Everything you need to know to beat the heat!
The days are long, your fenders are off, and the mercury's high. Summer has arrived. The season of centuries and rambling epic adventures over tall mountains, rolling hills, and wide open roads. Excited? Us too! We've outlined some ideas for clothing, hydration, and nutrition to help you make the most of your summer rides.
To best enjoy the fair weather you'll need to dress for it. If riding in the summer is new for you, or if you recently moved to a warmer climate, you'll need to acclimate to your local sun, heat, and humidity. A combination of modern materials and strategic practices tailored to your climate will enhance your performance and comfort by regulating your temperature, wicking sweat, and limiting sun exposure. Here are a few quick suggestions to optimize your outfit:
Popular Summer Clothing OptionsShop All Summer Clothing
A well-vented helmet transforms the wind you create into air conditioning for your head.
A lightweight, full-zip jersey worn over a technical base-layer will help you stay cool as your sweat dries.
SHORT SLEEVE JERSEY
Protects your skin from damaging UV rays and sunburn, and adds additional layer providing a cooling effect when worn.
Half-finger gloves keep your palms dry and grip secure, adding extra comfort to your rides.
SHORT FINGER GLOVES
You can never bring too much water on your hottest rides; always take enough in case you have a flat tire or mechanical and are stuck waiting on the roadside for a ride home.
Staying hydrated is extremely important in hot weather, but it's not always easy to do. You will sweat more in the heat, and your sweat will evaporate quickly. This process is called "evaporative cooling." Although it helps regulate your body temperature, sweating a lot makes it hard to track how much fluid you're losing. What's more, as you sweat your body will lose electrolytes like sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. These chemicals are crucial to your performance and health, so it's important to replace them to prevent muscle cramping and other, more severe physiological ailments.
To avoid running dry, pre-plan your routes to pass public water fountains or convenience stores, and ride early in the day before your local temperatures become unbearable. If you want to ride farther, you can carry water on your back using reservoir vests or jersey pockets, or on your bike by installing a second, third, or fourth bottle cage using dedicated mounts or special adapters attached to your seatpost, handlebars, or fork.
You can stay hydrated and maintain balanced electrolytes by frequently drinking water mixed with an electrolyte-replacement beverage like Cytomax, Scratch, Nuun, or another product.
Shop tabs and mixes
Although extreme heat can make it hard to eat, it's still important to maintain your nutrition before, during, and after every ride. Be sure to eat before you head out the door--if you are getting out early to beat the heat, you may want to eat whatever's appetizing in the pre-dawn hours. Try drinking a fruit or protein smoothie to get some useful calories and hydration in an easy-to-consume package. Pack foods for your ride that are both resilient in hot conditions (no chocolate!), appetizing, and can help replace the salt and potassium you lose to sweat. Clif, and other sport nutrition manufacturers, make foods fortified with electrolytes that also supply simple and complex carbohydrates to keep you fueled. A sport-drink mix is usually a good idea for one or two of your bottles, as they often have both simple sugars and electrolytes. When in doubt, check the nutrition facts!
Popular Nutrition ProductsShop All Nutrition
A great tasting, healthy snacks. Packed with fiber, calcium, iron, folic acid to keep you going.
ENERGY BARS AND WAFFLES
Easy to consume and digest formulation with an optimized balance of electrolytes.
Gels and chews
Eat to Train, Train to Eat
If you are riding a very long way, you may want to bring foods with more variety and complexity than bars, gels, and gummies. Bring foods you will want to eat after four, eight, twelve hours on the bike, but make sure those foods agree with your gut! Before you set off on a century with an Elvis Presley in your pocket, do a few practice rides with one. Don't be afraid to experiment; hot weather riding is much different than riding through the winter. Figuring out your event-day nutrition is a crucial part of training. Don't neglect it.