It’s that time of year when many of us in the northern hemisphere are contending with really hot temperatures and possibly humidity as well. They make for some tough riding conditions, and so here are some tips on how to cope with it.
It’s your first port of call even before setting out. So you want to have a lightweight jersey, definitely with a full-length zip, and then pair it with shorts that have got really minimal bib strapping on there. So that means that, in combination, you can get loads of air circulating even at lower speeds. Now, there are loads of different types of fabric available, of course, some of which promise even better heat management.
Hot conditions often go hand in hand with an increased risk from UV, as well, so you need to make sure that you’ve taken adequate precautions, and that may well mean, if you’re wearing a particularly lightweight, that you actually need to put sun cream on your back even though you’re wearing something on top of it and then, if the sun is really fierce, you can actually use your clothing to help you out.
Hydration is absolutely critical, so unless your ride’s got loads of water stops, you need to make sure you take plenty with you. ‘Cause of the cooling effect of the wind, you can be sweating absolutely bucket-loads and not even know about it, potentially going through liters and liters of liquid. However, your body is really good at letting you know exactly how much you need to drink.
Certainly, research seems to suggest, although the jury, admittedly, is still out, that drinking to thirst is the right way to go rather than forcing loads of water down your neck. Either way, what you need to remember is that you can’t train yourself to do without water like you can food, to a certain extent. So, always, always have enough with you. Now, it’s a good idea to have something other than just plain water in your bottles, particularly if you’re out for a long time.
- Now, if you’re doing an event or a race, you might not have much control over this, but if you’re just riding for the fun of it, or for training, then you should definitely think about the time of day that you ride, so you’re trying to make the most of the times when it’s cooler. So people who regularly contend with extreme heat will often be on the bike by 5 AM, meaning they can be done and dusted when the temperature starts to climb.
- Have a think about where you ride, as well, so if you’ve got the luxury, try and plan routes where you can be sheltered from the sun as much as possible and also avoid long slow climbs where you can, the kind of climb where there’s no cooling effect because you’re going so slowly and so you just sit there and bake.
- If you live in a cold climate, but you are gonna be going somewhere for an event or a race, then it is possible to actually start to heat acclimatize before you’ve even left home. What you need to do is supplement your normal training with five consecutive days of riding on the indoor trainer just before you go. Now, when you’re on there, you don’t need to absolutely smash it. What we’re looking for is to start sweating. So if you turn the heat up in the room, and then ride a moderate intensity, that should get you sweating, and sweat profusely, and then, all you’ve got to do is make sure that you drink loads and loads of fluid, as well.