Training sessions and racing doesn’t always happen inside temperature controlled indoor velodromes – sometimes it’s freezing, windy, rainy, and miserable. And there’s nothing worse than standing out there in a short sleeve and shorts, shivering like a plucked chicken. Whether I was training or racing, there are a few essentials I always packed. Notably, I was the one everyone was giggling at for “overpacking”, until the moment came where they needed to borrow something. So here’s a few of my tips, for preparing for training, racing, and all things in between….
Obviously, look at the weather. My rule of thumb – under 60 degrees, cover your knees. I’m always prone to getting chilled, so I always opt for the slightly warmer side of life. But knowing this about myself makes packing easier, and training sessions much more pleasant.
I always start from my toes and work my way up. Socks, Shoes, shoe covers, leg warmers, bibs, base layer, short sleeve, long sleeve, vest, jacket, helmet, glasses, clear lenses, ear covers. Those are my staples. I’m not a fan of arm warmers, but if you need, throw those in there, too. You never know what the weather might do, or the conditions inside the velodrome might be, so its important to have yourself covered, warm, heated, and prepared. It could be 70 degrees and sunny, and change in a split second – don’t be caught in the cold, with nothing on. It’s detrimental to your training and racing.
Hydration & Nutrition
Food. We all love food. And we all also know that once your hungry or thirsty, your already dehydrated and depleted. I’ve always got two fruits, two almond butters, and an extra water bottle in my bag. Training could go long, you could get a flat, you could spill your bottle. Be prepared, be confident, and be fueled. Being prepared with your own nutrition also allows you to make smart choices instead of the run to the gas station for chips and a soda.
Everyday, glance over your gear. What’s worse than showing up and realizing your in the wrong gear for warm up, you didn’t look at your training program, or you forgot something at home. I always carry an extra set of cleats with bolts, chainrings bolts, and any spare parts to my bike/frame that I may need at any time. Check over your tires – are they pumped? Are they in good condition? Is my chain clean and oiled? Are all the bolts tight? Are my handlebars on straight (I’m quite guilty of this one)? When you arrive with a well prepared machine, it takes the headache out of preparing it. Arrive ready, and stress free. If it’s race day, you might need extra wheels, special cogs, and a skinsuit…have your race day checklist, too.
SRM head units, Garmins, heart rate straps….whatever it might be, bring your technology charged and ready to go. In a sport that is driven by science, don’t let a single workout fall by the wayside because of lack of preparation on your part in charging, testing, or packing your gadgets.
Putting it all together
After I organize my clothes and my food, I start packing my bag. First goes in my gear bag. I check my tools, cogs, rings, and spare parts. Then goes in my spare clothes. leg warmers, socks, long sleeve…whatever it may be, I always have enough to keep me warm, and sometimes it might be too much, but the day I don’t have it is the day I’ll need it. Then I put in my food and hydration. No one wants a squished banana. My helmet gets buckled to the outside strap, and my shoes go in the front compartment along with all my gadgets. I know where everything is, and at this point its become a routine. You feel confident and stress free.
If you’re on time, you’re late.
Simple as that. Unless you’re driving in your helmet, kit, and shoes, I don’t see how you can show up at 4pm, for a 4pm session, on track ready to go. Am I right? Know how long it takes you to prepare. I used to arrive 20-30 minutes beforehand, to set my mind for training, prepare for the day, and double check all my equipment.
Don’t let it explode!
This might be the most important part. Keep yourself together! Don’t get to the track and explode. Keep it organized, clean, and tidy. However you want to say it. Don’t find yourself throwing things about out of disorganization because you can’t find a tool. Don’t leave something behind because you’ve taken up 1/2 of the table for yourself. As we all learned in science class, pick up after yourself, put things away after you use them, and leave the space cleaner than you found it. This also comes in quite handy when it decides to downpour in the middle of your session, and you’re running for cover. Don’t get stuck in the rain because you aren’t prepared.
Excessive? Maybe. But I can assure you, by following these steps, you’ll arrive less stressed, ready to go, and always prepared.
– Coach Missy