Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pre-Race Rituals

As one of my first "big" races draws near, my mind starts reeling with all the things I need to prepare. Bike in good working condition? What are the weather conditions supposed to be like for the big day? Clothing/kit selections? Is my kit clean? So much stuff to worry about... Maybe that's why we have certain routines and rituals, so all those little tasks just become automatic.

Here's my pre-race ritual - welcome to the inner sanctum!

(assumes race on Saturday):
  • Make sure cycling team kit is clean, layout on duffel.
  • Throw race wheels on the bike and go for a minimum of 1.5 hour ride. Make sure everything is in good working order. Pay special attention to shifting and breaking and any weird noises. Fix as necessary.
  • Clean the bike thoroughly and lube.
  • Shave the legs - this is probably my only superstitious thing. I always shave my legs the day before a race.
  • Go for a short ride just to make sure shifting is still good.
  • Check air pressure on spare wheels. Top off as necessary.
  • Pack:
    • Helmet and shoes - these always go in first, since you can still technically race without the other stuff.
    • Water bottles - another important one
    • Glasses - tinted for sun and yellow for rain
    • Undershirt(s) - one long sleeved, one short sleeved, and one sleeveless
    • Arm and knee warmers
    • socks (two pair)
    • Gloves - fingerless and cool weather gloves
    • Cycling cap
    • Gillet
    • Assos Chamois Cream
    • Mad Alchemy Embrocation
    • Tool box
    • Chain lube & rags
    • Spare tube
    • Spare wheels
    • 2 Towel
    • Post race change of clothes and running shoes
    • A couple granola bars - one for on the way to the race and one for after
    • During-race food (gels, fig newtons, sports drink)
    • Water jug
    • Stationary trainer
    • iPod
    • Race License - it's in my wallet, just so I don't forget
    • directions to race
  • Load up the car (except for my clothes and the bike.)
  • Up and at 'em...
  • Breakfast: typically waffles or oatmeal, nothing too heavy. Oh, and coffee, lots of coffee...
  • Get dressed: I just suit up in my race gear and drive to the race in it. That way, if I'm running really late, I'm already dressed.
  • Fill up the water bottles and jug and load into car
  • Load up the bike
  • I'm off...
  • At the race: register and pin on numbers - warm up
  • Put on embrocation if race conditions dictate
  • Line up!
Pre-race ritual can be driven by necessity, obligation or superstition. For cyclists, everybody's ritual is a little different. They all share the same end goal, to create consistency in a sport where anything can happen...

Off to the races!

1 comment:

  1. WOW!! That is one long list!! I am lucky to have my kit clean the night before!! LOL!!