Ice buckets and paint suits: How heat and cooling both aid performance

Why training hot and racing cool is a major gain for riders at Tour Down Under and beyond.

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 26.01.2024 Photography by
Ronan Mc Laughlin
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We all know the perils of overheating and its detrimental effect on performance. The benefits of planned, intentional and careful overheating in training and pre-cooling strategies in competition are less well-known, though, and could be as beneficial to performance as overheating is problematic.

Equally, though, staying cooler for longer in races could be the difference between competing for the win and merely struggling through at best. Extreme temperatures are usually a given at the Tour Down Under, and with every team now acutely aware of the impact of heat on performance, more and more teams and riders are including heat training in preparation for events and various different cooling strategies on race day.

Coinciding with this week’s episode of Performance Process – which delves deep into the topic of heat and how it can be both a powerful, free, and accessible training intervention and a major problem – we take a closer look at what teams are doing to beat the heat on the ground.

In the podcast, we speak to Chris Bloomfield-Brown, a performance engineer for most of his life, in everything motorsport to pro bike racing and with plenty of work in triathlon along the way. Chris is perhaps best known in the WorldTour peloton for his work in recent years with CORE, the company behind those small rectangular white sensors attached to almost every heart rate strap in the peloton.

We talk to Chris about all things heat training, cooling, and better warm-ups and dissect some of the adaption, acclimatisation, strain, and other terminology with regard to heat. But first, a closer look at the pre-cooling strategies on the ground at the Tour Down Under.

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