Get Ready for the Cape to Cape

The Cape to Cape is one of the best events on the Australian mountain bike calendar, mountain biking through some of the most stunning scenery in the South West of WA.  2017 marks ten years of the Cape to Cape and is set to be the best year yet with an epic four days of festivities being planned!

To get the most out of your event we have put together a checklist of the things you need.  This isn’t about winning but making sure that you get the most out of the event, have a great ride and most of all a fun time while you’re in Margaret River.  To do this you need to think about three things – you; your bike; and the things you need to take with you.

Getting you ready

With a month to go until race day hopefully you have been doing some training.  This should include time spent on your mountain bike on some technical trails so that they aren’t a surprise to you on the day of the race.

It’s also a good idea to go for two difficult rides two days in a row.  How ever long you think you will take to do the stages (winning times will be around 2-2.5 hours) you should make your two rides that long.  Possibly do the first day on the road and then the second day on the trails.  Be sure to make each ride about 3 hours long so that you experience what it is like on the second day to ride while tired.  This will do a few things for you.  First of all you will get used to riding mountain bike trails while fatigued and second, it is a great chance to understand if you went too hard on day 1.  With this important information you can make sure you moderate your effort at the Cape to Cape so that you last the four days and enjoy the non-racing part of the event.  Remember you are going to be based at some of the most iconic and beautiful locations in the South West and enjoying the after ride events is all part of what makes this such an incredible event.

The other key to looking after yourself is nutrition.  What you eat and drink before, during and after is really important to making sure you enjoy all four days.  The most important things to remember are to stay hydrated and to eat before you are hungry.  If you have not done an event like the Cape to Cape you will be amazed by just how much you can eat!

Be sure to understand what your body can handle while you are actually racing.  That means consuming the nutrition you intend to use, before the event.  Gels are extremely convenient because they are easy to consume while you are working hard on the bike but you may also fine that you don’t want to rely solely on these.

There are also great energy bars and other easy to eat high energy foods such as Clif bars and Clif Bloks.  As far as how much to eat many sports dieticians suggest 1 gram of carbs for every kilo of body weight per hour.  So for a 70kg rider you should have roughly two gels per hour or a gel and a bar.  Beside this you should work on drinking roughly 1 litre of water per hour of the event.  You should also be drinking an electrolyte based drink to replace the salts that you will lose during each day.

For most of you that will mean riding with a Camel Bak hydration back pack.  These are definitely the easiest way to carry and consume the right amount of food. With all of this done properly during the race you will have the right amount of energy to enjoy the other important hydration that Margaret River is famous for, the world class wine and beer!

Top tips to get you ready

  • Be sure to do at least two back-to-back long training sessions
  • Make sure you are familiar with technical trails.  The Kalamunda Circuit is a good benchmark for difficulty.
  • Temper you energy expenditure to make sure you enjoy the four days and all of the after-ride events.
  • Pack more nutrition options than you think you need.  Its better to finish the race with a few extra gels in the pack than to run out with 20kms to go.
  • Keeping hydrated is critical.  Drink before you are thirsty and replace lost salts with an electrolyte drink.

Getting your bike ready

If bike maintenance isn’t your thing then make it ours.  The last thing you want to be doing is standing on the side of the trail trying to get your bike fixed because you didn’t have it race ready.

If you haven’t had your bike serviced in the last 6 months then it is imperative that you have it done so you can go in to the event worry free.  There will be great mechanics on site each day but they simply don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to your bike in the same way a pre-event service will.  Depending on the age of your bike it may also be time to get the suspension serviced.  Suspension should be serviced every 50-100 hours of use. So if it has been over a year since you have had this done it may be worth talking to one of our mechanics about whether you need this done.

Tyre choice.  Every bodies favourite forum topic!  There are so many tyres out there and all of them will go round and round but if you are looking for an advantage over your mates or the rest of the field then you can definitely get this right and wrong.  Our more experience brand ambassadors will be riding Specialized tyres and will have a Ground Control 29×2.3 up front and a Fast Trak 29×2.3 on the back.  This choice offers plenty of grip in the corners but is still a nice fast combination on our gravel.  These tyres also offer the best value for money of all of the brands.

Our Bikes and Beers event at the start of October will be dedicated to general bike maintenance from cleaning to general gear tuning and all round care of the bike.  It will be well worth coming down and enjoying a beer and learning from our expert mechanics.  We will also have a number of Cape to Cape veterans there to answer any questions you have with regard to getting ready for the event, and help you make sure you’ve got everything you need.

Top tips for getting your bike ready

  • Get it serviced prior to the event to make sure everything is in working order and you have a great four days.
  • Make sure you have the right tyres.  Our pick is Specialized Ground Control 29×2.3 and Specialized Fast Trak 29×2.3

What to take with you

What are the key things to take on the ride with you?  We will break this down into two groups; things to take with you for the week to have in your car, and the things you need on the bike.  While you will be able to buy some spares at the event there may not be parts that are particular to your bike brand or bike model.

In the tool box

  • Floor pump with a gauge
  • Spare tubes and tyres – It is possible that you will tear a tyre so having a spare tyre that is the same as the ones you normally ride is a very good idea.
  • Tubeless sealant.  If your tyres aren’t set up tubeless then it is time to invest in this.  Less punctures and lower pressures for extra grip are the two key reasons to go tubeless.
  • Spare derailleur hanger.  All modern mountain bikes have a spare derailleur hanger.  This is a small piece of metal/alloy between the rear derailleur and the frame.  It is designed to break before the derailleur or frame.  These are very particular to a bike model and can differ from bike to bike within a brand.  We carry spares of these for all of the bikes we sell and recommend that you take a spare – unless you love riding single speed.
  • Spare spokes – If you have a very rare wheel or regularly break spokes it is well worth having spares with you so that you can get your wheel repaired.  No doubt the bike shops in Margaret River will have some spokes but they may not have the right length or type.
  • Chain lube.  Clean and re-lube your chain every day at the event.
  • Bike washing detergent and brushes and rags to clean your bike EVERY day.

What to have on the bike

  • Spare tube and tyre levers to get your tyre off
  • CO2 canister and head – It is much easier and quicker to inflate a tyre using a CO2 canister than a pump.  If you are unfamiliar with how to use one of these then ask us how and we will show you.  We will carry two CO2 or at least one of these and a pump.
  • Spare chain link and chain breaker tool
  • Mutli-tool
  • Mobile phone.  You or someone near you may need immediate emergency help and a phone is the quickest way to get that help.
  • Money.  When you finish the stage and you can’t find your friend who has the keys to the car and all your money, you want to be able to sit down to a nice cold….. (insert appropriate drink here)

Having all of these things prepared should make for a relaxed and smooth running event for you.  Drop into Wembley Cycles anytime to have a chat about getting ready for the race and pick up everything you need or come along to our Beer and Bikes night.  Be sure to read all of the event information in the lead up as well so that nothing comes as a surprise on event day and that you are ready to have a blast as this years Cape to Cape is sure to be the best yet!