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  1. #1
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    How to Stay Cool while MTBing in Texas (or in other hot areas)

    So I'm a big guy, 6ft, 200lbs, I'm from the NorthEast, lived in the South (FL, GA, TX) for over 7 years now, but I still get hot here in Austin, TX - especially in the Summer months.

    For me, it actually becomes impossible to ride when its so hot. Passing out and crashing down a rocky hill at high speed due to heat exhaustion is not worth even risking.

    This thread is dedicated to how to stay cool while mountain biking in Texas during the hot time (that is half the year or more). Please feel free to add additional ideas/comments/thoughts/experience/inventions in order to help out other Texas riders who get unbearably hot while riding.

    My methods so far, and most are quite obvious...


    1. Wear as much white clothing as possible to reflect the sun's rays (on the inverse, try not to wear any black clothing if you can help it)
    2. Wear lightweight breathable clothing that wicks away sweat to allow it to evaporate quickly (Nike DriFit for example, I'm sure there are many more similar)
    3. Wear as little clothing as possible that will still allow for partial sun protection on your skin (short sleeved shirt/not a wife-beater, low cut socks, shorts, nothing extra unless you wear armor or prefer long sleeves for protection, etc)
    4. I wear a silver-colored ventilated Giro helmet with visor (in hopes to reflect some sunlight off of my head, compared to a black helmet for example)
    5. I wear a bandanna (handkerchief) under my helmet to soak up sweat and prevent it from dripping into my eyes while riding --- (better explanation: I fold it over several times, so its more like a headband/sweatband, that is about 2" tall, and sits just on my forehead above my eyes and goes around to the back, just over my ears, leaving the top of my head to get the heat out and the breeze in through the helmet vents.)
    6. I carry an extra handkerchief in case I want to switch it up for a dry bandanna during my ride, or use it for a sweat rag for my face
    7. 100oz CamelBak (or the max capacity you prefer to wear on your back)
    8. Plus both water bottle cages filled up
    9. Add a bunch of ice to the two water bottles and to the CamelBak just before leaving to keep the water cool for at least a little while
    10. Drink your water as needed, but play it like a chess game... if you've drank half your water and you are still dehydrated when you're only 25% done with your ride, you need to plan for more water
    11. Wear sunglasses that are somewhat ventilated to bring some cool air into your eyes, but not exposed, as the sun can be very bright (I have particularly sensitive eyes)
    12. Half finger gloves (slight benefit, but anything helps)
    13. Have extra water in the car when you get back (there was one time I got back to the car with all of my water gone, nothing in the car for reserve, and it was a very dangerous/lightheaded ride to the nearest gas station - not cool)
    14. Hydrate before you leave, drink more than you think you need, but not too much for that over filled heavy belly feeling
    15. Ride with a partner if you can (you can use each others water in case of emergency, and one person can be there if there other passes out)
    16. Ride during the cooler points of the day (this means sunrise-morning hours, and the hours just before sunset - though the sunset hours can still be very hot)


    This is *hopefully* not all you can do. As mentioned, this thread is here to share your ideas and experiences to help out others.

    Take care, stay cool.
    Last edited by EPeff; 08-19-2009 at 06:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    moving this to "Passion" forum - please delete if necessary! ( :

  3. #3
    Rohloff
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    5. I recommend taking the bandana off your head and maybe use a headband. Much of the heat is trying to escape out of the top of your head.
    6. I find carrying a small absorbant towel is real helpful for wiping off the sweat.
    8. At least one of those bottles is to pour over your head during the ride.
    9. Pack your Camelbak and bottles full of ice and fill the cracks with water. It will be cold the whole ride.
    16. Ride at first light.

    17. Carry extra gloves. My gloves get soaked and my hands start slipping.
    18. Bring and extra bottle of ice water in the car and pour it over your head right before you leave.
    19. Stick with shady trails. Avoid more exposed trails.
    20. Take it easy. When it's hot, don't push yourself as long or as hard. You can still get in a good ride. Save the more challenging rides for the cooler weather.
    21. Take frequent breaks. Find a shady spot and sit down.
    22. Maintain your bike well and be sure you have everything you need to repair your bike so you don't get caught out on the trail walking out in the heat.
    23. Don't be a puss. It's just heat and sweat. It's a little uncomfortable. As long as you aren't stupid, you'll be fine.

  4. #4
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    24. Ride early in the day
    25. Ride late in the day
    26. Ride at night (but get a light!)

    Peace

  5. #5
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    I'm from the mid-atlantic area, and even with the heat & humidity I didn't have as much trouble as I do in TX for heat. Best advice I can give, get a teaching job and GTF out of Texas in the summer. The only time of year I'm happy to live this far south is in Jan/Feb when all my chums back east are in 6" of snow/ice.... otherwise it's like a prison sentence... the heat/sun here is more depressing than the rain/clouds of the PNW

  6. #6
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    EPeff > check your PM
    Pedigre


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The*King
    24. Ride early in the day
    +1 on that! During the summer I only ride in the morning, as in I'm on the trail by 7. That way when I'm done at 10-11 it's still only in the high 80's, hopefully.

  8. #8
    BBW
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsdc
    18. Bring and extra bottle of ice water in the car and pour it over your head right before you leave.
    pouring water in your head might feel refreshing but:

    #1: you're wasting water that you could be using to hydrate
    #2: It does NOTHING to bring down the core temperature (which is the one that matters)

    Hydrate!

    PS: sticking ice in your butt will do more to lower your core temperature if you want to try it

  9. #9
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBW
    pouring water in your head might feel refreshing but:

    #1: you're wasting water that you could be using to hydrate
    #2: It does NOTHING to bring down the core temperature (which is the one that matters)

    Hydrate!

    PS: sticking ice in your butt will do more to lower your core temperature if you want to try it
    #1: This is an extra bottle of water I'm talking about, not one of the other bottles of water or Camelbak intended for hydration.
    #2: "NOTHING" is a pretty bold assertion. There is like SOME cooling effect, however small it may be, from evaporative cooling, if not from the actual temperature of the water.
    #3 As you said, it's refreshing.

  10. #10
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    I picked up a Halo headband for $12 at the ole LBS. It works much better for keeping the sweat out of your eyes than a bandana.

    The best thing you can do is acclimate to the heat. (Be smart/safe about it of course) If all you do is stay inside and complain about how hot it is, just know that this is a path that you have chosen for yourself. Personally, I would trade a little summertime heat for year-round riding anyday. I feel sorry for those people who use the term "mountain biking season".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by notyal
    I picked up a Halo headband for $12 at the ole LBS. It works much better for keeping the sweat out of your eyes than a bandana.

    The best thing you can do is acclimate to the heat. (Be smart/safe about it of course) If all you do is stay inside and complain about how hot it is, just know that this is a path that you have chosen for yourself. Personally, I would trade a little summertime heat for year-round riding anyday. I feel sorry for those people who use the term "mountain biking season".

    True dat.

    Though despite being young I still find it hard to ride for much more than 2 hours (fast) or a little more (slow).

    I need a bigger camelbak and water bottle. (On my list, along with grips, stem...)
    WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by laxman2001
    True dat.

    Though despite being young I still find it hard to ride for much more than 2 hours (fast) or a little more (slow).

    I need a bigger camelbak and water bottle. (On my list, along with grips, stem...)
    ugh, I need a new stem..cracked mine the other day...luckily my NM riding is done and head back to Texas tomorrow...er, today...going to make an emergency stop at Outdoor Element Sports in Amarillo.

    Anyway, so as not to hijack the thread, I'm fairly partial to the whole freezing the camelbak and water bottle(s)...just take them out as soon as you can and you should be able to drink from them as you ride as they continue to melt...think of it as time-release water

    As mentioned earlier, periodic breaks are a must, especially closer to late morning on.
    Pedigre


  13. #13
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    It's funny the simplest things we never think of. I've never thought to freeze my camelbak. I ride after work all the time with warm water b/c we don't have an ice maker at the office. I'm gonna start filling up in the morning and leaving it in the freezer all day. Thanks, Pedigre I can't believe I didnt think of that.

    Some trails you can plan a pit stop. At Austin BCGB, you can start at the HOL (or wherever) ride down to the Spyglass entrance and buy a gallon of water to refill the camelbak at the little convenience store, then ride back. I know this is the exception and most trails dont lend themselves to this, but take advantage of the few that do.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by notyal

    The best thing you can do is acclimate to the heat. (Be smart/safe about it of course) If all you do is stay inside and complain about how hot it is, just know that this is a path that you have chosen for yourself. Personally, I would trade a little summertime heat for year-round riding anyday. I feel sorry for those people who use the term "mountain biking season".

    Funny, I find it just the opposite. I rode year round in the Mid-Atlantic, tons of people do. Winter riding is actually one of the most fun, the "Fred" population drops to zero which is nice. Snow brings new life to the trails, and if you layer your gear you're never cold... there's nothing like being cool at the beginning of a ride, warming up, and at the end of your ride not sweating... awesome. I suppose the people who have mountain bike season get a ton more snow than the M-A, but then I suppose they board or ski when it's too deep to MTB... or buy a Pugsley.

    I'll have to try one of those Halo's... lately even my headsweats band is soaked by mid ride. My Jersey and shorts are soaked by the end of a short ride around Madrone... I also seem to be killing it fluid wise. On a double lap around Madrone I'll empty 1.5 100 oz blatters... that's a lot of freaking sweat!

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