Wednesday, 02 March 2022 08:07 AM
Ian Rodger, Head Coach and Founder of Bike2Max has some insider advice for the serious cyclists out there.
- Get to Cape Town a few days early. Soak up the atmosphere of the city, take a few route rides without the stress and fluster of the bunch, enjoy the scenery and check out local conditions. It also gives you time to sort out any last-minute problems with the bike, especially if you need spares.
- Carbo-loading is good, but don’t have a giant meal the night before. Increase the carbs a few days before the race. You might feel like you’re on holiday, but stay away from adventurous eating – no oysters, sushi or exotic nosh that can hit your system like a runaway train. The last thing you want is a plumbing emergency at the start.
- Hydration is vital, but you need to know just how much liquid to replace as you ride – water is heavy. Get an idea of how much water you sweat out during training – weigh yourself before and after training races in full kit to see how much water you lose. Overhydrating is just as bad as underhydrating.
- Speed is all about aerodynamics; it is massively important. Experiments in wind tunnels show that even the tiniest measures like shaving your legs, wearing special clothing (even socks!), having flat wheelspokes instead of round ones – all these can mean the difference between first and third place. Cyclists take advantage of the slipstreams created by other riders, but this also increases the risks of collisions. So biking strategy requires constant vigilance – ride the slipstream in the bunch but always be paying attention to where the wind is coming from, and what the riders around you are doing.
- Look ahead, further up the bunch. Don’t just look in front of you, you must always keep looking further ahead to anticipate the pace. Every little movement or change gets amplified down the group. Keep track of your positioning in the group, through both direct and peripheral vision.
- There are two types of cyclists: those who have crashed and those who are going to crash. Crashes are inevitable, usually caused by a cyclist making a sudden, unexpected move. Assess the people around you, and always look out for, and avoid, the twitchy riders – you will know them when you see them!
- Don’t be that guy – avoid sudden moves yourself. Ride over small obstacles, don’t swerve around them. Try to signal any changes you make to your pace or direction.
- PLEASE DON’T stick out your arm to signal you are about to have water, it is not necessary and can hit another rider. Also, practise taking out the water bottle, drinking, and putting it back. A dropped water bottle is a common cause of crashes. And DON’T throw the gel wrapper on the ground. It is littering. Put it in your pocket or tuck it in your shorts – and keep Cape Town beautiful.
Familiarise yourself with our bike transportation procedures to ensure that your bike gets to Cape Town safely and timeously for the race.