Is your Bike ‘Race Ready?’
Some sound race day advice from Pro-Triathlete April Gellatly
We prepare our bodies for race day through training. Spending countless hours swimming, biking, running, but what have you done for your bike lately? Your bike has needs. This isn’t a one-sided relationship. You take care of your bike, and it will take care of you.
Regular maintenance and a good relationship with your local mechanic can go a long way to keeping this loving feeling with your bike. Your bike lets you know when it’s time. If you choose to listen you’ll hear him/her talking to you. Any squeaking or miss shifting, that’s bike talk for ‘Mechanic Please!’
A good mechanic will help be ensure that your bike is race ready, but again, this relationship is between YOU and your BIKE. Like any meaningful relationship in life, it is important you put in the time. If you are traveling for your event, your pre-race check should be done before leaving town with time to get to the local mechanic if anything doesn’t check out.
(3-5 Days from Race Day)
1. Check Gears.
Be sure each gear is working. Run through them quickly a couple times. This can be accomplished either on a short spin or by simply lifting the rear wheel and shifting from big to small chain ring and through all gears on the rear cassette.
2. Check Tires.
If you can see deep cuts in your tire, it’s time to replace it. If the top of your tire is flat, it is time to change it. If the tire sidewalls are cracking, it’s time to replace it.
3. Remove Dead Weight.
While we train, it is okay to carry extra water bottle holders or other items that ease training effort, but for race day, take off extra cages. Don’t short your hydration though!
4. Clean your bike.
5. Lube your chain.
For more info on cleaning and lubing, check out the roadside maintenance guide. Roadside Guide
Race Morning Check
1. Check Brakes.
Ensure that brakes aren’t rubbing. Spin both front and back wheels and be sure that wheels roll freely. After this is done, squeeze both brakes to ensure that brakes are working properly. A rubbing brake pad is an incredible theft of efficiency and can potentially ruin your bike split.
2. Pre-Gear your Bike.
Shift your bike to the proper gear needed for leaving the transition area. That way all you have to think about is pedaling!
3. Check Tire Pressure.
I roll at 120 PSI. Tire pressure is a sometimes overlooked and conversely over-analyzed step. Set your tire pressure based on your weight and the riding conditions. A heavier rider will need a bit more pressure than a lighter one. Keep in mind that the air and pavement temperature affect your tire pressure. A hot day with lots of sun will increase the pressure in your tires and if you over-inflate you may have a blow out. Don’t over-think it, just run a slightly lower pressure on a hot day and keep in mind the air temp when you inflate that morning.
4. Go confidently into your Race.
Know you have done everything in your training and relationship with your bike to prepare for this day. You are STRONG, RESTED, READY. Make yourself proud.
For added assurance, you are welcome to swing by the shop for a FREE Bike Blessing to check for any potential race day surprises that includes a generous dusting of magic speed dust!
April Gellatly is an Atlanta-based Fitness Professional and Professional Triathlete. She is a USA Triathlon, Training Peaks Certified Coach, and the 2013-2015 CNN FitNation Athletic Director and Head Coach. She maintains a healthy relationship with her bike, and her bike enjoys frequent visits to Cannon Cyclery. Read more about April at www.agmultisportconsulting.com.