Update: Due to hurricane Irma it was just announced that the Smart Ride 2017 would be postponed until the first quarter of 2018. Dates to be announced.
Ask questions. That’s the number 1 piece of advice Lance Hatch has for someone thinking about participating for the first time in the Smart Ride, an annual two-day 165-mile bicycle ride from Miami to Key West.
Last year was Hatch’s first time riding in the event. This year the Smart Ride takes place November 17-18. And while that’s still a couple of months away now is the time for a first timer to start preparing, training and most importantly riding.
"I have a bit of a competitive streak – mostly with myself to explore and exercise my personal best – so I’m nothing, if not psyched and enthusiastic, about completing my first Smart Ride,” Hatch, 57, told SFGN before last year’s ride.
And so how did it go?
“Excellent,” he said. He attributes that to his rigorous training schedule which included 2-3 morning rides for an hour to an hour and a half and twice weekly spin classes.
“I prepared well for it. I was in good shape for it,” he said. “It was a great experience for a good cause.” He’s doing it again this year.
Oh, and another tip of his: Make sure you drink an electrolyte replacement beverage such as Gatorade.
This year he plans on taking a class on how to change a tire as added preparation.
The moment that stood out the most of him was when “Glen [Weinzimer, founder of the Ride] and others spoke. It was just amazing to be with all of those people at one place at the end of the two-day ride.”
It will be Michelle Altman’s first time taking part in the Smart Ride.
“After being diagnosed over 10 years ago with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) I was advised it is not in my best interest to do any activities that could cause injury. I still receive monthly treatments and I'm still learning how to adjust to my new way of life,” Altman said. “I have good days and bad days. I also work a challenging work schedule which consists of long hours of working on my feet and outside in inclement weather.”
But this year the 53-year-old decided that her illness would not stop her.
“I decided to take control of my life again and not let AS hinder me and the things I love to do, therefore; the word ‘NO’ has now become ‘I Can,’ ‘I Will,’ and ‘Watch Me.’”
Altman is riding 60 miles each weekend to prepare for the event.
“I walk several miles a day during my work shift. I also get a few miles in by running. I try to change it up and add in kayaking as well,” she said.
Ken Mauldin is excited for his first time this year as well. For the past two years, he’s been a part of the crew.
He’s ready to make the transition from crew to rider.
What to Bring:
▶ Bicycle (mechanically safe and in good working order, make sure to have it inspected for bike fit prior to the ride)
▶ Helmet (asTM, snell, aNsI or CPsC approved)
▶ 2 Water bottles (one filled with an electrolyte replacement drink) OR 1 hydration pack (like a Camelbak), plus a bottle filled with an electrolyte replacement drink.
▶ Bike frame pump or CO2 cartridges
▶ Patch kit or spare tube that will fit your tire size.
▶ Bicycle multi-tool for making adjustments
▶ Bike seat bag (to carry multi-tool, tire irons, patch kits, tubes, cell phone, cash/credit card)
Useful, but not mandatory items:
▶ Insect Repellant, Hand wipes or hand sanitizer
▶ Lip balm w/ sunscreen
▶ Bike computer
▶ Cycling gloves
Other items to pack:
▶ Variety of riding clothes for 2 days (make sure to be prepared for variable weather)
▶ Clothes for evening functions and Key West (shorts, t-shirts, jeans, flip flops, very casual)
▶ swimsuit (yes there is a pool at Hawks Cay)
▶ any prescriptions you need
▶ antacid, ointments, bandages, Ibuprofen
▶ earplugs (to drown out the snoring from your roommate)