ride until everything dries out, so, yeah, it becomes a ride of going from faucet to faucet after a while.
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Old 06-16-10, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt. Spillco View Post
I'll take hot weather riding any day over cold weather riding. Living in the Houston area I too have no problem with riding in hot weather but cold weather is another story.

If it's below 50 degrees I don't ride. I have a hard time in cold weather.

Sarge
I echo your sentiments. I grew up in Montana and it took decades to adjust to heat and humidity. Now that I am finally acclimated I much prefer riding in Hot weather. I don't like riding even when it is 70. The sun is more an issue than the heat. Bicycle speed helps improve the comfort level in hot weather and makes it more uncomfortable when the temperature drops.
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Old 06-16-10, 01:37 PM   #21
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Funny you should mention riding in the heat. I'm in Louisiana for a few days. Ambient temperatures are mid/upper 90's, and heat indicies are 103 - 107 range. I grew up in this heat and humidity and have spent most of my life in it, but I noticed this week that the rides I've done down here are more taxing than they are up in northwest Arkansas (NWA). Add to that, there are no hills down here. I've been working in NWA for around five years or so, and I believe I've gotten soft. I rode this morning and did OK, but my pace was a bit slower than it would have been in NWA with hills but lower temperatures and humidity.
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Old 06-16-10, 02:48 PM   #22
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I enjoy hot weather riding too, as long as I regularly hydrate my self. I carry two bottles with me, one for water and one for a mix of gatorade and
whatever juice I can mix with it. I had overcome the heat by wearing
moisture wicking, quick drying and with SPF factor of at least 15 long sleeved
sports jerseys. I stop at places where I can refill my water bottle and use the
restroom. I also drench myself with water when there's a faucet I can
access. In spring and to late summer, my average ride is always more than
50 miles, so I wear a headsweat bandana to protect the top of my head from
the sun and wick away the sweat.
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Old 06-16-10, 03:37 PM   #23
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The only thing that really bothers me is the chafing. I thought it was my saddle and after new bibs and many saddles I found out that it was the heat. All that salt I guess. Anyhow I finally have that pretty much taken care of, I hope anyhow. I'll know more tomorrow. I'll start using Aquaphor as a base for the Bag Balm. It worked last year, but I forgot to start using again. I have to blame that on age and other BS in my life.
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Old 06-16-10, 05:19 PM   #24
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Give me -20 F over +80 F any day. Cycling is actually one of the better things for me to do in hot weather, because the airflow cools me off. Hiking down to my favorite falcon watching spot on a hot day is much more stress.

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Old 06-16-10, 06:13 PM   #25
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Hot weather is a way of life here. Once you get up to speed it's not so bad. What really zaps my energy is riding against head winds (daily sea breezes) on my afternoon commute home. I really have to strain against the wind and can overheat in a hurry. On other days with mild winds, it's no sweat. (So to speak.)
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