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riding in the heat

Old 04-28-17, 04:00 PM
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bonsai171
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riding in the heat

Hi,

I'm new to the southeast, and was wondering how to tell if it's too hot to ride. I know you can get heat stroke/exhaustion from dehydration/high heat, is there some guideline to follow?

Dave
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Old 04-28-17, 04:21 PM
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First with sarcasm, then with genuine help.....
LMGTFY
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Old 04-28-17, 04:41 PM
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Not sure where in the Southeast you're located but here in Florida we head out early (6AM-7AM) and ride so we're finished by 10AM-11AM before it gets too hot. If you start your ride later in the day just take plenty of water and Gatorade. If I'm going out for a longer ride on a hot day I take my Camelbak.
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Old 04-28-17, 04:58 PM
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For me, the humidity in the SE is the challenge. The forecast can say 85, but if the humidity is high, it feels like a swamp, and you can't stop sweating in order to cool down. As Ron said, head out early in the morning, even though humidity is high then, the sun isn't beating down on you yet. Be sure to put lots of ice in your water bottles, or partially freeze them. sometimes dumping ice cold water down your back or over your head makes you feel instantly better. If you are going on long rides, try to take a few breaks in the shade to let your body cool down a bit.
For me, a heat index of 95ish is pushing it, and i have to be very diligent about managing the heat. Triple digit heat index, i rarely ride.
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Old 04-28-17, 05:13 PM
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Takes time to acclimate, so don't rush it. It can take 2-4 weeks to acclimate to unfamiliar heat or cold.

The body isn't particularly trustworthy, so while it's a good idea to pay attention when the body feels bad, sometimes the body doesn't give us ample warning signs. Don't wait until you're uncomfortably thirsty or hot. Some prescription and OTC meds can mask symptoms, or aggravate others. For example, aspirin can causing flushed capillaries and make us more vulnerable to sunburn or heat.

Get hydrated before you go out. Drink more the day before. Drink plenty of water an hour or two before you ride. (Yeah, yeah, they say coffee and tea aren't substitutes but that's outdated info -- current research says water is water and coffee and tea don't have enough diuretic effect to dehydrate us more than they hydrate us. So I count my usual pot of coffee toward my water intake.)

If you do take diuretics to control swelling and blood pressure you may need additional hydration. Check the data for your meds for precautions, consult your doctor, etc.

A little exposure every day, followed by rest in a cool place -- even the shade with misting water or squirted on the shirt, face and head helps.

Try 10-15 minutes of casual riding, around 8-12 mph, followed by 10-15 minutes of rest, then repeat the cycle a couple of times. Gradually build up from a couple of those cycles the first few days.

Pay attention to warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

I resumed cycling in August 2015 and pushed too hard my first day. I tried to ride 3 miles at midday with the temp over 100F. I'd walked that much and more in the midday heat so I figured it was okay. Nope. Different muscles, plus the stress of riding in traffic again. I was exhausted after only a mile. Caught the bus home.

After than I built up very gradually, 10-15 minutes a day, resting in the shade, plenty of water, etc. Took about 4-6 weeks before I was fit enough to ride 10 miles, and it's still very hot in Texas in September and intermittently throughout the fall.

Now I can handle riding in midday heat, but I take it very easy, don't push beyond my comfort zone, drink lots, rest when I feel like I need it -- usually every 30 minutes for up to 5 minutes, longer if I need it.

Some folks do better with long sleeves in hot weather. White or light colors, lightweight wicking fabric (Champion and others make affordable poly wicking fabric shirts for $10 or less). When I drink I'll squirt a little water on my arms and chest. Some MUPs have misting stations, but I often ride in rural areas where gas stations, etc., may be 5-20 miles apart. So I have two water bottle cages and will strap more onto the rear rack if necessary.

Other folks are fine with short sleeves and sun screen. Whatever feels best for you.
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Old 04-28-17, 05:23 PM
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Absolutely Be Careful. Heat stroke is Not a joke. Neither is dehydration. They can happen quickly and they can hurt you Very badly. Mostly err on the side of caution.

If you ever start to feel unwell, forget "harden up." Find some shade and park. If you can find water, dive in. If you ever see spots, STOP.

I recommend dilute Gatorade---one-third or so is fine. Drink more water, but have bottle of mix as well.

Mostly it just isn't that fun during the ll a.m. -3 p.m. Hours anyway ... it just kind of sucks. Considering it is light early and late, there are plenty of hours to ride when it is only extremely hot a humid. Once that sun hits ... the pavement will beam back a hundred-plus degrees at you and the sun blazing down and the air is thick enough to grab onto ....
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Old 04-28-17, 05:51 PM
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In a way threads like this is kind of silly. Too hot to ride???? What does anyone think about the fact that men working of out doors at many jobs, and on farms do, quit work at 11 AM? I grew up on the farm in Nebr, and dug out ditches at 3 in the afternoon irrigating. The temp could easily go over 100 and the humidity was over 90%.

Sure now that I am in my late 70s, and retired, I ride earlier in the day. OTOH I ride in temps up to around 100. I just drink more water.
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Old 04-28-17, 06:19 PM
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@bonsai171. Don't worry about it.

People in the rest of the country hear "Hotlanta" and think this is Death Valley or something. New Jersey is often more humid than Atlanta and it rarely gets over 100 degrees. Just use common sense - take it easier, ride early if possible and hydrate well. You will be fine.

I love the heat personally, and love to bake. Craft summer base layers work well for me.

One great thing about the south are warm summer nights, great for night riding with a light. I'm heading out tonight at 9:30 PM for 30 miles.

Another benefit is that Georgia dogs stay under the pickup truck when it gets over 95 so you don't even need to bring pepper spray.


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Last edited by TimothyH; 04-28-17 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 04-28-17, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Hi,

I'm new to the southeast, and was wondering how to tell if it's too hot to ride. I know you can get heat stroke/exhaustion from dehydration/high heat, is there some guideline to follow?

Dave
Hi Dave, I am Dave (a lot of us out there). I live in Florida, and I try to keep my rides and runs as early as possible. My ideal temperature is 50, so I have issues here, a lot. Keep hydrated, I need to have air contact with my skin, and sweating is not optional but mandatory. I had someone from south Florida tell me that sweating is how you know you are alive. Don't know about that, but find what works. You may have to go lower intensity for a while. Gawd I miss the high desert!
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Old 04-28-17, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Hi,

I'm new to the southeast, and was wondering how to tell if it's too hot to ride. I know you can get heat stroke/exhaustion from dehydration/high heat, is there some guideline to follow?

Dave
Are you from somewhere that never gets hot?
I lived and biked in Atlanta for eight years and never experienced heat illness.
And have since ridden in Indiana on some equally hot days and lived to tell about it.
I think someone already mentioned the concept of acclimatization to exercising in hot conditions. That is important. As is, of course, taking in fluids as needed. And knowing when to back off the intensity.
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Old 04-28-17, 06:47 PM
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I have ridden across the country, which included the Mojave desert. I have mountain-biked in Utah and Arizona.

On a group ride in Florida, pretty near when I was as fit as I have ever been ... I simply pushed too hard for too long and hurt myself.

If you have never done it, good for you. If you don't think you can do it .... go give it a try.

I don't care if people want to try to put me down for telling people to be careful.

I have done construction, landscaping, even roofing in Florida. I had a good friend who was a contractor responsible for several crews building several houses on any given day. He was tough, and he was strong, because he did hard labor all day long all week long.

He was really serious about he and his crews wearing a t-shirt over their heads to cover their necks, drinking lots of water, and taking a break if they Really needed.

You could have made your snide remarks to any one of those guys.

Just one.
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Old 04-28-17, 07:48 PM
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If I was you I'd study up on the symptoms of heat related illnesses (Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat strokes, etc) so you know what to look for. When I was still a runner and living in southern AZ I ran everyday after work for usually around 5 to 8 miles but a lot of times more. No big deal really, just keep the fluids going and pay attention to your body. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:02 PM
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I have a metric century loop that I've done many times. In cooler months, I might drink 1.5 water bottles. One day last August-- when the afternoon high peaked at 106, I drank nine 25oz bottles, and was still 7lbs lighter when I got back home. On very hot days, never stop drinking, and supplement that water-- electrolyte tablets, Gatorade, salt tabs, whatever it takes. If you just drink nothing but straight water and sweat that much, you can blow your electrolyte balance and end up heat exhausted anyway. My doctor told me to have one out of three bottles have electrolyte-- sweating +50oz an hour can get dangerous.

Mind you, I think I have it easier being someplace very, very dry-- on days of 100+ temps, we will occasionally see single digit humidity. The sweat dries really fast, and I get really thirsty. High humidity, I don't know how I would survive.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:53 PM
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I ride early when it's hot, but even if i can't go early I just drink more liquids. Just use common sense and be careful.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:03 PM
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It gets pretty hot here in the summer, and I usually have to fit my ride in around noon. Worked in it most of my life as well. There is already a lot of good advice above. I will add that my routes change to ones with places I can stop to cool off or get some water if the need arises. It is not to bad once you are acclimated after a few weeks and take proper precautions.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:10 PM
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It's hard to acclimate in the short run. I find if I avoid getting used to air conditioning (i.e., we keep it around 76-78 degrees during the day inside, and turn that down to 74 at night), and I do a fair amount of outside activity (yardwork, etc.) even when it's hot, and on top of that build up bike mileage as the temps gradually increase, then it's easy to handle. Last summer I was riding in 95 degree weather with high humidity and full sun, and riding comfortably -- but only because I'd been riding when it was in the 80s the month before, and so on. This year I've already done some long rides with temps in the mid 80s and blazing sun.

Sun sleeves for the legs, long sleeve sun reflecting jersey, lots of sun screen, electrolyte tabs, plenty of fluids, and just spending lots of time outside. It gets to where I can't stand to be in the typical air conditioned space in the summer. Just build up to it, regularly. Your body can adapt, you can reset your internal thermostat, but it takes discipline.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Hi,

I'm new to the southeast, and was wondering how to tell if it's too hot to ride. I know you can get heat stroke/exhaustion from dehydration/high heat, is there some guideline to follow?

Dave
Best thing is: Just ride. If you're feeling really hot and stressed, just take it a little easy.

I'm a former northerner, and used to complain if it was above 70*F. Moved to the somewhat-South 16 years ago and took up riding. I found that just the movement from the air when riding was helpful on hot days. I'd take plenty of water, and stop and rest if needed, and not kill myself.

It wasn't too bad! I was dreading how it might be...but really, I found myself riding when it was in the high 90's without even giving it much thought. And then, that very first season of riding, I did a hilly 26 mile loop (a lot for me, at the time) and saw on the thermometer when I got home that it was 108*F! And it wasn't bad at all.

It seems like from that time, on, I no longer had a problem with the heat! Doing work outside, or riding, whatever, I just don't even pay attention to what the temp is anymore. Riding when it's hot acclimated me to the heat. I'm really glad that in my 50's, I no longer have to dread the hot weather!

Now the only thing is: I can no longer tolerate the cold!!!!
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Old 04-28-17, 10:36 PM
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I currently live in North Carolina. I moved here from Arizona where I'd been for 5 years but before that I lived in North and South Carolina for the past 30 years.

I can tell you from personal experience that Arizona in the summer is a LOT more dangerous-hot to ride in the heat than the Southeast BUT! The humidity, as others have stated, can turn this place into a hot sweltering, sweat-dripping swamp and it's miserable being on the road in that. As others have stated, go early morning. Late afternoon is the worst.

Wicking and vented jersey material is a must. The worst for me is sweating down my face into my eyes. Get one of those Halo sweat bands and wear that under your helmet or cycling hat. The rubber insert in that band works like a charm to keep the sweat out of the eyes.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:45 PM
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If you are an amateur rider, never riding a bike in the hot air. Or ride at very early hours in the morning.
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Old 04-29-17, 09:32 AM
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I plan to give up riding from noon-6pm as summer rolls around. I'm sure there's some element of conditioning, but it's not worth it, to me. I mean, I'd have to take gallons of water and sunscreen, so I could reapply sunscreen every hour. Easier to avoid peak sunlight and peak heat. I've had some great morning rides, and more than a few good rides in the dark.

Will say, when I start feeling dehydrated (like I want to puke) I hammer on some water, back off a bit -- but I keep going. I find it important to keep the airflow over me, to control body temp.
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Old 04-29-17, 12:13 PM
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It all depends on what hot is to you and what you're used to. I ride home in August in 100+ degrees with humidity at 80 or 90%. And I'm an old fat guy.
Drink lots of liquid. I like Energy or Propel drink mixes in my water when it gets that hot and I'll go through 2 24-oz bottles on a 45 minute ride. (And then a cold beer when i get home).
Limit your time in the heat. I come straight home, about 10 miles, when it's near or at 100.

Just use common sense and acclimate yourself to it.
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Old 04-29-17, 12:59 PM
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If you're not used to riding in the heat, acclimation is key. Lots of good tips here for gradually stepping up times/efforts. I managed to do it by simply spending time in the saddle during the hot parts of the day. I wouldn't care about mileage or speed etc. After a few weeks it started to get easy and I would then start to push myself.

As mentioned before, you will drink way more than whenever it's cool outside. The only way I can manage is a Camelback, drinking whenever I'm thirsty. I tried drinking water on a schedule, but, would always finish light headed and pretty dehydrated. Liquid fuel and snacks are on a set schedule. It seems the only times I have trouble now are when I deviate from my routine.

Also, riding in high humidity was the catalyst for me shaving my arms and legs. Sweat evaporates easier, for me at least, without all my mammoth wool.
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Old 04-29-17, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik View Post
I currently live in North Carolina. I moved here from Arizona where I'd been for 5 years but before that I lived in North and South Carolina for the past 30 years.

I can tell you from personal experience that Arizona in the summer is a LOT more dangerous-hot to ride in the heat than the Southeast BUT! The humidity, as others have stated, can turn this place into a hot sweltering, sweat-dripping swamp and it's miserable being on the road in that. As others have stated, go early morning. Late afternoon is the worst.

Wicking and vented jersey material is a must. The worst for me is sweating down my face into my eyes. Get one of those Halo sweat bands and wear that under your helmet or cycling hat. The rubber insert in that band works like a charm to keep the sweat out of the eyes.
+1 Halo sweatbands. The rubber "gutter" helps divert the sweat away from your eyes.
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Old 04-29-17, 06:12 PM
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hot weather

Thanks for the replies. I rode 30 miles in 85+ degrees today. Heat index was around 95. It really wasn't that bad; I drank 2 bottles of water, a 28 oz gatoraide, and ate a trader joe's fig newton. The last 10 miles I did 15-20 mph, since I found out some relatives came into town unexpectedly lol.

Dave
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Old 04-29-17, 10:13 PM
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I dunno if it's just me.....but I find actually RIDING, however hot it is, isn't bad; It's when you STOP that the sweat comes pouring out, and you really feel the heat mugging you!
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