A Sneak Peak of "Gravel Cycling"

Gravel Grinder Gear Check List


We’ve all forgotten something critical on race day. And it’s usually only after missing a race or a group ride that we decide to get organized. A race day packing list can save heartache and worry. Build one out as you ready yourself for your training rides, far in advance of your event. Think of all the separate pieces you collect before each ride. Write them down. (Ideally, keep them all in one location in your house, making it easier to get out the door with everything on a regular basis.)

Clothing: Consider clothing needs first, head to toe:

  • Helmet
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Neck gaiter (if it’s cold)
  • Base layer
  • Jersey
  • Arm warmers
  • Gloves
  • Vest
  • Jacket
  • Shorts
  • Knee or leg warmers
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Shoe covers
  • Extra socks (because nothing’s worse than standing around in cold, wet feet after your race.)

Maybe you like to wear a wristband for sweat. Write that down. Perhaps you like to pull on waterproof oversocks when it rains. Write that down. You get the point.

Some suggest making multiple lists based on different weather conditions. This can be useful, but weather can be unpredictable. It’s best to bring too much clothing to the start and leave it in the car instead of being caught off guard by a freak storm.

Food and Hydration

After clothing, think about food and hydration. Will the race have a drop bag system, allowing you to prepack items for later I nthe race and have them delivered to aid stations? If so, assemble your bag or bags while you’re still at home, calm and collected. You’ll do a better job and eliminate a potentially stressful task the night before the race. Better to relax with a book or catch up with friends.


Next, consider your bike. Always take along:

  • A rag
  • Chain lube
  • Floor pump
  • On-bike repair kit: new tube, full CO2 cartridge, multi-tool, tire lever, spare chain link, any other small parts

You can leave the repair stand at home, because in your efforts to eliminate pre-race stress, you paid for a tune-up (or did one yourself) before leaving for the race. (Right?)

Be methodical in your approach to readiness and your race performances will improve. Ridding yourself of last-minute woes allows you to focus on the effort ahead and take better care of pre-race nutrition and hydration.