Cycling & Cool

Must Come Down

60Wearing an ice vest before [performance] in warm, humid conditions allowed athletes to start and finish the competition with a lower Tc [core temperature] than did those who did not wear a vest.

University Research, Cooling Study

A little too cool

Class is back in session and we need to be reminded that we’re never too cool for school by using smart products. Old school helmet-less racing had a cool factor other than its justification that they were too hot to wear during hard climbs. Technological advances in helmets that don’t thwart heat dissipation were catalyzed by several race-related deaths due to head trauma. So we’re using our heads and wearing lids these days because it’s way cooler, so to speak.

Another cooling product is the ice vest as a means to promote cooler core temperatures. Reduction of thermal stress caused by prolonged exertion upon core temperature contributes to increased performance by reducing sweat rates, allowing the rider to worker harder for longer. In fact, 61studies show that optimal time trial performance occurs around 50°F. Another 62study concluded that repeated sprint exercise in hot temperatures resulted in a faster rate of fatigue but also resulted in higher peak power outputs due to increased pedal cadences. So maybe it’s not so cool to be too cool in certain events.

Finally, one of the coolest activities in cycling, leg-shaving, is associated with one of cycling’s coolest products – embrocation creams. The ritual and the oils within act as a 63thermal layer keeping you cool on hot days and protected and warmed in rain and cold.

As temperatures cool down, dress accordingly and remember that after all this year’s hard riding, your best ride may come during this season of optimal aerobic temperatures. And if you get a hot day, you may be able to post the highest sprint outputs of the year. Either way, a cool-down is a great way to end an argument, a ride, and a season.

Prayer for Cooling Off

“God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time…Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. He gets the last word. Keep a cool head. Stay alert…The suffering won’t last forever.  64 First Peter 5:6-11

We ask blessing on times likes these when we utilize the products and methods that capture the essence of cycling’s cool factor.

Ponder Where’s my cool weather cycling gear? Affirm I’m psyched there’s never a ho-hum day as a bike rider. Watch the leaves change, enjoy these colorful autumn moments; now eyes back on the road!

60“Warming Up With an Ice Vest: Core Body Temperature Before and After Cross-Country Racing,” Hunter & Hopkins, Brigham Young University, and Casa, University of Connecticut published in Journal of Athletic Training 2006 Oct–Dec; 41(4): 371–374.

61“Mythbusters,” a webinar presented by Stephen J. McGregor, Ph.D. on3/18/08 arranged by USA Cycling. Stephen is part of USA Cycling Science & Education faculty and Applied Physiology Laboratory of Eastern Michigan University.

62“Human power output during repeated sprint cycle exercise: the influence of thermal stress,” by Ball & Sargeant- Neuromuscular Biology Group, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University; and Burrows-Royal Liverpool University Hospitals. Copyright © 2008


64The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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