These six tips will help you ride your bike this summer and keep you cool without being hot.
Summer is already upon us, and that means that with the good weather these days, we have more time to go out and ride our bikes. But going out with the high temperatures that hit the country becomes a real risk sport because it can lead to dehydration, loss of strength, decreased performance, and sometimes heat stroke or sunstroke that can end up in death.
That said, despite the sun or humidity it shouldn’t keep you away from your bike. That’s why these six tips will help you stay hydrated when the mercury is over 30 degrees.
“The biggest mistake cyclists make on really hot days is going out without proper preparation,” says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., founder of Osmo Nutrition. If you don’t get used to riding a bike during the hottest days you won’t get the benefits you want from your training, as well as increase the chances of injury because you will increase your efforts. It would be best to leave first thing in the morning or late in the day.
You can also go to Bikram yoga classes or go to a sauna to acclimatize to the high temperatures. But if you have to do it during the hours when the heat hits the hardest, make sure you find times to rest in the shade and always stay hydrated.
Burning your skin from being in the sun contributes to fatigue and increases metabolism. This might sound like a good thing for your health, but it does increase your fluid needs, which can be a big problem on a hot day when you’re struggling to stay hydrated.
You should do everything you can to prevent sunburn, which is why you should choose and use good sunscreen; Wear a hat under your helmet to protect your head.
To keep your drink from quickly turning into hot tea, freeze one bottle in half and one in three quarters. (For mountain bikers you can put ice cubes in your hydration pack or even freeze it in half.) For longer trips, plan your route and discover the points where you can restock your cold drink. Because the consumption of cold liquids will help you keep the temperature down and thus increase performance.
While it can be tempting to throw ice cubes down your shirt, our expert strongly advises against it. “Ice against the skin causes blood vessels to constrict, which shoots blood back up to your core,” she says. If your core temperature gets too high, your performance and health can suffer. On the other hand, if you pour water on your neck and forearms, or wet them with a damp towel, it will be better. Another option is to have a damp towel handy, which simply soaking and wringing it out will keep it cool for a couple of hours, and you can keep it in your shirt pocket.
Take it easy
Don’t try to maintain the pace or power you would during a normal workout, says cycling coach Derick Williamson. “Once the temperature gets above 30 degrees, we reduce the power ranges to about 10 to 15 watts,” he says. “If you’ve been doing 15-minute intervals at 220 to 240 watts, that becomes 205 to 225, or we can reduce the efforts to 10 or 12 minutes.” If it doesn’t track your watts, just dial back your rate of perceived exertion a few notches; instead of riding a 9, go back to a level 6 effort.
In the days leading up to a long bike ride, try to increase your intakes of watery fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or grapes, says the nutritionist. Sodium helps your body retain the fluid you’re drinking, so you should have an isotonic drink on the way. Also, try to drink at a rate of 10 to 12 milliliters per kilogram of body weight, about a pint bottle every hour for a 70kg cyclist.
The nutritionist recommends drinking a protein-based recovery drink because it will help you rehydrate faster than a carbohydrate-based one. If you choose to drink water after cycling this summer, combine it with a drink or meal that contains protein, carbohydrates, and sodium to replenish more easily.