BORA - hansgrohe Top 5: Staying cool despite the heat
Bike races takes place in all weather: come rain or snow – and even summer heat waves. While most people tend to avoid exercise when temperatures push above 30°C, it’s not uncommon for Tour de France stages to take place in 35°C. So how do professional cyclists still manage to deliver a peak performance in these tough conditions? We did some research for you and found out how the BORA - hansgrohe boys keep cool even on the hottest days of the year. But be careful: although one or two tips may prove useful for amateur athletes, you should always listen to your body and ease off if you start to feel any warning signs.
5th place: Acclimatisation
Practice makes perfect. This common saying also applies to how we deal with heat. If you’re training for a competition in the height of summer or a cycling holiday in a warmer country, it’s a good idea not to shy away from high temperatures on your preparatory rides. It takes one to two weeks for our bodies to get accustomed to heat. However, the optimal outdoor temperature for maximum performance is still under 20°C. You should also make sure you are always well protected from the sun to avoid additional overheating.
4th place: Air jerseys & bib shorts
It’s hard to believe today, but cycling jerseys used to be made of wool! Fortunately, functional materials that are far more comfortable to wear have been the norm for a while now. In the last few years, jerseys and bib shorts have become available in special materials that are particularly breathable and also ensure optimal sweat evaporation. These items often include the term “air” in their name and are the clothing of choice for the pros in the hottest summer months.
3rd place: Cooling vests
Especially before a race, you’ll see plenty of professional cyclists wearing special vests. These vests contain ice cubes or cooling packs that help them maintain a constant body temperature – or even cool it down – before the race begins. This creates a sort of “buffer”, delaying the moment when the body starts to overheat for as long as possible. Of course, staying in the shade as much as possible before the race is also advisable.
2nd place: Ice socks
Cycling with tights? Though it might sound weird, it’s quickly become the method of choice among the pros for keeping cool in summer. This trick involves filling women’s tights with ice cubes, tying them up and stuffing them under the jersey on the back of the rider’s neck. Though it does have a slight impact on the appearance and aerodynamics of the riders – who have already been jokingly dubbed “camels” – this technique can be used at least every now and then in place of an ice vest.
1st place: Water
And first place on our list goes to (what else?) water. Kept ice-cold in the support vehicle; infused with carbs and electrolytes or enjoyed pure; poured on the arms and legs or over the head: water is every athlete’s best friend! During hot stages, the pros drink up to 1.5 litres an hour – plus the water they use to cool the body. For amateur athletes, jumping into a lake can also provide instant and welcome relief from the heat.