The dog days of summer are upon us, and staying cool in the heat and humidity is a must for not only top performance on the race track, but also to avoid the dangerous symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Let’s face it, between the heat radiating off your motorcycle and the layers upon layers of safety gear we wear when riding, staying cool while riding motocross can be a challenge.
First and foremost, staying well hydrated is of utmost importance. Believe it or not, the average person is in a constant state of dehydration. Eight glasses of water are what’s recommended for the average person to consume per day, but for an athlete, the requirements are far greater. “As a rule, you need to replace what you are sweating out,” says Jeremy Martin’s trainer, John Wessling. “You want a good balance of water and electrolytes. Too much water and you dilute your electrolytes and you become dehydrated. A good drink mix to stay hydrated with is Osmo Active Hydration for before, during, and after riding.”
One of the most popular hydration drink mixes in pro motocross and a favorite of the TransWorld Motocross staff is Hydration Fuel, made by Ryno Power Supplements. Hydration Fuel has electrolytes, carbohydrates, Glutamine and D-ribose in it. Best of all? It tastes pleasant and isn’t a chore to drink down like some sports drinks.
Staying out of the sun and remaining as cool as possible is critical on hot race days. In between motos, conserve as much of your energy as possible by staying off your feet and out of the sun. Sure, walking out into the middle of the track to cheer on your buddies during their motos is fun, but you won’t realize how much energy that took until you are out in the hear racing your own moto. Having a buddy to take an umbrella to the starting line with you is always a help.
Your body expels most of its excess heat through your head and feet, so get your boots off as soon as you’re off the track. If you don’t have time to change out of your gear in between motos or practice sessions, getting your boots off at a minimum is a must. On the starting line, waiting to put your helmet on until the last possible moment will help prevent heat build up inside your helmet.
Sipping water on the starting line is a good idea to help stay hydrated and keep away the dreaded cottonmouth, but be careful not to chug too many liquids before your race because it could upset your stomach from sloshing around.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team riders all have these specially made fans clamped to their handlebars before the start of a moto on hot days. Keeping airflow on your upper body can help keep you cool while you’re waiting for your race.
This cordless fan is made by Makita Tools and features a rechargeable battery.
Of course, wearing vented riding gear help a lot, as the added airflow is great for letting your body heat escape. Almost every gear manufacturer offers partially vented, if not completely vented, jerseys and pants. Vented gear is – of course – not as durable as standard riding gear, but it is worth investing in if you ride in a hot climate.
Some pros, like Joey Savatgy, opt to wear an Arctic Heat cooling vest on the starting line. Stored inside a freezer or ice chest until it is needed, the vest helps keep your body core temperature at a minimum until the start of the race. It is important not to forget to take it off – like Brett Metcalfe did years ago – as it will effectively turn into heating vest once it cools off and blocks all airflow.
Though the AC System is not yet on the market since undergoing the change from being goggle-mounted to its current configuration as a nose-band, we’ve ridden in the system plenty and can report that the extra airflow gained with the nasal dilator produces a cooling effect. We’ve ridden with the AC System on during a brutal summer day and it made feel several degrees cooler. The guys at AC System report that their product should be available soon.