While cycling is, fortunately, not usually as awful as running in this incredibly hot and humid weather, there are some things you can do or use that’ll help keep extreme discomfort at bay.
Number one: drink a lot of water. A Lot Of Water. Measuring your sweat rate* at this time of year often yields rather shocking results — like you need over a liter of water an hour. One of the best tips I ever received was to use clear or translucent water bottles, so you can easily see if you’ve been drinking enough.
If you’re drinking a lot of water, you should probably increase your electrolyte intake. There are at least two easy options for this, a sports drink with minerals built in such as Gatorade G2 or First Endurance EFS drink, or a supplement such as Hammer’s Fizz or Endurolytes. Teaming up electrolyte intake with your water insures that you’ll ingest the stuff.
Is your wardrobe up to snuff? If you’re cruising around in an old, poorly-ventialted helmet, your modern options will surprise you with their low weight and incredible air management. I wear a Giro Aeon. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s easily the lightest, coolest, most comfortable helmet I’ve ever owned.
A proper baselayer is as helpful in the heat as it is in the cold. Our Craft pro cool items have received rave reviews from customers this summer. “Expensive underwear!?” you might exclaim. Yes. It is. But it’ll keep you comfortable and it’ll last a looooong time.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, use your noggin. It might not be the best idea to perform your hardest workout of the summer on the hottest day of the year.
* Sweat rate is a measure of how much you sweat per hour. It’s easy to measure.
- Weigh yourself (sans clothing) before your ride.
- Ride for an hour as normal.
- Strip, towel off and weigh yourself again.
- Subtract your post-ride weight from your pre-ride weight, giving your weight lost.
- From the weight lost number, add the weight of the water your drank while riding and subtract the weight of any voided waste (estimate is OK). This result is your total weight loss through sweat.
For every kilogram less that you weigh, you lost a liter of fluid. It’s helpful to know that a standard small bike water bottle contains 0.6L (0.6kg) of water and a larger bottle holds 0.7L (0.7kg).
Your sweat rate is dependent on heat and humidity, so it’s not an absolute number. It does, however, give you good data to help you hydrate effectively. Use it wisely.