How to Pack for a Cyclocross Race [The Ready-to-Race Packing Checklist]
Race day can be stressful. Be prepared. Having a cyclocross packing list means you don’t have to rely on your memory to prepare. Cut your stress level in half by following these steps.
- First, start by packing the night before or even in the days leading up to your race.
- Keep a race bag packed with extra undergarments such as T-shirts, shorts, long pants or tights, jerseys and shorts to warm up in, socks, gloves, pins, hair ties, chamois butter and more. Then you can just throw in the racing jersey and shorts and your favorite undergarments (wicking T-shirt, sports bra) and socks the night before.
- If you have a garaged vehicle, get a head start on packing your car the night before the race or event. Remember the trainer and the front-wheel riser block, extra wheels, bike(s), helmet, shoes, tire pump and gauge, etc. If you can’t load the vehicle the night before, have all of these items in the hallway ready to go. The night before is also the time to make sure your tires are initially pumped to the correct level, and all maintenance to your equipment is done. There should be no lubing and wiping down the chain at the race unless you’ve just ridden the course during the pre-ride.
- Set out your cooler, water bottles, recovery bottle with the powder measured in the bottle, extra water jug during the summer or Thermos during hot weather. You can make your pre- or post-race snack/meal the night before or set aside the items to make it in the morning. If the drive is long or you have to arrive early to the race, bring a snack like a bagel with peanut butter or some type of carbohydrate.
In the morning of your race, you’ll need to pack your food – don’t forget the cold pack – fill bottles, eat a healthy breakfast of carbohydrates and some protein, and drink water during breakfast and all the way to the race, and take your garment bag. Directions to the venue should either be in your bag or on your mobile device. Don’t rely only on mobile maps that require a connection if the venue is out of town where cell reception may be lost.
Plan to arrive at the race two hours before your start. This gives you adequate time to either ride or walk the race course, check-in (because you’ve pre-registered already), visit the Porta Potty, chat with friends, pin your number on the jersey and set up your trainer or prepare to warm up on the road. Your warmup is going to take about 45 minutes. You’ll then need time to change into your race jersey, drink more water, do other last minutes things and visit the Porta Potty one more time. Don’t underestimate the time it take to complete this last important task – visiting the Porta Potty can sometimes take 15 minutes if the line is long. Leave time for it.
After your race, whether you’re covered in mud or just sweaty hot, get to your vehicle as quickly as you can to consume your recovery drink (within 30 minutes of the finish) and get out of your wet gear. This is where a skirt comes in. Yes, guys, this means you too. Get yourself a simple elastic-band around-the-waist, long shirt for changing out of your shorts. Simply slip the skirt on, place your hands under the skirt to take off your shorts and replace with dry clothes. Instant change-o!
Use a garbage bag to keep your dirty and sweaty kit away from your dry and clean clothes. You will find this very helpful in November during the muddiest races.
Print this checklist out and pin it to your wall by your gear. Then you won’t have to rely on your memory each time you pack.
Race-Day Packing List for Cyclocross
- Cycling shoes – Important!
- Helmet – Important!
- Socks: Tall socks or thermal socks for cool weather
- Shorts or Bibs
- Leg warmers (knee warmers tend to fall down in CX races)
- Full-length tights
- Long sleeve skinsuit (colder weather)
- Short sleeve jersey (cooler weather)
- Long sleeve jersey
- Sleeveless undershirt
- Short sleeve undershirt
- Women: sports bras (2)
- Long sleeve undershirt (cooler weather)
- Rain jacket
- Thin long-finger gloves for mild weather
- Thermal gloves for cold
- Cycling cap
- Racing glasses with lens options
- Post race casual clothing including team jacket and podium wear.
- Long changing skirt! (yes, even the men should have a skirt)
- Race Bike
- Pit Bike or Pit wheels
- Buckets, brushes, bottles, lube, etc
- Power meter or Heart rate monitor
- Floor pump
- Rollers or trainer with front-wheel holder
- iPod & ear buds for trainer warm-up
- Tool box
- Chain lube
- Racing license
- Rider release form (fill it out beforehand)
- Race flyer and directions
- Money, cash, or check (most races still don’t take credit cards)
- Race number (previously pinned to jersey/skinsuit when possible)
- Safety pins
- Garbage bag
- Cell Phone (directions)
- Or paper directions
- Plastic trash bags
- Toilet paper
- Hair ties
Pre- and Post-Race Kit
- Towels (2)
- Baby wipes
- Soap and/or sanitation jell
- Chamois cream
- Lip balm
- Large water container
- Medical/First Aid kit
- Pre-race food: eggs, toast, banana, oatmeal
- Pre-race drink: Sustain Energy or 1 GU shot
- Four filled water bottles
- Post-race: pre-mixed recovery drink and light snack
- Large water container
- Thermos for cold weather
- Changing tent
- Cooler & bottles
- Nutrition supplies
- Bike Rack
Associate Coach Rhonda Morin, EMT, specializes in helping people excel at cyclocross and mountain biking. She’s a master’s cyclocross racer and national bronze medalist who has 25 years of experience in competitive cycling.