In the third and final installment of our three part series on how to approach certain facets of the 2014 Tour de Scottsdale we will discuss what we think are some “do’s” and “don’ts” for the day of the event. These include organizing your morning, efficiently and intelligently completing the ride, and taking care of the post-race necessities as well.
The morning of any ride, let alone race, can be a complicated affair. For one, the alarm always seems to go off way too early I think most of us can agree. Making those first several minutes of consciousness a little less insurmountable is very much a direct product of the quality of sleep you received the previous night. Often times nerves can keep a rider up stressing about the event long past the scheduled bed time, so it’s best to get the over thinking (if there is any to be done) out of the way earlier in the day. The evening before the Tour de Scottsdale, the bed is solely for sleeping, not for fretting over what the results sheet may or may not read the following day.
Post wake-up, immediately begin the rehydration process. After a night’s slumber, the body is both in a fasted and dehydrated state. Personally, I feel better slamming the fluids before consuming any solid calories, but that is a personal preference. I aim for one liter before the obligatory espresso or two. After I’ve had my water, I’ll eat a proper carbohydrate dense breakfast. My favorite go-to is a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with a little scoop of peanut butter mixed in and a ripe banana or two on top. It’s worth it to strive to have all of this done at least two hours prior to the gun going off so as to allow for proper digestion. Also, try to have as much of your equipment packed and loaded into your transportation the night before. This alleviates an immense amount of potential stress, and makes the check-list much, much easier to knock out before you head out the door in the morning.
Try and get to the staging area with ample time (60-90 minutes). Nothing turns excitement into hysteria before an event quite like getting to the start literally as the gun is going off. TDS does have starting pens but even if you are in the first pen there is another 200 riders trying to get to the front of each pen. Upon arriving, unload your bike if packet pick up is not within walking distance, but if it is, then just head straight on over before touching your equipment - it’s not going anywhere. An awesome strategy to employ if you want to avoid this entire step is to pick up your bib number(s) before the morning of the race. Most large events offer this as an alternative option to sidestep the long lines that are sure to begin in earnest hours prior to your desired ETA. Once you are back with your race goodies, set up your bike, fill your bottles, and suit up because go-time is just around the corner.
Get to the start line with ~15-30 minutes to go before your scheduled start. Once there, briefly go over a mental checklist and make sure you’ve got everything you need or want during your 30 or 70 mile adventure. If time allows, try and spot a group that looks like they know what they are doing and that they line up with your goals. Once you cross the start line, you need to be focused. But, don’t focus just on the inevitable stresses of the event; pay attention to all that is going to make it fun and memorable. Employ all that you’ve practiced: eat and drink periodically, and pace yourself as best as you can. Because it isn’t a time trial, there will be somewhat of an inconsistent dosage of effort. Go harder if it means sticking with your group over a climb, but don’t necessarily go straight to the front once you crest that climb and continue dropping the hammer (dropping the hammer once is plenty; the nail will be well within the 2x4 at that point). Nearing the finish, give it everything you’ve got. There’s no reason to hold anything back at this point, and you won’t want to finish knowing you had something left in the tank.
The time to celebrate is nearly at hand, but there are just two more steps you need to take to ensure you’ve done everything in your control to make the most of the Tour de Scottsdale. Head back to your car or team tent in a timely fashion and dig into your recovery meal. Much like when your day began, start with rehydration. Another liter is an excellent amount of fluid, especially in conjunction with a simple sugar/electrolyte solution. Don’t forget the solid food either! An easy and delicious something is rice (1 cup, dry) and eggs (2-4) with a little salsa to give it some kick. Once this is all done and dusted and if there is still a little room left in your stomach, go for a beer because you’ve earned it. New Belgium Snapshot or Lumberyard Hefeweizen are personal favorites, but I’m not here to tell you what your fancy is.
Thank you for taking a look at what we have to say about the Tour de Scottsdale, and we hope it’s been of some use to you. If there’s anything we missed that you’ve got a question about it, don’t be afraid to shoot us a message on Facebook or an email at SLMCyclingCoaching@gmail.com. Good luck to everyone taking part in this year’s Tour de Scottsdale, and we’ll see you on the road!