Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Briefly about me: 30yo, first year of having top 10 pace in elite mtb racing at state level.

I did a race this last weekend where I felt really good and in my rhythm where I know I'm competitive and should place well. But there was an insane climb on this course up the mountain face while it was 90F, no wind, no clouds, 1pm - so maximum heat. I'm a good climber, the first time through was no big deal, but the second time...not good.

When I focused on the 2nd time up, mind over matter, i could maintain my power and cadence that I know i can do on a climb like that. It was doable.

But when I let off, or lost focus maybe, my head felt so hot. Like hot brain. Or something. I don't know what unsafe is, but I felt like this was too much, not worth it for an amateur bike race. Also partly my bike was a little shy of the right gearing: i had my backup hardtail which is a 1x10 and i really needed a 42 in the back for an easier climb.

What's going on here? Am I safe to just push beyond? What are your experiences with the heat? Historically I haven't done well...but I'm also a way better rider this year too... so... hmm!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
I'm not a coach, doctor, or anybody that you should trust. My opinion is that if you are properly hydrated, you can push until your body stops you. And by properly hydrated I just mean "not dehydrated" not some nonsense about zero weight lost while sweating like crazy. Your body will shut down your systems one by one to save your brain and other organs, and it will do this when needed no matter how hard you push. Some of your symptoms sound like this was starting to happen anyway, so you couldn't have done much more.

More suggestions. Jam pantyhose full of ice down your shirt, or save an insulated bottle of ice water to pour on your head. Acclimatize to the heat by training in the heat for a few weeks before competition. Training in the heat will limit your performance, so only do it when you specifically want to acclimatize. Get a sweat test, if you are a salty sweat type of person you will need more than just water after a period of sweating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
All the advise above are good! I raced dirty kanza 200 this year and temps on my computer hit 100 with ambient temps in the 90's. People say it will forever be known as the "hot year". I had a feeling it would be like that (despite everyone saying it would be cloudy and wet) and tried to get heat-adapted by training a few times in the heat of the day. I think the real thing that helped was sauna time. I would ride to it and/or hit the sauna (dry and sometimes steam) right after my weight training. I hit it 3 weeks out 2-3 times a week 20-30 minutes at a time (go until you can't take it any longer).
During the race sure, i got hot but not the debilitating-side-of-the-road-i-wanna-quit-HOT. Can't say for sure that this helped me finish (beat the sun) but i am no mortal and have had the heat affect me very much in the past and felt it helped for that event..hope this helps ya!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,868 Posts
Dealing with heat is not a case of mental strength. It is a real physical challenge that you need to both train for and employ heat management strategies well you are racing.

1st thing you need know is there is once your core temperature reaches a certain point, you brain will cut power big time. I think all of us who have raced in the heat have had this happen at some point. Obviously you want to stop your body from reaching that temperature.

You over heat when the capacity of your cooling system (sweat evaporation and convection) to dissipate thermal energy is less then the thermal energy you are producing. This is obvious but knowing it gives insite into what you can do.

1st: You have to training your cooling system. This is actually pretty easy to do you just need to get hot for about an hour 5-14 days in a row. The more you expose yourself to heat the more effective that cooling system will be.

2nd: You need to augment your cooling system. The best way help that cooling system is dump bottles. Just remember "chest is best", dump cold water on your chest early and often. If you can an extra person in the feed zone giving dump bottles it is a massive advantage.

3rd: Control your thermal output. It is those really high spikes watts that cause you to overheat. On a hot day choose a steady pacing strategy, particularly early on.

4th: Start cold. Do a small warm-up and stuff ice in panty-hose down your jersey when you are at the start line. The cooler you start the longer it will be before you get hot.

5th: Don't stress about hydration. Everybody worries about hydration in the heat and although it is important there is really only so much you can. Your stomach has maximum rate that it can absorb water, if you are drinking a ton of water you are just filling your belly. My understanding is 500ml to 800ml per hour is about the max you can absorb. Basically if you are drinking when you are thirsty you are right on target.
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
39,189 Posts
The more efficient the racer, the less fluids and food they need, but the slower you are, the more you need, or you will bonk/overheat. This becomes challenging in hotter climates and longer races, requiring drop-bags and other solutions. Salts and pre-hydration is important. Not that "oh, drink a bunch the day/night before" so you'll have to get up 5 times at night to piss, but drinking actual electrolyte stuff before the race, prepping your body with salt to retain moisture to sweat out and adequate replenishment of those items while racing.

I did the Whiskey Off Road this spring, which was more of a challenge for me coming from AK and my first major riding after surgery. It hit pretty hot during the race and at the last checkpoint I was out and looking for water. Luckily I got a little and it was enough, coupled with lying in the creek a few miles later, rather than attempting to cross the creek and tackle the tech rocks on the other side. When someone offered to pour cold water down my back at the top of the last big climb, I did not turn it down or feel guilty one bit (considering I just laid in the creek a mile or so before). I really didn't loose much time lying in the creek, maybe 30 sec on a 50 mile race, but you do what you have to do. Given my situation, I wasn't worried about the fastest time, but still wanted to do as well as I could. Your body usually gives you some pretty good warning signs, so your question about "should I push through?" needs to be weighed with the consequences. In this case, death. People in Phoenix literally boil their brains in the heat and die in the summer. This is not the thing to "push through". On a 72 mile race on Saturday, I was 2/3s through and hit the cramps bad. I've had worse, but it was painful and if you can stand it, you can "pedal through" cramps without any serious consequences. Sore muscles the next day, but I'm not worried about dying. I did run out of water about 12 miles out on this race, but I wasn't worried given how much I was drinking prior and it wasn't crazy hot at this point.

To a large extent, a race is like poker. You play your cards. Sometimes taking less stuff pays off, sometimes taking more pays off. Sometimes using the aid stations pays off, sometimes bluffing a competitor into over-exerting works. When your body gives you warning signs though, pull back. That's what all the doctors say that I talk to about my races and experiences out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Dealing with heat is not a case of mental strength. It is a real physical challenge that you need to both train for and employ heat management strategies well you are racing.

1st thing you need know is there is once your core temperature reaches a certain point, you brain will cut power big time. I think all of us who have raced in the heat have had this happen at some point. Obviously you want to stop your body from reaching that temperature.

You over heat when the capacity of your cooling system (sweat evaporation and convection) to dissipate thermal energy is less then the thermal energy you are producing. This is obvious but knowing it gives insite into what you can do.

1st: You have to training your cooling system. This is actually pretty easy to do you just need to get hot for about an hour 5-14 days in a row. The more you expose yourself to heat the more effective that cooling system will be.

2nd: You need to augment your cooling system. The best way help that cooling system is dump bottles. Just remember "chest is best", dump cold water on your chest early and often. If you can an extra person in the feed zone giving dump bottles it is a massive advantage.

3rd: Control your thermal output. It is those really high spikes watts that cause you to overheat. On a hot day choose a steady pacing strategy, particularly early on.

4th: Start cold. Do a small warm-up and stuff ice in panty-hose down your jersey when you are at the start line. The cooler you start the longer it will be before you get hot.

5th: Don't stress about hydration. Everybody worries about hydration in the heat and although it is important there is really only so much you can. Your stomach has maximum rate that it can absorb water, if you are drinking a ton of water you are just filling your belly. My understanding is 500ml to 800ml per hour is about the max you can absorb. Basically if you are drinking when you are thirsty you are right on target.
Racing 6hr races in Florida and the southeast, I cosign on all of this. I'll add that lightweight jerseys/helmets/gloves make a difference. I employed all this last year in CO during a 50+ mile race and I was actually passing locals up the climbs because they were cooked (note: I'm a garbage climber this is highly unusual for me). Ice in pantyhose down the back and pouring ice water on me whenever I could.

Jerseys: Eliel Diablo is my current favorite, Castelli Climbers and Pearl Izumi summer are also nice and light.
Helmets: POC Octal and Specialized Prevail fit my noggin and have lots of vents. I also have no hair so that helps.
Gloves: 100 percent Celiums, light and comfy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,645 Posts
I ride in small Camelbak which is packed full of ice and then water is added along with my energy mix. I end up getting more concentrated mix in the neginning and less towards the end which is fine. This is really important in keeping you cool in Texas and getting the HR down.

If you are on a multi lap XC course, I would have hand ups with Ice cold water and lid off to dump on your back. You can also roll with ice filled panty hose in your jersey on your neck.

Your body will help to self govern power output and watts will fall while Perceived effort will stay the same. It will do this to protect you, however one could argue that mental giants can push too deep. I have concrete floors in my house and my wattage output can jump a lot when I am dousing my back with ice water while on the trainer. If i am in a zwift race, I definitely have it handy.

Its also worth noting the HR drift. If you are racing by HR, i would possibly hide it. In the summer I have been running 10-12 BPM higher. I'm 180-182 riding at SST on the super hot days.

Acclimation is really important. I train in the Hottest parts of the days and get used to it. It takes a few weeks for sure. There is discussion on Trainer road coaching podcast about shutting the fans off indoors and heat acclimatizing (also Sauna sessions).

Around here, a hot race would be 95-105.
 

·
EAT MORE GRIME
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Joined
·
7,875 Posts
LMN has it right

ditch the gloves in extreme heat or at least use fingerless gloves [since no gloves might affect grip]

hands are heat radiators and in performance labs, the cooler the hands, the better you perform
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,012 Posts
EVERYTHING matters when it comes to heat management -- at least for me.

To add to the excellent advice above, even things like short socks, smaller glasses, regular rather than bib shorts, tank tops help and very short hair.

Feet and shoulders are excellent heat radiators. Leave them uncovered!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,393 Posts
As an upside, it's easier to drop weight while training in this summer heat.

I think you can definitely train yourself to adapt to heat better as mentioned.

Training-wise, 95*F+ heat helps me stay in Zone 2 for most of the ride (if I'm riding by myself).

Then I pick a 20-25% of the ride to hit in Zone 4, cool down, and enjoy the rest of the day at an easy pace. It works well, and I don't even need nutrition for a 3 hour ride.

I freeze my bottles overnight for training and then put one in my center pocket for cooling.

Race-wise, everybody is in the same boat of sweat so having the mental fortitude to not freak out will be to your advantage (just like mud or altitude). I've trained a lot in heat and mud and it makes me confident on race day. Altitude, not so much but by the end of the Breck Epic I'd learned a lot about it ;)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top