Welcome to what we hope will be a regular series on our blog. Every couple of weeks we want to chat to our pro cyclists and sponsored riders and get some tips that can help you be better on the bike. From kit tips, to training tips, to race preparation you’ll find it all here. Our first Pro Tips post focuses on the very relevant topic of riding in the summer heat. Get to the finish to find out how to win a Summer Giveaway Pack.
It’s really telling that every pro we spoke to listed sunscreen as their number 1 tip. It should of course be obvious, no one wants to return from their ride looking like a lobster and sunscreen is the simplest and easiest way to avoid sunburn and, even worse, sunstroke. Some practical tips around this point, always keep a spare bottle in your car in case you run out. It is also very important to make sure you select the right kind of sunscreen one that doesn’t get sticky or run into your eyes. Our current go to is Riemann P20 SPF 30, but we can also recommend Island Tribe SPF 50. Make sure the sunscreen is sports orientated and waterproof. When it comes to SPF it is far more important to apply regularly than to go for the highest number. Anything over 50 makes a negligible difference, so aim for a waterproof sports sunscreen between 30 and 50 SPF and reapply every couple of hours on longer rides. Our rider Matthew How adds to this “Important areas that cyclists often forget are: on top of your ears, the top of your hands, your calf and your back (your cycling top does not protect all the sun rays and bib tans are awkward to explain).”
If you’re looking for some kit to help you cope with the summer sun, we have a few speciality items that might interest you. Firstly, all our men’s race fit jerseys and ladies race fit jerseys feature UV protection of 50+. However, if you choose a mesh jersey or one that features mesh like our Supremo Jerseys sunscreen application is very important as the mesh allows UV rays through. We also have UV Sleeves aimed specifically at protecting your arms from the sun’s harmful rays as well as a wide range of Cycling Casquettes. No matter what kit you choose it should always be worn in combination with sunscreen to ensure you have the maximum protection.
Now that we’ve got the most prevalent tip out the way, let’s see what the Pros have to say.
Aaron Borrill is a South African/Italian cyclist who specialises in both Mountain Biking and Road Events. In 2018 he was placed 2nd overall in the Wines2Whales Pinotage Event and 3rd in the 2018 Gravel & Grape Event. Aaron rides for Team Pure Savage.
“Choose the correct clothing: there’s a host of options from Ciovita including some pretty impressive undervests. Avoid dark colours as these absorb more heat. And depending on the pace and nature of the ride nutrition plays a role - I train with one bottle of water and one bottle water/hydration mix. And maybe a gel for an emergency.”
Jarrod is a young South African mountain biker specialising in XCO. He is currently ranked #282 in the world by the UCI. In 2018 he finished 3rd in the South African XCO National Champs U23, as well as claiming top spot in the U23 African Mountain Bike Continental Champs and finishing 39th Overall at the UCI World Cup in Stellenbosch. Jarrod “comes from the desert” as he says, so riding in heat doesn’t bother him, but he does have a few helpful tips.
“Drink at least 1 litre of water per hour. Dehydration should be one of your biggest concerns when riding in summer. The second tip I can offer you is to train early. The heat is far more manageable in the mornings, and who doesn’t love watching the sunrise? Training after 12pm is just a bad idea.”
Matthew is studying medicine at UCT and currently riding for the Team UCT. In 2018 he competed in the Tour de Maurice in Mauritius, which saw him claim the white jersey in Stage 1, and finished 11th in the Elite Men category at the Tour of Durban. Unsurprisingly, Matthew brings a empirical eye to dehydration.
“Always keep very aware of signs of dehydration: - headache, dizziness, confusion, cramps, blurry vision, loss of power and increased heart rate. On the bike ensure you drinking at least 750ml every 45 minutes. Water can do the trick, but if you’re going to be out for more than 2 hours add in an electrolyte tablet. When planning your rides, make sure you have places to stop for water along the way.”
Robyn de Groot really needs no introduction. An accomplished Road Cyclist, Robyn competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, represented South Africa at 4 World Championships before retiring from road cycling in 2012. In 2013 she took up mountain biking as a hobby, but what came next showed her championship pedigree. She went on to win the MTN National Mountain Bike Series, the SA Marathon title on her first attempt and finished 19th in the world Marathon Champs in Austria. Since then she has won 6 SA Marathon Champs Events and placed 2nd in the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic.
“Hot summers day rides call for summer kit (well aerated and highly breathable) and sunscreen, which I have made a part of my pre ride routine. I always carry electrolytes in my pocket for my refill stops. Supplementation with minerals is also vital when being exposed to cycling in the heat for prolonged periods of time. And because it’s summer, there is no better way to end your ride than a slice of watermelon.”
Our Bonus Tip comes from our brand ambassador Aaron Simpson on the Gold Coast, Australia. Aaron’s Instagram is amazing, and it’s no wonder that his tip is a social one.
“Ride with friends. People around you could help you if you become disoriented. Sometimes other people can notice the effects of heat stress while you may not. Also always let people know you are going for a ride and give them a rough ETA.”