Most of us cyclists crave the sunshine and to escape the bad weather of our home countries. Cold and wet weather can make long rides harder, especially if you are not dressed for it.
As summer temperatures in Girona hit the thirties, cyclists can be challenged equally, but in very different ways. Having just nearly dehydrated and passed out on my training ride it’s time to take action and make use of some tips and tricks I have picked up over the years of living in hot countries (South America, California and now Spain).
Avoid the sun
As ridiculous as this sounds it is actually a great first step. If you can train early in the morning or later in the afternoon, you can avoid the peak temperatures of the day.
If you are like me you do not choose the times you train so we look to protect against it.
Obvious, I know, but we still see so many sun-burnt cyclists! For extra protection, use the highest factor you can find (50 or above) and apply regularly (you can get small transportable free samples from pharmacies/drug stores). A “lip-stick” protector is perfect for protecting those luscious lips and even a thicker sun block for your nose will reduce the panda effect from your glasses.
Never put sun screen above your eyes. I learnt this the hard way many years ago – it stings like hell! Normally, your helmet provides protection there anyway.
Wear white arm/leg warmers
Another option is to wear white thin arm and leg warmers. This could be a good call if you are fair skinned and plan to ride for several long days in the sun.
Use chamois cream
Extra heat means extra sweat and danger of chaffing. Chamois cream, especially one with a cooling effect is a great defense and feels so good!
Everybody is different but my rule of thumb, on a normal ride in normal temperatures, is one 500 ml bottle of fluid every hour. In hot temperatures I drink double that. Stick your bottles in the freezer the night before or fill them with ice. The ice melts within half an hour but it is cooler than it would be without this step!
Never go out without 2 full bottles and some money to stop at a garage and top up.
Electrolyte tabs are cheap, calorie free and replenish the loss of essential minerals through excessive sweating.
Wear light coloured clothing
White clothing does make a difference. I don’t have the scientific references, just years of trying black and white jerseys. It just so happens that the new Eat Sleep Cycle kit is perfect for hot weather. The material also has a wicking effect which also makes a difference.
This is a topic very close to my heart. I have horrendously wide feet and they grow a size in the Summer. I need to wear laced shoes and loosen to allow my feet to expand. I remove my shoes at every opportunity and once home apply a cooling lotion which has to be tried to be believed!
Don’t hang around in your kit
Us cyclists tend to love strutting about in our lycra in public in cafes and restaurants. Actually, if you want to stay clean and healthy, the best thing to do is to get out of your dirty kit immediately after the ride and have a good old clean before a beer. This will keep saddle sores and other non niceties away just a little bit longer.
Always carry a phone
Just common sense but should you become dizzy and disoriented, your phone can be used to ring a friend or emergency services.
Here’s to turning up the heat in Girona!