Getting Ready – 24 Hour Racing Prep
With a few weeks to go your mind may well start wandering and thinking about preparation for the big day. You training may have gone very well or training might just be a word that you’ve heard other people talk about. Either way, if you think about your options now then you’ll save yourself a lot of stress on the day. Here’s just a few things you might want to consider leading up to race day:
1. Has your vehicle got enough space? It’s amazing how much gear you can muster in a short pace of time. Generator, chairs, shelter, box of food, stove and on and on. It’s best to double check.
2. Where will you stay the night before? Remember Kielder community campsite is open just for Chiller participants and friends but you’ll need to grab yourself a spot by getting in touch with me – firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively there are a number of B&Bs and hotels. The Anglers Arms and Kielder is a good choice as are a few places in both Falstone and Bellingham down the road. For a “family” weekend away you might want to consider the lodges at Leaplish with their heated outdoor jacuzzis. Best not to think about the hot tub at 3am in the morning when you’re on the bike shivering.
3. Pits. Are you going to manage yourself out the back of your car or have a shelter up? Give yourself some space to eat, rest and change if you will have a shelter.
4. Don’t worry about registration. It’s painless and quick so have no concerns about getting through that.
5. Spares. Last year the course just chewed up and spat out hundreds of brake pads so you might want to have some handy. There’s a bike shop on hand should you need anything else.
6. Food. Try and use your food well before the event to see that your body takes it well. Don’t experiement with something new if you can avoid it. Give yourself plenty of options as your body may well crave something completely different to what you had planned. Your body needs fuel – force it in! Don’t forget there is a cafe in the castle serving hot food if you need it.
7. Pace. Everybody flies off at the start because the group is all excited. Unless you’re Tom Hodgkinson (Team JMC), Keith Forsyth (i-cycles), Rich Rothwell (Cycling Generation/Team Cycles), Naomi Frieirich (GORE) et al then you’re just going to blow up and damage yourself for later. Think about how you would normally be climbing a steep hill 60 miles into a ride and that’s pretty much how you want to be doing it from lap 1. Your body will really thank you for it as the race progresses.
8. Sleep. The serious racers don’t sleep. If you’re middle of the road and solo then give some thought to a few hours sleep as podiums are not the only reason for riding. I remember Nigel Bainbridge falling fast asleep at the side of the track because he was so tired!
9. Bike choice. It really doesn’t matter. The course is designated a red because the trails higher up dictate it. The sections we use could easily be classed blue as they are fast and flowing. Full sus, hardtail or rigids are all fine.
10. Lights. There will be a very long period of darkness so make sure your lights are up to the challenge. Also bare in mind that the cold will have an adverse effect on your batteries so don’t be expecting the same life span as summer riding. Have a look at the sale/rental deals from Chill Tech just for the Chiller.
11. Charging. How you charge your lights can be crucial to whether you stay out riding. A lot of people bring a generator and these work perfectly.
12. Pit crew. A great name for someone, anyone, who can come along and help. It’s a massive relief when someone just takes your bike and checks it over ready for the net lap. They will also be chef, motivator and advisor. Try and find someone positive.
I hope some of these things have been useful but should you have any queries all you need to do is get in touch. Get ready to suffer.