I know many of you are riding and racing in events this coming weekend. It’s Gravel Worlds week with all the events that entails, and the Heatstroke 100 Sunday. Mercifully, the temperatures are forecast to drop heading into the weekend. The days leading up to the weekend we all know are going to be in the red zone in terms of heat. I wrote about riding in the heat here a month ago, so I won’t repeat all that, but do take care to properly prepare yourself as you commute and train this week. Hopefully you’ve been riding in the heat enough by now to have acclimated somewhat to the high temperatures. Do be sure to not only hydrate with water but also with an electrolyte solution, as you’ll hopefully be sweating a lot. Keep it cooler by freezing a partly filled water bottle then top it off with liquid water or sport drink. You might even like keeping one bottle for drinking and another for squirting on yourself. I think it helps to keep skin covered with special cooling fabrics, sunsleeves, or a loose lightweight shirt. Keeping clothes wet-down gives you more evaporative cooling. Also, don’t try to set any speed records when it’s this hot. Obviously, keep to shady trails as much as possible, and remember that natural surfaces reflect heat less than pavement.
100 years ago people tried to beat the heat by spending time in Epworth Park, now the area of Wilderness Park around First and Calvert St. extending to the south. While it definitely feels cooler there, it doesn’t get much breeze. Remnants of the camp can still be found in that area if you know what to look for. In a different section of the park, Friends of Wilderness Park is hosting a group ride September 30 at 10:00. The ride will roll down the Jamaica from near Park Blvd. and Speedway Circle to Saltillo and back. There will be frequent stops to talk about various areas of the park along the trail. I’m sure it will be cooler by then. Remember, our average first frost is October 11!