SWITCHING TO NIGHT VISION
By – ALICIA EVANS
One of the only guarantees in this race is that the sun will go down. Are you and your team ready for that?
The team at Outside Bike and Ski will ensure you have all the right equipment but are you comfortable riding at night?
Here are some tips to increase your confidence and skill during the dark hours of the night.
- Practice, practice, practice but avoid riding on your own, as we all know accidents happen. Make sure you let someone know where you are. If night riding is new to you, begin on some easier trails then progress from there.
- Use the right lights, mount them in the right places and bring spares and chargers on race day. A mag light is great little option for mechanicals. Make sure you know what the battery life is. I would recommend not trying to test this on race day!
- You may look shmick in your tinted Oakley sunglasses during the day but they will make life tough at night and a branch brushing across your face could cause some nasty damage. Eye protection is a must so choose to wear some good clear lenses.
- The temperature can drop dramatically during the night so a good pair of arm and leg warmers will ensure you stay warm. A cold body doesn’t function well and you need to be on your game when riding at night.
- Warm up well. Your body won’t be too pleased about riding a lap at 2am so you are going to need a good warm up. We will talk about this closer to race day.
- If possible, prep your bike for night riding during the day.
- Resist the temptation to ride too close when on a group night ride. You have a higher chance of crashing into the person in front of you, if you’re too close. Your light also has the potential to put your friend in a shadow, so keep some distance between you.
- If Mother Nature calls, resist the temptation to face your bike towards you. No one wants to see what you hide in your shorts. Plus, a light off trail could be a huge distraction for the other riders.
- Resist the temptation to make quick, jerky movements because your visibility is reduced. Soft hands, relaxed shoulders, look ahead and enjoy the thrill of night riding.
- Don’t rely on the person in front of you to go the right way. Following their lights could land you in a crumpled heap, or straddling a tree. Follow your own game plan.
- Practice, practice, practice. During some of your training rides, make sure you go at your race pace. Also use these training opportunities to pass and be passed. Out of courtesy to other riders give them plenty of warning. I love a good practical joke as much as the next person, but riding up on their tail then yelling ‘RIDER’ could leave you bruised and battered!
Most of all enjoy the ride! Not everyone gets to experience night riding with 1600 friends, but 24hrs of Adrenalin provides just that.