Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cycling in Hot Weather?

This week a heat wave has landed in the Seattle area.  Probably not a heat wave in terms of where you live but it's a heat wave for Seattle.  The weather forecast is calling for highs in the mid to upper 90's which is fairly comfortable unless you don't have air conditioning then it's just downright unbearable.  Where we live NO ONE has air conditioning including me.  As I write this post it's almost 10 at night and it's still 88 degrees in our house.  Well, enough whining I'm sure it's hotter where you live unless you're in Australia. 


This heat wave has thrown me out of my cycling comfort zone.  I've got the temperate cycling adventure down to a science where you start with a light jacket then shed it half way through your ride tucking it neatly in your middle jersey pocket.  I've actually employed this technique in the month of July already.  I'm also equipped for rainy bike rides in all seasons because that could happen any day of the year here.  My problem stems from the hot weather cycling.  I think I'm in need of a hot weather remedial cycling class or something.  


So here's the dilemma.  Tomorrow night I'm planning on going on a great group ride that I'm really excited about but the temperature will be hovering around 90 when the ride starts.  My fear is as I ride I could actually melt like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz.  Of course, I would call out "I'm melting, I'm melting" before I expire and drop off the back of the pace line.  Being that I don't have much hot weather cycling experience I've hatched a pretty lame plan to deal with the heat but it's a plan none the less.  Here's how it goes:


  1. Frozen Water Bottles - Last night I put two water bottles in the freezer with the hopes that this would provide me with some cold water to drink on my ride.
  2. Dump Ice On My Head - Once while I was volunteering on the Tour de Cure I saw Greg LeMond pull into the rest stop and dump a huge pile of ice over his head with his helmet on.  If I we stop anywhere where there is ice I plan on trying this technique out.  I don't plan on accusing anyone in our group of doping like Greg has been prone to do though.
  3. Wear my Canada Jersey – although I'm not Canadian I do own a Canada Jersey (I like Canada).  Surely a jersey from the great white north would be cooler on a hot day.  I might even hum "Oh Canada" as I ride if I determine that would help as well.
  4. Drink like a Fish – I also plan on doing a lot of hydrating while I ride.


So there's my hot weather cycling plan.  People from Seattle have always been accused of being water logged from the incredibly long rainy season's they have to endure but maybe I'll be completely dried out by the end of the ride.  We'll see……


Jayson said...

I've got a 40 mile 3500' ride scheduled for today with a buddy. I think I shall freeze a water bottle here at work (yep, stole that idea!). Other than that I plan on drinking way more water than usual today in an effort to "top off" the proverbial tanks.

Safe riding to you.

Keith Moore said...

My wife and I use these:


The fabric is sewn into a tube and contains a gel-like substance. When dry, the gel feels rather crunchy, like rice or desiccant. When wet, the gel feels squishy like Jello.

They hold moisture for a long time. They'll help keep your neck cool, which cools the blood flowing to your head.

Of course, they look kinda dorky, but it's better than heatstroke.

Big Oak said...

Good luck on your warm ride. Hope you stay cool as possible. We've been pleasantly cool here all summer - it's barely been in the low 80's and mostly in the 70's all summer. Of course, now that I've said that, we'll surely get your heat wave in 3 days!

The only other suggestion I have is to use a headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Great ideas. Maybe you should put the jersey in the freezer too.

331 Miles said...

I always take 1 bottle of Nuun, and 1 bottle of water w ice (I use insulated bottles). The water frequently gets used to douse my face and head. It will cool you down quickly.

Linda said...

Jersey in the freezer idea???

Jenny that was BRILLIANT! I might even try that myself!

jeff said...

Mike, I ride in the heat all the time here in Kansas. I actually like it to be at least 70 when I start out in the morning. 90s for a high? No problem. I do use a halo headband to keep my eyes sweat-free. I don't know why Lance doesn't. I'm positive the Canada jersey will keep you comfortable, eh?

Unemployed said...

2 1/2 frozen bottles. 1 frozen bottle in your middle jersey pocket and the other frozen bottle in your cage, then take the 1/2 frozen and fill with water for your second cage. Use the jersey bottle to pour on your neck as your ride. I used to like in the desert and it was they only thing that worked.

The Old Bag said...

From one who doesn't sweat much (heat is a real issue for me), dribble water from your water bottle through the vents on the top of your helmet...keep the head cool (even if the water is lukewarm the air coming through the helmet will cool you). It'll do wonders for you!

And the jersey-in-the-freezer idea isn't too far off. In the heat, I've also been known to drizzle water on the jersey, back/front of the neck to keep the trunk cool.