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Old 05-04-11, 01:24 PM   #1
SurlyLaika
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Keeping cool on hot days pt 1

I rode 17 miles up one of the local bike paths here to the Los Angeles forests, testing myself against the mountain, scouting for a good S24O spot...but I had to turn back because of the intense heat wave we're experiencing. I didn't know it then but I think I may have been getting a heat stroke because I soon had a headache that just would not get away, felt hot no matter what I tried, and thirsty despite drinking a ton of water. I will not make the mistake of pushing myself to my personal limits again, but I just want to ask you guys, how do you avoid overheating on long rides? Product and brand recommendations are appreciated, as well.

-Sun block (what SPF, what brand, though?)
-Some sort of hat to shade my face. (what kind of hat would be good for this? I was thinking of buying a sombrero or one of those hats I always see in movies set in Vietnamese rice paddies)
-Chap-stick (with SPF)
-Bandana to wet and put on myself.
-Any special clothes??


Also, my water ended up being pretty warm but it's all I had. Is drinking hot water bad on such hot days?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:30 PM   #2
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I carry two Polar bottles of Ice Water.
Freeze them over night.
Keep one wrapped in a towel in my trunk bag. Stays ice cold for 6 hours.
Pour it on my head and neck to keep cool.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:33 PM   #3
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Keeping hydrated is important. I don't care if the water in the bottles is cool as long as I have some water to drink.
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Old 05-04-11, 01:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
I rode 17 miles up one of the local bike paths here to the Los Angeles forests, testing myself against the mountain, scouting for a good S24O spot...but I had to turn back because of the intense heat wave we're experiencing. I didn't know it then but I think I may have been getting a heat stroke because I soon had a headache that just would not get away, felt hot no matter what I tried, and thirsty despite drinking a ton of water. I will not make the mistake of pushing myself to my personal limits again, but I just want to ask you guys, how do you avoid overheating on long rides? Product and brand recommendations are appreciated, as well.

-Sun block (what SPF, what brand, though?)
-Some sort of hat to shade my face. (what kind of hat would be good for this? I was thinking of buying a sombrero or one of those hats I always see in movies set in Vietnamese rice paddies)
-Chap-stick (with SPF)
-Bandana to wet and put on myself.
-Any special clothes??


Also, my water ended up being pretty warm but it's all I had. Is drinking hot water bad on such hot days?

Thanks for any advice.
A 100 oz Camelbak packed with as much ice as it will hold and filled with water. It'll out last any water bottle, is easier to drink from so you drink more, ice water is more pleasant to drink so you drink more and the ice acts as an external cooling unit on your back. Refill as needed.

Sun block won't provide any protection against the heat. It only provides protection against sunburn.
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Old 05-04-11, 02:05 PM   #5
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A 100 oz Camelbak packed with as much ice as it will hold and filled with water. It'll out last any water bottle, is easier to drink from so you drink more, ice water is more pleasant to drink so you drink more and the ice acts as an external cooling unit on your back. Refill as needed.

Sun block won't provide any protection against the heat. It only provides protection against sunburn.
Cool, I got a 100oz water bladder. Only thing it can cause some neck tension. Oh, and I tend to drink to point that I need to urinate urgently when there's no restroom in sight, but you made some good points about how to use a water bladder.

Okay, can you explain that bit about hot days having two dangers? the heat, itself, and sunburn? Sun block only works for sunburn, so what do you do to protect yourself against heat stroke?
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Old 05-04-11, 02:08 PM   #6
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Keeping hydrated is important. I don't care if the water in the bottles is cool as long as I have some water to drink.
Any guidelines for how much water to drink, per mile or per hour? I drank 3x 27oz bottles in about 4 hours. Not enough!
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Old 05-04-11, 04:05 PM   #7
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First of all, I'm not sure why this is in Touring ... did you mean to put it in Training and Nutrition?

Secondly in answer to your question ...

1. Wear the sunblock to protect yourself against sunburn.
2. Wear light coloured clothing and a light coloured helmet. You may want to get a helmet with a visor to shade your eyes from the sun, and if it is sunny, you'll probably want sunglasses.
3. Take electrolyte pills. Take them before you ride, and if your ride is more than a couple hours long, you may need to take one every couple hours.
4. Drink a glass of water before the ride, when you take the electrolyte pills.
5. Drink one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1-1.5 hours. If it is hot, you might want to drink one every hour.
6. Put each bottle in a sock. Soak the socks thoroughly with water. Then put the bottles in your cage. The wind blowing over the wet sock will help keep the water cooler for a little while longer. You may have to experiment with which socks work best.
7. Ride early in the morning or later in the day when the sun starts to go down.


Your place of employment, your local weather website, the websites for your local TV, newspaper, etc., should all have this sort of information and if you're in an unusual heatwave just now, that information should be easily accessible.
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Old 05-04-11, 04:22 PM   #8
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I'll weigh in here, seeing as how we've experienced (and survived) major heat and long distances. It's tough, but can be done.

The main part is water. Lots of it. I mean - LOTS! We don't worry about keeping the water cool - there is no way it'll stay cool throughout the day anyway so we don't even attempt. As long as it's wet, it's good. Drink. Drink. Drink.

If it's really that hot and you're sweating buckets, you may need to replace the electrolytes you're sweating out. In Latin America the pharmacies have packets of rehydration salts designed for babies with diahrrea - they are PERFECT! They taste absolutely awful, but help a lot. We probably should have taken them more often than we did, but they taste so bad we didn't. We did, however, take them if we started feeling the beginnings of dehydration and they worked wonders. I don't know what the equivalent would be in the USA.

If you have enough water, wetting your hat/shirt/whatever can help cool you down. When you're miles and miles from the next water source and are carrying gallons of water, you're better off using that water to drink rather than wet your clothing.

Try to ride when it's not so hot and sit out the middle of the day. I know, I know - that's not always possible, but it's something to think about and aim for.

On the cold water issue - I've read somewhere that hot water is actually better for you when you're hot. The theory is that when you drink cold water, your body has to warm it up and expends energy to do so - which is not what you want. If you drink warm water, it's ready to be used and your body can benefit more from it. I have no idea if there is any truth to that, but thought I would throw it out. We found that any water that was wet was good enough.
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Old 05-04-11, 04:27 PM   #9
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I carry two Polar bottles of Ice Water.
Freeze them over night.
Keep one wrapped in a towel in my trunk bag. Stays ice cold for 6 hours.
Pour it on my head and neck to keep cool.
What's a "Polar bottle"?

Thanks.
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Old 05-04-11, 04:38 PM   #10
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Okay, can you explain that bit about hot days having two dangers? the heat, itself, and sunburn? Sun block only works for sunburn, so what do you do to protect yourself against heat stroke?
Sunburn is when the sun's rays burn your skin. Putting sunblock on can protect against it, as can wearing enough clothes to cover your skin. In hot weather you probably don't want to go with the clothing option.

Heat exhaustion, heat stroke etc are caused by your body's core temperature rising. When you get hot you sweat, as the body attempts to cool itself. If the sweating fails to cool you then your body temperature starts to rise. If it rises too high you get heatstroke which, depending on just how high your temperature rises, can be very serious (and I believe it can be fatal in extreme cases)

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Any guidelines for how much water to drink, per mile or per hour? I drank 3x 27oz bottles in about 4 hours. Not enough!
Hard to say without knowing how hard you're pushing, prevailing conditions and your body's needs. Here in the UK I cycled 30-odd miles and stopped once to drink a couple of mouthfuls of water. I refilled my water bottle at my friend's house and on the way home I drank the whole 750ml bottle. That obviously wasn't in CA-style heatwaves, just shows how much it can vary.
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Old 05-04-11, 05:17 PM   #11
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Cool, I got a 100oz water bladder. Only thing it can cause some neck tension. Oh, and I tend to drink to point that I need to urinate urgently when there's no restroom in sight, but you made some good points about how to use a water bladder.

Okay, can you explain that bit about hot days having two dangers? the heat, itself, and sunburn? Sun block only works for sunburn, so what do you do to protect yourself against heat stroke?
Water, electrolytes and avoiding heat when possible. You are releasing water as you sweat to cool yourself. If you don't replace it, the tank will become too empty and the sweating will stop. That's when things get dicey. That's why you want to drink water as much as possible. One clue to having enough water inside you is that you need to urinate. That's a good sign because the kidneys are trying to flush excess water out of the system. If you are overflowing the tank, so to speak, you have a full tank to begin with.

There is a problem, however. Too much water and too much sweating means you lose electrolytes. Those are necessary to keep all the electrical circuits in your body functioning, like your brain, your heart, your nerves, etc. Too much water or too much electrolyte loss can lead to other problems. Gatorade does a good job and provides some energy. It tastes awful hot but it's good for you. You don't want to fill your Camelbak with the stuff because that's too much and the clean up is too difficult. A water bottle is best.

The cold water from an ice filled Camelbak will also help you regulate your core body temperature.

How much? That depends. Generally, you want to drink before you are thirsty. 120 oz in 4 hours is okay for some and too little for others.
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Old 05-04-11, 05:25 PM   #12
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On the cold water issue - I've read somewhere that hot water is actually better for you when you're hot. The theory is that when you drink cold water, your body has to warm it up and expends energy to do so - which is not what you want. If you drink warm water, it's ready to be used and your body can benefit more from it. I have no idea if there is any truth to that, but thought I would throw it out. We found that any water that was wet was good enough.
That's been debunked long ago...back when coaches wore crew cuts It went out with drinking water will make you sick (it doesn't) and push ups are a cure for crabs (A tip of the hat to George Carlin)

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends cold water during exercise. It passes out of the stomach and into the intestines where it is absorbed faster than hot water. Additionally, it taste better and we tend to like it more. If you like something, you are more likely to drink it. How often during a hot ride do you crave hot drinks? I never do. Cold drinks, on the other hand, are a different story.
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Old 05-04-11, 09:07 PM   #13
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The American College of Sports Medicine recommends cold water during exercise. It passes out of the stomach and into the intestines where it is absorbed faster than hot water. Additionally, it taste better and we tend to like it more. If you like something, you are more likely to drink it. How often during a hot ride do you crave hot drinks? I never do. Cold drinks, on the other hand, are a different story.
I can't drink nearly as much cold water as warm. I take a few sips of cold water and that's all I can handle - warm water I chug a liter! When it's really hot out, I do much better with warm water than with cold because I drink more of it. But then - I'm weird that way...
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Old 05-04-11, 09:25 PM   #14
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What's a "Polar bottle"?

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Old 05-05-11, 07:01 AM   #15
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Cheers!

I use the old woolen-sock-around-the-metal-water-bottle method. The water's not ice-cold, but it's cool enough for me.
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Old 05-05-11, 07:26 AM   #16
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If you have enough water, wetting your hat/shirt/whatever can help cool you down. When you're miles and miles from the next water source and are carrying gallons of water, you're better off using that water to drink rather than wet your clothing.
I would say the opposite for extreme heat. You can sweat a lot faster than you can absorb water, so if you are relying on only sweating to cool you down, you will dehydrate eventually. You will also need more electrolytes because you lose those too. It takes a fixed amount of energy to evaporate a given mass of water, whether it's sweat or just sprayed on. That means it drops your temperature either way. As long as you aren't spraying half of it onto the pavement, you will get the same cooling from spraying yourself down as you will from sweating buckets. Obviously your body is better at fine-regulating your temperature, but if it's 100 degrees outside, you are going to be dumping a lot of heat anyways.

In extreme dry heat, at every mile marker I would take a mouthful of water and spray a squirt on my front and thighs. Works out to about a liter every 15 miles or so.
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Old 05-05-11, 01:19 PM   #17
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I would say the opposite for extreme heat. You can sweat a lot faster than you can absorb water, so if you are relying on only sweating to cool you down, you will dehydrate eventually. You will also need more electrolytes because you lose those too. It takes a fixed amount of energy to evaporate a given mass of water, whether it's sweat or just sprayed on. That means it drops your temperature either way. As long as you aren't spraying half of it onto the pavement, you will get the same cooling from spraying yourself down as you will from sweating buckets. Obviously your body is better at fine-regulating your temperature, but if it's 100 degrees outside, you are going to be dumping a lot of heat anyways.

In extreme dry heat, at every mile marker I would take a mouthful of water and spray a squirt on my front and thighs. Works out to about a liter every 15 miles or so.
While it is true that the energy to evaporate a given unit of water is the same independent of the source, it's not necessarily true that water sprayed on you is the same as water sweated out of you. Nor that water on the outside of you is the same as water inside you. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the result of dehydration or too little water inside your body for you to continue to function. To avoid them, you need water inside you. Pouring water on yourself may cool you but it does nothing to address the dehydration.

We are also talking about touring. While touring, as opposed to recreational riding, you probably won't know where water sources are. A liter of water wasted on the outside of you may be a liter of water you need at mile 40, 50 or beyond. If you have excess water, by all means, pour it on yourself. Nancysv is absolutely correct unless you can be sure you have excess water, it's better to have it on the inside than the outside. In other words, drink.
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Old 05-05-11, 01:31 PM   #18
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In other words, drink.
and then jump in a river!
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Old 05-05-11, 01:35 PM   #19
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I think everyone covered on re-hydration. I just wanted to make a suggestion on SPF.

I burley/trailer my daughter a lot and best time to ride is when its not so cold. When heat comes around, I have my hiking hat and shirts.

The shirts are long sleeve button up with UPF +30
The hat is a cowboy style UPF +50

Basically the SPF within the fabric itself. The long sleeve has vented mesh behind the back shoulder to allow air to escape. Works great when riding. And I just apply sunblock on my hands and legs since the hat and shirt covers the rest.

FYI, they have UPF socks, shorts, pants, etc. if you can afford it, get it.
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Old 05-05-11, 01:39 PM   #20
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I agree about the long sleeve button down, greatest touring shirt IMO. Even in very high temps I can stay cool in mine. Button down the front and open the pit zips and you get a nice breeze over your upper body. Also, I absolutely hate putting sunblock on, so the long sleeve allows me to avoid it.
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Old 05-05-11, 02:26 PM   #21
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While it is true that the energy to evaporate a given unit of water is the same independent of the source, it's not necessarily true that water sprayed on you is the same as water sweated out of you. Nor that water on the outside of you is the same as water inside you. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the result of dehydration or too little water inside your body for you to continue to function. To avoid them, you need water inside you. Pouring water on yourself may cool you but it does nothing to address the dehydration.

We are also talking about touring. While touring, as opposed to recreational riding, you probably won't know where water sources are. A liter of water wasted on the outside of you may be a liter of water you need at mile 40, 50 or beyond. If you have excess water, by all means, pour it on yourself. Nancysv is absolutely correct unless you can be sure you have excess water, it's better to have it on the inside than the outside. In other words, drink.
I'm not saying don't drink water. I am saying that given the option of sweating a cup of water or evaporating a cup of water off your skin, the second is the better option if it is really hot out. You will be evaporating that cup of water one way or another, doesn't matter if it's inside you or outside. If you are working and producing heat, and the air is hotter than your body, you will need to evaporate a certain amount of water or else your temperature will rise to unhealthy levels.

In desertlike conditions where it is extremely hot and extremely dry, the mass-rate that you need to evaporate water to keep cool while riding can easily exceed the maximum mass-rate that your body can absorb water, and the salt-loss rate that goes with that sweat can also exceed the amount of salts you take in. Splashing about half of your water on your skin will keep you cool without dehydrating you. You will still sweat as well, and you will still need to drink water. But you won't sweat as much and you won't need to drink as much.

Basically, riding in the desert you need to evaporate a certain amount of water each hour no matter what. Throwing a portion of that water on your skin saves you from dehydration.
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Old 05-05-11, 04:31 PM   #22
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If it's really that hot and you're sweating buckets, you may need to replace the electrolytes you're sweating out. In Latin America the pharmacies have packets of rehydration salts designed for babies with diahrrea - they are PERFECT! They taste absolutely awful, but help a lot. We probably should have taken them more often than we did, but they taste so bad we didn't. We did, however, take them if we started feeling the beginnings of dehydration and they worked wonders. I don't know what the equivalent would be in the USA.
I took this along with me on my last tour, but would have used the baby stuff had I known about it - probably is a lot cheaper than this. Ended up using all of it in Nicaragua, and was damned glad I had it with me. I got seriously dehydrated (to the point of sickness, sweating buckets, creating puddles at every stop) and needed every bit of this stuff to recover. Water and Gatorade wasn't cutting it, but this stuff had me feeling better within a few hours and fully recovered in a couple of days.
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Old 05-05-11, 04:39 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
I'm not saying don't drink water. I am saying that given the option of sweating a cup of water or evaporating a cup of water off your skin, the second is the better option if it is really hot out. You will be evaporating that cup of water one way or another, doesn't matter if it's inside you or outside. If you are working and producing heat, and the air is hotter than your body, you will need to evaporate a certain amount of water or else your temperature will rise to unhealthy levels.

In desertlike conditions where it is extremely hot and extremely dry, the mass-rate that you need to evaporate water to keep cool while riding can easily exceed the maximum mass-rate that your body can absorb water, and the salt-loss rate that goes with that sweat can also exceed the amount of salts you take in. Splashing about half of your water on your skin will keep you cool without dehydrating you. You will still sweat as well, and you will still need to drink water. But you won't sweat as much and you won't need to drink as much.

Basically, riding in the desert you need to evaporate a certain amount of water each hour no matter what. Throwing a portion of that water on your skin saves you from dehydration.
The problem is that you don't know, usually, what half your water is. I've been on any number of tours where using half of my water to wet my body outside would have meant going without water for drinking for a significant amount of time. That's deadly in hot conditions. It's not great in cool conditions either.

The other issue is that water that goes in you will come out somewhere. If you drink too much, your kidneys will eliminate it if the sweat glands don't utilize it. You may have some problem with electrolyte loss but that's pretty easy to deal with.

Water on the outside is nice and, if you have adequate water and ready access to more, you can have a dandy wet t-shirt contest. But if you don't know where the next water source is, the wise choice is to keep it inside. Putting it on the outside doesn't keep you from dehydrating. Only drinking water will keep you from dehydrating.
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Old 05-05-11, 06:26 PM   #24
nancy sv
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Originally Posted by simplygib View Post
I took this along with me on my last tour, but would have used the baby stuff had I known about it - probably is a lot cheaper than this. Ended up using all of it in Nicaragua, and was damned glad I had it with me. I got seriously dehydrated (to the point of sickness, sweating buckets, creating puddles at every stop) and needed every bit of this stuff to recover. Water and Gatorade wasn't cutting it, but this stuff had me feeling better within a few hours and fully recovered in a couple of days.
That is exactly what they sell in pharmacies in Latin America - there are quite a few brand names and each country has their own, but it's that stuff. Awesome!! Tastes vile, but works like a charm.

Scary stuff about getting to that dehydrated stage - we never got to that point at all, fortunately. Drink LOTS and take the salts when you find yourself drinking that much.

Just as an aside... Along the Peruvian coast, I discovered that Inca Kola helped tremendously. I started strapping a liter bottle to my trailer every morning and took a swig of it every time I guzzled a bunch of water. It was pretty amazing how different my days were when I forgot to get my Inca Kola (or when my boys drank it all...)
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Old 05-05-11, 06:33 PM   #25
zoltani
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I've used these neckerchiefs with crystals in them for keeping cool.

http://www.bodycool.tv/store/pc/index.asp

crystals man...so groovy
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