Four weeks to go!
With not long to go until United Energy Around the Bay, now’s the time to start thinking about event day and how you can best manage yourself, your bike, your fuelling, your pacing, the rest stops and putting yourself in a position for success.
The hardest part in this process is knowing where to start – you may even wonder why you should bother. I’ve found in past events that when I implement a plan with purpose and goals, I ride or race with a proactive state of mind, rather than reactive. It helps remove fear and anxiety and fosters a can do attitude. I like to think of it as a very simple ‘survival’ format.
The basic requirements to achieve my goal.
- What am I doing?
A long distance cycling event
- What is required?
A bike and body that works and has been maintained to be able to finish the event.
- What do I need for the day?
Bike related repairs, nutrition, chamois cream, sunscreen, jacket or arm warmers, pump, nutrition.
- How will I carry this?
Do I need to use the valet service? Can I use a larger saddle bag or a top tube bag? How will I access my food on the bike?
- What time frame or goal do I wish to achieve?
It can be as simple as setting an exact time, or more freestyle like “finish with a smile on my face”. Whatever you choose, developing a simple plan here does help keep you in line when the going gets tough.
Once you have these basic questions answered you can move onto the ‘planning’ phase. It is as simple as asking yourself questions and finding the solution based on your requirements. In fact you can use this method for anything, and you most likely already do, we just forget to do this for our cycling goals. You have entered, paid your money, planned your weekend around it, trained for it, so why not plan to succeed and take control of how you do it?
Controlling the controllables
- What distance am I signed up for?
210km anti-clockwise ride
- What time do I need to be at the event start area?
Make sure you get there with plenty of time to get your bike ready, go to the toilet, grab a coffee and make any last minute preparations.
- How am I going to get to the start?
Map a route if you’re going to catch a train and/or ride. Pre-plan parking if you’re going to drive.
- What could go wrong on the day?
Punctures, flat batteries on gear, brakes failing, saddle sores and chaffing … just to name a few.
- What can I do to control or prepare for the things that can go wrong?
- Get your bike booked in for an overhaul, cable inners and outers, brake pads and new tyres.
- Carry a multi-tool with the functions available to use on your bike and bolts.
- Know how to make quick fixes to your bike and how to use your tool, pump and/or co2 inflator.
- Carry a small amount of chamois cream and reapply often to prevent saddle sores or chaffing.
Now that you have done a bit of an analysis on what can happen and how you can prepare for it, you can now work out your game plan.
“Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” Indira Gandhi
The accountability blueprint for your day on the bike
1. Rest stops – where are they and how will I use them as part of my plan?
In the 210 Anti-Clockwise there are 10 rest areas plus the ferry ride. I use the break on the ferry to eat my lunch, catch up on hydration, have a good stretch and reapply chamois cream. I will certainly stop at Geelong (85km), Queenscliff (120km) and Frankston (180km) as well as use Mordialloc as a quick stop to refill water and stretch, especially if facing a hot northerly wind in the afternoon.
You should stop as many times as necessary to make sure you are staying at the right levels of hydration and have enough fuel. Keep a close eye on the time – it can easily escape at rest stops and set you back. I set a maximum of 5-6 minutes.
Use the rest areas for:
- Quick toilet stops and to re-apply chamois cream as a preventative
- Refill water bottles
- Eating – it’s nice to eat while off the bike!
- Stretching your shoulders, back and legs
- Regroup with other riders to create a working bunch again
2. Develop a ride plan including factoring in times and rest stops
- Find a spot at the start line early to get into position and start to relax
- Ride at a steady pace so that you can eat and drink comfortably, but keep to an average pace that you will see finish around a specific time
- Eat every 15-20 mins (small bites) and drink every five mins (1 or 2 large sips)
- Keep moving forward and stick to planned rest stops
- Use the ferry trip for a proper rest, eating, drinking and stretching. The ferry ride is around 50 minutes.
- Bring enough food and nutrition for your output
- What is the story I will tell myself if I feel deflated or ‘over it’ at any point in the ride? Do I have a vision statement, a mantra, that will remind me of what I want to achieve?
- Can I meet someone new? Can I pay it forward, offer assistance or a friendly word to someone who needs it?
- Thank the volunteers for offering their time today to make this possible.
- Remind yourself that being on a bike, riding this route, with support is pretty special and that being a rider today (and everyday) is a pretty awesome way to see the world!
3. Execute the Plan
This is the simple bit – once you have done all the hard work (the what, how and why), you just need to execute it. It really is that simple.
This is another reason why training is really important for you to have a good day. It allows you to experience the tough times, the punctures, the bad nutrition choices, as well as all the good things too. You get to put them down as experiences, from which you can learn and grow.
How do you do execute your plan?
- Rehearse it on training rides.
- Make some dot point notes and stick them to your handlebars or top tube.
- More doing and less thinking, stick to the plan instead of wasting energy thinking about new decisions.
- Stick to your vision statement or mantra and remember why you are doing it.
- The final execution tip is to simply do what you said you would do, which is why your planning today is important.
The resources you need are at your fingertips in each week’s VIPeloton notes. Now you get the chance to bring it together.
- Bring your mental game.
- Plan your nutrition
- Patch up any holes in your training regime
- Look after your bike and start to plan some maintenance
- Get to know your repair gear
- Look up the event details and key times
- Work out where the rest areas are, including the lunch stop
- Keep an eye on weather forecasts and plan for it – hot and cold weather.
- Print out a dot point checklist for your day to stay accountable and pop it on your handlebars.
Get excited – we are at the business end now!