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How to avoid Heat Exhaustion?

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How to avoid Heat Exhaustion?

Old 07-10-18, 02:18 PM
  #1  
cisbrane
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How to avoid Heat Exhaustion?

Riding in Texas in the summer is HOT. Even though I rode from 9am-10:30am, I clearly exhibited signs of heat exhaustion when I got home. Super hot feeling, even after a long cold shower, and pounding headache for the rest of the day. I drank tons of water afterwards, but still no relief from the headache.

Any tips for hot weather cycling to avoid heat exhaustion? I usually try to get out of the door ideally at 7:30am or 8am to avoid this. Just sometimes I don't wake up early enough and still want to ride. Crazily, it's still 90F+ after the sun sets, so morning is the best time. Anything I can do pre, during, or post ride to minimize heat related issues?
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Old 07-10-18, 02:25 PM
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I'd Probably take Siestas,(naps) in the hotter part of the day..
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Old 07-10-18, 02:46 PM
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Drinking water before and during the ride?
Before used to drink less to avoid stops, but on warmer days (pacific northwest here ) I drink much more water before and at the beginning of the ride and of course have to stop somewhere, but feel much more energized the whole ride.
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Old 07-10-18, 02:57 PM
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you should be drinking a ton of water before the ride, until your PEE is also clear, drink 2-4 bottles per hour. Add electrolytes to the water to help your body. I like NUUN tablets and Target has them too.

Hot/longer days, I have a 3rd bottle in my back jersey pocket, the weight gives me motivation to drink off the two on the bike so I can rotate them ASAP. I just use a gatoraid 20oz bottle from the gas station so I can throw it aways as needed vs a $10 real water bottle.
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Old 07-10-18, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
Hot/longer days, I have a 3rd bottle in my back jersey pocket, the weight gives me motivation to drink off the two on the bike so I can rotate them ASAP.
Clever.

Definitely agree on pre-hydrating. I learned that lesson back when my knees still allowed me to run.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:11 AM
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I have a cousin that lives in McCurtain Co. Oklahoma (what you guys would call "the Arklaplex"), and besides drinking water before he leaves the house, this time of year, he's riding at first light. 5:00 am.
He says it's not the heat & humidity that get you, but the sun baking you. So he rides early while the atmosphere is still refracting the sun's rays.
Sounds good on paper, anyway..
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Old 07-11-18, 09:34 AM
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Ride evening night.

Getting the sun OFF you is the most important part.

Worth at least 10 to 15 degrees for me. I rather ride in the evening at 98 vs the morning rides that end in the high 80s where the sun is beating down on me..

Also, getting your gloves wet as often as possible helps, there is a lot of surface blood vessels and it can help keep you cool.

I make my own mix of 2 TSP Blue Agave with 1/8 tsp of salt for rehydrating
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Old 07-11-18, 10:10 AM
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I too have the same issue. Several things I have to do.

Start riding earlier. I head out just before sunrise so I can get back earlier too
Drink a bunch before I head out. It's a crap shoot that I will have to stop somewhere an pee but it's worth it.
I mike up some Pedialyte from powder- it's for kids but it's cheap and not so nasty tasting as 'adult' versions -and cheap too - I put it in one bottle that I drink from. On real hot days I put it in 2.
Change up my destination so that I have shade as much as possible.
Prep for the call home, I've had to be picked up a few times. Since it's heat related I feel no shame.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:30 AM
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During the summer I get up at 5 AM and get out and do my usual morning rides. Coolest part of the day is right before the sun comes up and starts baking the ground. Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after all rides. Even the evening before, drink plenty of water. It may make you have to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but it's better than being dehydrated. Avoid that cup of coffee until after your ride is done. Wear moisture wicking clothing, and a moisture wicking do-rag under your helmet helps.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:59 AM
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Ride earlier, or later. 90F at 9pm is a lot less taxing on the body than 90F at 9am. The sun literally "takes it out of you."
Electrolytes, not just straight water. Sweat isn't just water.
Post-ride caffeine helps. Elevated body temperature lowers blood pressure, caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. Also helps combat orthostatic hypotension, if you happen to suffer from that.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:32 AM
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I think if it's really hot you have to modulate your effort too. Especially us fat lads, working harder creates heat your body just can't deal with.

Besides all the excellent advice about hydration, wear clothing that is suited to cooling you. Those expensive jerseys are expensive for a reason! But they work.
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Old 07-11-18, 06:15 PM
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I learned that not only do I need to hydrate, but i need to physically cool myself down by pouring some ice cold water on my neck and/or head periodically. I also try to stop in the shade a bit more often to give my body a chance to cool down. And finally...sun sleeves have helped me tremendously! They keep the sun from beating down on your arms, and if you pour some cold water on them occasionally, it helps too.
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Old 07-13-18, 09:22 AM
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July and August are good months to go to the mountains or way up north for a bicycling vacation. Enjoy riding in the "heat" when the heat exceeds the average low temperature where you live (by 5 degrees or so).
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Old 07-13-18, 09:41 AM
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Moving from a nice cool SE Alaska a few years ago to a hot Western Idaho, I had to learn how to avoid heat exhaustion while backpacking/hiking, and now biking. I found out one day that just Nunn's and water is not enough, and if not for a stream by the side of the trail on the way back to the car, I doubt that I would be typing this. So, I tried something that was recommended by a person that was on a keto diet and was a backpacker. Now, in the mornings that I am planning an activity, I drink at least a pint of water with a Nuun and one SaltStick cap. Then, every hour I take another SaltStick cap and make sure that I am drinking a pint of water also. I use a 15 minute alarm on my Edge to remind me to drink, because I tend not to drink at all. When I arrive at my destination, I take another Nunn and drink more water. It has worked for me (and my daughter) quite well, even during long mid-day activities under full sun.
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Old 07-13-18, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sacrifice View Post
Then, every hour I take another SaltStick cap and make sure that I am drinking a pint of water also. I use a 15 minute alarm on my Edge to remind me to drink, because I tend not to drink at all. When I arrive at my destination, I take another Nunn and drink more water. It has worked for me (and my daughter) quite well, even during long mid-day activities under full sun.
Wahoo Fitness gives me an update every mile. I use that to remind me to take a sip of water. Just a mouthful or so.

The constant flow seems to prevent getting dehydrated, while also not overhydrating (read: need to pee) because it is not all at once.
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Old 07-13-18, 11:50 AM
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I live in Houston. It's hot and humid here. You do get acclimated eventually to the heat. It seems like right after the BP MS150, at the end of April, that July/August style heat arrived. That first weekend in May was tough, but my body has adapted, for the most part, since then.

Here are some of the things I do to prepare for a normal Saturday morning ride( generally 50 pancake flat miles):

1. Everyday of the week, I drink at least half my body weight in Oz. of water. I go to the bathroom a lot during the week, but never worry about pre-hydrating for a Saturday ride.
2. The shop ride I frequent on Saturdays starts at 7:30. I have a group of friends that have agreed to leave at 6:30. An hour makes a huge difference.
3. Like sacrifice, i have a timer on my Edge to prompt me to drink.
4. I take 1 Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Extreme(basically a salt tablet) with every hour of a longer ride.
5. At least the first two bottles on a longer ride have Gatorade, Scratch, or something with electrolytes in them
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Old 07-13-18, 03:31 PM
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Well, I'm gonna find out how good I practice what I preach.. headed to the ball park in about ten minutes (5:30 EDT).. 97* heat index.. sun will be down on the ride home, though.
Two chilled powerades in the bottles, two more downed between now and when I got home from the gym, which was about two o'clock.. drank two waters at the gym.. had a light dinner..
I NEVER EVER drink ball park beer, but Stryker Field has a Bell's booth, might have a Two Hearted with a hot dog..
Wearing my Team jersey, which necessitates a pair of shorts over my bibs.. need the pockets.
Will let you know when I straggle in, an hour or so after last out..

Thinking about taking a cooling towel for my neck..
And just to make it more interesting, I'm riding my heaviest bike, the Talus. It's the only one with lights on it, and I'll need the headlight to pick my way out on the Trail..
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Old 07-13-18, 08:39 PM
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Left early. Pitchers duel. Game druuuuug on. Both starters retired after the 4th inning with pitch counts over 100.
Emptied one water bottle in the first three miles of the ride due to the sun and wind.. when my mouth felt dry, I took a slug. Cooling towel absolutely useless. Sun & wind had it dried out in five minutes.
Was saving the second bottle for the ride home, so I made my mistake.. I bought a Monster at the gas station on the way. Pounded it in the parking lot. Made it to the park ok.. matter of fact, made up the time I lost standing in line at the gas station.. walked by the EMT crew, had an idea. Had them take my blood pressure. 149/99. I thought they were gonna put me on stroke protocol right then and there. Instead, one of them noticed my helmet in my hand and my shoes.. asked me "how far did you ride?" "8 miles." Checked Strava for speed.. "11mph." (which is pretty darn good for humping that boat anchor Raleigh with 29x2.25's on it). "Go sit in your seat and chill. Come back in the seventh inning and we'll check it again. NO ALCOHOL."
Well, I wasn't gonna anyway, but I smiled and went & sat down.
Pounded two waters per inning to flush that Monster outta my system. Kept my cooling towel wet, and around the back of my neck. Benefit of having season tickets. Water and soft drinks are free through the 7th inning.
110/86 when I went to leave. About six points higher on the diastolic than normal.
Salt supplements, eh... well.. there's good and bad points. Yes, they will keep you drinking. Yes, your body looses salt when you sweat, BUT.. salt intake is also a risk factor in hypertension.

My point to all this is, since everyone has slight differences in their metabolism, I think one of those new smart watches that has the BP cuff built into the band would NOT be a bad idea. BP is one of the indicators of heat exhaustion/heat stroke.
My second point is, in hot, humid weather, and we have a lot more to go this year, one little mistake can have cascading repercussions. Be ever vigilant.

**Not intended to be medical advice. Consult your Health Professional.**

Just my thoughts & observations.

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Old 07-14-18, 01:28 AM
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Here in South Australia we can easily match or exceed your Texan heat and we've got the added bonus of higher UV levels, so I've got a fair idea of the conditions you're fighting.

First, make sure you are well hydrated before you ride. This starts the day before and is more than just a gulp of water before starting out. It could be you aren't properly hydrated in your normal life - this is surprisingly common.
If you drink mainly filtered water, you may find that is part of the problem. Modern filters take out so many minerals (which is what they are supposed to do) that once the water is in your gut, you may have an imbalance between the water and your system (a poor description but I'm not an expert, just passing on what my son, who's a sports professional, has told me). I find this at work where the tap water is disgusting so we've got filters on the lines. However, I find that the filtered water just goes right through me, it doesn't hydrate me. At home, I'm able to drink tap water and don't have the problem. The solution, weird as it seems but advised by my son and it works, is to put a small amount of rock salt in my drink bottle at work (a very small amount, if I can taste the salt, it's too much). The result is that I don't need to drink as much and aren't spending as much time in the loo weeing it out.
Apart from making sure I'm hydrated before I ride, I tend to use a sports additive in my water bottle - not gatorade or one of those other lolly water products, just something to add some minerals. You don't need much, certainly not as much as the marketing men want you to use. Tap water's good though, or one of the bottled waters provided it hasn't had everything filtered out of it. On the ride, you need to drink often, just a gulp but every ten or fifteen minutes.

The old 'your pee should be clear' line is NOT what you are looking for, that actually indicates that your system is just pushing the water right through you and you're getting little benefit. Your pee needs to be a light straw colour indicating that it's taking out some waste products as well. Ideally, you should be weeing regularly on a ride but realistically, we often sweat so much we don't. Drink more so that you do.

Don't underestimate the effect of the sun. A well ventilated helmet does little to shade your head and if you're bald like me, you can wind up with some interesting sunburn patterns. Try to wear something on your head such as a cap or a bandana under the helmet. Anything to keep the sun's rays off your skin. Similarly legs, arms and face - I've got a bamboo fibre shirt that's loose, breathes well and gives some sun protection. But the top of your head is the biggie.

What you're describing is not good at all and indicates your body is under stress. You need to change your habits, maybe a few of them. You should be able to ride decent distances in summer however, remember the old song, "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun". Sometimes, it's better to ride very early, very late or not at all.
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Old 07-14-18, 06:41 AM
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Start well hydrated, use insulated water bottles (e.g. Camelbak Podium Chill), freeze a slug of water in them, and fill the bottle just before you go.
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Old 07-14-18, 12:21 PM
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Old 07-14-18, 01:51 PM
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An e-bike. You can still ride, but you're not going have to kill yourself in the heat of the day just to make it home. Without using much pedal assist on the first half of my ride I can conserve my battery to help me on the last half of my ride. Today I did a 32 mile ride. I only used pedal assist on some of the longer, steeper hills on the way out. I got a good workout - bike 50 lbs, pannier 15 lbs, and rider 240 lbs. On the return route I used the pedal assist a lot more. I think the range on my battery using it the way I did today would be about 45 miles. If you're a clyde, and it's 85+ degrees degrees outside, and you're not in magnificent physical condition, a ride of more than 45 miles probably is not a good idea in the heat anyway. You're still going to have to stay hydrated... and e-bike isn't going drink fluids for you.
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Old 07-15-18, 12:18 PM
  #23  
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camelback

I find a drink much more frequently with the camelback - and it holds the equivalent of three bottles of water/ Gatorade mix. I occasionally freeze a separate bottle and carry that in the bottle rack. post ride I continue with a diluted sports drink.
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Old 07-15-18, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JLDickmon View Post
He says it's not the heat & humidity that get you, but the sun baking you. So he rides early while the atmosphere is still refracting the sun's rays.
Sounds good on paper, anyway..
Originally Posted by rgconner View Post
Getting the sun OFF you is the most important part.
An (obvious) tip along these lines: white jersey reflects the solar radiation better than the dark one.
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Old 07-16-18, 06:24 AM
  #25  
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Thanks everyone for the tips so far! It's clear that I'm not hydrating enough the day or days before. At my desk job I tend to forget to drink fluids. I will start hydrating with electrolytes and see how that goes.

I have seen people with sun sleeves and wondered if they help. Maybe I should try that too. I usually wear my Lycra bib shirts and a jersey. The jerseys are a little darker, red and a black work team Jersey.

This past weekend was a lot better. I got out at 8am and got lucky with cloud cover. I need to start waking up early as well.

Last edited by cisbrane; 07-16-18 at 06:29 AM.
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