The Do’s and Don’ts to Completing Your First Big Charity Ride

June 8, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Riding

If you are a casual bike rider and have opted to push your personal limits and go for a big event, have you found yourself perplexed about preparations?

Oftentimes, those making the jump from one level of fitness to another find themselves wondering about what to expect.  Most riders just want to make it to the end of the ride.

Yet, we are here to offer our tips to help you to not only finish your big charity ride – but also, enjoying every pedal stroke of it.  Enjoy our do’s and don’ts of mastering your charity ride.

Do prepare your bike in advance.  This is an obvious but overlooked first step. Give your road 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 may need. 

Do know the course and aid stations.  Review the course.  Identify aid station sand watch the weather.  Primarily, you want to anticipate your needs as you tick off each mile.  For instance, learn or write down on a card to put in your jersey the mile markers for the aid stations.  You may also make note of the mileage between aid stations.  You may end up passing through the earlier aid stations only to stop more frequently at the the aid stations later in the event.  Having this knowledge is helpful mentally and helps you gauge your energy during the ride.

Do pack extra cycling accessoriesIf the event offers drop bags, you may consider placing extra gloves, a rain jacket, lube, and maybe even a small towel in your drop bag.  Pack your nutritional and clothing needs to pair with the aid stations so that you ride with the items you need and can gather extra when needed.  These necessary items can make all the difference in avoiding discomfort in poor weather and /or poor riding conditions.

Don’t forget the basic essentials. Lay everything out the night before. Basic essentials include your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.

Don’t go out too fast.  Pace yourself. It’s tempting to go out too hard when you are feeling fresh and the enthusiasm is high.  You’re going to be in the saddle for a long day; so be mindful of your pace, as well as, your ongoing nutrition needs.  Eat and drink as needed and avoid consuming too much at the aid stations.

Don’t compare yourself with other riders. If this is your first big event, most likely, you won’t be in the front group.  Sometimes that can be discouraging; other times that can be comforting. Regardless, it is important to benchmark your success based on your own achievements.  Be inspired by fitter and faster riders and celebrate in your achievement of finishing your big event at your pace and in your way.

Most of all, enjoy the ride!  Take these do’s and don’ts and create your own guidelines to successfully master all of your big, epic rides!


Race Prep: What to Bring to a Cyclocross Race

September 15, 2016
Cycling Accessories for Your Cyclocross Gear Bag

Cycling Accessories for Your Cyclocross Gear Bag

Cyclist in general are obsessed with weight. As in, how much their bike parts weigh? How heavy is the bike? How much is the the scale lying to you?

And, the list goes on.  Ironically, cyclocross is the only cycling discipline that counters the weight obsession.  That is at least, in the preparation department.  Everything else applies. Cyclocross races are short, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour depending on category, yet they require the most equipment prep of any bike racing discipline. Part of that relates to the time of year and the variability of the weather. Racers need to be ready to deal with wind, rain, snow, hail, ice, mud, fog, etc.  The gear preparation and the cycling apparel adds up.  There is gear for warming up, gear for racing, gear for cooling down, gear for the bikes and gear for creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. In addition, it is often not enough to have a single piece of equipment or clothing; several may be needed for the day. 

Which ultimately begs the question- What do you bring to a cyclocross race?  It will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you; 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: 

Clothing

  • Rain jacket, rain pants, waterproof boots.
  • One set of jersey/shorts and one skinsuit. One to warm up in, one to race in.  Having extras is good too.
  • Long sleeve jersey for warmups.
  • Extra base layers.
  • Vest, arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers. These are for warm-ups. 
  • Two pairs of shoes. Race pair and a backup just in case one breaks or the first pair is wet and muddy from pre-riding the course.
  • Two helmets. Again, in case of a mechanical.
  • Two pairs of gloves. Depending on the weather, you may opt for four or five pairs. Short and long-fingered race gloves, a light, medium, and heavy pair of warm-up or standing around gloves.
  • Tights or warm up pants.
  • Two to three pairs of socks, preferably wool.
  • Large garbage bags or ziplock bags to store wet and muddy clothes and gear.
  • Winter jacket. 
  • Cycling cap and or a beanie. 
  • Sunglasses with multiple lenses.

Gear and Equipment

  • Bike. Make sure it’s clean, tuned-up, and ready to ride. If you need bike maintenance, bring it into the shop!  Also, remember to take off the water bottle cages, your saddle bag, and anything else you’ve attached to the bike. 
  • Pump, tools, chain lube, and other maintenance items.
  • Safety pins to pin your number to your jersey.
  • Towels: large and small.  Use the smaller ones for clean up and the larger one for changing clothes. You might opt for extra towels to wipe down the bike. 
  • Baby wipes – great for cleaning everywhere after the race
  • Heat packs to stay warm prior to and post race.
  • Water bottles for before and after the race.
  • Energy drink mix, gels, bars, and nutritional items. 
  • Cash for coffee, food, and extras at the venue site. 
  • Folding chairs
  • iPod or music player – good for warming up.
  • Water – bring at least one gallon of water, not only for drinking, but for cleaning. 
  • Stationary trainer for warming up and cooling down. FYI, bring an extra rear wheel.  Warm up on the trainer with a regular tire. 
  • Spare wheels –Bring wheels with tires that have different treads for different conditions. 

Now that you have your gear bag ready, it’s time to race cross.  If you are new to cyclocross, check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  Dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice.  Finally, register for an upcoming cross race!  Click here for a list of races along the Front Range for September.  Bring on the cowbell friends!