Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Cycling in hot and humid environment

Notices
Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Cycling in hot and humid environment

Old 06-30-22, 03:29 PM
  #1  
Redbullet
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 187 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 21 Posts
Cycling in hot and humid environment

How to deal better with this?
I was cycling many times at 36 C temperature with just a little discomfort, when air humidity was normal. But cycling at only 31-33 C with high air humidity is a real pain, 10-20% less efficient and unjustified high heart rate. Hydration is not an issue, with almost two liters of liquid with minerals for 2 hours.
I am just wondering how pros are dealing with this, since I never heard about failing a race due to warm air and high humidity.
Redbullet is offline  
Old 06-30-22, 03:35 PM
  #2  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 38,470

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 527 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18271 Post(s)
Liked 5,253 Times in 2,571 Posts
Need more fluids because sweat is less effective. Watch the pros in these conditions, they will get ice packs from the team car sometimes.
__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
datlas is offline  
Likes For datlas:
Old 06-30-22, 03:40 PM
  #3  
MoAlpha
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,016

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8348 Post(s)
Liked 4,320 Times in 2,326 Posts
Acclimate, hydrate, replace sodium, ride conservatively. Other than active cooling, there is literally nothing else to do.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 06-30-22, 04:44 PM
  #4  
surak
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,751

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 773 Post(s)
Liked 625 Times in 361 Posts
The Real Science of Sport podcast covered this. Pros are getting the right hydration and will do heat acclimatization training, but that's not what separates them from amateurs. You'll still see pros dunking water over their heads and putting ice packs behind their necks, but their fitness gives them a lot more headroom on the thermometer before they suffer as much as amateurs do.
surak is offline  
Likes For surak:
Old 06-30-22, 04:59 PM
  #5  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,868
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4816 Post(s)
Liked 4,234 Times in 2,278 Posts
I think acclimation is the key. If you aren't prepared it's going to suck a lot more.
And of course drink and eat.
big john is offline  
Likes For big john:
Old 06-30-22, 06:35 PM
  #6  
MoAlpha
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,016

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8348 Post(s)
Liked 4,320 Times in 2,326 Posts
Originally Posted by surak View Post
The Real Science of Sport podcast covered this. Pros are getting the right hydration and will do heat acclimatization training, but that's not what separates them from amateurs. You'll still see pros dunking water over their heads and putting ice packs behind their necks, but their fitness gives them a lot more headroom on the thermometer before they suffer as much as amateurs do.
Excellent point. I can’t find a quick number for how much the heat response expands the vascular space that the heart has to pump blood through, but it’s big and you need big reserves to perform under those conditions, especially with the inevitable volume loss due to sweating.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 06-30-22, 08:02 PM
  #7  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,365
Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5102 Post(s)
Liked 7,466 Times in 3,243 Posts
I was out on a very hot ride a couple weeks ago, and another rider put a handful of ice cubes down the back of my jersey neck. With a snug jersey, the ice just kind of sat there between my shoulder blades and cooled me for a little while. It was a neat trick that I'd never known about before that day.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 06-30-22, 08:26 PM
  #8  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,868
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4816 Post(s)
Liked 4,234 Times in 2,278 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Excellent point. I cant find a quick number for how much the heat response expands the vascular space that the heart has to pump blood through, but its big and you need big reserves to perform under those conditions, especially with the inevitable volume loss due to sweating.
I think it was RacerEx who posted some data about using an ice vest on a trainer, and even outside. Of course I don't remember any of it but it was obvious how it made a difference in performance.
big john is offline  
Likes For big john:
Old 07-01-22, 04:01 AM
  #9  
MoAlpha
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,016

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8348 Post(s)
Liked 4,320 Times in 2,326 Posts
Originally Posted by big john View Post
I think it was RacerEx who posted some data about using an ice vest on a trainer, and even outside. Of course I don't remember any of it but it was obvious how it made a difference in performance.
I have an absorbent wrap that cools the neck vessels by evaporation. Never tried it on the bike, but it certainly works on the boat. Just feels a bit clammy.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 05:37 AM
  #10  
AlgarveCycling
Full Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 425
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked 291 Times in 163 Posts
I add electrolytes to my bottles to help. Anyone racing in high temps and humidity will be doing this; adding SiS Go! or something similar to their water.

Where I live now it isn't too bad, humidity is not high albeit temperatures can get over 40C in peak Summer. Where I used to live, in Durban, South Africa, it is both hot and humid so we used ice - placed cubes in our bottles.


AlgarveCycling is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 07:48 AM
  #11  
beng1
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 366 Post(s)
Liked 160 Times in 80 Posts
Go out very early in the morning before it gets hot.
beng1 is offline  
Likes For beng1:
Old 07-01-22, 09:58 AM
  #12  
Iride01
MotuekaCascadeChinook
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,125

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4496 Post(s)
Liked 3,011 Times in 2,101 Posts
It's something you do have to get use too. High humidity and high temps do sap my energy more noticeably. But not to be left out for seriousness, being in a hot dry climate might also leave you not realizing how bad you are until you are really bad off and very dehydrated.

Humidity over 90% on days at 90 - 95F (32 - 35C) does immediately feels worse than even 100F at just 60% humidity. But with the higher humidity it seems I always know that I need to drink more and search for ways to stay cool. With high temps in low humidity, I sometimes find I don't hydrate as well as I should and also don't realize when my body is way too hot until it's almost too late.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 07-01-22, 11:02 AM
  #13  
bamboobike4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 1,046
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 352 Post(s)
Liked 535 Times in 321 Posts
What I learned on summer vacation:

Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) in 2019 kicked my tail, heat index 100-105 from 10 am to 7 pm or later, and the ride is 165 miles long.
Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW) in 2019 found me bonking at 183 miles. Cramps and generally bad.

Before 2021: 1 century a year, maybe. 2-3 metrics, and when I rode in 90+ degrees, I took 2 water bottles and limited myself to 55 miles or so.
I knew what didn't work: alcohol consumption, water only, not pacing, and too long at rest stops.
As a former consistently 2:30-2:40 marathoner, I only drank water. I thought I was good. NOT.

2021: 16 centuries in 11 states, including Hotter'N Hell Hundred in Texas, a 228-miler (RAW) and training rides from 50 to 150 miles, in the heat of the summer.

When planning 2021, we asked advice from 3 cyclists, all over 60 or pushing 60, who were stronger than us.
They'd had heart issues, cancer, etc. Tough as nails. Myself: 1 minor heart attack and a minor stroke.

They were all about:
1-Consistent daily hydration: water, tea, non-sugary stuff. None drank sodas or sugary drinks.
2-Moderate alcohol at the most, moderate caffeine at the most.
3-Preparation and staying ahead of the hydration curve on rides.

We formed a group and planned for our 228-miler by riding in the heat all summer, establishing a routine and getting to know each other's style and being able to spot any issues. We also practiced 2-minute pulls in a pace line, ride etiquette, and communicating. In the heat, good habits help a lot.

Pre-ride hydration:
No alcohol within 2 days.
1 hour before: a concentrated hydration drink. Some used Hammer products only, some used other brands. I used Skratch Hyper (sea-water!).

Ride hydration:
First two bottles, sort of keep the prep hydration going. I used 50/50 Beta Red and Skratch (regular). Stay ahead of the curve. Others used their preferred brands.
Every bottle thereafter included a product, be it Nuun, Hammer, Fizz, DripDrop (which we all liked the best). I've since switched to Ultimate.
10-mile maximum gaps between "cheers!" reminders. 1 bottle per 20 miles became about the standard, and we timed stops to find stores, etc with ice/water. Carried our products.

Recovery hydration:
Low-fat chocolate milk or ice tea with honey.
We did drink alcohol after, but that buzz came cheap.
We simply avoided sugar pretty much all the time, very moderate on caffeine and alcohol.

We did several centuries above 90 degrees, one above 100. We were fine. We did a 100/100 3 weeks before the double, and 150 2 weeks before, both weekend in the upper 90's. The hydration scheme worked well. Each was left to their own on clothing, caps, sleeves, etc, but the sun is not your friend for those kind of miles. I switched from Chamois Butter to Diznutz for it's ability to withstand sweat, and I switched from padded saddles to straight carbon for the ability to move around. Others did what was comfortable for them.

Results: No cramping, no bonking across the group. Plenty of PR's in the group on 100's and even metrics, Climbing PR's, etc etc.
Exception: don't give blood on Tuesday and do a 8,000' century on Saturday, or follow that with a 9,000' century in 90-degrees the next Saturday.

The mileage paid off. One member didn't want to do more than a couple 100-milers before the 228. He didn't do the back-back weekend or the 150, preferring a different regimen. He weakened considerably at about 165, but due to his hydration routine, actually recovered well by 185 and we were good to the end. His hydration helped him overcome his mileage deficiency.

Hotter'n Hell Hundred: Easy-peasey, and really, it only got to 100 during the last half, just the 90's in the first half.

All I can say is that it was a great time from May to September, and consistently planning and carrying out the routine made it doable.

Your results may vary, but when I go out now, over 50 miles, I pre-hydrate and keep at it.
bamboobike4 is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 11:16 AM
  #14  
koala logs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 560
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 284 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 110 Posts
Wearing jersey you can unzip all the way down will help a lot.

Pacing will matter more for long rides in hot and humid. This could mean slowing down a bit. Don't expect to push as hard as you can on much lower temperatures or you'll overheat and possibly get heatstroke.
koala logs is offline  
Likes For koala logs:
Old 07-01-22, 11:21 AM
  #15  
Zaskar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 626
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 388 Post(s)
Liked 174 Times in 107 Posts
In Atlanta - part of the Sweat Belt - we either deal with high temps and high humidity or wait 'til October to ride. I agree with beng1 - the simplest and most effective solution is to just ride early in the morning. The past two weeks saw temps near or over 100 with high humidity. But at 6am, the temps were in the mid- to upper 60s. My club rides at 6am during the week. On weekends, we start at 7 or 7:30 depending on the expected noon temp. Even down here, it's rarely above the upper 80s by noon.
Zaskar is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 11:25 AM
  #16  
bamboobike4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 1,046
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 352 Post(s)
Liked 535 Times in 321 Posts
Originally Posted by Zaskar View Post
In Atlanta - part of the Sweat Belt - we either deal with high temps and high humidity or wait 'til October to ride. I agree with beng1 - the simplest and most effective solution is to just ride early in the morning. The past two weeks saw temps near or over 100 with high humidity. But at 6am, the temps were in the mid- to upper 60s. My club rides at 6am during the week. On weekends, we start at 7 or 7:30 depending on the expected noon temp. Even down here, it's rarely above the upper 80s by noon.
I did the Battle of Atlanta (Peachtree 10K) that year it was 100+
Not the finest hour for anyone, or even half-hour.
bamboobike4 is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 11:48 AM
  #17  
terrymorse 
climber has-been
 
terrymorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 4,613

Bikes: Scott Addict R1

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1238 Post(s)
Liked 1,046 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
I add electrolytes to my bottles to help. Anyone racing in high temps and humidity will be doing this;
Electrolyte requirement especially sodium goes way up on long and hot rides.

The last time I did Climb to Kaiser was on the hottest day of the year, in an already hot part of California. My computer recorded 120F near the end of the ride.

My ride time was a little under 9 hours, and even though I was drinking Gatorade from the aid stations, it wasn't enough. I ended up in the Clovis emergency department with hyponatremia. Unpleasant and dangerous.
__________________
Ride, Rest, Repeat



terrymorse is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 12:31 PM
  #18  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,868
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4816 Post(s)
Liked 4,234 Times in 2,278 Posts
Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Electrolyte requirement especially sodium goes way up on long and hot rides.

The last time I did Climb to Kaiser was on the hottest day of the year, in an already hot part of California. My computer recorded 120F near the end of the ride.

My ride time was a little under 9 hours, and even though I was drinking Gatorade from the aid stations, it wasn't enough. I ended up in the Clovis emergency department with hyponatremia. Unpleasant and dangerous.
I remember that story. I think you said you got a little relief from eating the salt on your skin? One of my club mates did RAAM solo for the first time when he was about 60 and suffered hyponatremia and had to be hospitalized. He gained about 15 pounds of water weight and couldn't put his shoes on. DNF.

The next year he came back and became the first over 60 finisher in the race. He learned a lot by failing.
big john is offline  
Likes For big john:
Old 07-01-22, 01:12 PM
  #19  
Tomm Willians
Senior Member
 
Tomm Willians's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Nevada County, California
Posts: 592

Bikes: Subject to change at any given moment but currently is...... Colnago Mapei, Colnago C40, Wilier Triestina Carbon, Wilier Triestina Ramato, Follis 472, Peugeot PX60, Razesa, Orbea Terra, Soma Pescadero and 1/2 owner of a Santana tandem.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 247 Post(s)
Liked 581 Times in 186 Posts
I wish I could ride in warmer weather but Im extremely prone to heat related issues. Below freezing doesnt bother me near as much at triple digits.
Tomm Willians is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 01:36 PM
  #20  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,722
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1601 Post(s)
Liked 1,321 Times in 830 Posts
What I found works best when temps are over 100F and humidity is high? Slow way down.

When I did the TransAm Bike Race, it was 100-120F but dry in the West and low 100F with super high humidity towards Mississippi and Ohio River areas. There is no way to shed all the heat from riding hard in humid conditions. Conduction and convection are useless with those conditions. Radiational cooling work in the dark. Evaporative cooling is basically all you have unless you use ice and in hot humid conditions, evaporation is more limited than say out West with low humidity air. It is also very hard to replace all of your fluids riding in very hot and dry conditions for 12-16 hours per day but it can be done. If you're skinny and acclimated, you can ride harder than unacclimated and chubby in humid temps but eventually your core is going to get hot. I found riding slower worked fine.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 07-01-22, 02:04 PM
  #21  
MoAlpha
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,016

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8348 Post(s)
Liked 4,320 Times in 2,326 Posts
Originally Posted by big john View Post
I remember that story. I think you said you got a little relief from eating the salt on your skin? One of my club mates did RAAM solo for the first time when he was about 60 and suffered hyponatremia and had to be hospitalized. He gained about 15 pounds of water weight and couldn't put his shoes on. DNF.

The next year he came back and became the first over 60 finisher in the race. He learned a lot by failing.
While virtually all heat casualties are hyponatremic to some extent, this kind of "normal" sodium deficiency has to be distinguished from water intoxication, which is what it sounds like your friend had. Drinking too much during hot weather exercise may seem unlikely, but it's a significant danger and can be deadly. Unfortunately, data I've seen suggest no reduction of risk from consumption of sports drinks instead of plain water. I still suspect sodium supplemented drinks help, but the observational data available don't pick up the signal for some reason.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 07-01-22, 02:49 PM
  #22  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,868
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4816 Post(s)
Liked 4,234 Times in 2,278 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
While virtually all heat casualties are hyponatremic to some extent, this kind of "normal" sodium deficiency has to be distinguished from water intoxication, which is what it sounds like your friend had. Drinking too much during hot weather exercise may seem unlikely, but it's a significant danger and can be deadly. Unfortunately, data I've seen suggest no reduction of risk from consumption of sports drinks instead of plain water. I still suspect sodium supplemented drinks help, but the observational data available don't pick up the signal for some reason.
There have been a number of deaths at the L.A. Marathon attributed to hyponatremia. These have typically been people who are relatively untrained and had spent upwards of 5 hours on course, likely guzzling water and nothing else.

I've felt that as long as I continue to eat as well as drink lots of water I should be protected and I am more likely to dehydrate than over-water. I've suffered terrible nausea on a few hot climbing rides and hope to not repeat that.
big john is offline  
Old 07-01-22, 03:26 PM
  #23  
terrymorse 
climber has-been
 
terrymorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 4,613

Bikes: Scott Addict R1

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1238 Post(s)
Liked 1,046 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by big john View Post
I remember that story. I think you said you got a little relief from eating the salt on your skin?
You remember correctly. I was throwing up every few minutes, so I couldn't take in any salt. I was alone in a wheelchair in the hallway of the Clovis Emergency Department for hours (waiting room was full), so I started licking my arms.

After about 1/2 hour of arm licking, the vomiting stopped and I was able to lift my head, so I left. Never saw a doctor. I was fine by the next day.

Lesson learned.
__________________
Ride, Rest, Repeat



terrymorse is offline  
Likes For terrymorse:
Old 07-01-22, 04:01 PM
  #24  
MoAlpha
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,016

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8348 Post(s)
Liked 4,320 Times in 2,326 Posts
Originally Posted by big john View Post
There have been a number of deaths at the L.A. Marathon attributed to hyponatremia. These have typically been people who are relatively untrained and had spent upwards of 5 hours on course, likely guzzling water and nothing else.

I've felt that as long as I continue to eat as well as drink lots of water I should be protected and I am more likely to dehydrate than over-water. I've suffered terrible nausea on a few hot climbing rides and hope to not repeat that.
Dehydration is inevitable and tolerable to a degree. Water intoxication is not. Youre an old dog and know what youre doing.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 07-01-22, 04:44 PM
  #25  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 19,868
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4816 Post(s)
Liked 4,234 Times in 2,278 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Dehydration is inevitable and tolerable to a degree. Water intoxication is not. Youre an old dog and know what youre doing.
Woof woof!
big john is offline  
Likes For big john:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.