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Old 26-11-2015
mr bergman mr bergman is offline
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Summer riding: tips for hydration & staying cool riding in hot weather?



Found some good tips on this old DBW thread, thought I'd do some reading around and add to it. Anyone else got ideas to throw in? I'll probably stitch it all together into a vid eventually...

STAYING HYDRATED
When dehydrated, your body can't get rid of heat as fast, your heart works harder, fatigue kicks in and your technique goes out the window. It can set up a vicious circle leading to heat stroke, which is nasty shit, been there done that.

Start drinking plenty of water regularly the day before you start riding.
Avoid big piss ups the night before riding, maybe skip coffee that morning.
Take small regular amounts of water when riding, not big slugs occasionally.
How much should you drink? It varies for everyone but the usual idea your urine should be clear or only a faint yellow colour.



If you wait till you feel thirsty, you are leaving it too late - take those regular sips before you feel thirsty.
Fluid intake is best when below 15C or 60F, so chilled water or ice cubes in your hydration pack are a great idea. There's an urban myth going around about cold water not being absorbed as well, but research has disproved this.

Carry some water purification tablets so that you can top up your hydration pack at creeks if needed without heaving your guts out an hour later.

ELECTROLYTE BALANCE
Nothing wrong with straight water, but a good electrolyte powder helps a lot by maintaining electrolytes in your body - I used to be a sceptic but checked it out a year ago and the science backs it up. You want things like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium ideally. In hot weather you can drain important minerals from your body drinking straight water which can lead to cramps and feeling run down.

Rehydrating with with juices, soft drinks, and excessively sweet sports drinks don't rehydrate you as well - the high sugar content actually slows your intestinal system down.

Some sugar ain't a bad thing though e.g. Bulk Nutrients put out their Electrolyte Plus blend which is a good one for dirt bike riding, as it has the key ingredients plus some glucose to keep the energy levels up. Endura puts out the same thing, I just opt for Bulk Nutrients because they sponsor things like our Wildwood event.

When you've finished riding, keep drinking regularly for a few hours afterwards, and if you've sweated a lot stay on the electrolyte powder too.
Remember to rinse out your hydration pack thoroughly, electrolyte powders will leave a residue that will go mouldy otherwise.

Sports drinks like Gatorade? A lot of those were quite dodgy in the early days, now the government specifies they have to fall within certain guidelines. They should do the trick but will be a lot more expensive than powders in the long run.

HYDRATION PACKS
What size hydration pack? As a rough rule of thumb, drink at least one litre per hour although this varies with temperature, humidity and your body weight etc.
So a two litre job will be fine if you can loop back to your base every two hours, otherwise you'll want to go for a three litre job and if needed have space for carrying extra fluids.

Get one with an insulated hose. See through plastic lets the sun in and mould grows much faster. The insulation also stops the water heating up when riding in the sun. Some riders get around this by blowing air back into the pipe after taking a sip.

The better hydration packs often have an insulated pouch for the bladder too, so if you have chilled water it will stay cooler for longer.

A lot of people complain about the access with Kamelbacks in terms of opening and closing them but also cleaning them out. Quite a few brands now have this slider which makes cleaning out the bladder way easier.

The better quality hydration packs are shaped to sit on your hips and allow air to circulate around your back area and keep you cooler. I'm currently using the Aussie Zacspeed setup which is working well... the hydration pack attaches to curved front and rear amour plates that let air circulate behind them.

COOL RIDING TIPS
Change your riding habits to suit the hot weather. Most of this is a no brainer.
Start as early as possible in the morning and finish early.
Choose more flowing faster terrain to ride in.
Don't stop too frequently, and when you do make sure it's in the shade or on top of hills if there is a breeze.
Ride in smaller groups so you don't stop as often.
Where possible, loop back to the start to top up your hydration packs, put more ice or chilled water in and take a break.
It can be a good idea to douse yourself in water before heading off again, the evaporation should keep you cool for the first 15 minutes or so.
You can also soak your jersey and pants at creek crossings too on very hot days.
Slap on the sunscreen on the back of your neck and all exposed skin - don't forget the back of your neck. It can be tempting to ride in just a t-shirt but sunburn will contribute to getting dehydrated, you are better off wearing a light-coloured long sleeve top.

VENTILATED RIDING GEAR
Ventilated gear makes a massive difference to staying cool. Yeah black looks cool, but you'll cook more in the sun. Opt for the lightest coloured gear where possible so you can reflect the sun away and look cool like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

Helmets - we normally get rid of a lot of body heat through our head, so a ventilated helmet is very important. Most manufacturers are starting to cotton on to this. The Suomy Mr Jump and the Airoh are probably still the most ventilated helmets around and very light, but others are catching up fast. Remember though if you have a very cool winter and/or regular wet weather you may want the option of blocking those vents too.

Back packs & body armour - as already mentioned, a good back pack will ideally have a curved shape so it allows air circulate around your back, and the main contact points will be your hips and the straps over your shoulders. Body armour is a tricky one... no matter how well it's ventilated, it's still going to make you a bit hotter. Some guys wear less armour as it gets hotter and this can be a sensible choice. The hotter you get, the more it will affect your stamina and riding ability but this has to be weighed against the added risk of injury. Many of the body armour manufacturers are now putting out more ventilated versions for summer, check them out.

Jerseys and tops - I'm surprised by the number of guys who wear layers in summer... an undershirt, then armour, then a jersey over the top. Lots of small light layers works great in winter for extra insulation, but in summer you'll just cook.

Ventilated jerseys - plenty of these around, a lot of guys rave about the lightness and ventilation on some of the Troy Lee gear. I use the Klim Mojave jersey as it's very ventilated but also a reasonably heavy fabric to resist tears and abrasions. On really hot days now I use a white long sleeve compression shirt as this wicks sweat away, reflects the heat in direct sunlight, and is the coolest possible option I've found to date. But everyone can see my man boobs though.

Pants and jocks - most manufacturers put out at least one line of ventilated pants, those mesh panels make a massive difference once you are moving the air flows through. Seriously it is so good to have air around the nads!

Knee braces - one of the best solutions I've found is to wear long compression pants underneath. These are designed to not store your body heat, but prevent chafing from your knee braces or guards, and you can just wear a short pair of socks with them. They work out cooler than the majority of socks n jocks n knee brace socks around.

Boots and socks - as far as I can see there's not such thing as ventilated boots, which makes sense as any ventilation would just mean water and mud pouring in depending on the conditions. You can opt for thin socks although this can lead to chafing.


ACCLIMATISING TO HOT WEATHER RIDING
In most cases we'll acclimatise naturally to hot weather as it occurs. To acclimatise while wearing all our riding gear you would need to ride at least twice a week according to research and the findings of the Australian Institute of Sport... or maybe just out running in the heat. Here's the official line for anyone who might be, say, doing a desert race but heading out there from a cooler climate...

Top sports athletes acclimatize to hot conditions by ideally spending two weeks training in hot weather prior to an event.
It generally takes a week to 10 days for most acclimatising to occur.
Training should be somewhere between daily and no more than three days apart.
Increase your water intake, normally you will sweat more as you acclimatize.
Acclimatisation produces:
a lower heart rate at a given heat and exercise stress level
better maintenance of core body temperature
reduction in the sweating threshold
increased distribution of active sweat glands
less salt lost in sweat
increased sweat rate
an increased sweating sensitivity to increasing core body temperature
a reduction in the loss of water and electrolytes from the kidneys .

EVAPORATIVE VESTS?
These get very mixed reviews, I haven't personally tried one but the overall conclusion seems to be they can work well in dry hot conditions but aren't worthwhile if it's humid because the evaporative cooling doesn't work.

Easy to forget, but there's the real risk of bushfires during summer. Keep an eye out for fire danger alerts and have a serious rethink on those very hot windy days. Enjoy your summer...
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Old 26-11-2015
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devans devans is offline
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Good advice Barry. One other thing I have done on occasion is forgone the jersey and just worn the body pressure suit. The only downside is it can leave the lower part of your midriff exposed and subject to sunburn, roost, and gravel rash.

I'm going to ask Santa for some vented riding gear for Christmas. Hopefully I'm not on his naughty list.
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Old 26-11-2015
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you want to drink plenty to keep dehydration at bay. for me its about 5 litres a ride (6-8 hours usually). but if you drink straight water, it flushes the minerals from your body. this leads to cramping. i find that i fill a 3l hydration pack with water or light hydrolite mix and then take a 2 litre bottle of concentrated hydrolite mix. also drink as much hydrolite the day before as possible.
a good idea is also grabbing some aqua tabs or water steriliser so if you need to fill up or drink from a creek you can make it safe.
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Old 26-11-2015
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Originally Posted by dalboy View Post
...a good idea is also grabbing some aqua tabs or water steriliser so if you need to fill up or drink from a creek you can make it safe.

I mentioned that to someone just the other week after they ran out of water part way through the ride and then opted to fill up from a running creek.
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Old 26-11-2015
RedK RedK is offline
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And keep out of forrests on total fire be days.
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Old 26-11-2015
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Quote:
...maybe skip coffee that morning..
Are you nuts?
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Old 26-11-2015
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dalboy dalboy is offline
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Are you nuts?
yeah not possible for me either. i just have one instead of 3
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Old 26-11-2015
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devans devans is offline
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Originally Posted by Pete40 View Post
Are you nuts?
I reckon there will be quite a few who say the same of not partaking in a few alcoholic beverages the night before.
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Old 26-11-2015
HuskyT HuskyT is offline
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for summer riding what is cooler to ride in a pressure suit or hard body armour?
I have tried riding with out a jersey over my pressure suit and ended up with tears in it from either branches or squashing bugs on the ground.
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Old 26-11-2015
Nutty Nutty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr bergman View Post
COOL RIDING TIPS
Change your riding habits to suit the hot weather. Most of this is a no brainer.
Start as early as possible in the morning and finish early.
Choose more flowing faster terrain to ride in.
Don't stop too frequently, and when you do make sure it's in the shade or on top of hills if there is a breeze.
Where possible, loop back to the start to top up your hydration packs, put more ice or chilled water in and take a break.
It can be a good idea to douse yourself in water before heading off again, the evaporation should keep you cool for the first 15 minutes or so.
You can also soak your jersey and pants at creek crossings too on very hot days.
Slap on the sunscreen on the back of your neck and all exposed skin - don't forget the back of your neck. It can be tempting to ride in just a t-shirt but sunburn will contribute to getting dehydrated, you are better off wearing a light-coloured long sleeve top.
Great article Mr B but this bit doesn't gel with me. IMO the best way to acclimatise to anything in sport is to do it. Ride on hot days, push on, get used to it.

Where I ride in CA we think nothing of riding on a 100F day (38C). Once you toughen up and acclimatise you don't drop like a fly when the weather gets hot. The hottest day I've ridden over there was 122F (50+C), (admittedly it's 3-5% humidity) and when you come back home every hot day is a doddle.

Not many challenges in life get overcome by avoiding them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalboy View Post
yeah not possible for me either. I just have one (coffee) instead of 3
Hmmm Mmmm, Dalboys coffee
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