How to handle the Heat?

I did the Bacoon Ride this last weekend. I have to admit, the heat got to me! It made me very nervous for RAGBRAI!! I tried to drink as much water as I could without feeling sloshy and I still wasn’t using the bathroom. The first time I went to the bathroom was about 7pm! I just am not sure how to handle the heat. It exhausted me. Anyone have tips??

25 Replies

BrendaRein, June 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

This will be my second Ragbrai, last year I purchased a Chill Rag (Cooling Towel) at the Bike Expo, $12 saved my life. You can get them at any sporting goods store. Drink a lot of water…

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jwsknk, June 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Just did BigBam across Missouti last week, ended wit 316 miles in 6 days. 91-97 degrees all week. Drink more than just water. something to replace electrolites. I like the Camelback tablets best, added to one water bottle. It’s like Gatorade but without the sugars. Also don’t push too hard and take breaks in the shade. If it’s really hot some towns might have misters. Running cold water over your wrists also helps.

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Matt, June 20, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Drink till you pee, rest in the shade, ride in the heat everytime you can, ride early and save the beer until you are done.

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powellpd, June 20, 2016 at 6:45 pm

I live in Florida. I am training in the heat and humidity as much as I can. I have been riding starting at 9:30am instead of earlier so my body will be used to being in the heat and humidity. I was sweating so much several times, my socks were soaked with sweat and I struggled to peel them off my feet! I bought a camelback that holds 70 ounces of water. I do find it to be hot on my back at times. I also carry 2 bottles on my bike, one of water and the other Gatorade. I am careful to drink fluids every 25 minutes. I have made 10 very long rides of 50-65 miles and have gotten used to remembering to drink before I’m thirsty. Becoming dehydrated can be very dangerous.

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jeffreydennis, June 20, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Drinking just water will not help and will actually hurt as you dilute your system. Electrolytes. I use the Hammer Fizz tablets after years of using the capsules. Know yourself. I’ve been riding in the STL afternoons (90-95). Sunday I had to pull over and grab some shade at 40 mile mark. Don’t overlook sunscreen. It can help (maybe only in my head). Also, keep at the electrolytes when you are done for the day

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Brian Wallenburg, June 20, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Avoid sugary drinks, replace electrolytes, try to cool your core occasionally. Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink. Drink A LOT every evening. By a lot, I mean a gallon. As long as your eating a normal dinner which contains electrolytes, you can replenish with things like unsweetened tea. Lately, the days in Iowa have been so warm, it’s nearly impossible to stay hydrated during a long ride. If the heat bothers you, make sure you start on time and take breaks in the shade. Be sure to have the water bottle out of the cage every 5 miles and drink during every break. Good luck!

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SFC JKL 2, June 20, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Look into some electrolyte supplements. I like Sport Legs myself. I use the Nuun tablets in one water bottle and straight water in the other (I use different colored bottles. Always clean the one you put Gatoraid in.) Drink steady over the course of the day. Your body absorbs the liquid over time, not by volume.
Get shade when you can get it. Take breaks. You have all day to get to the next town.

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KenH, June 20, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Like you I can’t really drink enough on hot days to keep up a normal peeing schedule. I’ve given up worrying about that and suffer no ill effects. I take a drink every five miles, at least, and I use Hammer Endurolytes capsules. Given that we eat so much on this ride the electrolytes may not strictly be necessary but they do no harm as far as I can tell. With the electrolyte capsules I only need to carry water on the bike. My friends who carry one bottle of water and one of a sports drink seem to be perpetually out of the one they want the most at any given moment so I think the capsules are the way to go.

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mootsman, June 21, 2016 at 7:21 am

Be careful what you eat when it’s hot and humid. Mixing fluids with solid food can cause you system to decide it needs to digest the mixture of food and water, preventing the fluids from being absorbed readily. During the day on RAGBRAI I stick with non-dairy fruit smoothies (my personal record is 6 on century day). I have 1 water bottle of Gatorade and 1 of water. I sip from both along the way. As JD already mentioned, water only without electrolytes will cause you to just sweat out all the water too quickly. Electrolytes help your body manage it’s water level.

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KenH, June 21, 2016 at 8:13 am

The other thing you can do to handle the heat is to just get out and ride in it and do yard work in it etc. Follow powellpd’s example in other words. If you want to work in the heat you have to acclimate your body to it and the best way to do that is to go out and work in the heat! This will also give you a chance to work out what drinking schedule and electrolyte products work for you. You want to know that before you start across Iowa in a few weeks.

One other thing that helps me is a mental thing. I’m not sure how to put it into words but the best I can come up with is that I try to imagine that I am a reptile and I just let my body “relax” into the heat, becoming one with it. It is just something that I did naturally one day while riding in the heat and even though it surprises me that it could work, it does seem to help.

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pmac, June 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

Lots of good advice in this thread. One other suggestion is to use insulated bottles and fill them with ice if at all possible. When you go through one of the towns look for a c-store a few blocks off the route, fill your bottle with ice, one for water, one for your electrolyte drink of choice that you buy at the store. Nibble on something with a little salt, pretzels, chips, payday bar, etc. When you’re really hot, stop, find some shade and put a wet towel on your head. Remember this is your vacation, not a death march.

If you’re not peeing all day I doubt you are drinking enough, even if you think you are.

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Craig Parson, June 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

I like to wear a long sleeve wicking shirt and I spray myself with my water bottle. The water basically spreads all over the shirt and makes it feel like its only 80 when its 100 degrees. I also don’t get sunburned.

Kwog

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Megandoty, June 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

Wow guys! Thank you so much for all the great advice!!

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Sunflower, June 21, 2016 at 3:16 pm

There really is no substitute for exposing yourself to heat combined with exercise to get adapted to it; by far the best plan imho. There is enough time between now and the Ride to make a significant adaptation.

If it turns out to be really hot, and you’re worried about how you’ll do, plan to be off the bike between 11 and 4. Most people can complete an average day in 6 hours of riding and if you’re on the road at 7 you can “make it in” by 6 when the course officially “closes.” There are still TONS of riders on the road after 6 so if you run into problems you won’t be alone.

This keeps you out of the worst of the heat and allows your body to cool off and catch up with hydration.

If you’ve never experienced it, the “RAGBRAI nap” is sublime. Just go to sleep in the coolest place you can find. A good bet is a church selling pie.

I make a habit of knowing where all the municipal pools will be on the route. Very good for cooling off. Small rivers work well too.

If you don’t push yourself and use the whole day you’ll be fine under almost every set of conditions.

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bcrone, June 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Tomato juice does a nice job at rehydrating. Full of electrolytes and considerably less sugar than sports drinks.

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