11.018c – Æight days a week – Always keep your shoes clean
Racing is all about getting your head into the right space. Many riders therefore find it useful to have at least some key bits of clothing that they use only for racing. It’s surprising how putting on a different helmet or lacing up some clean shoes can get your head into an all together different zone.
Personally I keep a complete set of clothes purely for racing – even if you’re not sponsored, by simply wearing the same jersey, shoes, helmet and shorts at races week in and week out you get yourself noticed. This can be important if you’re trying to attract sponsors or to simply make new friends. People are more likely to come over and talk if they recognise you.
Of course the other thing is that you should start, at least, the race in comfort and you should look and feel confident and in control. If you find clothing that helps you do this it’s a really good idea to keep it in good condition – it maybe only in its prime for 25 – 30 races (one year) and then you can retire this gear to the winter bag/commute/24hour race bag.
I read a feature in Cycle Sport magazine a few years ago when the whole issue was handed over to famous pro riders for them to give their advice upon how to be a better rider. Everyone had written long wordy pieces about complex training techniques, but the one that really struck me was David Millar’s tip, which consisted of only one sentence which went something like this;
Always keep your shoes clean,…well, have you ever seen a rider on the podium wearing dirty shoes?
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