Monday, August 22, 2011

Your Front Wheel: Things I Forgot to Bring to the MS150 for $500 Alex

When you rob a bank, don’t forget the ski mask.  When you carve a side of beef, don’t forget your chain mail glove.  When go skiing, don’t forget the jacket with the zippered lift ticket that proves to all the ladies you tore it up at L’Alpe d’Huez.  Whether you’re cashing in at the local branch, starting your first day at Fuddruckers or dropping the double diamonds at Breck, veteran cat burglars, meatcutters and swooshers have a mental checklist of the tools of the trade.  So do most veteran cyclists.  This weekend one of every 10 people at the Ohio MS 150 ride will forget one of the following: helmet, shoes, gloves or cigarettes.  It’s because their pre-ride routine has been moved from their floral wallpapered bedroom to a field in rural Ohio.  Sunscreen, chamois cream, a towel: which one didn’t you think of yet?  Rain jacket?  Hurricane Irene is coming.  See how much you need me. 

Coco: My Bike Butler
The best advice, hire a bike butler to take care of your packing, like my flamboyant guy Coco.  Or, write up a list pronto and pack for your ride today…Monday.  Ride Tuesday using only your packed items.  Then, like the MS150, ride Wednesday using the same stuff and methods available on the MS 150.  Nuh uh uh.  Using the washing machine and drying rack is cheating.  If you only have one pair of shorts, slide that soggy chamois back up those thighs.  It’s harsh but the only way you’ll learn to bring two pairs of cycling shorts or find a place to wash and dry them Saturday night.  Since I can’t account for the personal items you just can’t live without, like your Polish cleaning lady confederate doo-rag, here’s a basic idea of how to pack for the big MS 150 weekend.

Documents: Your entry information, hotel confirmation, directions, start time/location, email proof that you have dibs on the bed in your buddy’s camper.

Bike: Bike, cleaned and tuned up by Wednesday with both wheels and test ridden at least once before the big weekend.  Yes, I said both wheels.  So don’t leave the front one leaned up against the work bench when you put your bike on the roof rack and back out of the driveway at 5:30 in the morning.

Bike clothes: Helmet, shoes, glasses and wipey cleaner bag, rain jacket.  Multiplied by two: gloves, shorts, jersey, under jersey, light vest, sports bra, socks, cycling cap, confederate doo rag, arm warmers. 

Street clothes: Pants, fundies, shorts, socks, shoes that’ll be good in a muddy field, cool cycling t-shirt, jacket, hat.

All Hail The Top Banana Jersey!
Pocket stuffers: Road ID (drivers license, insurance card, emergency contact), charged cell phone, I-pod and some cash/credit card, spare car/house key.

Toiletries: Sunscreen, chamois cream, lip balm, deodorant, towel, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, soap/washcloth, gallon of water, hair scrunchies, eyeglasses or contacts stuff, plastic bag for the stench-fest of your sweaty wet clothes, toothbrush/paste.

First Aid: Band-Aids, the spray that stings really badly on open wounds, Neosporin, gauze, road rash netting, and medical tape.  Bringing this stuff ensures you will not crash.

Tools: floor pump, 2 spare tubes, CO2 and/or frame pump, seat bag, multi-tool, patches, spare chain pin, umbrella, repair stand, chain cleaner, lube, soapy spray bottle, frame brush, rags, a plastic bag and rubber bands to keep your saddle dry while your bike is on the roof when hurricane Irene arrives.

Food: Coffee and travel mug.  Cooler with icepacks.  6 water bottles because the two of them will be covered in grit after day 1 and it’s nice to have a full bottle or two waiting at the car after the ride.  While there is plenty of food/drink available, limit what you bring to your favorites: like energy drink mix, GU blocks or Sharkies, fig cookies, licorice, meatloaf sandwiches, whatever helps you turn the cranks.  Consider Sport Legs or some sort of electrolyte replacement.

The MS150 doesn't end till your bike is off your car
Recovery: a massage stick, yoga mat for stretching next to your car in the field, a camp chair, a pop up tent.

Lastly, when you arrive at home in a lactic acid haze late Sunday evening, don’t forget your $3000 carbon Trek is on top of your $35,000 Audi A4 when you pull into the garage you dufus.

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