7 crucial things to remember before 2019 cycling season kicks off

Posted on: January 21st, 2019


Winning a bike race is great but it’s not the be-all and end-all and it’s best to reconcile yourself to that fact immediately.

You’ll be beaten far more times than you win so learn to actually take pleasure and pride in pushing yourself to your limits. You can do no more after this.

Granted you’ll get a few bob and a bit of recognition if you win but they better not be the reasons you race.

Here are seven things we want you to remember before you pin those numbers on when the new campaign starts in a matter of weeks.


1 It’s only the first race

Results Shay Elliott & Ken Duff memorial races 2018

At stickybottle.com, we take racing as seriously as anyone and we always look forward to the new season.

And the first weekend of the campaign is always a mix of excitement and ambition as the winter ends and it’s time to start again.

But even at really busy with lots of racing on, these events can only produce a handful of winners, even though there is more than one race being run at each one.

So if you’re not one of the very small group of victors in the first few weekends of the season, don’t worry as there’s a long way to go yet.


2 Know your shortcomings…

Be realistic with your ability and give yourself every chance of being in the race for as long as possible.

For more on this, have a read of an article we published a while ago which made a robust argument about the best guy often NOT winning.

Maybe that’s you? And even if you are not going for the win, you can follow the advice in the piece to do the best with your current condition and ability.


3 …and learn from them

Okay, so if your shortcomings are very short, the first races of 2019 will serve as a timely reminder of what you need to do to improve your game.

Are you struggling on the descents? Are you struggling to get over that 3-minute climb? Is positioning your Achilles heel?

Remember, a failure is not a failure if a fault is detected. The sooner you find the faults the sooner you can go about correcting them.

Use the first few races to analyse where you are now.


4 Respect every rider

Safety is the number one priority of every race organiser. So please, make their lives easier by having respect for those you’re competing against.

Cycling is not without risk, with the speeds involved. But don’t make it any more so by endangering fellow riders.

This means: not switching others, not deviating from your line, not riding for an extended period with your hands off the bars.

Don’t look back when there’s a crash, don’t elbow guys unnecessarily and definitely no head-butting in the sprint.

The pros may be able to throw their bikes around a lot, but we’re amateur riders. There is a massive difference.

PS – You don’t have to offer up your wheel like Simon Clarke did for friend Richie Porte at the Giro a few years back, but you get the message…


5 It’s better to be looking at it than for it

Ireland in early March can be a bleak month so prepare adequately for the race.

A rain jacket is never a bad option in your back pocket because when that unexpected shower arrives you’ll be a sorry person if you left it back in the car.

It won’t weigh you down and you won’t give one fiddlers about your aerodynamic tuck position either when you’re freezing…


6 It’s not life or death

Cycling is a hard enough sport at the best at times and racing on the weekend is as demanding physically as mentally.

But please, do yourself, your family and your friends a big favour and remember to enjoy it.

You’ll be beaten far (far) more times than you’ll win. So learn to actually take pleasure and pride in pushing yourself to your limits.

You can do no more after this. If you win, you’ll get a few bob that probably won’t even cover the fuel and sign-on costs.


7 Have the bike in good working order

Don’t let months of hard winter training go to waste by having a faulty bike on the start-line. Those tyres you’ve been meaning to change WILL let you down.

In 2018 alone we know of riders who forgot helmets and forgot to charge the battery for the electronic groupset.

Others had bikes whose bottom bracket seized and fitted bottle cages that were far too big meaning they lost bottles on contact with the first pothole.

Best of all, we know of an A1 rider who left his wheels at home! Check your bike now if you are racing this week and tend to anything you have any doubts about.

If you’re not a confident mechanic, get a reliable bike shop to give your mount the once over.