Preparing for Ride Day: Cycling Apparel and Equipment Considerations

12049214_240793199586885_7814440548012260740_nA seasoned cyclist, our 2016 Elephant Rock Ambassador Tami McVay shares her approach to cycling gear for this ride and every ride.

As I prepare for the 2016 Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, I am considering which gear I’ll use for the ride.  When it comes to purchasing sports equipment and clothing, I always take my wise friend’s words to heart:  ”You may regret the decision if you take the cheap way out, but you’ll never regret great gear.”

We all have a budget to live by and may not be able to afford the highest end equipment, but you can do your homework and buy the best within your budget.

There’s nothing worse than being 40 miles into a 75 mile  ride and having your feet go numb or be freezing as the wind picks up!

You will be glad that you “splurged” time and time again!

For me, much of my cycling gear is several years old. This is because I purchased great stuff along the way that I LOVE.

As I started training for the Elephant Rock, I made use of all of my best stuff.

IMG_0117My bike is a Sampson. Eric Sampson creates all of the bikes here in a local, small shop. The frame is filled with a foam that dissipates the vibration for a buttery, smooth ride. It’s much lighter than my first bike and that makes all the difference on hills!

I knew I wanted a bike that was comfortable, would last, and that I’d still want to ride as I got older. It hasn’t disappointed. I’ve ridden this bike all over the country and wouldn’t trade it for the world!

For clothing, I choose products that are light and versatile. My first ‘go to’ is my GoLite Wisp. Sadly, they don’t make them anymore, but it’s the best thing since sliced bread! Its a windbreaker that folds up into a small triangle. I can easily slip that into my cycling jersey. For as light as it is, it keeps the wind out and takes the chill away.

If I’m going on a ride where rain is a possibility, I wear my trusty Cannondale rain jacket. I love this jacket because the sleeves zip off and I can quickly turn it into a vest as to not overheat when the rain lets up.

When it comes to shorts and thickness of the padding, it’s really a personal preference. You won’t know what works for you until you put some miles in.

I have bike shorts with thin pads for short rides and some with pads so thick I walk bowlegged for long rides that I haven’t trained nearly enough for. Time in the saddle is just as important for training your butt as it is your legs!

For the love of all that’s holy, don’t skimp on purchasing quality bike shorts! Regardless of the thickness of padding you choose, you want the rest of the material to be quality. As time goes by, it can become see-through…and nobody wants to see that! 😉

IMG_5037A must-have for everyone is chamois butter! I used to think it was just for guys and would quietly suffer. I then discovered Hoo Ha Ride Glide and my life changed forever! Experiment and find a cream that you like. It’s well worth the effort and cuts down on chafing tremendously!

Spring training may also require that you toss on some arm or leg warmers. Quick warmth that you can shed as the day heats up.

The tricky thing about riding in Colorado is that the weather can change on a dime. You have to be prepared for anything! I use all of these items during my training and will use them on the day of the Elephant Rock.

As you consider your gear for ride day, look for versatility, comfort, and quality. If you do that, you can’t go wrong!