I’ve never considered myself a roadie, in fact I’ve never really been on a road bike in my life before. But all of this is about to change. Why? Because this Saturday I’m riding 202km through Swellendam, Montagu, Barrydale and Bonnievale — a route that belongs to none other than the Coronation Double Century. There will be plenty of time to get used to road racing on the day but here are my top tips to ensure I make it to the finish line (hopefully in one semi-stoked piece)…
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Make sure you drink enough (water that is) in the week before race day. You don’t want to be starting the 202km dehydrated. During the race is just as important. You’re going to be sweating heaps en route and you’ll need to replace these fluids. Because sweat isn’t just water, you’ll also need to top up those electrolyte and salt levels along the way. I take two bottles with me, one with water and the other with a little Tailwind endurance fuel. There are water points along the way, but don’t rely on these – rely on yourself and your bottles. There is no worse feeling than running out of water.
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Along with hydration comes nutrition. You HAVE to make sure you’re eating enough. If you wait until you feel hungry, it’s usually too late. And when it’s too late you bonk. Keep munching and make sure it’s nutrition that you’re use to. Stick with what you know and keep it simple. There are so many fancy products out there but there’s nothing wrong with a good old potato with salt.
I’m terrible when it comes to sunscreen and, for that reason, I almost always have a cycling shorts tan, most times accompanied by glove, sleeve and sock lines. You will probably acquire your own collection of tan lines this weekend, but sunscreen will save you from some nasty burn. Your body will already be tired and sore after the race, so added redness is definitely not a vibe.
See you on the Coronation Double Century start line!