Ayesha McGowan is a Cannondale ambassador chronicling her attempt to become the first female African-American professional road cyclist at aquickbrownfox.com. We asked her for some advice on how to get the most out of the Tour experience this year.
The night before
First, review the rules of what you can and cannot bring and set out all of your gear so all you have to do is walk out the door in the morning. Pack a few snacks and a water bottle. Check the weather—you might need a jacket. Most importantly, get plenty of sleep. You’re in for an early start and you want to be awake and alert so everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Eat, drink, repeat
There are plenty of rest stops along the way, so you can be sure to eat something at least once every hour. Drink water constantly. Here’s a good method: if you see someone else drinking water, drink too. Don’t wait until you’re hungry or thirsty to act. If you’re starting to feel it, your trip to “Bonk Town” has already begun; eat food immediately!
Remember that this is a fun ride for folks of all different skill levels and backgrounds. Remember to smile and be polite to your fellow riders.
Spin to the top
If you’re not used to climbing steep hills on your bike, you’re in for a real treat. The Queensboro and Verrazano bridges have excellent views from the top, but first you have to get there. The most efficient way of climbing a steep hill is to shift into the lightest gear and spin your way to the top. Keep a high cadence that feels natural. Before you know it, you’ll be coasting down toward the Finish Festival, where you can concentrate on a different kind of cadence: one that’ll take you from food, to drinks, to shopping, to a comfortable spot on the grass. Have a great ride!