Our 2013 Legacy Run is headed for some tropical heat. If we just ride fast enough, we’ll cool off, right? Wrong. Keep reading for a few myth-busters and references:
Myth #1: Zipping along in my T-shirt and ALR leather-vest will keep me cool.
Reality: This works to some degree when the ambient temperature is *lower* than your body temperature, and excess body heat can be absorbed by the air. But if the air gets hotter than the skin, your increased blood flow – forced by your body to your skin in an effort to get your core cool – simply soaks up more heat from the air and pumps it back to the core. And the effect is worsened by the effect of the direct sun on your exposed skin.
What to do: Mesh equipment works to protect your skin and provide evaporative cooling if the outside air temp is less than 90 degrees. Once it gets to about 93, you need to not only cover your skin, but *block* the wind from your body – windshield, fairing, and/or wind-blocking clothing. You want to reduce the wind to a slight breeze, while using "wicking" material as a base layer, to draw perspiration away from your skin.
Myth #2: I need Gatorade and energy drinks at the rest stops to keep up my energy.
Reality: These drinks are loaded with sugar and caffeine, which essentially promote dehydration. Coffee is not a problem until you get to 6-8 cups a day.
What to do: Focus on proper intake of water during our rest stops. The average August temperature in the Dallas area is 96 degrees; Houston, 93 degrees. Based upon the distance between our rest stops (approx 90 min), you will need to drink about 10 oz. of water an hour, or 1.3 quarts of water every 4 hours – just to keep up with your perspiration!
Here are some great references for reading about long-distance motorcycle riding in hot weather:
1. Lots of science in this article, but it is a definitive and convincing reference for hot-weather clothing and hydration:
2. Short article that covers good clothing tips and how to recognize the effects of heat problems:
Finally, remember that you cannot push through being overhearted. Your skills and judgment will only get worse, and they will deteriorate quickly. Check out the articles, put the info to good use, look out for your riding buddy, and we'll have a great trip to Houston!
Road Captain, Group E – Virginians!