What's Cool In Road Cycling

Travel and Racing: Plan Ahead to Finish Ahead

This summer many of you will hop in a car or plane and travel to a big race. Maybe its Master Nationals, an NRC race, or just a kick ass event that is cool enough to warrant the trip. Big trips are big commitments and often times you’ve planned your entire season to “peak” for this particular race. You’ve built, you’ve tapered, but have you planned out the actual trip?

That’s right, taking care of the small details will save you some pre-race stress that could effect your race. Michael Barry of the United States Postal team makes a living by traveling and racing and he has some recommendations for stepping off a plane ready to ride fast!

Aside from the essentials like an iPod, fruit, clif bars, magazines, laptop , and cell phone, Michael takes care of sleeping, hydration, and his immune system. “I try to get as much sleep as I can on overseas flights and I particularly pay attention to staying hydrated…” says Michael. For maximizing sleep Michael uses earplugs, an eye patch and avoids coffee to prevent dehydration. To combat the “recycled” air in planes and boost his immune system, MIB takes a multivitamin and Vitamin C.

And a little piece of advice for the air traveler packing his or her bike: make sure you mark the seatpost and stem when you disassemble your bike so that you can put it back together just like it was before. That’s a tip I had to learn from first hand experience.

If you’re traveling by car take my advice and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the event. So far I’ve put nearly 10,000 miles on my car this year getting to races and sometimes travel can be half the battle. If possible break the drive up to avoid really wrecking yourself before the event has even begun. Pack some essential food items and any necessary meals that will help you skip the fast food. Line up your lodging well in advance to prevent any surprises. And have your bike tuned up before you leave!

Once you’ve arrived and taken care of all your racing responsibilities chances are that you need to put your feet up and chill out. But what are you gonna do? Rusty Beall of the Health Net Professional Cycling team stays in touch with his family and friends with his laptop and cell phone. Having a good book is always a nice way to relax and soak up a few hours. Rusty’s latest recommendation is “Fire” by Sebastian Junger while Michael just finished up “A Personal Matter” by Kenzaburo Oe. But if you’re tired and need some light reading you can’t beat SI’s Swimsuit Issue!

On the morning of the race, plan in advance where and when you’ll eat breakfast and any pre-race meals. Along those lines, Rusty insists that you’ve got to have lots of Peet’s coffee. And I agree: planning your caffeine strategy is a key element of making your race morning just like any other morning. And for that matter proper planning can make a race away from home feel like home with just a little extra thought. So plan ahead to finish ahead.

Frank Overton
Frank is a USA cycling certified coach and category 1 road racer. He can be reached at his website FasCatCoaching.com or may be found riding around Boulder, Colorado in zone 2 on the bike paths or flat roads – – at least until late February when his intensity training begins.

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