The Rider

August 15, 2010

How To Beat The Heat (Or At Least Battle It To A Tie)

Filed under: Safety, Training and Riding, Steve's Stuff — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

I went for a long ride yesterday – and almost melted!

It was hot and humid and hazy. The 92-degree heat (and 1,300,000-degree heat index) got me thinking: we lucked out last year at Pelotonia when the weather was unseasonably cool for late August. Two years in a row? That’s pushing it.

So, here are a few tips on how to prepare for the possibility of a hot and humid ride on Saturday and Sunday. And remember, the more we prepare, the less likely it is to be hot. It’s sort of like how if, you forget to bring a pump and spare tube, you’re guaranteed to get a flat.

*Start preparing a few days in advance. Cut back on your caffeine and alcohol intake. And make sure to suck down a lot of water and sports drinks on Thursday and Friday, and bulk up on the carbs. I’ve been loving the watermelon lately – and suggest you eat a ton of it later in the week. It’s our most underrated fruit.

*Carry two bottles on your bike and fill at least one with a sports drink – and the other with water. You can fill both with sports drink if you prefer.

*Drink constantly, a nice chug every three miles or so. You should empty at least one water bottle between each rest stop. It will be cool in the morning, but drink anyway – you’ll need it later.

*At every rest stop – and there will be a lot of them, stop and fill up your bottles, drink and eat a little snack, stretch and relax. It’s hard to calculate on the go, but 300 to 500 calories an hour will help you make it through the day. My liquid guideline is: one-and-a-half ounces per mile, a little more if it’s really hot.

*As the day wears on, I have a hard time digesting sports drinks, they taste so sweet and sticky and upset my stomach. So I fill my bottles halfway with sports drink and then to the top with water. This helps. Also, as the day wears on, especially when it’s hot, I have a hard time eating, so I make sure to drink even more to get the liquid and carbs and electrolytes I need.

*If you’re starting to feel a little overheated, take a longer break at a rest stop, drink at least 20 ounces of liquid and have a nice snack. Take your time, find some shade, dump water on your head and try and cool off. It’s amazing how a long break and 20 ounces of liquid can help you recover. It’s a ride, not a race, so take your time.

*When you get to the end of the ride, you’ll probably be a little dehydrated, so keep drinking. There will be plenty to eat and drink in Athens for the 100- and 180-mile riders, so feast like a king – you’ve earned it. However, if you’re doing the 180-mile ride, go easy on the beer and wine.

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