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Otter Tail Country Tourism

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Biking in Hot Weather - Tips to Stay Safe

It's 90 degrees and extremely humid in Otter Tail Country as I write this. This weekend is going to be hot and it's only getting warmer next week, with highs between 95 and 100 and overnight lows as warm as 80. Pretty intense!

Well vacations don't stop because of high temperatures and some visitors have hopes of taking their bikes out and putting some miles on them thanks to Minnesota's beautiful roads and trails. It can be dangerous to bike in extreme temperatures, but it can also be a rewarding ride.

Bicycling magazine has some great tips on staying safe in the heat and getting the most out of your rides. Here's an excerpt from the article:


Morning vs. Evening
Avoiding the midday sun is an obvious way to duck the heat. But should you ride closer to when it rises or sets? You decide.

Air Temperature
Morning: Lowest after sunrise, but the day's not getting any cooler
Evening: Heat absorbed by road surfaces radiates and keeps air warm

Humidity
Morning: Cooler air has more relative moisture, so sweat evaporates slower and you take longer to cool
Evening: Drops as the temperature rises; sweat evaporates (and you cool off) faster

Body Temperature
Morning: Lower just after you wake up
Evening: Higher later in the day

Three More Ways To Chill


Deflect the sun. You learned in middle-school science that pale colors reflect light, while dark ones absorb it. But few of us can legitimately rock a blinding-white skinsuit. Instead, try Pearl Izumi's new dark-colored kit made with coldblack, a special fabric treatment designed to reflect sunlight. Jerseys, bibs, and shorts start at $100.

Ice your legs. Cyclists who soaked their lower bodies in cold water for 20 minutes before a 40-minute time trial on a hot day generated, on average, 20 more watts of power than when they skipped the soak, reports the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. No pool? The Transformer shorts ($110) made by clothing manufacturer 110% Play Harder come with ice packs that slip into built-in panels. Try wearing them for 20 minutes before riding on the hottest days.

Drink protein with carbs. The combo helped cyclists go faster inan eight-day race in 90-degree heat than those who fueled only with carbs. "Protein helps the body retain water, so there's more blood to divert to the skin to cool you," says study author Chris Easton, PhD. During a long ride, sip a drink with a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio, aiming for 56 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein per hour.

(Key Skill) Make A Preride Slushie
1 cup ice + 1 cup water + 1/4 cup sports drink
Icy-beverage devotees were stoked last year when research concluded that slurping a slushie before exercise helps you go 20 percent longer in the heat than sipping cold water. Toss the above ingredients into a blender. Start drinking 40 minutes pre-ride and try to finish it about five minutes before you roll.

Why It Works Your body shuttles warmth to your stomach and away from your extremities to melt the slushie, which prolongs the time it takes you to overheat, says study author Paul Laursen, PhD, a physiologist at the Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand. The electrolytes in the sports drink enhance hydration.


Have any tips you like to use when it's hot? Share with us in the comments section.

Stay cool and stay safe during this heat wave!

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posted by Al at

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