I have a bit of routine that I follow whenever I ride my Colnago EPQ. Preparation for the ride can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day. This is what I do.
1. Physically prepare to ride
There are three things that I do to get my body ready for a ride. The first is to do a bit of stretching, to prepare the muscles for the work ahead. The second is to apply sunscreen to all of the exposed areas of my body. And the third is to apply some saddle cream. If you aren’t sure what saddle cream is, or what it does, this link provides more than enough information.
2. Get dressed
For the type of riding that I do, clothing is critical. During the spring and summer months, I use bib shorts, a base layer, a cycling jersey, cycling socks and cycling gloves. Most of my clothing comes from Assos out of Switzerland. Their products are expensive however they are engineered to provide as much comfort and performance as possible when you do a long, hard ride. I also wear a heart rate monitor under my clothing.
3. Prepare the bike
I usually wash the bike down after each ride and I clean and lube the drivetrain after every second ride. The bike is ready to go most of the time but I always do two things with the machine: inflate the tires to my preferred riding pressure and check the mechanicals (e.g., brakes) for proper function. I have a precision bicycle pump which allows me to dial in the tire pressure. I visually inspect the tires to make sure that there are no cuts or other issues with the wheels. I also look the bike over carefully to make sure nothing is amiss.
4. Stock fluids and food
Depending on the length of the ride, I make sure that I can stay hydrated. If the ride is going to be over two hours, then I also need to make sure that I carry some calories with me. A sports drink goes into one water bottle, with ice. And water goes into the second water bottle, again with ice. Food gets thrown into the back pocket of my cycling jersey.
5. Carry ID and a smartphone
Although I never expect to end a ride badly, it is one sport where being prepared for the worst is a good idea. I always carry ID with me. I also use Cyclemeter on my smartphone. It sends messages back to Lorraine every kilometre of the ride to let her know where I am at that point in time. If I stop moving for any reason, Lorraine knows roughly where I am.
6. Set up the bike computers
I ride with two bike computers, one on the handlebars and one in my pocket. The one on the handlebars, a Garmin Edge 800, tracks all of my critical bike and personal metrics: heart rate, cadence, speed, location, etc. And the one in my pocket provides cellular communication on my bike ride. I view both of them as complementary. And both need to be initialized prior to each ride.
7. Put on helmet and glasses
I never ride without a helmet and glasses. I change helmets every couple of years although there are many different perspectives on how frequent helmets should be changed. I ride with Oakley eyewear.
8. Lube shoe cleats and put on cycling shoes
I use Speedplay clipless pedals. I find that I need to give them a bit of lube before every ride to clip in quickly and easily.
9. Enjoy the ride
With all of the preparation work complete, I can go out and enjoy the ride.