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Long Rides in Heat and Headaches the next day

Old 05-27-19, 12:18 PM
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adlewis71
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Long Rides in Heat and Headaches the next day

Hi,

I am preparing to ride the Transamerica Bike Route over the summer and have been doing a few long rides recently (around 170-180 km) besides my other intervals training etc. (set for me by my coach).

The weather here has been getting up to 35 degrees celsius and been really quite humid also in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, I have to ride from around 7:30 until 5:30 pm when I do long rides - so get the heat in the middle of the day also. Have been drinking plenty of fluids and eating plenty - especially the ride on Saturday this week. Felt pretty good the whole time - even though it was quite seriously hot at times. Didn't eat that much in the evening - felt lazy - but had a chocolate milk of course. And then the next day I had a massive headache - which I can still have somewhat today. And my fitness levels have been going from strength to strength - by all measures.

I don't understand, my training is measured - I have plenty of rest days - is it because I am not drinking enough water after the fact (which could be possible)? As I didn't drink that much water when I got home - and am sure I should rehydrate. But why would it still affect me almost 1.5 days later? Or could it possibly be that I am not using reflective sunglasses?

Just wondering - I have a history of being able to deal with heat - as I lived in Townsville, Brisbane, Bangladesh, Indonesia and now Trinidad - and have always thrived (including my training). Now I am 47 - am recently started the cycling again about 5 months ago - and these are the first longish rides that I have done.

Anyways, am interested in your thoughts. Drank plenty of electrolytes on the day - so can't be that. As I will be doing this sort of mileage on a day by day basis on my Transamerica bike ride - I really need to get a handle on what I can do to alleviate this - as don't want to have massive headaches on the bike day after day - that is for sure.

Thanks a million in advance for your thoughts - feel like a newbie all over again (as had 20 years off of the bike until 5 months ago .
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Old 05-28-19, 11:06 PM
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I think you should consult a doctor or your coach instead of asking people on the internet.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:07 AM
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Based on my experience in those conditions, you might be low in fluids and perhaps salt (aka electrolytes).

Try to weigh yourself before you roll out in the morning, and again when you get home. If you lost weight, it's water weight. Using myself as an example, I can sweat twice as much as I can drink in a hour; multiply that by 4-6 hours in the heat, and I can easily end up a gallon low after a long ride. That's plenty to cause headaches. Of course, if you drink too much and don't balance it with salt, that can cause headaches too. IIRC you need about 3 grams of salt per quart (liter), so that's 12 grams of salt to balance that gallon I need to drink. It's a lot. A baked potato with twice as much salt as any reasonable person would put on it, or a large bowl of pho, will start to make a dent in the salt deficit.

And force fluids at night. The three times you need to drink are: (1) any time you think about drinking; (2) any time you're not thinking about drinking; and (3) in between.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:55 AM
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When you get dehydrated it can last for days. CTS has a post about multi-day fueling and hydration: https://trainright.com/how-to-eat-an...ycling-events/

IME you should need to get up to pee at least once in the night, maybe twice, if you're adequately hydrated. And pee at least every 3 hours during the day. If you don't feel like peeing after 3 hours, sit in the shade and drink until you do - you haven't been drinking enough on the bike. On long hot rides, I always use a Camelbak filled with plain water and ice if I can get it.

For electrolytes, I have a plastic coin purse full of Endurolytes tucked up my shorts leg. I take 1/hour, but many people need more. I take enough Endurolytes to keep me thirsty, then drink to that thirst. Low on electrolytes means not getting thirsty and that leads to inadequate water consumption. If I wind up peeing too often, which is a great hassle, I'm obviously overdoing it. It takes practice to dial it in.

I get better results from keeping my daily salt consumption down. My normal diet is fairly low sodium, not for any reason other than ordinary good health. Sodium should be in balance with your other electrolytes.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:58 AM
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+1, it sure sounds like dehydration, even if you thought you drank and consumed enough electrolytes. Weighing yourself is a great idea.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:17 AM
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I'd recommend reading "Waterlogged" by Dr. Tim Noakes. My big take-away from the book was to listen to my thirst; the human body has evolved mechanisms to maintain the amount of water and salt it needs to function. Drinking too much water is more likely to mess one up than not drinking enough. One of my fastest ever brevets was done when I ran out of water and finished the last 50K without drinking anything else. I didn't even have any headaches or anything after the ride when I ate some food and drank some water up to being satiated.

Water isn't the only weight you lose when you exercise, all the carbon in the CO2 exhaled comes from your body or food consumed during the ride. There's always a lot of daily fluctuation with body weight too so using the before/after weight isn't really a full picture of how much water was lost to sweat; there's also water vapour in our breath.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:40 AM
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Unless you have to get up in the middle of the night, or have to go very urgently in the morning, you are probably dehydrated. It might also be eye-related. Make sure you have good, UV-opaque eye protection. Reflective ≠ UV-protection necessarily.
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Old 06-02-19, 10:09 PM
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You need to keep yourself on a "hydration schedule" while riding Use the elapsed time on a cycle computer and drink at least a bottle an hour with electrolytes. I have been an avid long distance rider for over forty years, I can tell you that as you get older, keeping hydrated becomes more important. At age 58, I have to drink a (tall) bottle of water every 45 minutes (minimum). One bottle an hour is not enough. I think that you need to adjust to your new age, since you took off twenty years.
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Old 06-06-19, 01:22 PM
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Thanks a million in advance for your thoughts - feel like a newbie all over again (as had 20 years off of the bike until 5 months ago .
Pretty funny - you discovered how to make yourself sick from working out. Take another twenty years off and see if you get better.

Or maybe back off from your "heat therapy training" -- and if you have the time and money see a doctor.
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Old 06-11-19, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Unless you have to get up in the middle of the night, or have to go very urgently in the morning, you are probably dehydrated. It might also be eye-related. Make sure you have good, UV-opaque eye protection. Reflective ≠ UV-protection necessarily.
Please explain.

I'm curious about this because I once did a 200+ mile ride on a warm sunny day without sunglasses (they fell out of my pocket at the start) -- and that night, I woke up around 1am with the worst headache I have every experienced. It was one of those 'lie on the bathroom floor next to the toilet because I might puke' headaches. I've still not figured out what was going on.
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Old 06-11-19, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Unless you have to get up in the middle of the night, or have to go very urgently in the morning, you are probably dehydrated. It might also be eye-related. Make sure you have good, UV-opaque eye protection. Reflective ≠ UV-protection necessarily.
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Please explain.

I'm curious about this because I once did a 200+ mile ride on a warm sunny day without sunglasses (they fell out of my pocket at the start) -- and that night, I woke up around 1am with the worst headache I have every experienced. It was one of those 'lie on the bathroom floor next to the toilet because I might puke' headaches. I've still not figured out what was going on.
I'm curious as well. I've had the usual dry and sore eyes if I don't wear sunglasses on a hot sunny day, but I had not considered a causal link to headaches the next morning.
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Old 06-11-19, 11:41 AM
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headaches are one of those things that are not fully understood. I imagine that eye strain could cause a headache for some, and if dehydration is truly ruled out, then maybe something related to eyes would be a consideration
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Old 06-15-19, 07:51 AM
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I wonder if bike fit, or your body getting used to your riding position after a long time off the bike, could be a factor? I know that strain/tension in certain muscle groups in your neck can cause headaches.

That said, I used to get next-day headaches after long backcountry skiing days. I think it was a combination of electrolytes and sun exposure/sunburn (compounded by altitude). They more or less went away when I began drinking a 1:1 ratio of sports drink to water and applying sunscreen way more frequently.
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Old 06-15-19, 09:30 AM
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you would think the OP would complain about neck/shoulder pain if it was a fit issue. I have definitely gotten headaches from my helmet.
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Old 06-15-19, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
I think you should consult a doctor or your coach instead of asking people on the internet.
Doctors are like bicycle mechanics: Some of them need to find a new profession and some of them are worth their weight in gold. Just because a doctor says something there is no reason to accept it as the only advice worth taking. I say educate yourself, and the OP is doing just that.

OP: Check your orthostatic blood pressure

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