Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Race Day Kit Checklist

I can't think at 5 am

Especially if it's 5am on the morning of a race. I'll be too busy being stressed about the race and tired from being up later than I wanted. And The Curse of OCUP Masters 3 Races is that they are almost always the first or second race of the day, and an hour or two away from Toronto, so I have to be up at an ugly hour to get to the start on time.

Stress Removal Device: the Cat5 Case
I've discovered that the only way for me to cope is to remove the requirement for coherent thinking and get all my stuff organized and ready to go the night before. So I created a race-day checklist to simplify that. Even in my groggy morning state I can double-check it to alleviate my paranoia about forgetting something vital.

Crucial to this process is my Cat5 Cyclist Case kit bag. Highly recommended. Perfect for race day, but I actually use mine all the time to keep my gear organized. Very reasonable price, and snappy colours too.

RACE DAY CHECKLIST (download the photo for a printable version or copy & paste this to build your own)

KIT (working from the bottom up and the inside out)Shoes
Chamois cream
Heart rate monitor
Road ID
Contact lenses
Race dots (magnetic number holders. They're brilliant.)

So much better than those damned pins
Water (a couple of big bottles)
Biosteel (drink mix)
Post-race food (like, real food)

Spare tubes
Spare wheels
Hex wrench set
Trainer for warm-up

Printer friendly 4-up checklist.
Shoe covers
knee/leg warmers
Arm warmers
Rain jacket


Course map/technical guide
First aid kit
Gas in the car
UCI License
BIKE! (don't forget the bike!)

Hope this is useful to you. It certainly helps me sleep better.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Six Goals for Racing

The other day, one of my clubmates quoted some hammerhead dick as saying, "There's no point in racing if you don't intend to win."

Sure thing, Lance. You go.

I view bike racing as more like kung fu: no matter how good you are, there's always somebody, somewhere who can totally kick your ass. And the gap between normal amateur-racer humans – including the Hammerhead Dick – and even the lowest rung of professional or world-class riders is actually a giant chasm, so while winning an Cat 5-level amateur race in Ontario is kinda cool, it's also relatively meaningless.
Hammerhead Dickism can lead to this

Personally, I feel I need to approach the thing with a bit more humility. Not that I have much choice. Maybe some day I will be in a position to contend for a win in my M3 division, but that's fairly unlikely. I'm just in it for the fun of it (in which fun gets a broad definition that can include subjecting myself to the pain of exertion at pretty much the outside limit of my physical capabilities for extended periods of time). And what the hell, somebody has to fill out the field.

Here are my Six Goals for any race (in descending order of priority):
  1. Don't die.
  2. Don't crash.
  3. Finish the race.
  4. Don't finish last.
  5. Improve on time or placement if I've done the race before.
  6. Learn something about how to race better.
  7. Have fun. (Actually, so long as I get  to six, seven is guaranteed. )
That said, I do have one big hairy audacious goal* for this racing thing overall:
Just get one lousy OCUP point in M3.
That means a top 15 finish (or maybe top 20 in the races with a bigger field).

That's actually pretty ambitious for somebody with my limited talent, and probably can only happen with the happy convergence of a lot more work by me, and a lottery-load of luck on a particular day. But if I can manage it by the end of Season Five of Racing, I'll be pretty happy. (This is Season Three.)

(* à la Jim Collins, Good to Great)