Riding a dirt bike at or near your personal limit would be hot and sweaty business in shorts and a T-shirt, but most of us are smart enough to wear a lot more air-blocking but vital safety equipment than that. Each layer of safety makes the job hotter, so it is vital that you be prepared. Here are some tips that have worked for us living and riding in a desert. Different climates may call for other tips, so check with local riders for tips that are specific to your area.1. Fill your hydration system half-full with water and freeze it, then add water to it just before your ride. It will stay cold and melt to make more cold water during the ride. Just try to orient the bladder in the freezer so the hose doesn’t freeze shut.
2. Pack your cooler with frozen water bottles instead of ice. They will keep your stuff cool and you can drink them as they melt. Also, if you like to cut your flavored drinks like sodas or energy drinks with water, then fill up some water bottles half-full, freeze them, then when you’re ready to drink them, pour in your favorite drink and it will be cold and watered down shortly.
3. Having a damp towel in your cooler can go a long ways in cooling you before a moto, but it will be even more refreshing after one. The less damp the towel, the less shocking it will be. The Inner Cooler is a modern version of the cold towel (www.inner-cooler.com) that you can wear while you ride.4. Using a fan is smart for long or consecutive days in the heat. If you’re camping at the track or trailhead, set a house-style fan up in the shade and sit in front of it to cool down. Minimize the air conditioning of your RV; your body will acclimate to the outside temperature better with a fan and you’ll avoid shocking your system. One of our riding buddies adapted one of those pump-up mist bottles to his fan, and it rocks for a hot day at the track.
5. Eat cool foods. Pack your cooler with melons and other fruit that contains higher amounts of water in them. Cantaloupe, peaches and oranges are favorites.6. Hydrate or die. Drink small amounts of water constantly. Don’t gorge on mega tankers full of H2O, though. Always have water with you and sip constantly throughout the day.
7. Don’t forget to add electrolytes into your fluid intake as you sweat. Popular sports drinks generally benefit from being watered down for taste and to dilute the sugar concentration. Endurance-sport-specific drink mixes work well, too. After you start sweating, make sure you replace some of your fluids with some electrolytes. Some riders swear by Pedialyte believing that anything benign enough to rehydrate babies will metabolize easily for a racer.8. Stay out of the sun. It seems obvious, but forgetting a hat, umbrella or E-Z Up awning can make a day in the heat miserable.
9. Take your boots off. Between motos, drop the boots and let those dogs cool off. You and your boots will benefit from the drying time.10. Sunscreen: Duh. Use it. Some of us prefer the clear sprays that don’t require rubbing the sunscreen in. You just spray-paint it on.