Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. That goes for your body and your bike. Try and make sure on your next big race the one place you don’t have to visit is the Shimano tent.
This year at Port Mac, Shimano had about 13 mechanics on hand to tend to all sorts of mechanical mishaps, dilemmas, travel damage and unfortunately some cases of sheer neglect. It boggles my mind how some athletes can get to their biggest race of the year with a bike that looks like its recovering from the biggest night of the year.
Of course there is the unexpected stuff that happens; we all know how much baggage handler’s care about your $5k carbon race bike but a few simple steps can make your race day a little less stressful, and also give the mechanics the chance to enjoy the sunshine and scenery.
A few years ago I tagged around with the Shimano mechanics the day before the race and on race morning and on returning wrote a few tips for Transitions members.
Get your bike serviced a few weeks before you go and test ride it.
If you have a disc wheel,, have a disc adaptor!
If you use valve extenders use the replaceable core ones so you can be sure you can inflate your tyres easily.
Have a spare tube or two in your bag in the morning so if you have a flat before the race you can replace that spare.
If you are going to use older tyres, take them off a few times before the race so they are easier to get off if you get a flat.
If you are going to use new tyres, take them off a few times before the race so they are easier to get off if you get a flat.
If your tyres are a bitch to get on and off when you are at home, this will be multiplied tenfold under race pressure, think about different tyres.
If your spares and nutrition are important, make sure they and anything they are attached to, are well secured to your bike and each other.
If the race has rough roads double check all the bolts on your bike.
If your bike has any funky parts or accessories, make sure you are self-sufficient and have spares.
If you want/ need help be nice to the mechanics they are doing you a favour and have long and good memories.
If you are supposed to reimburse them for services provided ensure you do so ...(see above).
If you do all these you should have a stress free race prep, start the race with a sound mind and hopefully the Shimano boys will be able to put their feet up.
Oh and be sure to thank them as well, you never know when you may need them.