One day many years ago, I was in a rush to get out the door to drive to a friend's house for a long training ride. Thinking I had everything I needed I headed out only to find when I arrived that I had forgotten my shoes. My friend was about 5 inches shorter than me, but had big feet for his size. He also happened to use the same pedals that I did. As luck would have it, my feet fit perfectly into a set of his spare shoes. That day I got away with being disorganized, but I knew that I had been lucky and that had I showed up for a race with no shoes, I likely would have spent the day doing something other than racing my bike.
There is one key to packing for just about any trip: organization. The same thing applies to packing for bike racing. In the next few months we will learn how to best pack for all types of bike racing - road single day, time trial, cross, and stage racing. Each requires a different set of kit and some have higher chance of variable conditions for which you will need to be prepared. You don't have to bring everything you own, but if you bring the things you think you might need, then make a few choices about what and what not to cut out based on those, then you should end up with exactly what you do need. Sounds easy, eh?
Step one is putting together a checklist. For a single day race which you can drive to and from, it should look something like this:
- bike (obviously)
- spare wheels
- racing shoes
- 2 pairs cycling socks
- 2 sets of cycling shorts
- 2 short sleeve jerseys
- long sleeve jersey
- 2 base layers (light and heavy)
- wind vest
- wind jacket
- clear rain jacket
- 2 pairs cycling gloves- long and short finger
- knee warmers
- arm warmers
- cycling cap
- synthetic warm cap
- sunglasses and lenses - clear and dark
- 4 water bottles (or more depending on race and post-race requirements)
- 2 flasks HammerGel (maybe more, depending on the race)
- chamois creme
- warming oil for the legs (I prefer woodlock oil)
- heart monitor/power meter chest strap
- heart monitor/power meter head unit
- compression socks (pressure pants!)
- post-race food and drink
Step two is packing it all up. It all goes in a nice bag, preferably with separate compartments for small stuff, wet clothes post-race, and dirty shoes post-race. If you don't have separate compartments, just bring a small extra bag or two along. The bags that often come with racing shoes these days work well. Queue required photo of all my stuff laid out and ready to be packed up:
Race day kit ready to pack. Note pressure pants on right for post-race wear.
Next time I will go over how and what to pack for time trials. Until then, check back for daily (or near-daily) updates from Solvang Camp.