Ask RIDE…How do teams deal with the sun and sun burn?
I couldn’t help but notice the clear skies and heat during this year’s TDU. Perhaps not an often talked about strategy for the teams but how do they deal with the sun and sun burn?
It might seem like common sense to many of us but you would be surprised how many people go out on their bikes, in the middle of the day, without sun protection. Professional riders might have a darker tan than most of us but this is because of the thousands of hours spent on their bikes each year. Now multiply the exposure to the sun over a rider’s career which could be over ten years and it is clear why using sun cream is essential. This is not only because of their increased risk to skin cancer but also the effect it has on the ability for the body to recover during stages, races or between consecutive days of training. If you get sun burnt then it is going to make getting a good night’s sleep impossible. The body will be hotter than normal throughout the night and often make sleeping uncomfortable. Fewer hours of sleep means less time for the body to recover for the next day of racing or training session. On top of this it can also affect hydration requirements as the body struggles to regulate its heat.
In conclusion the strategy for sun protection is to lather-up with adequate sun cream before heading outside – if you’re a rider who is extremely susceptible to UV then consider a pair of lightweight arm covers with UV protection. Wearing appropriate sunglasses will minimise eye strain and stress on the body throughout the day. Teams also fill wattle bottles with electrolyte mix to keep hydration levels in check.
Please take a moment and click on the Queensland floods charity auction. For sale is a Trek Madone 6.9SSL RadioShack bike signed by Lance Armstrong.
Alex is the Technical Editor for RIDE Cycling Review.