Most of Europe has been sweltering this week in temperatures never witnessed. The heat has been unbearable. When the hot weather makes it to the first item on Spanish television news, you know it must be hot. And it was hot. Galicia is not known for these extreme temperatures, particularly because of the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean. This time it was different. In Tui, where Cycling Galicia is based, the mercury hit 42.5 degrees Celsius, making a bike ride quite uncomfortable.Although these temperatures were unprecedented, when the thermometer hits 35 degrees plus, a ride is still possible. However, some rules need to be followed when cycling in such heat.
Hydration in the Heat
Hydration is key, and although there are plenty of natural water fountains in Galicia, other places are not so lucky. Iso thermic bidones are a very good idea for the hot weather. They are generally larger than normal water bottles but keeping that liquid cool can be vital in hot weather. The heat can turn water into a hot drink in fifteen minutes. Drink a good amount before you leave in the morning. The rule of thumb is to drink an entire bidon every 30-40 minutes in hot weather. Do not wait until you are thirsty, as that is too late. Sip regularly, rather than half a bidon very 20 minutes. Eating is also very important. Try to take food that won’t atrophy in the heat. No chocolate-based bars, or gummy type sweets. Good hard cereal bars are excellent, as are bananas.
Always wear sunscreen. Never ever go out riding on a hot day without it. Apply it particularly to the back of the neck and the face. A bandana or cap is also a good idea, to prevent sweat from rolling into the eyes. Even if you are not comfortable with sunglasses, use them, as again, eye damage is possible if you plan to spend 4 to 5 hours in the saddle. Insect repellent too is good idea and focus on behind your knees and inside your elbows, where the softer skin is.
A lot of this is common sense. However, riding in hot weather can be very dangerous if you are not prepared properly. So don’t leave home without following these basic rules. Enjoy the ride.