Tips for your first Epic

DSC_0751 (Large)Cycling for most of us includes a few hours a week on the bike. For others it’s their office. BC Bike Race pushes many to levels of riding and recovery they haven’t acheived before. After spending the last 3 years assisting on the medical side, the same similar issues arise each year. Here’s some tips for success at the BC Bike Race.

1. Bike setup

This is your office workspace for the next 7 days, having it setup by a professional bike fitter will do wonders for you. Proper bike setup helps keep you in a naturally balanced posture on the bike, prevents adverse strain on wrists, knees, hips, ankles etc, and helps with preservation of energy.

Bike fitting is a process which will take time so hopefully you have already started, but in case you haven’t you still have time to fine tune your fit.

2. Hydration

For most of us, drinking isn’t a problem, the problem is it’s often the wrong stuff. The issue arises when you are exceeding the ability for your body to re-absorb and rehydrate. Even elete athletes on major sports teams have been tested to show that at least 75% of them are mild to moderately dehydrated.

As Brooks would say “A happy mountain man pees clear, again, a happy mountain man pees clear…”

Through your training routines, see how much water you go through in a typical ride. Then double it. Your intensity at training pace will be different than race pace. Drink your water before you get to the aid stations, Don’ t pour it out. Drink it up. While you’re at it – adding some electrolytes to the water will be a huge help in reducing cramping and fatigue.

3. Fuel

You wouldn’t head off for a epic excursion in your car without knowing where to get gas along the way? The way you replenish your body during an epic will have benefits the next day. Glycogen is the storage form of sugar in your muscles. It’s typically replenished at the end of the day and most often during the first few hours after the race. Some great sources of recovery are chocolate milk, some simple carbs and a bit of protein.

During the day, gels and bars will only go so far to keep your stomach happy. Gels should be used if you’re expecting no more than 3 hrs in the saddle. For those of you riding double that at a casual pace, bring a sandwich or wrap with you. The high sugar content in many gels along with sugary drinks will cause major cramping and stomach distress. The same way that your fireplace doesn’t run well on paper and kindling, the big pieces of wood will burn longer and warmer.

4. Blisters

Blisters and saddle sores are probably the most common treatments needed during the race week. From il-fitting shoes, seats that are not positioned properly, grips at the wrong position, a torn glove, or damp cycling shorts the causes are endless.

Typical care for blisters can include

  • blister pads – help keep the blister enclosed and protected from further wear
  • moist burn pads – soothing comfort and protection for broken skin.
  • moleskin – old standby providing a new surface
  • Brook’s special technique – this is a BCBR favorite, which one can only see in person to believe!

Prevention of blisters?

  • clean dry clothing – make sure your shorts fit you properly. Any extra movement will create opportunities for chafing
  • quality shorts – cycling shorts come in all shapes, sizes and qualities. To the same extent that you would bring a well equiped bicycle for such a journey, a high quality seamless chamois will be very beneficial in the long run.
  • creams & salves – from Bag Balm and Body Glide to the many other brands of anti-chafing creams and powders, they all have the same benefit of trying to remove any chances for chafing in the saddle.
  • well fit saddle – keeping your movements to a minimum with proper seat placement, such that your pelvis is not rocking side to side helps reduce further chafing.
  • dry socks and well fit shoes – you’ve probably spent a lot of time in your cycling shoes, but with technical terrain you’ll be off the bike occasionally. Wear a good solid shoe with well fit footbed or custom insole and some well fit cycling socks to keep you comfortable mile after mile.

5. Get care

At the BC Bike Race, we have built an incredible team to keep you going from start to finish. From our Massage team to the MASH and medical staff, our bike mechanics, aid stations and catering services, we’ve got you covered.

If during the week you find some aches and pains which are slowing you down, come over to the Medical Tent and we’ll be happy to help you get back and rolling pain free! From chiropractic care to our team doc and wound care specialists we’re there for you.

If you have any further questions, submit your comments below or come see us at Day Zero.