It’s July and it’s prime cycling season. Many of us will be taking part in the big amateur cycling events in the mountains. It has been very hot in Europe so here are some tips to bear in mind this summer when you’re taking part in such great events as the Marmotte, the Maratona and the Etape du Tour.
Ideally you will have done a few training rides in hot weather conditions. You should practice fuelling and hydration to get used to how your body reacts in these conditions. It’s not just the heat that you may have to contend with, the altitude can also be a challenge, especially if you’ve never been at altitude before.
If you haven’t been able to do this, then we advise people to arrive a few days before their event so you can get a few nights’ sleep at altitude plus do a few easier rides in hot conditions to let the body get used to it.
Slap on the suntan lotion and re-apply!
Buy yourself a high protection waterproof suntan lotion. Take a small bottle with you on your ride so you can re-apply during the event. Sunburn is not only painful, but it also depletes your body of moisture which you don’t want to do.
Before the event, stay out of the sun as much as possible. During the event, find the shade whenever you can.
Wear the right clothes
Ensure your shoes and clothing are breathable but allow for a protective layer for descents as the wind can give you a chill. A sweat top underneath your jersey works well. Don’t wear black or dark jerseys in hot weather.
Keep an eye on your effort
Heat will make everything harder so keep an eye on your power or heart rate and pull back when you go too hard. You will need all your energy at the end of the day.
Keep hydrated and keep cool
Travelling on a plane and drinking alcohol will dehydrate you. Ensure that you keep on sipping water throughout the days leading up to the event. Try to stay out of the sun and have a few early nights. Remember that your first night sleeping at altitude will probably be a bad one in a new environment.
During the event, ensure you carry enough water and fill up your bottles whenever you can. You don’t want to get caught out between feed stops with empty bottles. Aim to drink about 1 litre per hour.
Whenever you can, pour cold water over your head, neck, and arms. Make use of any fountains, mountain streams that can be easily accessed from the road. Always stay safe though and don’t take any risks.
Learn where the feed stations are and use the top tube sticker provided so you can look ahead and plan your day.
OTE nutrition at the Marmotte, Maratona and the Etape du Tour
Sports nutrition is provided by our nutrition partners OTE.
Check out this guide by our nutrition partners OTE here – The Importance of Hydration
Some other relevant guides by OTE