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Packing for a Race or Event

June 09, 2012

Packing for a Race or Event

As the outdoor cycling season gets underway, many of us are starting to go to races, charity rides, group rides or other cycling events. Being prepared and having all of your necessary items/gear will help you have a successful and fun day.

Event day or race day often includes extra stress or anxiety for many reasons. You may want to do well or win, have a good ride, finish, keep up with your friends, set a new personal record, etc.

You may also find yourself in a new place, riding a new route, or be faced with inclement weather, etc. Being able to minimize the stress or anxiety on the big day will only help you have a better ride. For people new to events or races I recommend packing early and using a checklist.

Here is a list of what I personally pack and also a general checklist. Use both to come up with your own checklist and use it before any big ride, event, or race. Arrive with confidence that you have all you need for the big day. Next time I’ll discuss the importance of having a routine on event day.

Here are the items in my race bag:

Cycling kits: 2 kits that have different style/fit options

Base layers: variety of base layers, varying density/weight, long/short/no sleeves.

Outerwear: more than I think I will need. No matter what the forecast, I pack a rain jacket, lightweight jacket and vest, long sleeve jersey, arm, knee, and leg warmers, and cycling cap

Gloves: Short and long fingered


Bike Shoes and a set of spare cleats. Sometimes I even pack a spare set of pedals

Protective eyewear: Sunglasses with multiple lens options for different weather conditions

Socks- 2 pairs, one to ride in and one for after event

Hat- Baseball, visor, or winter cap for after the event

Post event clothing- shorts, warm-up suit, t-shirt, etc.

Sandals or flip flops- for before and after the event. I try to minimize walking in my cycling shoes

Sunscreen and massage oil

Towel and extra water, cleanser and/or rubbing alcohol

Changing skirt- a loose fitting, to the knees skirt makes changing a whole lot easier

Basic tools/parts: Minimally I make sure I have: floor pump, multi-tool with chain tool, spare inner tubes, tire levers, CO2 cartridges, handle bar tape, seat tube clamp, extra handlebar ends, zip ties, electrical tape, valve stem extender, measuring tape, safety pins, and spare derailleur hanger

Food and Drink: For pre, post and during event. I bring more than I need and bring only items I have had in the past. Never try anything new on event day. This is usually a combo of sports nutrition (like gels and bars, drinks) and regular food. Always bring extra water.

Basic first aid kit

Toilet paper

Money/checks/ATM or credit card

Racing license, ID, insurance information, emergency contact information

Any necessary or important paperwork or forms: Even if I have registered online, I always bring a hard copy of any forms/receipts just in case there is a problem at registration or sign in.

Map or directions to event. Most of us have navigation these days, but I still bring a copy of printed directions or map. A lot of bike events are in areas with poor cell service.
Index cards preprinted with name, team name, contact info- when racing, great for your spare wheels or events if you need to give any bags or equipment to event organizers/workers.

Plastic bags- grocery store and Ziploc (large and small) great for putting your sweaty, dirty riding clothes/shoes in after the event. I use small Ziplocs to carry money, id, or map during the event.

Water bottles: 2 for my bike, and 2 for before/after.

Race Pack Checklist

Below is a general list of items to pack before each race or event. Customize this list to fit your own needs. It is helpful to start packing up some of these things a day or two ahead of time so that you have plenty of time to double check and make sure you have what you need before the big day.

Cycling Clothing

□ Helmet
□ Sunglasses
□ Base layer
□ Jersey or Skinsuit
□ Bib Shorts or shorts
□ Gloves
□ Socks
□ Bike Shoes
□ Arm Warmers
□ Knee/Leg Warmers
□ Light weight Jacket or Wind Vest
□ Rain jacket

Casual Clothing

□ Towel
□ T-shirt
□ Casual Shorts or warm up suit
□ Tennis Shoes
□ Sandals/flip/flops
□ Hat


□ Water Bottles
□ Water and sports drink
□ Energy bars or gels
□ Reg Food ( bagel, PB&J, fruit, etc)
□ Racing License
□ Identification
□ Entry Fee
□ Contact Information
□ Bike Tools
□ Spare Wheels
□ Stationary Trainer

Did I miss anything?

And, what about you? What do you pack?

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