For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Regular maintenance will ensure you avoid race-day mechanical failures. Schedule a tune-up well in advance to ensure your ride is as ready to go as you are on race morning. Here’s your essential checklist from veteran pro Melanie McQuaid:
Chain: Your chain needs to be replaced if you have trouble shifting or are skipping gears despite derailleur adjustments, if there’s slackness in the chain or if it’s just noisy. Regularly replacing your chain is also the cheapest way to extend the life of your drivetrain.
Cassette: When your cassette is worn, certain gears will constantly skip. Generally, the cogs are worn the most in your favorite gear, so when you get frustrated with noise and excessive movement, you might need a new cassette. If you wait too long to replace your chain you may have to replace both the chain and the cassette.
Brake pads: You can usually tell if your brake pads are worn out just by looking at them. If the pads are full of metal flakes or worn close to the metal cartridge holding them, it’s time to for a new set.
RELATED: Replacing Cleats And Pedals
Tires: Inspect your tires for embedded debris and cuts, which can work their way through and cause a flat. Tires that have been ridden for far too long will develop a flat top, inviting a puncture because the casing is thin and compromised.
Cables and housing: Housing and cables should be inspected for kinks, cracks, corrosion or fraying metal bits. When your housing isn’t lubed and replaced regularly, your shifting will be slow and imprecise.
Parts: Don’t keep riding when your parts are bent or broken—it will eventually cause another problem. This applies particularly to mountain bikes with bent derailleurs or derailleur hangars, which can break off catastrophically when shifted under load.
Looking for a triathlon to sign up for to close out your season? Learn more about TriRock Clearwater at TriRockSeries.com/Clearwater.