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Tips for final preparation for the Etape Caledonia

Written by Fiona

May 03 2019

Etape Caledonia

The Etape Caledonia mass participating cycling sportive takes place in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday May 19, 2019. With just over two weeks to go, there are a few tips that will help you to have a successful ride

I have enjoyed the 85-mile route before and I know how daunting it can seem to be facing so many miles through Scotland’s hilly landscape. Being ready and prepared for the day helps enormously.

Also read:

12 final tips for Etape Caledonia

Last-minute entries

There are still places left for this year’s 85-mile Etape Caledonia. If you or a friend would like to take part (you should be fairly fit already!), see Enter Now.

Check tyres for wear and correct pressure.

Bike check-up

Make sure your bicycle is in excellent working order. The last thing you want to happen is a mechanical failure during the sportive. Ask a local bike mechanic or bike shop for a service or do some checks yourself.

The list of checks should include tyres, brakes, chain, chain drive, pedals and cleats (if you plan to use them). Look for wear and tear and also ensure that everything is performing well and smoothly.

Etape Caledonia
Decide what you will wear – and remember the essentials, too.

Kit list

Hopefully all the kit you will be wearing and using has been tried and tested during training. It is never a good idea to wear or use something brand new on event day because it might end up being irritating, uncomfortable or not fit for purpose.

Essential clothing includes padded cycling shorts or tights, baselayer, windproof layer, waterproof jacket, gloves, helmet and cycling shoes and socks.

Essential bike items include puncture repair kit, such as tyres levers and a couple of spare inner tubes, as well as a bike pump.

While there are regular food and drink stations on the Etape Caledonia route, it’s a good idea to take your own snacks, as well as water/fluids in bike bottles.

You might decide to take spare kit and puncture repair items in a bike rucksack, or your ear pockets.

Training plan

There is no point in trying to cram in panic training in the final 10 days before an event. You’ll only end up tired or injured.

The best plan is to trust in what you have already done in training. Most people will have been following a sensible training plan. Now is the time to ease off in preparation for the event.

It’s a good idea to keep the legs feeling relaxed by continuing to ride some shorter training routes and/or easier miles. Do not try to do anything too hard.

Remember the importance of yoga and stretching as well and maintain your strength and flexibility as the sportive gets closer.

Nutritional advice

East a healthy, balance diet in the run-up to the Etape Caledonia. A couple of days before the cycling event, you should ensure you are eating enough carbohydrates. The expert advice is hat you do not need to overload your body with carbohydrates but your muscles will need to energy to keep going on your chosen sportive route.

Make sure you are well hydrated in the days leading up to the sportive, too.

Etape Caledonia Event Village.

Event registration

The registration is in the Event Village in Pitlochry. You can pick up your race pack (you’ll need this to participate) on Friday May 17, from 5pm to 7pm, and Saturday May 18 from 10am to 7pm. There are no registrations on the day of the event so you should plan ahead.

Porridge could be a good way to start the day. Credit: Marco Verch

Know your start time

To allow for cyclists to ride safely, there are start waves. You should know which time you will start. Plan ahead accordingly.

  • Wave A – 6:30am
  • Wave B – 6:40am
  • Wave C – 6:50am
  • Wave D – 7:05am
  • 40 mile – 7:15am

Travel arrangements

Check road route planners on-line to find out how long it will take you to arrive at Pitlochry and your accommodation. You want to allow for busy roads as well so add 30 minutes to your time to be sure of arriving at the Event Village for your race pack.

Many riders make a weekend of the sportive by staying from Friday to Sunday and even into Monday. There are plenty of things to do off the bike in the area, so you will find lots for you and your friends and family to enjoy.

The partner charity for the sportive is Marie Curie.

Charity call out

If you are raising money for charity, remind friends and family what you are doing and why. The sportive so close now, it’s a poignant time to remind people to donate.

The night before

Lay out all your kit and race pack essentials so that you do not need to rush around finding last-minute items on the day or the sportive. It’s an early start.

Give your bike a last-minute check and get an early night, too. Because you’re away from home it might be tempting to enjoy one too many beers the night before but this won’t help you with energy and hydration during the sportive. Save the celebrations and drinks to the evening after the ride.

Where to park?

It isa good idea to work out how you will get to the start line of the Etape Caledonia and where you will park. Parking will be tight in Pitlochry so you should think about how close you can get to the start line and perhaps ride the rest of the way as a warm up.

Some limited parking on a first-come-first-served basis will be available. The parking will be in Pitlochry Recreation Ground (PH15 5BX). Parking will be £6 on exit if you haven’t already booked. You should check the race booklet for details.

Etape Caledonia
It’s a great event.

Look forward to it

Your aim is to enjoy the Etape Caledonia. Remind yourself why you entered and give yourself a pat on the back for completing the training and for making it to the start line.

Now, go on, ride and enjoy.

See Etape Caledonia for further information.

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