The week before any bike race includes a personal checklist that helps me prepare physically and mentally for the ordeal ahead. Top of the list is a dress rehearsal ride. Wearing exactly what I plan to wear, carrying exactly what I plan to bring, I head out for a ride that includes several efforts that simulate race pace. Anything I can do to streamline my on-bike experience and eliminate any adjustments that I'd have to make on race allows me to focus on the effort. Every race is slightly different so it's good to have a dry run.
Next up is a bike wash. A clean bike on the start line helps me feel prepared. It's also an opportunity to check for tire, drivetrain and brake pad wear. I perform a bolt check to ensure that nothing will come loose on race day. I wipe the frame and lube the chain, then set it aside knowing the bike is ready even if I'm not.
If the weather looks toasty I may go for a haircut. I will always shave my legs a few days before race day. This ritual goes back to my days road racing. A pair of smooth pins is faster and makes the muscular definition more obvious, a reminder of the hard work put in on training rides.
I also put together my race day nutrition, packing it carefully. I print off cue sheets (if applicable) and upload the GPX file to my GPS. If the event is a long one, I charge an auxiliary battery pack as well as my Garmin. While I'm focused on electronics I charge my Di2 battery and consider making a music playlist and uploading it to my phone.
I'll double check hotel reservations and flight information if need be (I almost always prefer to drive though). Do I know the time and place for rider check in? It all helps.
Clearly I'm a planner, a logistics guy. It's how I approach many things and its part of the reason that I love gravel racing and bikepacking. Planning and thoughtful consideration typically pay off. Here's hoping it does this weekend at an event that is new to me: Gravel Worlds. Arrrgh!