4. DO YOU PREFER FULLY OR HARD TAIL?
In long, hard races as the HERO, equipment is a fundamental consideration. I advise you to use a full suspended bike, with suspension both in front and behind. It is true that this solution will give you extra weight to carry, but it is also true that this choice will enable you to have a decent grip on uphills (even if my advice is to block the back suspension), so as to save a good amount of energy.
5. YOUR BIKE, YOUR COMPANION OF ADVENTURE
To take part in the HERO means having a bike which is ideal for you and well broken in. It is of course an advantage to use a bike which you have and are familiar with, and have had the chance to do many outings on. It is a relationship which develops in time and will enable you to bike off-road and on many different surfaces. It is a little like a soldier and his horse: there needs to be a magical feel between them.
7. DO NOT FORGET YOUR GLOVES
The more difficult the race is, the more care you must take in carrying all things necessary. A seemingly insignificant but vital item on your list needs to be gloves. Apart from making biking more comfortable and allowing you greater pressure on the handlebars when necessary, a detail which at times makes the difference, gloves allow you to protect your hands, especially your palms, should you fall. With a
suitable protection you can avoid cuts and abrasions which would otherwise make it difficult for you to go on and complete the race.
8. ARE YOU SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TYRES?
As you can imagine, having the right tyres makes all the difference in a race. First and foremost, to do is to find out in detail the conditions of the surfaces throughout the race. You will especially find dry and sandy desert trails.
9. YOUR GLASSES ARE NOT AN ACCESSORY
For me, glasses are not an accessory, but an essential part of your equipment. They are so important because first of all they protect, for example from the mud which shoots up from the back wheel or from the little stones which the competitor ahead causes to jump up. The list of possibilities can also extend to branches in the woods. And be careful if you wear contact lenses. Today you can find photochromatic
lenses that adapt really well when you pass from dark to light areas and viceversa, as is often the cases in woods and paths in the shade.
10. TAKE TWO OF EVERYTHING WITH YOU…
An old trainer of mine said that whatever sport you do the rule of “two of everything” stands good, this meaning to bring a cover for everything that you need, because it can always happen that the morning of the race or game something can go wrong e.g. you could break the arm of your glasses, and therefore have a replacement solution with you. This for the HERO means two jerseys, two pairs of socks, two flasks,
two of everything indeed.
11. YOUR BIKE CHECK-UP
A bike is a simple, yet complicated piece of machinery. It’s perfect functioning is assured by all its component elements interacting. This is why it is important to have a general update and overview of all before taking your place at the start line, especially if the race in question is called the HERO. The overview should cover every part of the bike, starting from the frame, then the wheels and tyres, the
spokes, the suspension and the transmission, the latter one of the critical points of the mountain bike, and of course the brakes.
12. TAKE A REPAIR KIT WITH YOU
Always take with you tools for small and other essential items e.g. spare innertube. Remember that the race assistance points, although many, are kilometres apart. This little extra baggage will not be the reason for a poor race performance.