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Severe Heat and Fatigue

Old 07-08-21, 07:23 AM
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Rdmonster69
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Severe Heat and Fatigue

Had my longest ride of the year on Monday (7/5). I really wanted 62 miles/100K but when I got back to my car I was at 59 miles. My previous longest was 50 miles a few times this year. I wanted to turn a few laps of campus to get to 62 but I was absolutely spent. By the time I was finished it got up to 94 degrees and I spent the last 15 miles riding into a strong quartering wind.

I ate some snacks at 2 different points.... a bit more than on my 50 milers and consumed 5 large water bottles of plain water. I was expecting the fatigue but was surprised at how badly the heat affected me. Whenever I stopped for even a few seconds (to fill up my water bottles at the trail side water fountains) I was immediately drenched in sweat. I was also covered in gritty salt from all the sweating !! I mention that the heat affected me badly because I was feeling it for several hours after my ride finished. I had off and on headaches as I rode but again...nothing serious and they went away and didn't return after the first 30 miles or so. I also became very hungry in the last 10 miles or so of the ride.

Later I had trouble sleeping because my heart rate was quite elevated even 6 hours post ride. I could feel the heat radiating off me. I had a mild sunburn on my back but have had way worse. The trail is kind of shaded so I was out of the worst of the sun. I continued to hydrate after I finished my ride and was probably in the gallon range by the time I went to bed.

Not sure if it was the heat or the distance or what. I would like to push a little farther and feel like from a fitness standpoint I can do it . I think I need some tips on making sure I don't overheat.

Near the end I always have some pretty big problems with my neck and left knee due to some serious injuries mentioned in earlier threads. A head wind always makes it worse although that may be in my head. That's just pain I can deal with since a team of neuro and ortho surgeons say I wont hurt myself unless I have a serious get off or face plant in a wreck.

Any tips on beating the heat would be appreciated !!
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Old 07-08-21, 07:28 AM
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Get some lights and Start about 4:30 AM be finished at 10 or 11.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:34 AM
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Water is good, but you have to replace the electrolytes you are losing through your sweat (that gritty salt thing.) I will usually bring some packets of Gatorade powder to add to my bottles at refill stations, when I can find them.

Heat exhaustion is no laughing matter. I keep an eye on my heart rate with a HRM and display on my Garmin. If I notice my recovery time after a short effort starts to get too long (and 6 hours post ride is WAY too long) I know it's time to back it down, maybe even find a shady spot to sit and drink a bottle.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Had my longest ride of the year on Monday (7/5). I really wanted 62 miles/100K but when I got back to my car I was at 59 miles. My previous longest was 50 miles a few times this year. I wanted to turn a few laps of campus to get to 62 but I was absolutely spent. By the time I was finished it got up to 94 degrees and I spent the last 15 miles riding into a strong quartering wind.

I ate some snacks at 2 different points.... a bit more than on my 50 milers and consumed 5 large water bottles of plain water. I was expecting the fatigue but was surprised at how badly the heat affected me. Whenever I stopped for even a few seconds (to fill up my water bottles at the trail side water fountains) I was immediately drenched in sweat. I was also covered in gritty salt from all the sweating !! I mention that the heat affected me badly because I was feeling it for several hours after my ride finished. I had off and on headaches as I rode but again...nothing serious and they went away and didn't return after the first 30 miles or so. I also became very hungry in the last 10 miles or so of the ride.

Later I had trouble sleeping because my heart rate was quite elevated even 6 hours post ride. I could feel the heat radiating off me. I had a mild sunburn on my back but have had way worse. The trail is kind of shaded so I was out of the worst of the sun. I continued to hydrate after I finished my ride and was probably in the gallon range by the time I went to bed.

Not sure if it was the heat or the distance or what. I would like to push a little farther and feel like from a fitness standpoint I can do it . I think I need some tips on making sure I don't overheat.

Near the end I always have some pretty big problems with my neck and left knee due to some serious injuries mentioned in earlier threads. A head wind always makes it worse although that may be in my head. That's just pain I can deal with since a team of neuro and ortho surgeons say I wont hurt myself unless I have a serious get off or face plant in a wreck.

Any tips on beating the heat would be appreciated !!
I知 not a fan of heat - my ideal temp is in the low 60s, and anything into the 80s saps my endurance. I lived in AR for years, and during the dog days of late July/Aug, the only way to beat the heat was to start early - at or before dawn if possible, with the goal
of being back by ~10 am. Hydrate obv. I also wear a bandanna around my neck - keeps the sun off, and I wet it periodically, so the evaporation keeps it cool. Loads of SPF100 sunblock (I知 Irish, so I値l burn beside a bright light bulb). Also accept that you池e not going to be (nor should be) attempting anything heroic in high heat - that sh1t痴 dangerous

Last edited by Litespud; 07-08-21 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:38 AM
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I have type 2 diabetes which causes me to be more heat intolerant, anything much above 80 degrees gets intolerable very fast. We have been experiencing a lot of triple digits lately which has forced me to start my rides much earlier to enjoy them. I知 planning my next century for this month and it looks like I値l be starting around 9pm riding into the early hours. Heat stroke is not something to be toyed with.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:45 AM
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I don't know where you are, but here in the high, dry climes of Colorado wearing moisture-wicking activewear creates evaporative cooling while moving, or stationary with wind. It seems counter intuitive to cover up, but at this altitude (~6500 feet) it works for me. I find that un-tucked loose-ish short-sleeve jersey with snug sun-sleeves and a neck-gaiter works well and allows oncoming air to blow up the short sleeve and cool the arm-pits, as well as blow down the neck-line and sometimes up from the waist. I also wear a wicking skull-cap under my helmet. Again, it seems wrong, but once under motion it cools my bald pate.

I also found that caffeine and electrolytes help, and that popping Nuun caffeinated electrolyte tablets in my water bottles helps.

I'm not sure if all this would work in a humid climate, but I wanted to share what works for me.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
...consumed 5 large water bottles of plain water.
Don't try this again without replacing sodium. Seriously. You can't hold onto intravascular fluid volume without it and it could explain much of what you experienced. Drink enough water without Na+ on a hot ride and you'll find yourself in brain swelling and seizures, potentially fatal-type trouble.

Sugar is also needed to facilitate Na+ and K+ uptake from the gut and K+ uptake into cells. Use any electrolyte replacement drink.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Water is good, but you have to replace the electrolytes you are losing through your sweat (that gritty salt thing.) I will usually bring some packets of Gatorade powder to add to my bottles at refill stations, when I can find them.

Heat exhaustion is no laughing matter. I keep an eye on my heart rate with a HRM and display on my Garmin. If I notice my recovery time after a short effort starts to get too long (and 6 hours post ride is WAY too long) I know it's time to back it down, maybe even find a shady spot to sit and drink a bottle.
I knew I had issues when I could tell my heart rate up still when I got home. As a medical professional with 3 decades experience I should have known better. The problem was it was about 78 when I started and I didn't know it was going to get so damn hot. I just geared up and went. I may have to bite the bullet and get up as early as possible...which I hate as I am in no way a morning person !! That is good advice tho. The Gatorade powder would be a smart idea as well.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Don't try this again without replacing sodium. Seriously. You can't hold onto intravascular fluid volume without it and it could explain much of what you experienced. Drink enough water without Na+ on a hot ride and you'll find yourself in brain swelling and seizures, potentially fatal-type trouble.

Sugar is also needed to facilitate Na+ and K+ uptake from the gut and K+ uptake into cells. Use any electrolyte replacement drink.
Point taken. The snacks I had contained some sodium but I am sure not nearly enough. My brain is probably to small to swell enough to hurt me !!
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Old 07-08-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post

I'm not sure if all this would work in a humid climate, but I wanted to share what works for me.
I know it was humid as all get out on Monday. Typical central Indiana summer. It rained for about three days straight and the humidity was off the scale Monday....felt like riding through soup.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
My brain is probably to small to swell enough to hurt me !!
Heh. Orthopod? Doesn't take much.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:54 AM
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Yep, gotta get out early and pump those electrolytes. I had my only heat exhaustion event about 4 years ago and since then it's harder to tolerate the heat. I did 60 myself yesterday and the temps were close to 100 for the final 15. I altered my route and backed off my effort to finish. I also screwed up and didn't bring more powder for the water bottles when I filled back up around mile 45. Heading out in a few minutes for another 50 miler and this time you better believe I'm taking more powder in a bag with me. I'm also heading out about an hour earlier than I have the rest of this week. If you feel really hot, quit! Don't risk a heat injury.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:58 AM
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spread the ride out if you can. i did a 84 miler the friday before your ride. my longest in over 20 years. i have a stop i go to in Carson City for coffee, enjoy it and fresh ice water for about 20 minutes then back on the saddle. next stop Incline Village off Lake Tahoe for another coffee and more fresh ice water. it was upper 90s that day but the two rests helped a lot especially with the amount of climbing i had to do, ~8000 feet, most ever in one ride for me.

i will admit that i was whipped the next day, not sore, just slow. i had to do a tiling job and taught my 16 yr daughter how to drive a wet tile saw. she cut through that granite tile like it was a hot knife though butter. glad she was there because did i mention i was tired that day?
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Old 07-08-21, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I'm not sure if all this would work in a humid climate,
Unfortunately, evaporative cooling doesn't happen with relatively high humidity like today (again) in Philly. We have been having dew points over 70. 70 is considered oppressive. I walked to work this morning. Took about 25 minutes at a moderate pace. Temperature was probably a bit below 80. My wicking shirt got very wet with sweat.

I sure miss riding out west where it is dry. 90 can feel a lot cooler. I remember car camping at Lake Powell in UT. It was really hot but so dry that I would get out of the water I would get goose bumps from evaporative cooling then get hot again after the skin was dry. The day we did a century to Sisters, OR, during the 2003 edition of Cycle Oregon it was easily in the low 90s but so dry my skin showed no signs of sweat and I did not feel overly hot.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Heh. Orthopod? Doesn't take much.
LoL !! Just a run of the mill Registered Respiratory Therapist with board certifications as a neonatal/pediatric specialist as well as a Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist. After my car accident I got to meet the director of orthopedic trauma surgery at Methodist Hospital who became intimately familiar with my lower leg. He worked hard to make sure my leg worked right again. He wasn't sure if it would or not. I saw my pre op CT at my last Ortho appointment. Looked like a bomb went off at the top of my shin bone. He used the phrase "miraculous recovery from a devastating knee injury".

My bike doesn't have any titanium in it but my knee and my neck are chock full of the stuff.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I don't know where you are, but here in the high, dry climes of Colorado wearing moisture-wicking activewear creates evaporative cooling while moving, or stationary with wind. It seems counter intuitive to cover up, but at this altitude (~6500 feet) it works for me. I find that un-tucked loose-ish short-sleeve jersey with snug sun-sleeves and a neck-gaiter works well and allows oncoming air to blow up the short sleeve and cool the arm-pits, as well as blow down the neck-line and sometimes up from the waist. I also wear a wicking skull-cap under my helmet. Again, it seems wrong, but once under motion it cools my bald pate.

I also found that caffeine and electrolytes help, and that popping Nuun caffeinated electrolyte tablets in my water bottles helps.

I'm not sure if all this would work in a humid climate, but I wanted to share what works for me.
For me...moisture wicking clothing makes me hotter and more uncomfortable overall than a pure cotton tee shirt.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
Had my longest ride of the year on Monday (7/5). I really wanted 62 miles/100K but when I got back to my car I was at 59 miles. My previous longest was 50 miles a few times this year. I wanted to turn a few laps of campus to get to 62 but I was absolutely spent. By the time I was finished it got up to 94 degrees and I spent the last 15 miles riding into a strong quartering wind.

I ate some snacks at 2 different points.... a bit more than on my 50 milers and consumed 5 large water bottles of plain water. I was expecting the fatigue but was surprised at how badly the heat affected me. Whenever I stopped for even a few seconds (to fill up my water bottles at the trail side water fountains) I was immediately drenched in sweat. I was also covered in gritty salt from all the sweating !! I mention that the heat affected me badly because I was feeling it for several hours after my ride finished. I had off and on headaches as I rode but again...nothing serious and they went away and didn't return after the first 30 miles or so. I also became very hungry in the last 10 miles or so of the ride.

Later I had trouble sleeping because my heart rate was quite elevated even 6 hours post ride. I could feel the heat radiating off me. I had a mild sunburn on my back but have had way worse. The trail is kind of shaded so I was out of the worst of the sun. I continued to hydrate after I finished my ride and was probably in the gallon range by the time I went to bed.

Not sure if it was the heat or the distance or what. I would like to push a little farther and feel like from a fitness standpoint I can do it . I think I need some tips on making sure I don't overheat.

Near the end I always have some pretty big problems with my neck and left knee due to some serious injuries mentioned in earlier threads. A head wind always makes it worse although that may be in my head. That's just pain I can deal with since a team of neuro and ortho surgeons say I wont hurt myself unless I have a serious get off or face plant in a wreck.

Any tips on beating the heat would be appreciated !!
I have found certain snacks really tire me out. Bananas and energy bars destroy me. Lots of water and an orange helps me the best.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:19 AM
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The electrolytes are important but also note that Gatorade has a ton of sodium and not so much potassium. Something like a Nuun tablet has a bit more potassium and less sodium - and very little sugar, which also has it's place.

I'll typically do just water for an easy ride, then water with Nuun. By the time it's really hot I'm putting a Nuun tablet in Gatorade. Then towards evening this runs in reverse - though 5 or 6 pm can still be brutal. I also try to keep a bottle of unmixed water so I can chase with a mouthful of that.

Mixing Gatorade powder on a ride is far more time consuming and messy than one would think. I thought the answer would be narrow portion baggies but not convinced that's working any better than my previous method of wide snack baggies and cutting off the end to dump into a bottle.

If I'm having to pay anyway (water fountains seem sadly rare in my routes) sometimes I'll be good and get a gallon or 3L water some of which to mix, some to keep plain, and the rest to wash and wet sunsleeves with. But if I have a riding goal, the time savings of buying a premixed bottle has proven worth it. The only problem is quadruple checking to be sure I'm not accidentally buying zero-cal! It still sneaks in sometimes, and it's not what I want mid-day. That said I'll sometimes grab one sugar and one fake later in the day to use the common 2/$3 deal at convenience stores.

I've also discovered lately I tend to underestimate what I'm going to drink within say 15 minutes of a refill stop, and find my resupply half gone right after I got it, so I'm thinking more about a third bottle that's only used for the first few miles after mid-day refills.

Sun protection is important too, systemically as well as for the skin specific concerns. I opt for the cover-up route - long sleeves, full gloves, in hot weather this is just as cool given evaporation, it's shoulder season where it might later get cold that it can be a problem. I also do a helmet brim, but that goes more with touring vs roadie speeds.

I had an earlier question about hot weather food for which someone mentioned Ensure-type shakes. There is some potential there and I'll typically bring a few for an all day distance ride. I've found though that I have to stop at half of one and ride a while longer before finishing the rest, downing one at a go leads to an unstable-feeling stomach.

Last edited by UniChris; 07-08-21 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
LoL !! Just a run of the mill Registered Respiratory Therapist with board certifications as a neonatal/pediatric specialist as well as a Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist. After my car accident I got to meet the director of orthopedic trauma surgery at Methodist Hospital who became intimately familiar with my lower leg. He worked hard to make sure my leg worked right again. He wasn't sure if it would or not. I saw my pre op CT at my last Ortho appointment. Looked like a bomb went off at the top of my shin bone. He used the phrase "miraculous recovery from a devastating knee injury".

My bike doesn't have any titanium in it but my knee and my neck are chock full of the stuff.
Nice! Glad you got good care and made it back to full function.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:38 AM
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The salt all over usually means you were not acclimated. It takes 1-2 weeks of regular exercise in the heat to acclimate but as a medical professional, I guess you know that. Your plasma volume will increase a lot. You will sweat much more but will retain you electrolytes better. If you are fat, lose it.....this helps me. Wear white arm coolers and splash water on them. Evaporation is the best way to cool down. When you are descending, instead of braking, pull the bottom of your jersey open and let the wind flow over your entire upper body exiting your neck area, I find this very effective after a long climb.

The best advice I can give in extreme heat, slow down the pace. Recovery from overheating can take a long, long time.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Nice! Glad you got good care and made it back to full function.
Thanks, When big time docs visit you at 2 AM you pay attention. The first one said that it was really important for me to lay as still as possible until the surgery team was assembled and to try and not "overpower my cervical immobilizer" by turning my head.

The ortho doc simply told me that I wouldn't lose my leg but I would have a limp probably and some level of disability. Probably need a cane. Here I am 7 months later ....no limp (except in the morning) and no cane.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
The salt all over usually means you were not acclimated. It takes 1-2 weeks of regular exercise in the heat to acclimate but as a medical professional, I guess you know that. Your plasma volume will increase a lot. You will sweat much more but will retain you electrolytes better. If you are fat, lose it.....this helps me. Wear white arm coolers and splash water on them. Evaporation is the best way to cool down. When you are descending, instead of braking, pull the bottom of your jersey open and let the wind flow over your entire upper body exiting your neck area, I find this very effective after a long climb.

The best advice I can give in extreme heat, slow down the pace. Recovery from overheating can take a long, long time.
Thanks god I am not fat......but I should be acclimated to the heat. As soon as my docs cleared me I started riding and that was the first week of May.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Recovery from overheating can take a long, long time.
Indeed, as can that from other related issues like electrolyte or fluids depletion.

It can take hours of doing everything right to get from pressing on back to riding well.

Something that got me a few times was being joined by others for a couple of hours early in what would personally be a long day. I'd try to be polite vs call a halt to mix this or eat or drink that in the way I would if alone. Hours later into the continuing solo ride, I'd pay for having deferred that necessary maintenance.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:52 AM
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I started a thread not so long ago where people contributed many good tips.

https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...king-tips.html

I'll put the summary below. I would make sure to keep track of your heart rate next time and take a break and/or pack it in if you start overheating like that again. I had one bad episode last year and have been pretty diligent on monitoring since then.
  • Biking early, and if that is not possible, biking at night. I'm not an early bird but I am working on getting up early for biking. Today I made it out the door at 8:30AM which is still a lot cooler than a couple hours later. But if I had gotten going at 6AM it would have been 5-10 degrees cooler still.
  • Using an insulated water bottle with ice. I just started doing this, it is surprising how nice it feels to take a drink of ice water!
  • Bring an extra bottle of ice water to squirt on yourself, in particular on the head. Thought about doing this but have not tried yet.
  • Pick routes with more shade and more valleys. Shade is at least 10F cooler than the sun, often more.
  • Super lightweight biking gear. I just got a jersey and shorts designed for very hot weather, it is almost see-through. I'm not sure this is really worth it though, it doesn't seem to make a large difference. Or maybe it is just hard to tell. Do be aware that thin jerseys on sunny rides may need sunscreen under them.
  • Easing up on heavy intervals in the sunny parts, saving them for more shady or cooler portions of the ride.
  • Stay hydrated! I really screwed up on this a few times, the body loses an immense amount of water in the heat. Now I can tell if I am dehydrating by looking at my heart rate, it is a notch higher than it should be when I am dehydrated. Of course the goal is to never get to that point.
  • Stay off of roads with lots of stop lights in the sun. You fry just sitting there with no convective cooling.
  • Long, steep uphills all in the sun are also not good for a similar reason.
  • Plan rest stops where you know there will be shade.
  • Water and/or ice around your neck: ice in a bandana, cold cloth around your neck, etc.
  • Wear your ice water so the ice will be cooling you: either put smaller bladders with frozen water in your back pockets, or freeze a Camelbak bladder.
  • Re-stock up on ice (and fluids) at convenience stores.. use the ice advantage for the whole ride, not just the first part.
  • Wear a well-ventilated helmet.
  • Use a heart-rate monitor, it will let you see if your heart is higher than normal given your power output. Too-high means you are over-heating, you are dehydrated, or both. Having a power meter makes this more accurate, when you are over-heating your mind is also over-heating and objective power perception isn't likely to happen.
  • Make sure there is electrolyte in your bottles, you will be sweating more and needing the replenishment more. I always put in electrolytes hot or cold.
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Old 07-08-21, 09:12 AM
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genejockey 
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As others have said, the '5 large bottles of plain water' was a big red flag for me. Any ride over 90 minutes, I'd have a sports drink in my bottles, either just electrolytes like Nuun, or with carbs. You're not sweating pure water, so you have to replace what you're losing.
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