How-To: Being a Supermodder
With the wet winter weather that ‘crossers yearn for now sweeping across the northern hemisphere, the racing gets harder not only on the bike’ but also in managing those race day logistics that we all just love to hate. With mud comes mess, but getting the right routine reaps better results and helps keeps maintenance costs down.
Most of us aren’t like Lars and don’t have a mobile home full of mod cons to hand, so if you’re running your races out of a family hatchback, what can you do to make things easy when it’s Supermodder Season?
Have a race bag with your race kit neatly packed. Have a spare set of kit for warming up in. You don’t see the pros mud-splattered and uncomfortable on the start line, why should you? If you’ve got spare shoes, pack them too. Staring the race fresh, clean and warm will feel great. Pack food and drink in a separate bag, and keep it to hand. Pack old towels. Get a wet bag – numerous duffel type bags are available to dump wet kit in, some even have built-in changing mat and shoe compartments. Get a changing robe, remember Homer Simpson’s mumu? One of those, but in towelling, you’ll be able to strip down in public without police incident. And you can get home without getting the car seats stained from a damp chamois. Pack spare clothes. Have you got sundry spares and tools? You’ll need brake pads and a spare hanger as an absolute minimum, preferably sort a small race toolbox. Think about what could go wrong, because it will at some point. And get a big umbrella.
After you’ve given it your all, strip yourself down, dump everything dirty in the wet bag and put on a full set of clean, warm clothes. Stay dry and wear a hat. If you’ve not got a portable jet wash, towel the bike down to remove the worst and again dump that towel in the wet bag. Check your bike over, make a mental note of how much of a deep clean it will need and if anything’s obviously damaged. Clean the wheels as best you can and pack in wheel bags. Stay warm, have a coffee, pack the car and get home safely.
Do Your Chores
The minute you land, wash your bike, even if it’s pelting down. You don’t want to be trying to clean a crusty ‘cross bike later in the week. Clean the frame, wheels and drivetrain meticulously, and keep it somewhere warm to dry. Inspect for any damage or worn parts, particularly brake pads, Make a list of what needs to be done before your next race. If you haven’t got them in stock, order them now. Don’t leave your kit to fester – if it’s really dreadful, give it a hose down, you don’t want to have to buy a new washing machine before you’ve got to. Get it washed, use a decent sports-specific detergent. There could be anything in that filth, and you want to kill any nasties lurking. When it’s washed and dry, repack your race bag so it’s ready early for next week.
Think about your next race – how long it’ll take to get there, when to pack the car, what you need to buy in advance. Do you need to do any maintenance or fit replacement parts? When will you fit this in? The working week soon flies by and there’s training to fit in too. Plan backwards from the race start and write a list. Then you can relax!
None of this is fun compared to actually racing, but a bit of forethought might just help you become a Supermodder!