Quick tip for a smoother race day, whether you’re already back to racing, just starting out or haven’t raced in a couple of years: Make a checklist. This is one tip that gravel pro Alexey Vermeulen and I firmly agree on (and nerd out about in this podcast episode with him). It’s so much easier to get ready for any race (and not forget essentials!) when you’re always working from the same list or spreadsheet.
Start the season by making a big checklist with all the gear you will need for a race: Changes of clothing and kit, helmet, shoes, bike, various tools, pumps, water bottles, towel, food and so on. Don’t neglect post-race things like wipes, a change of clothes, and comfortable shoes.
You may want to add sections for hot races versus cooler temps, and my (new, hard-won) general rule is to always assume the temperatures could be plus or minus 15 degrees from what weather.com claims.
You may have slightly different lists for gravel, road, and MTB, and you may have a different list altogether for running or triathlon.
This list can get even more granular, depending on what kind of racer you are. Maybe you add specific sections for food depending on length/duration of race, or tires for specific conditions. Add whatever makes you feel prepared, but not overwhelmed.
Now, you need to USE this note. Keep this list on an easy to access app on your phone, a boookmarked Google Sheet, or get even more organized by printing it, laminating it, and sticking it directly in your race bag so that you can reference it easily every time you pack. (Bonus points if you then use a dry erase marker to check off things as you pack, then wipe it off post-race for next time!)
For an easy way to make your list, check out our free race day checklist PDF by signing up for the newsletter here—it has everything you need to get started, and you can always add your own essentials to the sheets!
And if you haven’t already, check out our recent post about the best race day gear bags to choose and how to organize them to streamline things even more!