So you’re in the final stretch before the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday. Whether you’ve been putting in 20 hours per week or haven’t dusted off your bike since last year’s race, forget stressing and focus on what needs to be done for you to nail the race.
48 HOURS TO GO:
Off to the expo – don’t forget your confirmation. Check your race pack for correct numbers. Make sure that your chip works. REST, REST, REST – sightseeing should be limited to lazy, motorised trips with as little walking as possible.
24 HOURS TO GO:
Take a gentle spin to settle the butterflies and loosen up the legs – the coast road through Clifton and Camps Bay is ideal, and packed with other riders. Make sure your helmet fits and your favourite kit is clean and ready. Clear the memory of your HRM/GPS to make sure you have enough to record your ride.
12 HOURS TO GO:
Pin your number on. Pack pockets/hydration pack with all your food needs for the ride. Pin start card to the inside of the pocket of your cycling jersey so you don’t forget it. Put your chip on your handlebars so it is impossible to forget in the morning.Fill your bottles with slightly weaker than normal mixture – nerves can turn an ordinarily acceptable concentrate into a stomach-churner.
10 HOURS TO GO:
Go to sleep – now.
3 HOURS TO GO:
Wake up and eat a healthy breakfast. Go back to sleep if you can or need to, but for most of us nerves will take over now.
2 HOURS TO GO:
Drink 500ml of energy drink. If you are gunning for a fast race, take half an hour to an hour on the bike to warm up – you will cool down in your pen, but it will get your system up and running.
1 HOUR TO GO:
Aim to enter your start pen at least an hour before you go. This will get you near the front of your group and allow for delays en route. 30 000 people looking for parking can be chaos.
30 MINUTES TO GO:
Drink 500ml of energy drink. Gently stretch your quads, hammies and calves.
15 MINUTES TO GO:
Eat your first energy gel sachet and repeat every 45 minutes during the race. Take a final trip to the loo before the queues grow.
5 MINUTES TO GO:
Stretch again. Cr*p yourself – it’s natural! Even the pros are nervous and they do this all day, every day!
2 MINUTES TO GO:
Check that you are in the right gear to start – either the big chainring and somewhere near the top of the cluster, so you can shift down as the pace gets ridiculous leading onto Eastern Boulevard, or the small one if you plan on a slow start.
30 SECONDS TO GO:
Start your GPS, there isn’t time when the gun goes off, and clip one foot into the pedals.
And you’re off!! Focus on the riders around you – and not on using your brakes (unless you want 999 riders rear-ending you). The dash for the timing mats is chaotic but it’s over quickly, and once you’re on Eastern Boulevard, your ride really begins!
Good luck and have fun!