BicycleSource Newsletter

  1. Come prepared: When you arrive at a race, your bike should be in race-ready condition. Don't save repairs or adjustments until the night before the race. Every racer should bring a variety of spare parts including: cog sets and chain rings, spare chains, spare tubes and tires, as well as an extra wheel set. Factory technical support is sometimes available but (don't ?) depend on them. Be Prepared.

  2. Chain Management: Chain damage is still the number one problem with mountain bikes. Keeping your chain clean and well-lubricated will help, as will frequent chain replacement. Periodic inspection of your chain for wear, stretch and damage may save you a long walk home.

  3. Bring Rope: When packing your tool kit for races, take along a six-foot piece of rope. By placing a small loop in one end and tying the other end to a convenient tree branch or rafter, you've created the perfect portable bike stand. Simply hang the bike by the nose of the seat through the loop in your rope.

  4. Packing Tape: Don't travel without packing tape. This can be used for rimstrips, boots for fractured tires and a dozen more makeshift repairs. If you've flown to the race, it also saves you from having to borrow tape to close up your bike box for the flight home. Other musts: safety pins and plastic zip ties.

  5. Water, Water, Water: An athlete should always be conscious to drink plenty of water, but this is of particular importance prior to a race. It is good practice to begin heavy hydration 72 hours before the start of any competitive event. Be sure you have a water bottle with you at all times.

  6. Talcum Powder: Use Talcum powder on your inner tubes. This will allow the tubes free movement inside the tire and avoid "snakebite" punctures.

  7. Avoid Chain Slap: For downhill riding, when not using large gears, remove two links from your chain to avoid chain slap.

  8. Nutritional Food: It is important to have plenty of nutritional food available. Pack fruit or other nutritional snack foods. Remember not to overburden the weight of your bike.

  9. Helmet Safety: Your helmet is an important safety feature and you should always wear one when riding. Make sure it is secure and fits properly.

  10. Pre-race: Visual Inspections Before any serious off-road ride, carefully examine the area where the tire hooks onto the rim and remove any foreign objects which could cause premature tire wear.

  11. Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure before race start. The recommended pressure is noted on the tire sidewall. Usually 40 lbs., many racers run 50 lbs. or more for less rolling resistance.

  12. Pre-Register: Always pre-register for a race. This makes it less hectic on the day of the race and ensures a lower seed number which is important for downhill events. Double check your entry form to be certain you are placed in the proper race and that the time and location of the race haven't changed.

  13. Be Self-Contained: Make sure you are self-contained. Bring your own drinking water, food and first aid kit. Also have tools, spare parts, tubes, quick fills and a chain tool. Never assume you can just borrow these items from a friend.

  14. Post-race Visual Inspections: Inspect your bike after completing each event, especially before competing in a downhill or slalom event. Re-inspect before packing your bike for the trip home.

  15. Have Fun!
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