Rothe Training Tip Six: Dealing with 100+ Degree Heat
Criterium racing in the Texas summer can be brutal. Not necessarily because of the competition and the intensity of the race itself but because of the environment you’re competing in. In Central Texas, that means 100 degree days and heat indexes of 110F or above. So your body is busy dealing with the Watts you have to put out to be competitive and take care of “the engine” at the same time.
According to Mayo Clinic experts in Rochester, MN your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin in order to cool itself during extreme heat. This will leave less blood to go into your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate.
You’ve probably noticed a difference in HR on a 105F degree day vs. a 65F Spring day. And to add to this, the combination of extreme heat and high humidity, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin.
This can push your body temperature even higher. So, you need to cool yourself as best as possible and there are many ways to do it: Carry an ice sock with you before your race, add ice to it 20-30min before your start and refill it with fresh ice right before your race. Place it on your neck right underneath the top of your jersey, or even close to your femoral artery in your bibs (not recommended for racing, though). Another way to keep cool is to carry insulated bottles and fill them with ice. Even on a 100+ degree day, they will allow you to have cold water for the first 30minutes of your race.
One final thing people often forget is that in order to be able to compete and be successful in the heat you have to expose yourself to that element in training. If you are generally training in the early morning or late at night when it’s cooler just so you can avoid the heat then don’t be surprised if you’re having a bad day on a 100+ degree day. It might hurt and not be pleasant but going out at 5pm after work for a 2 ½ hr ride in 100 degrees will get your body accustomed to the extreme heat and on race day you are used to it and your body can cope with it much easier.
Give it a try!