Beating the summer heat in Japan

j-sworks

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#1
Well maybe not beating but at least living with it....

I'm not used to the summers in Japan so I am looking for opinions or experience on gear, I'm aware of riding early and this may be the simplest option, but I am looking at gear options as well - specifically UV / hot ride jerseys.

I have been looking at the Mavic jerseys that have this "Hot ride" fabric, they say it has a minimum of SPF 30 and it helps to regulate your body temp in above 25 degree situations. Assos has this kinda stuff too. I

Any experience with UV jerseys? Do they really work? Or should I save my money?

FYI, I wear SPH 45 sunblock and that stops the burns, but I get stupid hot even in these spring days (sunny ones)
thanks.
 

FarEast

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#2
Ok - you need to get your body to acclaimtise to the heat. No matter what amazing technical clothing you buy you are going to suffer unless you get you body to adapt to the heat.

As the temperature is starting to increase you'll need to do 15 minutes of max effort in these conditions for 14 days. Basically if you have a trainer either go outside or do it in door with no air conditioner or fans. Warm up as usual then 15 minutes hard.

This will enable your body to alter its sweat habits and encourage your body to hold its sodium levels and thus increase the amount of water the body can store.

Do not become dependant on the airconditioners at home or work - your body is able to regulate its temps without any problems - in fact it takes up 75% of your energy to regulate the temps so basically let the body do the work it's supposed to do.

Making sure that you are wearing good sun block is also essential as sun burn will cause sever dehydration especailly while riding as the bodies own defence mechanism is to draw liquids to the surface to cool the burns and thus effecting the regulation of the core temps

Undershirts by OUTWET and others that are meshed are also a very good system of keeping your body cool as they aid in the evoporation process.

Out riding:

This is the most dangerous time - make sure you are hydrating regular and when I say regular i mean constantly! I would highly recommend NOT riding if you have been drinking the night before - or having a beer on a ride, incredibly dangerous.

Your body will basically lose around 400ml of water in an hour, on average your body will absorb the same amount from the gut so you need to make sure you are cconstantly taking on liquids and minerals. Forget using sugary drinks that you buy at the stores they are actually dangerous in mid summer as these will require your body to digest them thus using energy and liquids.

Your body will be perfectly happy with pure water with a pinch of salt in it to maintain the sodium levels - or you can get sodium or essential minerals and salt tabs like the HIGH5 zero. Also you want to be eating small amounts as you ride rather than big meals - Onigiri is the riders favorite these help to replace the energy that your body is using to regulate the core temps. If you are using carb drinks then I suggest splitting them up 1/4 of the mix per bottle as it will make it easier for your body to absorb on hot days.

If you start to feel dizzy or uneasy and if you heart rate either suddenly drops and won't rise regardless of intensity or if the oppersite happens -ie sky high heart rates with little or no intensity then get off the bike and find a shaded cool place to rest. Do not drink anything of try to suddenly cool the body as this can cause hyperthermia (thats what kills you when you get extreme heat stroke btw)

Once your body has naturally regulated its body temps then hydrate slowly - do not chug down drinks and make sure that they are body temp - not ice cold again this can cause hypothermia.

If you are suffering from even mild heat stroke of symptoms then get medical assistance do not be tempted to ride on or home - every year cyclist die at the side of the road in Japan - this is not a case of HTFU but staying safe.

One other thing I carry with me in my tool pack is an emergency blanket - some of the slopes or raods are devoid of cover and can leave you or another rider exposed with no shelter if heat stroke or heat exhaustion sets in - they can be bought from hardware stores for as little as 300 yen and I suggest anyone riding in Japan gets one, as yours or someone elses life might depend on it.
 

j-sworks

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#3
Ok So what your saying is that it's true - I cannot buy a fix for this one either ;)

Thanks for all the detail and I will put that into practice ASAP because I get heat stroke just walking around outside for the day in the summer without the proper protection, and yes I use strong sunblock but will get some more sent from home.

I will try the 15 minute rule you suggested and add the blanket when I can, but on a similar note I have noticed that I seem to consistently start to over heat and sweat a ton when I am stopped for too long, or stop the ride at home - is that normal?
 

j-sworks

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#5
Yeah they look like they're suffering...

I do understand that though, alcohol just dehydrates the body - that's bests saved for after the ride:beer:
 
May 22, 2007
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#6
What FarEast says - apart from the stuff about beer. Yes, alcohol is a diuretic. But beer is still mostly water so it's replacing fluid. You'll lose a little more, a little more quickly, than if you were just drinking water. So drink a little more. All things in moderation including moderation, as Joe (?) is so fond of saying.

Some people like to cover up their arms in summer. The Pearl Izumi white half-meshy arm covers appear to work well at cooling and keeping off the sun. If you're wearing short sleeves, like most do, then be sure to use a waterproof sunblock.

For my summer commutes or when starting a ride, I dip my jersey in cold water, wring it out a little, and then put it on. This helps delay the overheating - usually enough to get me the 20 km to or from my office. I also try to stop in the shade (if I stop at all), and certainly not between rows of cars with their furnace-like aircon vents.

On a longer ride, I have been known to buy a big bag of ice at a convenience store - I put as much as I can in my water bottles, and stuff the remainder in my jersey pockets!
 

jdd

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#7
As posted elsewhere I have two long-sleeved jerseys. Actually cooler than wearing nothing. The better of the two is:
http://en.montbell.jp/products/goods/list.php?category=548000

Third one down, Cycool, apparently now they've added pockets (mine only has one small zip pocket) I'm sure there are many other brands around.

Yes, the UV cut works. I also have some extra long socks (to just below the knee, actually compression socks, which block the sun.

An added plus for long sleeves is that you can wipe dripping sweat from your head and face, much nicer than using an arm plastered with cream.

**

I keep extra sun cream in my office so that when I commute to work (early, short, and no need for it) on the return home, when I might go cruising for an hour or two, I can put it on there.

(I also keep a tub or Oronine there too, but that's for where the sun don't shine!) :rolleyes:
 

j-sworks

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#8
What FarEast says - apart from the stuff about beer. Yes, alcohol is a diuretic. But beer is still mostly water so it's replacing fluid. You'll lose a little more, a little more quickly, than if you were just drinking water. So drink a little more. All things in moderation including moderation, as Joe (?) is so fond of saying.

Some people like to cover up their arms in summer. The Pearl Izumi white half-meshy arm covers appear to work well at cooling and keeping off the sun. If you're wearing short sleeves, like most do, then be sure to use a waterproof sunblock.

For my summer commutes or when starting a ride, I dip my jersey in cold water, wring it out a little, and then put it on. This helps delay the overheating - usually enough to get me the 20 km to or from my office. I also try to stop in the shade (if I stop at all), and certainly not between rows of cars with their furnace-like aircon vents.

On a longer ride, I have been known to buy a big bag of ice at a convenience store - I put as much as I can in my water bottles, and stuff the remainder in my jersey pockets!
Yeah I noticed in the Amgen tour, on a 39degree day, a few riders had a little ice pack on their back under the jersey.

The cars a re killer in the summer, those silly people and thier aircon
 

j-sworks

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#9
As posted elsewhere I have two long-sleeved jerseys. Actually cooler than wearing nothing. The better of the two is:
http://en.montbell.jp/products/goods/list.php?category=548000

Third one down, Cycool, apparently now they've added pockets (mine only has one small zip pocket) I'm sure there are many other brands around.

Yes, the UV cut works. I also have some extra long socks (to just below the knee, actually compression socks, which block the sun.

An added plus for long sleeves is that you can wipe dripping sweat from your head and face, much nicer than using an arm plastered with cream.

**

I keep extra sun cream in my office so that when I commute to work (early, short, and no need for it) on the return home, when I might go cruising for an hour or two, I can put it on there.

(I also keep a tub or Oronine there too, but that's for where the sun don't shine!) :rolleyes:
Yeah I have learned that putting sunblock on my forehead is not so good, especially because I wear contacts. But I usually don't drip sweat unless I'm going slow or stopped - I'm nice and sweaty on the climbs if I'm pulling myself inside out
 

jdd

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#10
...
Your body will be perfectly happy with pure water with a pinch of salt in it to maintain the sodium levels - or you can get sodium or essential minerals and salt tabs like the HIGH5 zero.
...
I haven't got the brand names handy, but there is a lot of variation in the bottled waters sold in the combini--some have very little, others quite a bit of sodium. Opt for the latter and you probably won't need a pinch of salt--it's already there.
 

j-sworks

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#11
I haven't got the brand names handy, but there is a lot of variation in the bottled waters sold in the combini--some have very little, others quite a bit of sodium. Opt for the latter and you probably won't need a pinch of salt--it's already there.
Good call
 

GSAstuto

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#12
Excellent advise by FE! Especially in acclimating yourself to the temps by progressive training. The only thing I have to add:

1) Start your rides as early as possible. Even earlier than that if you can.
2) Stay off the heat soaked roads (i.e. mega concrete zones) where the temps will easily exceed 40or 45 degrees.
3) Every 100y store in Japan has Obasan 'arm coolers' - they work as good as any brand name arm coolers - same principal , etc. If you can score the silk blend version (a little more than 100y) they are even better.
4) Buy the FROZEN bottles of water / juice , whatever and carry them stage style on your back next to your neck. When they dethaw , drink and buy another. The timing will be just about right.
5) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Please follow FE'S advise - you MUST drink CONSTANTLY - at least a decent sip at every stop and about a liter /hr (typically 2 standard waterbottles)

Again, everything FE said! Especially as you get older (like me) , the last thing you want is getting heat exhaustion leading to heat stroke then shock and cardio failure. it happens ALL TOO OFTEN.
 

j-sworks

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#13
Excellent advise by FE! Especially in acclimating yourself to the temps by progressive training. The only thing I have to add:

1) Start your rides as early as possible. Even earlier than that if you can.
2) Stay off the heat soaked roads (i.e. mega concrete zones) where the temps will easily exceed 40or 45 degrees.
3) Every 100y store in Japan has Obasan 'arm coolers' - they work as good as any brand name arm coolers - same principal , etc. If you can score the silk blend version (a little more than 100y) they are even better.
4) Buy the FROZEN bottles of water / juice , whatever and carry them stage style on your back next to your neck. When they dethaw , drink and buy another. The timing will be just about right.
5) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Please follow FE'S advise - you MUST drink CONSTANTLY - at least a decent sip at every stop and about a liter /hr (typically 2 standard waterbottles)

Again, everything FE said! Especially as you get older (like me) , the last thing you want is getting heat exhaustion leading to heat stroke then shock and cardio failure. it happens ALL TOO OFTEN.
I was told about the two bottle per hour rule in warm temps and I try to follow that, but as a newer rider it's though to time this but I think I'm getting better.

I will try the stage bottle deal for sure, I remember the crazy hot summers when I lived in Nagoya a handful of years ago - don't want to get caught on a bike with heat stroke.

Thanks boys
 

FarEast

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#14
One other trick is the gel packs under the helmet - I've used these to good effect while racing in some serious heat - however they need replacing every so often - only really benifitial if you have a support car.

In regards to beers - sorry totally disagree with you Mike, not that but it's illegal as well.

BTW I LOVE a cold beer after a hard day on the bike!
 

j-sworks

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#15
One other trick is the gel packs under the helmet - I've used these to good effect while racing in some serious heat - however they need replacing every so often - only really benifitial if you have a support car.

In regards to beers - sorry totally disagree with you Mike, not that but it's illegal as well.

BTW I LOVE a cold beer after a hard day on the bike!
No road support for me, but I'm all over a cold one after rides for sure
 

FarEast

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#16
One last thing is TAKE IT EASY!

There are many new riders here that are just discovering the world of cycling and endurance riding. Although you may have been physically active through other sports there is nothing really similar to the effects of cycling.

Heat increases the intensity level of ride so I would suggest reducing the distance by about 25% while your body adapts to the heat and hummidity once you get an idea of your abilty then slowly increase.

But as Tim says - getting out as early as possible is the way to go.
 

j-sworks

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#17
One last thing is TAKE IT EASY!

There are many new riders here that are just discovering the world of cycling and endurance riding. Although you may have been physically active through other sports there is nothing really similar to the effects of cycling.

Heat increases the intensity level of ride so I would suggest reducing the distance by about 25% while your body adapts to the heat and hummidity once you get an idea of your abilty then slowly increase.

But as Tim says - getting out as early as possible is the way to go.
Another good call, when I ride alone I tend to push myself too much so I need to pace myself especially in the heat.

I just ordered a cadence unit for my Garmin gear, so I hope that will help me maintain a specific pace or in the case cadence.
 

Wolfman

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#18
I went to the Oktober fest yesterday in Hibuya koen. I was surprised how many roadies there were doing laps of the palace in that exposed heat. Just concrete and tarmac everywhere, with heat visibly flowing up off the road. I can't understand why people willingly choose to cycle in these environments.
I would rather not ride than go out in that, in that sort of location.

As Tim mentioned though, staying off heat soaked roads is really good advice. You can find a lot of little rindos with shade and / or a river running by the side.

For me, there's been a two or three close calls for me over the past couple of years. Sweat training, hydration etc are all really important but sometimes you've just got to get out of the sun and rest under a tree or something to cool down.
 

joewein

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#19
What FarEast says - apart from the stuff about beer. Yes, alcohol is a diuretic. But beer is still mostly water so it's replacing fluid. You'll lose a little more, a little more quickly, than if you were just drinking water. So drink a little more. All things in moderation including moderation, as Joe (?) is so fond of saying.
Right, though it's a Mark Twain quote :)


Mike is right that even though alcohol is a diuretic, it is still a net contributor of water. In fact pretty much all alcoholic beverages short of distilled spirits provide more water to the body than they make you lose through increased kidney activity. As diuretics they do make you lose more salt though, I think so you'll have to be more careful about getting enough sodium. At least some of the problems of hangovers are from loss of electrolytes (hence home remedies such as picked cucumbers, which provide salt).

The problem with beer and cycling is not the fact that it's a diuretic but that if it's more than just a small quantity it will affect your ability to participate safely in traffic, but I'm pretty sure Mike is aware of that and that he is not suggesting that anyone keep consuming a litre of beer an hour while going out on a ride. One can of beer, during a HFC style long break in a park is another matter.

I use my cheap cotton gloves to wipe sweat of my face (I have several pairs and I put them in the laundry). I wash my face to get the salt off whenever I refill my two water bottles with tap water. I also like to start my hydration early and already drink a bit of water (200 ml) at home as I fill up my bottles for the ride.

My cycling mentor back when I was in high school told me of a mix that he learned from a veteran cyclist, a certain amount of table salt and some egg white added to the water in his water bottles. I am not sure of the exact quantities any more. This was way before the first "sports drinks" came on the market. Does anyone have any experience with adding salt to the water? Normally the salt used by the body would come largely from food, such as onigiri, which also supply the kcal needed.
 

j-sworks

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#20
I went to the Oktober fest yesterday in Hibuya koen. I was surprised how many roadies there were doing laps of the palace in that exposed heat. Just concrete and tarmac everywhere, with heat visibly flowing up off the road. I can't understand why people willingly choose to cycle in these environments.
I would rather not ride than go out in that, in that sort of location.

As Tim mentioned though, staying off heat soaked roads is really good advice. You can find a lot of little rindos with shade and / or a river running by the side.

For me, there's been a two or three close calls for me over the past couple of years. Sweat training, hydration etc are all really important but sometimes you've just got to get out of the sun and rest under a tree or something to cool down.
Out in my area (Hino) I can be on the Jinba kaido in about 30 minutes, so I have to contend with the traffic for a bit and then I get some nice shaded roads that snake alongside a river before heading up the mountains.

I totally agree about voluntarily cycling around in the city on some hot pavement with not respite, but I was kind of lucky that we chose this area on the outer side of the concrete jungle.