Ah, the taper. Time to slow down from the long efforts, rest the legs, eat good meals, and ready for the big day.
What’s a person to do with all this new-found spare time?
Ensure the bike is in good working order. Is anything showing wear and tear? Are any weird sounds coming from the direction of your bike? What do the tires look like? How does the saddle feel?
Figure it out. Tune the bike up. Do some parts searching on the internet just because. Somehow end up looking at running skorts and shoes.
Obsess about your training. Review your training log over and over. Ask it to tell you its secrets. If you are not maintaining a training log, try to recreate one from memory.
Compare your current training log to training logs of the past. See how they match up. If they don’t, what happened to make them different? Try to do all the math associated with this exercise without a calculator. It makes it more intense.
Make lists! You’ll need a list of what you’ll wear on the event. How many days is it? Three? Okay, that’s three separate lists. But wait, you need one more list for those items that you’ll have with you all three days, like shoes and rain gear.
What clothes will you want to wear all day and into the evening hours? Your tried and true pieces. But you just purchased new shorts and want to see how the chamois holds up on a long ride. Should you put these on your list? You know what to do.
Another group of lists should be made to cover food and nutrition. Yes, there will be stops for food along the way, but it’s always good to carry some essentials with you. What will they be? Go to the store and buy them. Don’t try anything new. Don’t do it!
Stock up on baggies. Randonneurs love baggies. Small baggies are useful for protecting cue sheets from rain. You can carry food in a quart-size baggie. Gallon baggies are perfect for parsing out each day’s clothing. It’s all baggies, all the time.
Bag some sleep. Knowing that the hours of shut-eye will be reduced during your event, focus on going to bed a little earlier.
When you get into bed, think about how over the next few days you will not be able to get this kind of sleep. No pressure! Can you practice sleep deprivation? I say no, but it’s thoughts like this that are keeping me awake at night.
Check the weather. Where does your event take place? Towns 1, 2, and 3? Perfect. Enter each of these towns into your favorite weather website every few hours. What does the forecast say now? How about now? And now?
Look at the event listserv or Facebook to see if anyone has said anything annoying or foreboding about the weather. Wonder why no one but you knows the rule about never talking about the weather.
Adjust your event clothing selection, as appropriate. Prepare for the worst. Buy more baggies.
Write blog posts about your taper. Instead of twiddling your thumbs wishing your were out riding, publish a blog post. After posting, edit it a few times and check regularly to see if anyone commented or liked what you wrote.
Make a music mix to inspire you. Every event needs a soundtrack. Who will write yours? As for me, I’m going through a retro phase so I choose this.
What’d I miss? Surely I missed something? Make me a list of what I missed!