Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting ready: what I need to do OFF the bike this week.

This week marks my second brevet of the season and the first in which night riding is a factor. We all know that success on the bike is based on a combination of physical training, mechanical consistency, mental readiness, proper nutrition and external factors beyond our control such as weather and terrain. It’s easy to focus on the need to be physically ready for a big event, but with only several days to go, I’ve found that my time is much better spent ensuring that the other aspects of my preparation are in order.

I very much want this to be my fastest 300K brevet ever. I’ve ridden this many miles within 12 hours, but not under brevet conditions that require control stops, card signing and total self-sufficiency. My success will come from a single-minded commitment to reaching my goal on the bike as well as a plan that reduces my time spent off the bike to next to nothing. I’ll have very little room for error so need to make sure that my equipment is in optimal shape. Here’s a list (so far) of the non-training work I need to take care of this week to prepare for the Saratoga 300K on Sunday.
  • Take my dynamo hub wheel out of the closet, install a fresh tube and tire and attach it all to the bike. [Ensure that the computer magnet is attached and calibrated correctly].
  • Carefully attach and wire headlight and taillight (the former was repaired under warrantee for water collection during LEL and not used since).
  • Change helmet lamp battery.
  • Spend several hours riding at night to test equipment and set-up.
  • Finally reset my watch and bike computer to Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
  • Clean the bike of all accumulated grime and road spray.
  • Oil pedal spindles so they hang properly for optimal click-in.
  • Tighten all loose parts like fenders and fender stays. Replace the front fender stay with a longer replacement part.
  • Check tires carefully and remove all glass shards and pebbles that may work their way into the tube. [This useful tidbit was shared by Levi Leipheimer in Bicycling magazine].
  • Follow the weather forecast and prepare all appropriate clothing and equipment.
  • Estimate the need for and measure and pack nutrition products.
  • Review cue sheet and meditate/visualize course and strategy.
  • Get 8 full hours of sleep every night.

While success will come largely from the work I do ON the bike, it could certainly be fouled up by any one of the things I forget to do OFF the bike.

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