~ By Coach Lindsay Leigh
The winter months are the perfect time to make sure your gear is in good working condition and you’re stocked up on supplies for the coming season.
In this post, I cover 3 simple steps to get your gear organized, fixed, and stocked up!
Step 1: Organize
First: get organized! Use this time to organize your gear, which will also allow you to notice any supplies that run low. Use bins, tool boxes and other organizers for your nutrition, cycling supplies (such as tubes, tires and the like), hydration packs, head lamps, and any other gear/supplies you use.
Clearly label these boxes/bins so you know what is in them and can find quickly and easily.
Create a place for everything to save time once the busy racing season gets here. In this manner, you don’t need to panic search for equipment before a workout or race.
The image below features a simple tool box from Home Depot, with various nutrition supplies organized for easy grab and go.
Step 2: The Bike
Next, let’s move onto the bike, since that requires the most gear maintenance. Take your bike to the shop to have it checked over (or do it yourself if you’re able to).
Check the chain for wear and replace it if necessary. The energy required to spin a chain increases with wear. This means the more worn it becomes, less of the watts you produce are working to move the bike forward. In other words: wasted energy!
You should replace the cassette when small indentations start to appear on the backside of the teeth, generally every second chain, but this will depend upon conditions and how many different wheels you use, so always check the cassette when you replace the chain. An excessively worn cassette will shorten the lifespan of a chain, so don’t push it.
Replace the tires once they’ve accumulated little nicks, which will make them more prone to flats. Once the rear tire gets a flat spot, or has threads poking through, it’s well past time to replace it!
Next, check your cleats. I recently learned my lesson with my Speedplay cleats with the mounting screws became filed down and rusted into the sole. I was forced to replace my entire shoe instead of just the cleats. Don’t be me! Shimano and Look cleats have rubber grippers that allow you to walk more easily, but once those are gone, the plastic that connects with the pedal starts deteriorating, so it’s time to replace the cleats.
Cables and housing should be replaced at least once per year to prevent sticky grime accumulating which can impair brake and shift quality. They should definitely be replaced if shifting becomes sloppy despite adjusting derailleurs. Brakes should also be replaced if they don’t snap open after squeezing them closed.
Step 3: Stock up
It’s good practice to have extras of the main things you need to make your training go smooth.
For the bike, stock up on tubes, tires, chain lube, CO2 cartridges, and tire levers so you’re not scrambling during the racing season if you need to quickly change a flat tire or worn tire before a race.
Even though running requires much less gear, you can still stock up on a few pairs of your favorite running shoes so that you have a pair ready to go when your shoes wear out, or you can rotate the pairs you have. You can stock up on speed laces for the racing season, compression socks and other running socks, and any other running clothing you could use more of.
Make sure to have extra batteries for your gadgets. Nothing is more frustrating than needing a new battery, but not having one to make a quick swap. For gadgets that need to be charged, create a routine. For example, plug your watch in each night, or make a note on your calendar when it is time to charge your Di2.
Stock up on your fueling – bars, gels, blocks, drink mixes, etc. You’ll use it up quickly! This will allow you to practice your race day nutrition all winter long.
Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, consider stocking up on some home gym basics. We have an article on the No Limits site with tips for tricking out your home gym. Having a home gym is safe, convenient, and a big time saver!
Now you’re ready to focus on what matters – training and racing!