Handling summer heat

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Handling summer heat

Postby bklff3 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:58 am

I'm pretty new to commuting. My commute's a fairly flat 22 km each along mainly shared paths (in Canberra), and I've enjoyed riding 1-3 times a week since October last year. I've worked my way up to around 28 km/h average speed. (Some other stats: commute is 324m up / 290m down accoring to bikely.com; I'm 32yo, 85-90 kg, 175 cm)

Up till now, my way of dealing with hot days has been simply not to ride. If BOM said it was going to be >32C then I just wouldn't ride. However, at the moment it seems to be >32C for 3/5 potential commuting days. I want to commute more, so I'll have to venture out. (according to the bom averages it's >30C in Canberra for 11 days in Jan and 8 days in Feb - why is it that those days always coincide with the days I want to ride???)

I haven't ridden at >32C since December when I rode home on a hot day, and was exhausted when I arrived. Nothing dangerous, but feeling unpleasantly weak and a bit sick, which isn't how I want to feel when I arrive home on the bike. I'd drunk plenty of water (1.5L over the ~50 min ride), so perhaps it was a combination of heat/pushing too hard? The heat in Canberra is dry and the sun is relentless (few trees). There's usually a 10-20km/h NW wind in my face on the way home. I use good water resistent sunscreen and haven't been sunburnt all summer.

Does anyone have other suggestions on handling the heat? Is it a case of HTFU and my body will adapt? I could try riding slower, but that never seems to work out for me (it's not me, sir, the bike just wants to go fast!). Do I need more carbs or electrolytes on hot days for this length ride?
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by BNA » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:01 pm

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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby jules21 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:01 pm

you'll get used to it. 40+ days don't bother me anymore, although my commute is shorter than yours. keep going and you'll find your body will HTFU quite naturally :)
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby martinjs » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:33 pm

Main thing to remember is drink plenty of fluids, that's the key.

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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby simonn » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:50 pm

2x800ml bidons full of Sydney's finest tap water.
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby jules21 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:53 pm

you should keep yourself hydrated before and after the ride, but for a 40 minute ride, i wouldn't bother drinking during it.
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby Pax » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:17 pm

jules21 wrote:you should keep yourself hydrated before and after the ride, but for a 40 minute ride, i wouldn't bother drinking during it.


:shock: I would....even when it isn't that hot (but then I am a thirsty bugga :roll: )
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby martinjs » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:31 pm

jules21 wrote:you should keep yourself hydrated before and after the ride, but for a 40 minute ride, i wouldn't bother drinking during it.


Say what? I only did a 22min lunch time ride today (40c and winds gusting up to 50kph) and I drank a full 800ml bottle. I reckon you can never drink too much on a very hot day.

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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby jules21 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:46 pm

i'm not saying you shouldn't drink the water, i'm saying i normally just drink it before and after my ride, if it's under an hour.

of course, the AIS hasn't asked me to act as their nutritionist lately :)
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby justD » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:23 pm

bklff3 wrote:I could try riding slower, but that never seems to work out for me (it's not me, sir, the bike just wants to go fast!).


Then sit back, enjoy the drink and wait for the bike to do the work. I'd say the answer lies with backing off a little just while you HTFU.
Last edited by justD on Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby martinjs » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:01 pm

I suspect it's a bit different for everyone, some probably need more water than others. Maybe being 186cm and being around the 95kilo mark my have something to do with my water intake. :D Me no expert either. :lol: :wink:

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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby wombatK » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:17 pm

martinjs wrote:
jules21 wrote:you should keep yourself hydrated before and after the ride, but for a 40 minute ride, i wouldn't bother drinking during it.


Say what? I only did a 22min lunch time ride today (40c and winds gusting up to 50kph) and I drank a full 800ml bottle. I reckon you can never drink too much on a very hot day.

Martin

Actually, you can drink too much - over-hydration can be as seriously debillitating as under. I'm sure Martin has got the balance right - his exploits leading the fit gits comp for 2009 shows that.

For advice on hydration as well as good nutrition for sport, there are some excellent articles at the Sport Dietitians web site.

See http://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/cont ... idsinSport for starters, and follow the links on the side bar etc.,. for other topics. One bidon (650 to 750 ml) per hour is a good starting point in moderate weather, but it will obviously very depending on temperature, humidity and wind. The color of your urine is a good indication of your hydration status - make sure you drink enough to have it quite clear; it you find it darker after a ride, you didn't hydrate enough. As Jules21 suggests, your hydration status before you ride is important, and the sports dietitians recommend that you start your drinking a half hour or so before you ride.
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby rearviewmirror » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:19 pm

There isn't any reason not to ride above 40... in Texas last summer we had 68 straight days over 40 degrees. Just stay hydrated all day and night.. if you don't wake up to pee in the middle of the night you're not drinking enough. I generally take a pretty healthy drink of water every 15 minutes or so of riding, that equates to one bottle per hour. Add some electrolytes to your water, on hot days you're displacing sodium and others rather quickly.
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby Ozchuck » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:18 pm

32º isnt hot at all.
Keep pushing and soon you'll be able to shrug it off :D
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Re: Handling summer heat

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:06 pm

martinjs wrote:I suspect it's a bit different for everyone, some probably need more water than others. Maybe being 186cm and being around the 95kilo mark my have something to do with my water intake. :D Me no expert either. :lol: :wink:

Martin

I'm 187cm and 95kg and would not usually bother drinking on a sub 1 hour ride but am well hydrated before the ride and drink lots after. Lately I have been thinking I probably should drink something on those rides. My worst is a 4+ hour 100km ride which I did with no water and no food, just a 600ML choc milk at the halfway mark. It wasn't super hot but I needed a lot more fluid than that. I got very tired by the end and took a long time to recover. Not recommended.

Adequate hydration is a much smarter strategy.
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