A Pre-Season Cycling Checklist

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There are many things a cyclist needs to pay attention to throughout the winter to ensure they have the best shot at a healthy and successful upcoming race season. Now that we are on the downslope of the cold days, the time has come to start shifting training and ensure the springtime pre-race preparation line items are getting checked o the to-do list. is way, race day number one of your personal campaign can begin with a clear mind and sound body. Here’s a quick starting guide to get that pre-race season checklist complete!

1. Race diet: Considering you already have an idea of what does and doesn’t work with your body when it comes to diet and nutrition, you should still prepare your stomach for the exact food you will put in it during exhaustive e orts. If you haven’t already, start using the same race nutrition during your remaining hard workouts to again adapt your digestive system for what’s to come.

2. Bike maintenance: Winters can be extremely hard on a bicycle; corrosion from street salt and even sweat can wreak havoc on cables, housings, drivetrains and bolts. Ensure to have your machine properly cleaned, tuned and lubed before you roll up to that rst starting line. You can’t win a race if the bike malfunctions!

3. Gear organization: Nothing makes racing easier than to forget about everything else except the task at hand. Ensure you are not carrying unneeded mental stress onto the racecourse, which will ultimately negatively a ect your per- formance capability. is can be accomplished by having all your gear organized early. Take an inventory of your clothes, spare parts, race day nutrition, and come up with your own system for having everything accessible to be easily packed the day before each race.

4. Logistical planning: A good race can be spoiled by not being able to nd a new venue, getting there late, skipping a warm-up and cramping up before the real racing even begins! When planning your seasons calendar, or anytime you add a new race to it, make sure to locate the starting line and best parking spots on the map, and figure out how long it will take to get there. ese simple things will greatly decrease chances of becoming distracted and losing focus on the race at hand.

5. Race meditation: A racing mindset is very di erent than a training mindset, even on hard training days. You have to come to the line both con dent and aggressive; you are no longer racing against just yourself, but rather against everyone around you. If you are mentally prepared to make that switch, your mindset will dictate your results in races when the competition is heated.

Start the checklist now, following the order laid out above before the racing season begins. ese tips will considerably improve your chances of letting your ability, rather than the myriad of other factors, dictate your results. Winning is not just about who is the strongest person in the race, but rather about who is the most prepared overall. No win is guaran- teed to even the most powerful rider. If you tackle each race in a “professional” manner, you can har- ness the gritty side of cycling and spoil the victories of other riders.

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Bryan’s athletic career started as a member of his middle school’s state winning cross country team, he was hooked on endurance sports. Competing in cross country, indoor and outdoor track for 10 years, his running culminated with three years of division one racing at Virginia Tech. He then switched from running to road cycling in 2007 and was key in his team’s successful pursuit of the ACC championship. After graduating college in 2008 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, he further cut his teeth racing in Belgium before returning to race the Pro/Am Domestic circuit, traveling the US for another 6 years. As a contributing member and cycling correspondent of Chicago Athlete since the summer of 2014, Bryan has also recently been concentrating on his artistic and commercial photography practices in Chicago and beyond.

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