Summer has arrived here in Lake Nona … well, actually, everywhere in the state. The early mornings that Nona Cycle members were found dressed in thermal tights and arm warmers, complaining about the 45-degree temperatures, are a fond, distant memory. Now, we’re longing for shade and a good tailwind to cool us down. Despite the increasing heat and humidity, Florida cyclists are fortunate in that we are able to enjoy our sport outdoors mostly year round. However, there are a few precautions to keep in mind, especially if you are new to cycling.
Acclimate: The biggest mistakes cyclists – particularly those who are new to the sport – make is being unaccustomed to exercising outdoors. For the most part, we go from air-conditioned homes, offices, stores, and restaurants to air-conditioned cars and quickly feel overheated when we step outdoors. New cyclists can acclimate to summer cycling by walking, starting with shorter rides, or by taking hot yoga classes. Riding in early morning hours or late afternoon can keep you ahead of the heat and humidity, although afternoon thundershowers can ruin your ride plans.
Hydrate Properly: Plain water will not ensure proper hydration during a summer ride; it is imperative that you supplement your water with electrolytes to prevent your body from becoming sodium depleted (a dangerous condition called hyponatremia that can result in muscle damage and swelling of the brain). There are a number of hydration mixes to add to water that are low in sugar and high in sodium; check with your local cycle shop or research online. Plan to drink about a 20-ounce bottle every hour for a 150-pound rider. To prevent your drink from quickly becoming the temperature of warm tea, freeze one bottle at half full and another at the three-quarter mark before topping them off. Consuming cold fluids will help keep your core temperature down and your performance up.
Post ride, a protein-based recovery drink will help you rehydrate faster than one that’s carbohydrate-only. Protein pulls water with it when it travels to muscles, resulting in a quicker recovery.
Protect Yourself: The sun does more than burn your skin while cycling, it raises your heart rate and metabolism and causes fatigue. Good-quality cycling clothing has built-in SPF protection, is ventilated, and is made of breathable, quick-drying fabric; it is always worth the investment. It goes without saying to wear sunscreen!
Slow Down: It’s disheartening to see your speed and PRs decline, but when you consider you’re cycling in a sauna, slower speeds are to be expected. That said, by continuing to train throughout the summer, you’ll be stronger and faster than all those cyclists who hibernated for the past six months.
What’s Next for Nona Cycle?
If you follow this column monthly, you are familiar with Nona Cycle’s focus of fellowship, ride safety, and support of local charitable organizations. There’s plenty of opportunities to cycle in Lake Nona and neighboring communities, to improve your cycling skills, and to meet like-minded people. If you need a reason to ride, there’s no better motivation for riding in the heat of summer than preparing for the fall 2019 and spring 2020 charity ride season.
Coming up, Nona Cycle will ride in support of the following charity rides:
Oct. 12: Think Pink Cancer Ride hosted by Winter Garden Wheel Works in downtown Winter Garden.
Oct. 13: Ride for Ronald supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (including Ronald McDonald House here in Lake Nona).
Nov. 30: JHOP Century Ride in St. Cloud.
March 29, 2020: Tour de Cure, Lake Nona supporting the American Diabetes Association.
Nona Cycle has weekly rides for every skill level, including two Saturday rides (Back in the Saddle for new and returning riders and the Airport Loop for experienced riders) and the Sunday Signature Ride, a 34-mile loop ride with speeds of 18 mph and up, ending with fellowship at the Lake Nona Starbucks. Additionally, our members organize early morning rides, targeted training rides, and rides with a focus on fun.
If you are new to cycling, new to Lake Nona, or live in the surrounding community and want to ride with a great group of people who embody the team spirit of cycling, find us on Facebook and plan to join us.
Do you like to cycle or want to learn how? Join the Nona Cycle group for weekly rides: nonahood.to/nonacycle.