Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hot Hot Heat

By now, anyone living and breathing in the LA area is looking back on those awesome weeks at the end of May and earlier this month in which it felt like Spring was going to untie its sandals and stick around for a little while longer, and a little while longer at that. There was breeze, 65 degree temps, and a clear view of Downtown LA on a sunny day. Smog? What's that? Summer? Where? Then mid-June hit and that last little bit of Paradise was gone.

Now that Summer has clocked us with its heavy hand, anticipating the worst should be a given when it comes to cycling for purposes commute-oriented or recreational - because the last thing anyone wants to do is collapse of heat stroke. I mean, unless someone out there really gets off on such a thing. No? I thought not.

I've been running a lot lately, and as everyone knows, running and cycling are two entirely different activities. However, I've found that the risk of overheating and testing of the limits of one's body come all to easy in both forms of activity. Generally during the first twenty minutes, I'm fine. It's when the last 25-40 minutes are realized and powered through that, later, it is decided that running earlier in the day would have been a better option.

Would it be all to convenient that said option would always be present; what to do when it isn't?

Exercise of any kind, if you're lucky, will produce sweat, which will cool down your body. But in order to keep that process moving, replacing the water lost is imperative. The first order of business would be to drink more water. Not guzzle; eight ounces of water before the ride is sufficient, then eight to twelve ounces every 20 or so minutes, depending on the length of the ride. My bicycle has two water bottle holders and I always carry something extra in a bag, or a few dollars should I run out and have need to hit a convenience store. Camelbaks and other lightweight-enough fluid packs will also do the trick.

Also, don't forget the electrolytes. Emergen-C is a favorite, but any other will do, as well. I also had a friend who, when visiting Tokyo, was on an excursion in the summer. The humidity was so intense that even the local people wouldn't go out (much). Their guide suggested fruits - packed with nutrients and water - to help with their bodies and heads. So for those long rides, relatively or otherwise, fruit is never a bad idea either. It's plum, peach and nectarine season, right? The juicier, the better.

So just think about it - the last thing anyone wants to do is be out of their natural water stores and a long way from home. And don't think that because its early morning or a warm summer evening that the body is exempt from such care. A one-two punch of listening to your body and prepping it before heading out into the heat of day is the best thing you can do going into these hot summer months.