The Final Countdown - by Tom Gibbs
We asked Tom Gibbs of Team adidas TERREX, what he thought were the top 10 things to be on the agenda when getting ready for an expedition race. Having won a few races including the 2009 Adventure Racing World Championships we think he is worth listening to.
- Sleep - you owe it to your team-mates and yourself to turn up to the race rested, donít turn up to the event tired or spend the previous days up to the small hours. Start sorting stuff out a good week in advance, early if your bike needs servicing.
- Get ready early - make sure you have the kit you need well before the event, and you have tried it out - during the event is not the time to find out that your waterproof is not waterproof.
- Roles - before the event divide up the jobs between the team, with emphasis on the navigator concentrating on the maps.
- Preparing Food - most food used in long Expedition races has a long shelf life, the only food you should prepare the day before is any fresher stuff. Once you know stage lengths you can then divide it up into bags for each section. Make sure you have plenty of REAL food, after a day or two you will not fancy energy bars.
- Bikes - Its amazing how many people turn up to events still with their bike in a state, not maintained from the last event. Iíve raced with someone who was cleaning their chainset in the sink the night before a big race - madness ! Make sure you get your bike in tip top shape and ideally have at least one shakedown ride to make sure itís ok.
- Eating - Make sure you up your food for the few days before the event, at the very least you should be doing less exercise, but keeping your food intake the same. Make this a priority and have some good quality food in the days leading up to the event, perhaps add a little more to the plate. This is not a time dieting - you might feel a little heavy at the start but within 24hrs that will pass.
- Briefing - the event briefing is key. Quite often there maybe route changes or rule changes (e.g. carrying extra kit).. its easy to be so focused on your little world that these pass you by whilst you are chatting in the corner of the hall. Take maps, pens and paper to take notes.
- Kit - donít be tempted to pack your box/bag ready for the race a week or more before, you will just spend forever repacking. Make sure you have your kit organised and then pack it once you know the course- do it once and do it right.
- Night before - aim to have a nice chilled evening if you can, some nice food and discuss as a team how you will approach the race, everyone needs to be on the same page and you need some relaxation before the event starts.
- Start line - arrive early and relaxed... but likewise donít get up at a silly hour. You should climb out of bed and straight in to your race kit with bag ready to go.