Author Topic: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July  (Read 1357 times)

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Offline pigasus

Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« on: May 25, 2012, 12:07:14 pm »
Should I be concerned about riding solo through the heat in the Southern California section of the Sierra Cascades route in July? It's my nature to say "bahhh, everything will be fine!", but.... heat stroke. What's the word on the desert sections? How far apart are watering holes?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2012, 12:27:00 pm »
I found the heat pretty difficult when I was there.  It was an exceptionally hot time for early June.  I think the high was something around 115F.  The year we were there it had been a wet snowy winter and we were there earlier in the year by a month, so YMMV, but we found water frequently most of the time.  I carried a filter and it was nice to get cool water from mountain streams during the day.

There were a few places where you needed to carry extra for a long stretch.  There were even some towns where there was no water to be had unless someone had pity and gave you their bottled water.

Offline pigasus

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2012, 12:39:42 pm »
How much water per person did you carry during the dry stretches? And about how long were those stretches? I imagine having the route maps in my hand will help, but I'm still waiting on those to get here in the mail. I kind of had my heart set on doing the Sierra Cascades as my first extra-long tour, but I don't want to be dumb about it. I'm sure the Pacific Coast would be a great ride, too.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 01:41:36 pm »
How much water per person did you carry during the dry stretches? And about how long were those stretches? I imagine having the route maps in my hand will help, but I'm still waiting on those to get here in the mail. I kind of had my heart set on doing the Sierra Cascades as my first extra-long tour, but I don't want to be dumb about it. I'm sure the Pacific Coast would be a great ride, too.

Water...  I don't think there was ever more than 50 miles or so between water, but in 100+ heat that can be a good bit of water.  I do not recall how much I carried and any one time on the trip, but I don't think it was ever too much more than a gallon.  It may be drier when you are there though.  Also if you are likely to be stuck out overnight carrying more would be prudent.

I personally hated the heat on that trip and we went in the beginning of June.  That said Sequoia and Yosemite were amazing.

Offline sam21fire

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 11:31:35 pm »
I work in the Barstow area. In July in that area expect daytime temps to exceed 105-110 F, humidity less than 10%, often less than 5%.  Exercising hard ie bike riding for many hours in these conditions means you probably cannot physically consume enough water to prevent significant dehydration unless you are very well acclimated.  The dangerous part is that because it's dry and you're moving your sweat will evaporate very quickly and you won't feel terribly hot...but you'll lose a tremendous amount of fluid.  It's very difficult to drink enough water/fluid at night to replace what you lose during the day.

   I suggest that you start riding before the sun comes fully up, ride until 10 am (temps will be 90+ by then), find some shade until 4 or 5 pm (when it might drop below 90 again) then ride until it's too dark to comfortably ride.  Or you could ride at night and rest during the day.

Offline pigasus

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 11:41:41 pm »
I appreciate the advice, guys. Sorry I've been too busy the last few days to say so. I'm thinking I'll modify my plans to avoid the July desert. Hopefully I'll be able to ride the route southbound and hit the hottest parts in mid or late September, which would still be quite warm, but not as bad.

Offline MrBent

Re: Sierra Cascades; desert heat in July
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2012, 03:45:41 pm »
Be prepared to bake just as bad in Sept.  It's often a VERY hot month in the Mojave.  You won't get significant cooling until Oct.  Just be prepared to carry lots of water and do the start before dawn and sit out the afternoon if you have to.

Have a blast!