The Spring Racing Season in Colorado is nearly here! With upcoming events like the Louisville Criterium, Ridgeline Rampage, and The Koppenberg, road and mountain bike racers are ready to ride. But, don’t think that just showing up on the line is enough. Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season. Following is the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop comprehensive checklist to showing up to the start line fully prepared.
While it may seem obvious, give your race bike a once over. Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. As an example, your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible. Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you plan to use for your A races later in the season. This gives you a chance to dial in your needs early season and optimize performance in later events.
It will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you. And, there are lots of individual preferences. However, we’ve compiled a checklist for you. For starters, plan to use a gear bag that opens up wide and allows you to see everything within quickly. Fill it up with these items.
- racing license
- membership card
- timing chip
- road id
- driver’s license
- team kit
- chamois cream
- water bottles
- food (gels, breakfast, coffee, whatever)
- a bike pump
- a spare tube
Things that will make you more comfortable, but they aren’t deal breakers:
- extra safety pins
- extra zip ties
- sunscreen/lip balm
- extra water/recovery drink for after the race or the ride home (in a cooler if it’s hot)
- extra dry clothes to change into (if it’s cold, pack a LOT of extra clothes, hat and gloves, etc.)
- extra food for after (especially for long races or races with a long drive home)
- baby wipes to wipe away the grime; sunscreen, dirt, grit, sweat, pelts of road kill, etc.
- towel (to clean up with or to lay on your car seat for the filthy ride home)
- blanket to stretch on
- music and headphones to block out pre-race jitters
Race Route Prep
Know the course and the conditions. Weather can alter race course conditions considerably. Take into consideration the bike parts you’ll be racing and confirm you have the bike components and gear needed to successfully race the course. For mountain bike components – consider tire selection carefully when riding wet and muddy trails. Familiarity with the race course and weather conditions aids in having confidence to tackle anything that comes at you during your big event.
How are you prepping mentally? What are your thoughts and strategies going into early season races? Get Your Mental Game On! Check in with your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it.” Develop your mental strategy to overcome pre race jitters, as well as, when race challenges come your way. Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year.
Bike Nutrition Prep
As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition. Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel – whether that nutrition is in bars, gels, and liquids. Selecting the right type of fuel depends on many factors such as duration, intensity and what type of activities such as cycling, running or multi sport.” The end result: experimentation during training and early season races will aid in dialing in proper race day nutrition for your “A” races and events.
Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, early season races can be tough. However, now that you have your gear bag ready and a handy checklist, you’re ready for a great 2017 cycling season.