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Cooling off with water splashed on body

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Cooling off with water splashed on body

Old 08-22-23, 08:13 AM
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Cooling off with water splashed on body

I have been commuting all summer, including on the hottest days. I have tried various strategies to stay cool in 90+F high humidity weather and have settled on splashing myself with water. If I splash about a bottle an hour it can almost feel like it's in the 70s on a 90s day. On longer rides I have an iced one liter pack that I put in my back jersey and use that for splashing as it melts. For 2-3 hour rides I can keep pretty cool with that.

One thing I think is key is to have a thin skin-tight jersey, then when the water evaporates the cooling goes directly to the skin. The more there is between the evaporating water and your skin the less cooling you will get. I am using a special Castelli summer jersey for this now which is partly see-through.

If you watch Tadej he is clearly up on this, he is always unloading water on himself. But a lot of pros don't seem to do it much. Also I never see other riders doing it when I am out and I don't get it.

I'm curious peoples opinions on this, and if you do it what the optimal way to splash is. I find anything getting the water on your body (as opposed to bike or ground) is good, I often raise my head way up and pour through helmet cracks. That gets the whole head as well as the upper back with little water loss. Also splashing on the front and shoulders of the jersey works well but with more loss that way.

BTW there are some reports out there that it doesn't really help, it's better to drink the water than splash it on you, but that is BS. Here is an article for example that describes how splashing cools effectively. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964991/. Yes you also need to drink but you don't get the cooling gains from just drinking and if you are not careful you can overhydrate. When you are splashing more you sweat less so you also can drink less and use up less of your salts on sweating.

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Old 08-22-23, 10:08 AM
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I don't really like to get all wet. If I have sweat building up in my clothes, I think that's a sign that it's already coming on faster than it can evaporate. I sometimes spray a little water on my face and head, but not my body.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith
BTW there are some reports out there that it doesn't really help,
What reports? How is splashing some water on you different from sweating?
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Old 08-22-23, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
What reports? How is splashing some water on you different from sweating?
Just do a search on it, e.g. see https://www.precisionhydration.com/p...ot-conditions/

Splashing water puts about 5x as much water on as sweating and so you get 5x the evaporative cooling. Your body also saves energy and salts not sweating. Try it on a hot day sometime and you will agree with me after your first ride, the benefits are obvious.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:27 AM
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It doesn't work as well as drinking it. It your water supply is limited, you shouldn't waste it by dumping it on your head (with half of it going onto the road). It works great though if you have a SAG car handing you bottles.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith
Just do a search on it,
No, because one might not find the thing you found.

Originally Posted by scottfsmith
Originally Posted by scottfsmith
BTW there are some reports out there that it doesn't really help,
"Help" isn't specific enough.

Here's what your report says:

However, despite these indicators, performance in the 5km time trial did not vary significantly from trial to trial. In other words, it didn’t seem to matter (in terms of out and out speed) whether the runners did nothing at all, or poured water on their heads and drank something; their running ability in a short, high intensity bout in the heat was pretty much unaffected.
Is this that unreasonable?
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Old 08-22-23, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Is this that unreasonable?
I think it is unreasonable. It’s running a short distance not biking a long distance. But bikers are influenced by this stuff.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jrobe
It doesn't work as well as drinking it. It your water supply is limited, you shouldn't waste it by dumping it on your head (with half of it going onto the road). It works great though if you have a SAG car handing you bottles.
Your water supply is limited by how much you want to carry. I personally don’t find it hard to carry 2 liters and there are plenty of refill opportunities on most longer rides.


I’d personally rather be carrying a bit more weight and feeling like a champ than having a few pounds less and feeling ready to keel over.
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Old 08-22-23, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith
I think it is unreasonable. It’s running a short distance not biking a long distance. But bikers are influenced by this stuff.
???

They are only talking about "running a short race". They are making no claims (AFAICT) about longer bicycle rides.
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Old 08-22-23, 03:28 PM
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I like to drink my water. I usually only carry two bottles, 20 or maybe it's 24 oz. each. On a long ride in hot weather, I might stop to buy a Gatorade along the way. If I ride past some sprinklers, I might let them spray on me. But I will not ride around dumping my bottled water over my head and whole body, then having to stop for frequent refills. That's just one guy's preference; you can do your thing.
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Old 08-22-23, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for this thread, scottfsmith. I've noticed this summer that, riding during the hottest days, I find myself slowing down, feeling weaker, and becoming more irritable. Reserving one bottle for splashing water on my head and back would probably have helped immensely. I'll try it during my next ride when it's an over-eighty-degree day.

I usually return from a four-hour ride in the heat having drunk all of one 24-ounce bottle of water and a few ounces of another, so I'm probably not drinking enough. But even if I were to use up both bottles by drinking and wetting my helmet and jersey, I could always plot a course that brought me past a convenience store where I could buy another bottle of water before the second bottle is empty.
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Old 08-22-23, 04:48 PM
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I am well known for slowing down and even stopping for those stray streams of the yard sprinkler on a hot day...
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Old 08-22-23, 04:57 PM
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In theory, wetting the body with water should help prevent dehydration and the problems inherent in hypotonic fluid replacement, since skin wetting inhibits sweat production. However, I have never seen this proposed as a real-world approach.
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Old 08-22-23, 05:35 PM
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When playing golf (walking the course) on 95+ degree days I'll drench my visor in cold water at the water stations. Cooling the head seems to provide at least temporary relief.
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Old 08-22-23, 05:47 PM
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I like to have a just water bottle to spray on my neck on hot rides, it is refreshing to me. Oh the other hand, make sure not to use the electrolyte replacement with carbs for the brief shower. That is a f'jng mess, l know.
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Old 08-22-23, 11:25 PM
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That's a very quick and easy method to stay cool out here. It actually doesn't take much to cool you off, but it evaporates so fast, you could easily go through a large bottle on a relatively short ride in the summer.

I don't know how y'all do it in the high humidity. That crap tries to kill me.
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Old 08-23-23, 02:10 AM
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Old 08-23-23, 05:02 AM
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Riders on the pro tour do it all the time... No one likes to be soak wet so unless there is a real and proven benefit, I don't see why the best cyclists in the world would be doing it.
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Old 08-23-23, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Thanks for this thread, scottfsmith. I've noticed this summer that, riding during the hottest days, I find myself slowing down, feeling weaker, and becoming more irritable. Reserving one bottle for splashing water on my head and back would probably have helped immensely. I'll try it during my next ride when it's an over-eighty-degree day.

I usually return from a four-hour ride in the heat having drunk all of one 24-ounce bottle of water and a few ounces of another, so I'm probably not drinking enough. But even if I were to use up both bottles by drinking and wetting my helmet and jersey, I could always plot a course that brought me past a convenience store where I could buy another bottle of water before the second bottle is empty.
It's also not hard to carry more water. I am carrying 3 liters on my longer rides, I thought it was 2 but forgot my water bottles are now 32oz ones.. that is about the biggest that will fit in the standard water bottle cage. I use two of those (one with electrolytes) plus a Platypus 1 liter flat flexible bottle which I have in the freezer beforehand. It goes in the middle back pocket. Since it is flat it is less annoying than having a water bottle in the jersey pocket, and it also cools with the ice. Here is the one I use.

I have used two of these Platypus bottles on longer rides for 4 liters total, but I have a nice stopping point for rest and water (Veloccino, since you are also in Baltimore maybe you know it) so rarely need more than 3 liters total. Also I start out drenching myself from the yard hose and can re-drench at any refill station.

Last edited by scottfsmith; 08-23-23 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 08-23-23, 11:07 AM
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after watching the tour de france one year, I started pouring water on my head, thru the helmet vent holes. I remember liking it very much
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Old 08-23-23, 11:13 AM
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When my back road rides were longer they were plotted according to what water points were available. I do not tolerate thirst well. Dehydration and exhaustion are sneaky sneaky. They will come up on you and put ya down. Even the most experienced have had issues now and then.

Ridding through hot dry terrain is a survival skill...
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Old 08-23-23, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
When my back road rides were longer they were plotted according to what water points were available. I do not tolerate thirst well. Dehydration and exhaustion are sneaky sneaky. They will come up on you and put ya down. Even the most experienced have had issues now and then.

Ridding through hot dry terrain is a survival skill...
Yup! Once you realize you're dehydrated, game is already over. It's similar to bunking.
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Old 08-23-23, 06:45 PM
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Yep, this is something I have been doing since one hot day when I was overheating and had to stop. A nice young woman stopped and offered me water, but I felt hot, not dry, so I asked her to pour it over me. I felt better instantly. So now on hot days, once my bottles of Hydration Mix are empty, I refill with water, and if I feel hot, I stick the nozzle of one in a hole in my helmet and squeeze. Then I squirt some on my back. Works a treat, IME.
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Old 08-23-23, 07:07 PM
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There's this type of device.

https://www.amazon.com/Frogg-Toggs-C...88910623&psc=1
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Old 08-24-23, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
…I stick the nozzle of one in a hole in my helmet and squeeze. Then I squirt some on my back. Works a treat, IME.
The through the helmet method is perhaps the best, if you are careful you can get all the water on your body with zero waste. It is also doable while moving on the bike without too much difficulty.

My current favorite method is to find a safe stretch on the ride, look way up, pour a ton through the helmet at the mid-back point, and keep looking up for ten seconds. The excess will then flow on to the back. Too much and it will get all the way to the pockets and too little will wet too little so it takes some practice to get right. There is no water wasted this way. If you don’t look up long enough some excess will drip down in front and get wasted.

I also will spray a small amount on front and shoulders but there is more waste so I don’t use too much there. Of course if a refill station is coming soon, let ‘er rip!
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