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dealing with heat?

Old 05-17-13, 07:38 PM
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dealing with heat?

In the summer of 2014, I am planning on doing my first long distance tour. It will be a credit card tour from Phoenix to Las Vegas; ending up in "Sin City" on my 60th birthday in the middle of July.

Anyone have any suggestions or experience riding in 115+ temperatures?
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Old 05-17-13, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vegasjunkie
...first long distance tour....Phoenix to Las Vegas...my 60th....115+
temperatures?
carry lotsa water, drink lotsa water.
if you're not thirsty, drink even more water.
0% humidity in the desert, you dehydrate quickly.
replace your salts, carry electrolyte powder.
slather on the sunscreen, wear a loose, cotton long-sleeve shirt.
take lotsa breaks, stop at the general stores, sit in the shade and chat.

rv's, trucks, tour buses are good sources of emergency water. hopefully not needed, as
you've marked water points on your map before you set out.

as to whether it's a good idea to take this route for your first tour at age 60...........
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Old 05-17-13, 08:44 PM
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Saddlesores points are all very good. The desert is going to literally suck the water out of you.

A bladder setup with a tube near your mouth makes drinking really easier, which may help you drink more. The desert is a lot of fun to ride through, but anxiety about having enough water will spoil the fun.

And there's always the option of getting on the road at zero dark thirty and getting to your destination before noon.
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Old 05-17-13, 09:26 PM
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I would say carry lots and lots of water, but even with that, you can easily sweat more then your body can absorb with water, thus you're still dehydrated. Or as others have said, start off real early in the day and stop when it gets too hot.
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Old 05-17-13, 10:02 PM
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Don't even think about camping, it will stay hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell all night. Like the others said, leave even before the dawn and avoid the worst of the heat. I do know people that went on a group tour in June from San Diego to Denver, during the dry heat season, and they'd leave the motels at 3AM on the Blythe-Wickenburg leg.

The humid monsoon season usually has started in the Sonoran Desert by early July, so you may also encounter humidity, clouds, and some showers. Though it knocks the high temperatures down somewhat, it's even more uncomfortable.

The worst heat I've encountered was 110 F, but it was dry heat...once riding north out of Redding in Northern California in August, and once on Labor Day along the coast from San Clemente. Both areas have lots of shady spots and water--on the Redding trip I brought a heavy cotton long sleeved tee shirt, and would soak it and put it over my jersey, and. while riding, pour water from my bottles onto the sleeves for cooling. On the Labor Day heat blast, I used the cold outdoor showers at the public beaches to completely soak myself and get my core temp down. In both cases, five minutes of riding and I'd be completely dry again. And it went down to 60 F the first night out of Redding at Castle Crags SP (2000'), so I could sleep well.

None of my above tactics will do much good in the desert...why exactly are you going to do this torture instead of a much more pleasant tour? If you want a challenge, I'd suggest some really mountainous trip.
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Old 05-18-13, 02:30 AM
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i wouldn't agree that it's torture. i love cycling in the desert. last tour in the states went
through death valley late july. i think the temperature was around 120F in the shade. no
telling what it was on the pavement. at night the temps dropped to the low 90's. one
advantage, the campground at death valley park is nearly empty. and water comes out of
the taps scalding hot. almost don't need a stove to cook your noodles.

dry heat is great....no sweat......as long as you're trained properly and know what to expect.
you definitely want to check with your doctor first. if you're not prepared...........you're dead.
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Old 05-18-13, 03:46 AM
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Do you live in Phoenix now? I'd recommend spending this summer cycling outside. Cycle at different times of the day, bring lots of water, experiment with clothing and clothing colours, experiment with sunscreens to find one that works for you.
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Old 05-18-13, 10:20 AM
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Get some bike lights and ride at night. Usually midnight to ~8am is the coolest and least windy part of the day. No sun block or protective clothing necessary, less dehydration, less water to carry. Only problem is you can't check-in to motels until mid-afternoon, usually, so you'll have some time to kill between arrival and check-in.
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Old 05-18-13, 10:34 AM
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In hot conditions like you describe I create my own shade when I stop to rehydrate by using a Go-Lite Chrome Dome aluminized 6 oz umbrella. It is very effective when no other shade is available.
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Old 05-18-13, 10:47 AM
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I'm from Michigan, so I don't normally have to worry about such high temps and low humidity. But I have spent many July's in the desert outside of Phoenix, AZ doing hot weather testing. Basically, outside all day, everyday, in the heat and sun. So if you are from Phoenix, this probably comes second nature to you. Or if you spend alot of time in Vegas, also probably second nature... but this was my lesson...

I didn't think 115 F seemed that bad. Heck - I didn't feel like I was sweating. Until I realized all my sweat evaporated the second it came to the surface of my skin, in an attempt to cool me down. I never got "sweaty". But when I realized I only urinated once during the entire day, I knew I wasn't going to make it much longer. I corrected my fluid intake the second day, but we had some folks on the trip who got sick because they were only drinking when they were thirsty. They were lucky they didn't end up in the hospital.

Yes - I'm probably a wimp Northern, but come on up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Feb sometime. I'm built for the cold.
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Old 05-18-13, 01:50 PM
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Search for journals by people who have toured on the same or a similar route at

CrazyGuyOnABike.com

and learn what they found to be the most challenging factors and where the toughest spots - it's not all flat - are located.
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Old 05-18-13, 01:54 PM
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Uh pulling no punches here.... stupid idea. Do something you will enjoy instead.
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Old 05-18-13, 02:38 PM
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I have done some touring in 110 F and found it pretty miserable. I know people who apparently enjoy it. If you are one of them fine, if not I'd go somewhere cooler. If you do it, carry and drink plenty of water.
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Old 05-18-13, 06:39 PM
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Fly to Vegas for the Big 6-0, and do a wonderful credit card tour in some cooler part of the world before, after, or at another time.
__________________
Zero gallons to the mile
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Old 05-19-13, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by vegasjunkie
Anyone have any suggestions or experience riding in 115+ temperatures?
Be careful. I would suggest avoiding spending extended time at that temperature and instead ride in cooler morning/evening.

This past February I cycled in hot desert area of Sudan. One day my cycle computer showed peak temperature of 117F and also that I spent several hours riding riding in excess of 110F. This was part of three very hot days cycling. I ended up with heat exhaustion (throwing up all water in my system and weak) and treated with drip iv to return salt/sugars back into my body. In retrospect, I probably didn't keep replenish enough salt and previous days of hot temperatures diminished appetite and hence also left me with not enough fuel. Some other cyclists riding that day also ended up with heat exhaustion.

My blog journal for that day: https://www.bike2013.com/2013/02/05/day-20-78-of-86-km/

Bodies are going to deal differently with such hot dry temperatures. I know mine would probably be ok for an hour at 115F, but spending more extended time in excess of 110F and/or developing deficit of energy or salt has some real risks. In this case it would be better to instead cycle in relatively cooler periods of the day and not be out riding in the worst heat.

I've also done tours through desert with some times well beyond 100F including two trips going via Las Vegas. One was a ride from San Jose to Las Vegas via Death Valley in early May and another was a supported ride (Las Vegas Hell Week) also in early May. While some cycling was done in hot periods was able to do most of the riding those days in relatively cooler parts of the day.

Overall, I'd suggest when the daily temperatures get up to 115+F to plan things so you don't spent too much of your day cycling at that temperature but instead ride in cooler parts of the day. Also, if possible know how your body might react to extended periods of such heat and how to keep enough fluid and salt and energy in the system.
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Old 05-21-13, 01:22 AM
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I've done some long (100+ miles) day rides in Oklahoma in the summer. The temperatures were generally between 100 and 110 F, and it was humid. Based on my experiences, which generally left me more or less catatonic on the couch for several hours after finishing, I'd recommend not doing this tour. If you absolutely must go, ride at night and try to find some place out of the sun to sleep during the day. The one piece of good news is that it does get fairly cool at night in the desert.
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Old 05-21-13, 04:26 AM
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if you are riding in the heat, SLOW DOWN. I mean, WAY DOWN.

in addition to what everyone else is suggesting. I'd rig a tarp or umbrella for shade on breaks if possible.

Checking into a hotel at 1 pm to lounge in air conditioned comfort after a morning of riding would be most excellent.

Last edited by Bekologist; 05-21-13 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 05-21-13, 06:07 AM
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Ditch the helmet.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by TeleJohn
Ditch the helmet.
I do that, but wear a hat. I find it helps a great deal.

Originally Posted by Bekologist
if you are riding in the heat, SLOW DOWN. I mean, WAY DOWN.

in addition to what everyone else is suggesting. I'd rig a tarp or umbrella for shade on breaks if possible.

Checking into a hotel at 1 pm to lounge in air conditioned comfort after a morning of riding would be most excellent.
+1
Very good advice on all points.

I have never set of shade during breaks, but I have to say I really wished for it in the Mojave.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:06 AM
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i LOVE heat. I do second the recommendations about drinking and electrolytes of course, and that in low humidity you may not realize how much water you are losing. I just have to throw in though there are definitely some of us who enjoy it for whetever reason.

It does take a bit to acclimate each year though for me, which I think is pretty typical. So be sure to allow for that.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Do you live in Phoenix now? I'd recommend spending this summer cycling outside. Cycle at different times of the day, bring lots of water, experiment with clothing and clothing colours, experiment with sunscreens to find one that works for you.
+1 on this.

Also get up as early as you can. The sun rises at around 4-5 AM in the summer here and it heats up quickly. Escape that as much as you can and start your tour early. But be safe riding in the early morning on the streets and wear a reflective vest and have lights on the front and rear of your bike.

Josh
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Old 05-21-13, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov
I've done some long (100+ miles) day rides in Oklahoma in the summer. The temperatures were generally between 100 and 110 F, and it was humid. Based on my experiences, which generally left me more or less catatonic on the couch for several hours after finishing, I'd recommend not doing this tour. If you absolutely must go, ride at night and try to find some place out of the sun to sleep during the day. The one piece of good news is that it does get fairly cool at night in the desert.
The average low in Phoenix in July is 82-83 F, and with dew points averaging in the 60's, this is not a nice dry 83 F...
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Old 05-21-13, 07:39 PM
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I live in AZ. As others have said, get up early & get your riding done before noon. It doesn't cool off enough in the evening to plan on riding then even if you don't mind riding in the dark - it will still be 100 degrees at midnite. I don't like riding when I can't see but don't mind starting 1/2 hour or so before daybreak. Starting at 4:30 gives you a good 7 hours to ride. Motels here will be empty that time of year & won't mind you checking in early. But some AZ motels & restaurants are seasonal, open only during snowbird season. So be sure to call ahead and make sure the places you plan to stay & eat will be open.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:08 PM
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Although I have never cycled in extreme desert conditions, I have ridden on very hot days (90 F/32 C) in hilly areas.

These trips were very challenging physically. I have suffered from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburn from cycling in the heat. These are serious conditions. A person can die from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.

If you decide to do it...

1. Cover up... protect your your arms, legs, and the back of your neck from the sun. Apply sunblock every hour.

2. Carry as much water as you can, know where you can get more, and drink constantly. Downing a litre of water per hour is easy in the heat.

3. I don't recommend cycling at night. Car and truck drivers have enough difficulty sharing roads with cyclists when visibility is good. You don't want to surprise them; they don't expect cyclists riding at 3 a.m. miles and miles from anywhere. Instead, start riding at the crack of dawn, and stop for the day before the asphalt melts your tires. That may mean quitting at 11 a.m.

4. Gain experience by taking shorter trips over many months.
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Old 05-22-13, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by acantor
Although I have never cycled in extreme desert conditions, I have ridden on very hot days (90 F/32 C) in hilly areas.

These trips were very challenging physically. I have suffered from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburn from cycling in the heat. These are serious conditions. A person can die from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.

If you decide to do it...

1. Cover up... protect your your arms, legs, and the back of your neck from the sun. Apply sunblock every hour.

2. Carry as much water as you can, know where you can get more, and drink constantly. Downing a litre of water per hour is easy in the heat.

3. I don't recommend cycling at night. Car and truck drivers have enough difficulty sharing roads with cyclists when visibility is good. You don't want to surprise them; they don't expect cyclists riding at 3 a.m. miles and miles from anywhere. Instead, start riding at the crack of dawn, and stop for the day before the asphalt melts your tires. That may mean quitting at 11 a.m.

4. Gain experience by taking shorter trips over many months.
With the many ultrabright rear and front lights available, they won't fail to see you if you use them. The problem is that drunks and sleepy drivers may then fixate on the light and steer right into you, or so they say. Of course, the argument is that somehow they don't steer right into reflectorized mailboxes...

Some people may be different, but I have found when it gets much over 100 F, I can't drink fluids fast enough to replenish those lost by sweating, so apparently I sweat like crazy. I have to take breaks, hopefully in a place with A/C and ice available, or a swimming hole, and keep drinking water plus electrolytes until I feel somewhat better. Failure to do this will result in a migraine-like, or maybe more like a hangover, headache/ heat exhaustion situation the next day. The more you ride in these conditions, the more your body will adapt to them, though.

Last edited by stevepusser; 05-22-13 at 09:24 AM.
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