Bike preparation for a non-drafting raceday
- firstly check your helmet has no cracks in it, or you may have to buy a new one at the pre-race bike check which can be costly.
- check that the plugs at the end of your handle bars are present and not loose or you maybe looking around 'flat out' at the pre-race bike check for a cork so your bike passes.
- check the wear on the chain and rear cassette ; if they are very worn then you will be loosing valuable energy during the race here.
- renewing the above(chain and rear cassette) maybe a good option for your most important race for the season , but if not remove them and soak them in petrol or meths for example to remove all the oil/debris that has built up.
- mark on the seat post with a permanent marker where you have the seat height for racing ; it maybe 5mm higher or so than you use for training. Also marking your seat height on the post is useful if you pull the bike to bits for travel or you think the seat has moved down slighty due to loosening off.
- make sure there are spare tubes and decent tyre levers which work well for removing tyres ; also practise changing tubes on your race wheels.
- make sure you carry a bike pump and/or a gas pump and spare cannisters. If you are out training or racing then I recommend carryng both types of pumps. The current bike pump I have has both the normal hand pump and attachments for gas cannisters but it isn't well designed and snaps the top off the inner tubes valves easilly. The best soloution is to make sure you choose inner tubes which have valves that extend out from the wheels inner rim. To get around this last problem valve extenders can also be an option and using them is not a big issue.
- tyre pressure should be what you have decided before racing, but this may vary a bit with raceday conditions( wet riding conditions and high pressure in the tyres can mean they will slip more easilly). The tyre pressure should be at the higher end of the recommendations on the tyres. I like to run the clincher tyres at 110psi even though the high recomendation is 115-120psi. When I used tubulars I found 120psi was plenty even though the high recommendation was 140psi (being arond 85kgs I find too much vibration coming through the bike over 120psi).
- the fastest wheel combination for a flat course is a tri spoke wheel on the front and a disc on the back. If the course is quite hilly you won't want to use a disc and you will best off looking for the lightest quality rims you can get hold of.
- the fastest tyre combination is a narrow 19mm wide tyre on the front. The width of the rear tyre is less important so 23mm or less is fine on the rear.
- Silk tubular tyres are a little bit faster than clinchers but I chose to stick with clinchers as they are alot less hassle.
- if using tubulars then re-glue and replace them the day before the race(that way you can get them off if you puncture(pre-glue the spare also).
- Latex and butyl inner tubes will save you some power but I have found that they end up 'flatting' more often than other lightweight rubber tyres.
- aero bike design and carbon versus aluminium don't come into my mind when it comes to going faster as I see the riders bike position and the set-up of the aerobars as more important. New components on the bike and a well trained rider also rate of much higher importance for a quick bike time in my view.
- an aero helmet will save you crucial time over a long distance non-drafting race but if it is hot a standard helmet that is well ventilated may well be better.
- clothing choice is important for racing and training also and you are best to experiment to see what works best. I find that having multiple layers works well as you can remove them one at a time as you or the day warms up. A wind proof and/or water proof layer will also be best if the day requires it.
- a really light seat is one of the first parts of the bike I would recommend getting, but you will need to get used to it and work out what sort of bike shorts padding you require.
- also review the section on this site at this link titled 'basic bike maintenance'.
Some basic tools to take when travelling for a race below :
..........................Quality 'allen keys' set..................................................Crank tooll................................Front forks plastic spacer for bike packing/travel.
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