Here are my preparation tips for L’Étape Australia –
Travel and accommodation
You will need to collect your bib from the race village the day before the event, so make sure you plan your journey accordingly and then work out where you’ll be staying on the Friday night – don’t leave this until the last minute! The best deals on accommodation can be found here.
Airlines will not accept a bike unless it’s packed in a bag or box. There are plenty of options available for packing your bike and some airlines even provide cardboard boxes. As many airlines have a one bag restriction, all your checked luggage needs to be packed in your bike bag, so make sure you pay attention to the baggage allowances and weight limits.
Write a list and then double check that you have everything packed before you leave. When I fly I usually take critical things like my helmet, shoes and glasses in my carry-on luggage so that they can’t go missing in transit. I also like to pack a variety of clothing to accommodate different weather conditions.
Get your bike serviced, with particular attention made to the gear and brake cables, tyres, chain and cassette, brake blocks and bearings. After getting any work done on your bike it’s a good idea to take it for several long rides to ensure it’s working smoothly. Before you get to the start line give your bike a once-over, checking your lights and bottle-cages are secured, gears are trimmed, wheels are set straight in the frame, quick releases are firmly in the closed position and the brake pads aren’t rubbing.
Nutrition is very personal, so there is no “one size fits all” plan that suits everyone. Use your training rides to experiment and lock in your nutritional plan so that when you arrive at the event, you have a clear understanding of what you’ll be eating and when.
Race day is not the time for experimentation! I’ve heard of people arriving at events with an almost brand-new bike that they haven’t been set up on, or having a different set up to the bike that they have been training on. In many cases, they end up suffering from either strains or cramps during the event. So get your bike set up at the beginning of your training block and once you’re happy with it don’t change a thing, including your cycling shoes.
It’s important to plan how you’ll get to the start area on the big day. For instance, if you’re driving make sure you know where the official race parking is and allow time to walk or ride to the start. Also consider using the overnight bike parking which is available next to the race village. However thanks to the relocation of the start/finish line to Jindabyne, I recommend you find your accommodation in Jindabyne and ride to the start line.
Finally, allow plenty of time on the morning of the race so you can be well-prepared and not rushed.
David Heatley is the founder of Cycling-Inform and an international cycling coach that helps the busy cyclist quickly get awesome results with their cycling through a unique time saving cycle training system with coaching support. For more information please visit his website.