The weather has made its intentions known already in much of Australia. Summer is going to be a scorcher and will show no mercy. But that’s life in this wide brown land; we’re not going to stop riding. Here’s a simple list of 10 tips to keep you going through the hottest days.
1. Freeze your hydration pack bladder the night before the ride — or at least refrigerate it, because sucking down warm water when you’re thirsty is as satisfying as a turd sandwich. Some blokes like to insert a frozen cold pack up against the water bladder to keep it cold, too. Adding some red cordial to the bladder is said to kill off bacteria in the water as well as making it tastier.
2. Spray your boots and lower pant legs with insect surface spray to deter leeches. They are the vampires of the bush and they find their way to some pretty unpleasant places on your body. We also spray around the cuffs of our jersey as well as put insect repellent on our necks and arms. It’s giving me the creeps just writing this.
3. Wear a set of vented riding gear. Most brands make it and you can definitely feel the difference when your jersey in particular allows airflow.
4. Tinted goggles or light-reactive lens can help stave off fatigue on the days when the closest star to Earth is pounding you with UV rays.
5. Don’t forget to eat — but don’t stop at Macca’s for three cheeseburger meals. In the heat your body needs fuel but it doesn’t want to lug you around and digest a Family Meal at the same time. Take bananas, muesli bars or even a couple of Vegemite sandwiches on white bread — which, by the way, is totally Oz.
6. Slip, slop, slap. Really, this is Australia and we shouldn’t need to remind you of this. Sunburn sucks but skin cancer blows the big one. At the very least, hit your face, neck and shoulders as well as your arms.
7. Add a hydration powder like Mydrade to your water. This stuff works really well at keeping you hydrated and avoiding cramps by replacing groovy stuff like electrolytes and potassium.
8. Ride earlier or later in the day and avoid the hottest part when the sun is at its most vindictive.
9. Take it easy. Take breaks and have a chat and a laugh instead of charging till you drop.
10. Freeze a cloth overnight and then leave it in your Esky in a zip-lock bag while you’re on the trails. You will be the envy of your mates when you get back to an icy-cold towel to wipe down with.