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Hot Tires in the City: Tanglewood Bike Training Ride and Heat Exhaustion, Dehydration or Rest Stop Calories

RSNBiker's picture

If any of you reading this has experience with heat exhaustion or dehydration I would appreciate your comments. Yesterday ended badly and yesterday’s headache is still with me. I’m wrapped up in a blanket with the A/C cranked on meat-locker cold.

It was already 82 degrees at 7:30 Saturday morning when I packed up my bike to head to the Tour to Tanglewood Training Ride. There was no way I was going to miss the ride hosted by my favorite bike shop, Cycles de Oro. I prepared for the ride with a decent night’s sleep and a protein shake packed with oats and almond milk. I rode with two full water bottles, each containing a small scoop of Shaklee Performance, and my last pack of GU. Distance choices were 10, 20 and 36. I was happy to learn that I didn’t have to make the choice between 20 and 36 until 9 miles in, at the first rest stop.

I run into two Tater gal pals, one of whom was committed to the 36. Either way, I knew I would have company and support on the ride. I was extra mindful of my rest-stop noshing yesterday and ate a graham cracker/peanut sandwich and one small wedge of water melon. I didn’t refill my water bottles because I wanted to pace myself on fluid intake. My nutrition coach suggested the day before that if I didn’t sweat a lot that I might be drinking too much on my rides. This was in the context of my complaint that I normally gained three pounds after a multi-hour ride.

At the rest stop, we decided to ride the 36. By then it was well into the 90s, but not quite 100 degrees. My riding buddy outpaced me on the hills but for the most part we were well matched for the trip. By mile 18, it felt like someone up in the heavens had turned on the broiler and we were the main course. By mile 26, at the second rest stop, I was out of water, and went for the salty snacks. I had two helpings of gold fish and found enough Gatorade to fill about three-fourths of one bottle. I couldn’t stomach a fig newton, but the salty, crispy orange fish tasted great. I also ate a couple of pretzels

At that point, I knew I was overheated, but quitting didn’t occur to me as an option until Mile 30. At Mile 30, I had to pull off the road under a shade tree and stop for a while. I normally carry a bottle full of plain water to douse my head in extreme heat, but I was out of water and I also did not have a second GU for the last 10 miles. After a few minutes under the tree and some encouragement from my riding pal, I got back on my bike to finish the ride. A few minutes later the SAG wagon rolled by and we waved them on.

After the ride was over, I went home to shower and just felt like I couldn’t get cool fast enough. I grabbed a cold Coke Zero out of the fridge and went back to the shop to greet roadskater and eebee as they finished their skate. The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I wasn’t able to sit through lunch because of headache and dizziness and I had no appetite for food. I was happy that I did not gain weight after yesterday’s ride and that I was down 1.2 pounds this morning.

I’ve decided to workout indoors when the temperature is above 90 degrees. This afternoon I went to the gym to swim and within 20 minutes was dizzy. So, I’m back on the couch with my warm blanket and cold A/C. Is this normal? Riding in the 100-degree heat is not worth a wasted weekend. I had plenty of other things planned for my downtime. 


eebee's picture

Fuel your workout!

The heat was oppressive, to say the least. Some questions that come to my mind:

- What is your nutrition coach's experience with extreme cardio, or ultramarathon type events, as opposed to just working out in the gym?

- What's the reasoning behind the almond milk? It's 75% fat. I have not read in any cycling, running or other athletic nutrition books, where they recommend consuming something with that much fat in it right before a cardio-event. They recommend quickly-metabolizable carbs for the most part (and a little protein but not a colossal amount, if you're awake 4 hours before the start line). Maybe if you have enough oats in there, it balances out the fat/carbs mix.  

IMHO, your dizziness today comes from lack of calories. But if you were suffering from heat stroke after yesterday, then staying indoors replacing electrolytes would be the best thing to do today.  

I agree. Having a whole weekend hosed from 'training' isn't really worth it. 

roadskater's picture

Extreme conditions, plus lack of fuel, lack of hydration

I am no expert except at yakkin and at feeling pain from going out too fast (more later maybe), but here are my thoughts apart from any experts or anyone else's comments. I have found what hurts me the least and sometimes helps, so here's what I think....most of it said before...

  • My belief is that most weight loss diets do NOT go astray immediately before, during or after we've done 3 hours of strenuous exercise. I think they mostly go wrong when we cheat ingredients or timing or portions quite apart from exercise, closer to midday or bedtime, even. Also I think when we don't exercise as diligently as we eat. I believe weight gain due around events is either irrelevant or helpful to overall weight loss, and that...
  • If you don't fuel the engine before and during multihour exercise you'll bonk, period. And if you don't fuel the engine during and after multihour exercise, gains will not be as great and recovery will be slower. Having said all that, if you don't feel kind of bad after a three-hour tour, it was not that much of a workout, maybe? Car no work so good no gas. And I consider electrolytes, carb calories and water to be the gas, but gas that takes a half hour to four hours to get from the filler cap to the engine. (I'm not an expert, and don't even play one on TV.) 
  • If I eat fat before or during and event, I just want to sleep in a ditch. I usually do not partake of much of the food at typical rest stops, because most are convenience foods packaged with inclusion of fats by design. This is why the food at Carolina Century rest stops includes some different items along with the traditional snacky food. It is hard to get sweet and salty snacks without fat. 
  • I would not add fat to oats for myself, but would add dried cranberries that will absorb some water and bring that water in along with lots of carbs to go into my muscles. One difference for me on Saturday was I had the oatmeal but not the cranberries, so I ate less carbs, less happily, and I think the water that comes with it is important to making cells (not the cell phones) work (I know nothing, just think it). 
  • If I eat hamburgers for lunch (cheap ones with small bits of burger and more bun/burger ratio than expensive ones), or something with similar doses of fat, I know I need to eat a gel/goo before I leave the house or at least when I get to the park, then every 45 minutes to an hour when I antiipate going for another 45 minutes to an hour. 
  • If not going to eat right after, I think a goo and/or some skaterade is good if I can make myself do it, to aid recovery. I believe protein is important afterward, within an hour or two, and ideally, avoiding fat would be a good idea ten too (but don't have proof and often don't avoid fat, ha). This is one reason so many are fans of low-fat chocolate milk near the end of or after a multihour event.
  • My disdain for fat (mostly before and during events, as I love pizza and meximerican and almonds and much more fatty stuff) means I have to carry food I either love or believe in. Examples: goo packs (chilled ones feel good in my back left Roadskater.net jersey pocket for a few minutes...the middle one is for camera batteries and sugar candy, the right one for the camera). 
  • If I had only one item I could carry, goo/gels would be it (goo x hours x 4/3). I can carry enough in those rear pockets to fuel a 100-miler if I have to, as long as I can get water on the way; 
  • If I can carry other stuff I take less goo, and the other stuff is usually atomic fireballs and fruity jawbreakerss (slow sugar drip that gives a boost of flavor to balance saltiness in my waterpack mix); for long jaunts some gobstoppers (quicker sugar drip) and good'n'plenty (soft, quick, mix of flavors, good when everything else seems awful). These are not high tech racer foods, but they beat 90% of what I find at most charity ride rest stops, except for the fresh watermelon, honeydew, kiwi and canteloupe (water, sugar) that Val & Elaine & Mike and others so often have. 
  • Of course I carry my waterpack (about 48 ounces I think) with some jacked up skaterade and a bit of Morton's lite salt (2x or 3x strong at the start, adding water when I find it). 
  • We also sometimes carry frozen grippy bottles of water (the 24 oz. gatorade brand bottle that fits fingers so well with the orange twist top) and attach one or two bottle holders to the belt of my waterpacks for that.  Carrying the ice in our hands helps with cooling....harder to do on a bike! I've heard that putting something cool under your armpits helps greatly with cooling.
  • For long days of self-support, you end up carrying more weight, unless you know you can go into a store or two along the way. 

So I guess I'm saying more water with electrolytes, more carbs, less fat before and during; more water, more carbs, more protein after, with a NO DIET ZONE a few hours before, during, and a few hours after multihour exercise. Then if you want to be strict outside that, great. Otherwise you may lose weight by being in the hospital, or may lose muscle instead of fat.  

The last point is that these were pretty extreme conditions for most of us. Not television show extreme, but a third of the route was city with the heat of asphalt, concrete, buildings and cars, plus humid, plus later in the day was likely code orange breathing conditions. 

We felt like we didn't get what we needed at the last rest stop, understandably enough with our slow time, but that meant I had decided I needed a store stop to cool the core, get cold electrolyte drinks and coke, top off water for pouring on our heads, and get better rest than can be had even under a tent in breeze on such a hot day. We still did 37 miles and that is what we have to do to be ready for the Tour to Tanglewood, and to know what we still need to do to be ready. 

eebee's picture

Frozen Gu!

That's a great idea! Stuff 9 frozen gel packets into the jersey back pockets at the beginning of the ride on a hot day. 

roadskater's picture

Funny I was t'inkin' on't just a few ago

Ja I was jess tinkin about this as I looked at the three boxes of Gu in me fri(d)ge. (Found a GREAT deal on Gu a few weeks back, as in $0.55 a pack at Academy Sports.) 

I was thinking freeze 'em and distribute among the 3 pockets, or freeze 'em and stow them in a zip with some extra air, or freeze 'em and stash them in a polar bottle (but then I thought well not as easily carried). Could freeze them down in water inside grippy bottles but might not be too sanitary for the drinking water...but compared to some rest stop water we've endured, who knows? 

Anyway, yes, it's time for an experiment to see how well it reconstitutes and how quickly. GMTA [great minds think alike, Greensboro Metropolitan Transit Authority(TM by me!), Good Morning T & A (tongs and asps), various other possibilities]. 

OK, back to making the post cards for the Carolina Century to stuff into the Tour to Tanglewood packets. If I failed to mention you, please forgive! 

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