Wind chills hit single digits in Upstate New York this week so forgive me for longing of that first springtime outdoor ride. I should really forget that and move south where it’s outdoor riding season all year long. Alas, we’re stuck in the frigid Northeast for now so allow me to dream for just a bit.
Picture this: You wake up to the morning sun shining through the bedroom window and the sweet sound of birds chirping just beyond the glass. It’s the first nice day of the year (for us Upstaters this happens in late April most likely) and you’re eager to throw down some watts on the open road! Just before you clip in you do a check to make sure you have all the essentials to be seen by driver, to repair a flat, to pay for some unforeseen item a.k.a f*ck you money, and enough nutrition to get you back home safely. So what does all of that look like?
See and be seen! Sounds simple enough but I routinely see cyclists out with no lighting or reflectors on their bike. It’s dangerous! Make sure your tail light has full battery and the lights are bright enough for passing drivers to notice you. I have a second light on the back of my helmet as well. You can also incporste a head light on the front to see the road ahead of you and alert any drivers coming your way.
Bike repair kit
Multi-tool, inner tube, levers, CO2
The equipment that’ll come in most handy when changing out a flat is the tire levers. This will make it much easier to get the tire off the rim. Get one lever underneath the beading of the tire and place the second one a few inches further around the tire. This will allow one side of the tire to come free from the rim. From there you can remove the inner tube and replace it with a fresh one.
You can run your hand through the inside of the tire to check for any debris that may have caused the flat. It’ll be much easier to position the new inner tube if there’s some structure to it so blow some air into it.
Most tires should be easier to get back on than it was to get them off. If you can’t tuck the bead back into the rim by hand you can use the levers to finish it off. Once it’s back on properly, take your CO2 canister and inflate the tube the rest of the way. Most canisters are designed now to include enough air for a single inflate.
Always carry cash with on your ride. $40-50 should be enough. You’ll never when you it will come in handy. A few years ago I went out for a ride in January. It was going to be 51° that day. I started riding before it got that warm of course and set out without any gloves. Five minutes in my hands were frozen solid. Refusing to turn around, I made it to the local bike shop about 30 minutes later. The cheapest pair of gloves was $35. It could have been $100 and I would still have happily paid. Now, you may not be as foolish as me to ride off in the dead of winter without any gloves, but you may find yourself needing some extra nutrition or in a precarious situation that requires some cash to get out of safely. So always be sure to have some on hand!
You’re fueling needs will be based on the length of your ride. Obviously you’ll carry more nutrition for a three hour ride than you would for a one hour ride. What this looks like for me on a 3 hour ride let’s say: two bottles of sports drink (I use Intraformance), four GUs, and a stick of Clif bloks just for good measure. I’m a firm believer that you should get into the habit of overfueling on your longer rides (and runs) to put pressure on your gut. This will make it easier for your stomach to handle the nutritional needs on race day. Better to blow up during training than racing!
Here’s a look at my workouts from this past week:
Swim: 4050 yards