Packing for a race is easily my least favourite thing to do about racing. It actually causes me pain just thinking about it right now. Some people may say this is because I leave packing until roughly one hour before I am supposed to leave for the airport. I think it’s because there is so much that I would like to take but with the rising cost of bike fees, I am limited to my bike bag and a carry on. Aside from the normal essentials (i.e race kit, helmet, shoes, bike, wetsuit, goggle, passport, wallet) here are four items that I always make sure I have with me.
The ultimate massage torture tool! If you aren’t already using one to release your hips it will be the best five dollars you ever spend at Canadian Tire. It is also small and easy to pack. I especially enjoy using them race week as you get that healthy dose of pain you miss from training during your taper!
How many times have you heard stories of seat-posts slipping or carbon cracking from over tightening? You can eliminate both of these problems with a Torque Wrench. With a torque wrench you can easily dial in the exact torque that manufacturer recommends and have complete confidence that your bike will perform well on race day. Information for recommended torque values can be downloaded from the manufacturer online or in the case of Argon 18 on written on the bike itself. My go-to is the Shimano PRO Torque Wrench – compact, easy to pack, and reliable!
Spare derailleur Hanger
If something is going to break on your bike during transport chances are it will be the derailleur hangar. They are made to break easily so that your bike frame doesn’t. The problem: they are specific to each bike and depending on where you are racing it can be next to impossible to find the right replacement. I have been at a few too many races and seen the frantic state that people get themselves in when they realize it has broken and either need to MacGyver something up or find themselves a new bike to ride for race day. If you travel a lot, especially to foreign countries, a spare derailleur hangar is a great piece of insurance.
No not the Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams movie. Just a good old fashion Notebook. Taper week can feel extremely overwhelming. There is so much to do and seemingly so little time. Writing out lists of things to do will lower your stress and guarantee everything gets done. Once you write things down it always feels like there is less to do than when you are trying to organize things in your head.
Nutrition – you never know when you just won’t be able to get the stuff you’ve been training with. Who knew you couldn’t get PowerBar Perform in Australia!
New goggles – don’t ask me how it works but new goggles never seem to fog up on me during the first few swims. So if I am able to, I will always bring a new pair of my BlueSeventy goggles with me to use race morning.
Gorilla tape and electrical tape – fixes everything.