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Tips for Athletes

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How to pack for stage races - Part 2 in a series

A few months ago, we learned how to pack your race bag for a one-day race.  Stage racing season is here, and I thought it might be useful to cover how to pack for stage racing as well.  Many of you will be heading to places like Baker City, OR for some great racing, and having an organized kit will make your life easier and help you to concentrate on what is most important – the race!

Just as with any race, putting together a checklist is essential.  For a  race of four stages or so, taking place in the summer time and where you will be staying at a hotel or host housing, it should look something like this:

road bike
time trial bike

spare wheels for road bike
time trial wheels (assuming you have normal wheels on the bike for warmup/training)
racing shoes (and spare pair if you have them)
4 pairs cycling socks
4 sets of cycling shorts
4 short sleeve jerseys
long sleeve jersey
4 base layers (light and heavy)
wind vest
wind jacket
clear rain jacket
2 pairs cycling gloves- long and short finger
2 pairs of knee warmers
2 pairs of arm warmers
1 set of legwarmers (for TT warmup)
time trial shoe covers
cycling cap
synthetic warm cap
lightweight booties
sunglasses and lenses – clear and dark
racing helmet
time trial helmet
4 water bottles (at least – usually more depending on race and post-race requirements)
plenty of your preferred race food, pre-sorted into packets for each day
chamois creme
warming oil for the legs (I prefer woodlock oil and maybe some almond oil if it is raining)
heart monitor/power meter chest strap
heart monitor/power meter head unit
compression socks (pressure pants!)
post-race recovery food and drink (also sorted into packets for each day)
4 liters of flat mineral water (drink one after each stage)
2 race towels
rollers or trainer for TT warmup
bike tools and chain lube
spare shoe cleats
floor pump
folding chair
a nice book to read while resting between stages

What you bring with you for before and after each stage is just as important as your equipment for the stage.  If the evenings are cool, for example, be sure to have a warm cap and jacket.  Having all your recovery food sorted out and waiting for you will speed your recovery and increase your ability to perform well the next day.

It’s also important to keep your stuff organized when you pack it, so you aren’t rummaging around in your recovery food for a fresh pair of socks.  If your bag is big enough and has compartments, separate your race clothes from your casual clothes and separate your food items from the rest.  Keep your soiled race clothes separate from everything by putting them in a plastic bag, or simply bring a separate bag with you for those.  A few small bags may work better for you than one big bag.

That should cover the basics.  I’m sure I will be reminded of some things I may have forgotten, and I will add those as I get them.  Thanks to H. Givens and Erik V. for assistance with this article.

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