Managing the Heat Wave

So, looks like we’re looking at a severe heat wave here in Europe ! I’m in France, and it’s going to be 40°C tomorrow (104F) in Paris, and it’ll stay that hot for at least 1 week.

I know some races are often cancelled under such conditions, but I was wondering if that kept you guys from going outside ? Or if you’ll simply change your routine and switch afternoon rides to very early morning ones ? Or if you stick to indoor training in that case ?

I guess people living in the desert (Arizona, Nevada) have that problem all the time…

Haha, how timely! I just crawled my way through a heatwave last week.
I think it really depends on what you’re looking to get out of the workout. My preference is to do longer/steadier rides in the early morning and move my structured sessions indoors. Bear in mind you’re not going to be able to hit the same wattage in the heat, so be prepared to adjust according to your effort level if you’re outdoors.

I think it’s worth training in hotter conditions because the adaptation will bring about it’s own gains, and at the very least you’ll learn about how external factors affect your performance- but IMO training in the middle of the day in that kind of heat isn’t worth it unless you’re going to be facing similar conditions during an event. Also standard caveats apply- ease into it, pay extra attention to hydration, be prepared to adjust the duration and intensity if necessary and make sure you’ve got someone you can call if you end up in a rough spot. During really hot days I’m a fan of looped courses- I’ll store some extra bottles in the freezer, and getting indoors even for a few minutes seems to break up the heat a little.

Spent some time living in Middle East where temperature hits the 40s basically every day in summer months. We just used to cycle early (5am) when it was still hot (~30C) but bearable and finish by 9am by which time the dial was often already nudging 40. Think UV is also as much of a factor as actual temperature - 35C when the sun is low is a lot better than 35C when the sun is high and beating down on you.

Apply common sense i.e. dial the intensity back a little bit, drink plenty of fluids including using hydration tablets, preferably ride with somebody else in case you find yourself in trouble, maybe ride loops that don’t stray too far from home (or at least from places where you can get a taxi/train/bus home) in case you find yourself struggling and need to cut it short. Your body does adapt to the heat reasonably quickly, but even when adapted you find you can put out less power and/or have a higher HR than normal. I always found that coming back to Europe in summer was an instant massive fitness boost - riding in cooler temperatures felt like 30W gain or more at similar RPE/HR!

I love the heat, so that sounds awesome to me… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Last year I did the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) which was 160 miles in +40* heat. Lots of speculation that it would have been cancelled, but it wasn’t.

What we did…insulated bottles and added bottles behind the saddle (tri style). Drink often and a lot. Hit every single rest stop, whether we “needed” to or not. Drink more.

We also carried knee-high pantyhose. We would stop at gas stations or the rest stops and fill them with ice and then drape it around our necks or just snake it down our backs. HUGELY beneficial.

Honestly I ditched structure training for the summer. I just do fun long rides. It’s 32C here so that’s not so bad and long rides are still doable. If it was 40C I’d probably hide in my aircoed office until the evening and do shorter rides then.
I’m fully aware that I will loose fitness with this approach, but I’m ok with that. Especially since there is no racing anyway.

It’s been a warm summer here in Phoenix. When the nighttime lows don’t drop below 32C/90F it’s difficult to get longer rides done. Riding when the sun is down or sun angle is very low is the only way. 9am is the witching hour if you’re heat soaked. So, getting up at 3:30am and out the door at 4:30-5am is what I’m doing for now. This means in bed by 8:30pm which isn’t possible all summer. Training becomes a balance/choice between getting the work done and sleep. Ice socks help. If I have time I’ll drive to Flagstaff for my really long rides.

Any indoor rides are two blower fans and some even have portable a/c units blowing ice cold air on them. Our real heat and super gross nighttime lows only last 2-3 months max so I haven’t been able to justify the portable a/c.