Preparing for your First Race (Or Big Event)

So your friends have egged you on and you begrudgingly registered for your first bike race, triathlon, or  charity ride.  Well it’s months away so you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting in shape right?  Yes, but…

Aside from getting into shape, riding miles, possibly running and swimming, you’ll want to make sure that you and your gear are ready to go for race day.  This means more than just putting your bike on the car rack and going.

The first priority is making sure your bike is in good shape, is clean, and fits properly.  We can help you with this.  If you aren’t sure, bring it in!  We offer an exceptional fitting service and can tune your bike up so it rides like new.  If your equipment isn’t working properly it can completely ruin your race or event.

The next priority is you.  You are important!  Spend the appropriate time planning for the event, and ask questions like:  What will the weather be like?  How long (not distance but hours) do you expect to be riding?  Do your existing accessories offer everything you might need for that day?  How much do you need to eat/drink during the event?

If you find you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can always ask the race promoter, or even come in to your local bike shop for advice.  The most important thing to do when it comes to preparation is experimentation!  Try a few different nutritional products during your training and figure out which products work the best for you.    The same goes for clothing. Remember you go the fastest when you’re comfortable.

So you’ve prepared, and you know your stuff.  Your Salted Caramel Gu’s are ready to go into the back pocket of your favorite jersey and your bottles filled with Lemon Lime Hammer Heed are chilling in the refrigerator for tomorrow morning.

Make a list of everything you need to bring and check it while you’re packing up the car.  The feeling is pretty awful when you get there and realize you’ve forgotten your bike! (Believe me, it’s happened.)

When you’re lined up at the starting line, feeling good about yourself and your bike, just remember to relax.  Even experienced racers often forget this.  It’s just cycling, and all about the fun.

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Team Marty’s at Tour de Lake Hopatcong

 

Leo, Paul Vic and Nikki receiving their awards at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong

Leo, Paul, Vic and Nikki receiving their awards at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong

We had a great turnout at the Tour de Lake Hopatcong this past Saturday. It was a challenging 40 mile ride with a couple climbs that really hurt.

Leo rode strong and was able to put down a final effort to secure the fastest time on the course.

Paul got 2nd place without much training time, but he did cross-country ski quite often this winter.

Vic got 2nd in the 45+ finishing with the final group.

Nikki was able to grab 4th place and rode strong as she always does.

Great job to everyone who challenged themselves and finished the ride.

 

What’s With the Whole Leg Shaving thing?

In an attempt to answer an age old question, which may parallel the meaning of life (or how it all began), I will do the best I can in outlining all of the reasons why some cyclists decide to bust out a large can of cream, steal their wife’s razor, and go to town on their legs.  Please, feel free to comment if you feel I’ve missed some rationale in the mysticism of cyclists and their habits.
First and foremost, there is a velominati rule stating one must shave to be a “real cyclist.”
Rule #33

// Shave your guns.

Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times. If, for some reason, your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippie on your way to a Critical Mass. 

This being said, I do take pride in being a hippie on my way to the critical mass, but that’s another issue.  Okay so there’s a rule, but what are the reasons behind it?

It makes you more aerodynamic:

I doubt it makes much of a difference, but it might make you feel faster!  There isn’t really any research out there on the aero benefits of leg shaving, maybe if we started cycling under water it would be a different story.  This is probably the worst reason to shave.

Wounds heal better on smooth skin:

This argument isn’t bad.  The theory goes that debris and bacteria cling to the hair.  If that stuff gets into a wound, you might have a long recovery process.  Along with this, folks say that bandages are much easier to put on and take off.  In the “wound” category, it also makes it much easier to check for ticks (if you’re a mountain biker.) This I can vouch for!

Massage is more effective:

If you ride enough to warrant receiving weekly leg massages, or can afford it for that matter, kudos to you.  It is probably a better experience for the masseur as well.

My girlfriend likes/hates it:

Well, this one’s personal, but hey whatever floats your boat.  If she doesn’t like it you may be looking at some rocky roads ahead.

It makes my legs look  AWESOME!

Yes, it does.  This is probably the best reason to shave your legs.

Everyone else does it:

This last one is true as well, and may not be a great reason, but hey we all want to be part of the club.  It is a secret hand shake of sorts, when you’re walking down the street with your family and see someone doing the same with chiseled caves and legs as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, you share a bond that transcends words.  You know the suffering and hill repeats they’ve endured, the feeling of getting dropped by the fast group, the feeling of finally hanging on.

So grab you razors and cans of cream and go to town! Or don’t.  Hairy or smooth, baggy or spandex, we all ride bikes, so don’t forget that.