1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Need advice on long ride in hot weather

    Tomorrow (Monday) I'm going on a 52 mile ride on a dirt bike path. Today I road 27 miles of the same trail in just over 3 hours, which, for me, was a very difficult ride. Yesterday, I rode a different section of the trail and it took me about 4 and a half hours to go 44 miles. Yesterday's temperature was 88 degrees, and today's temperature was 95 degrees. Tomorrow the high is expected to be 96 degrees!

    To minimize fatigue, I'm planning to ride the trail in two stretches. I don't know if one section will be harder than the other one, but I do know that round trip, one section will be 35.8 miles, and the other section will be 17.8 miles. My plan is to ride one section, then come back for lunch - maybe a half hour break, and then ride the other section. Since my speed today averaged about 9 miles per hour, I figure about 6 hours of trail time. To reduce the impact of the sun, I'm not starting my ride until 3 pm.

    So, here is my question:

    Would it be better to do the longer or shorter section of the trail first? I can see the benefit of doing the longer section first because of fatigue that sets in later, but then again, that will mean riding a longer stretch of the trail during the hotter part of the day. I also don't really know the impact of eating a medium sized meal during a ride will be - not sure if its better to do that toward the beginning or ending of a ride, which will be a factor here. Temperature wise, it might only be a difference of 5 degrees between 3pm and 9:30 pm.

    Also, it is a good or bad idea to douse yourself with water before and during a long ride on a hot day? I have done that, and noticed that it can really cool you down, but then again I wonder about the body's physiological response to that sort of thing.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    With it being that hot make sure you have some sort of electrolyte supplement with your water. I like Nuun or Elete (Nuun tastes better). Make sure you have food with you while you ride in case you start to get hungry because that will doom you very quickly in the heat. Wear moisture wicking clothes and make sure you stay hydrated.

    I have heard that your body has the potential to go into shock when doused with water, but I don't know how much stock I put in that. Watching the TDF you see the riders pulling the water bottles from the crowd and using them to pour on their backs and heads so I can imagine that you should be fine doing so. I wouldn't use ice cold water though, probably more toward ambient temperature or a bit cooler and let evaporation do the cooling for you not the water temperature.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply. I'm actually leaving for the trail in about an hour. So much for finishing the ride at night...

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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks for your reply. I'm actually leaving for the trail in about an hour. So much for finishing the ride at night...
    Unless you have lights, that's probably not a bad thing. It's always good to plan for mechanical and what they might do to your time table.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  5. #5
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    I was going to bring my light, but I guess I'm going to pass. The trail gets a little spooky at night, though, so I'm ok with doing it in the day. Just wish it wasn't so hot!

  6. #6
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    Wow that sounds like a cool challenging ride. Especially since you went for a decent ride the day before. Good for you. Think Zebraham covered it very well. I will add that I'v been on long hot rides, sometimes pulling a trailer, and find it very helpfull to stop, jump into a river, stream, lake, whatever, than eat. I find that pouring water over yourself is helpful, especially before a long downhill, but a longer cool off break gets me back on track much more.
    Have fun!
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