Paris to Ancaster 75k

(and other questions answered below)

Mike Garrigan (former P2A winner and Cyclocross National Team coach), who recently did an Instagram takeover, answered several questions riders had sent out via social channels in our stories (you can still find those in our highlight). Mike has taken time to give written answers to those questions as well as a few bonus ones below:

M Garrigan

#1 Any Highlights, memorable moments, stories?
There are too many! I will share stories later about the pony run-in, getting lost on the route with Jeremy Powers, flat tires, being accused of cheating. Being invited back to the event despite having a broken neck. The cross team support. Starting at the back of the pack (even did it one year when it was one VERY large pack!) Meeting the land owners and hearing stories from them about their connection to the event.

#2 Craziest conditions you've raced P2A in?
The windy/snowy year! Maybe 2010-2013. (Editor's Note - it was 2011) It was likely my fastest finish ever. The course was pretty short that year as well, and I think we finished well under 2 hours. It was crazy. I recall cheering on the finishers climb later, and folks just getting hammered with snow and sleet- it was crazy! And a little awesome.

#3 Let’s see Max and Maeven on bikes!?

Max LOVES to ride, we ride MTB together and have been working on a little bike track in the forest for us to share. Maeven is just 3 months old now and has some neck workouts to do before we can get rolling!

#4 Tires- putting the crazy tight ones on
I have one way to put a tire on, it's called the correct way. I was taught it when I worked in a bike shop as a teenager new to bike fixing. A regular customer got frustrated watching me struggle and taught me the steps. I was so embarrassed/motivated that I spent a good few years ensuring I was proficient at taking tires off and reinstalling them. There are also some great tire levers out there, just make sure you know how to do the basic steps first!

#5 Tire pressure?
Personally, I used the thumb check, because the pressure recording varies greatly from tire to tire and pump to pump. I simply put my left thumb across the tire, put my right hand on it, and then put my bodyweight on the tire that way. I look for about 20% compression for road, 30-50% for most MTB and gravel tracks, and closer to 90% for Cross on slippy tracks, adjusting as we get out there and how much angel dust is in the air. All this aside, when working with national team athletes I use a pressure gauge with PSI/Bar and we record and re-record their optimal pressures when doing tire testing and training. Each athlete has their own way of getting their tires right. It’s best if it’s measurable with a tool when working with a team. The last time I raced P2A, for a mostly dry track, I rode 38 psi in the rear tire and 31 in the front with 38 c tires.

#6 Bike choice?
I’ve ridden so many great bikes over there years. I'd love to do it again on my first drop-bar bike, a 2000 Jake the Snake. I had a MTB derailleur on it with a road crankset and 30mm tires. I loved that bike and would ride it again if I had the chance.

#7 Any hair tips?
I feel like you might have to ask my hair as it’s does its own thing.

#8 Gravel or Cross Bike?
Ahh, tough one! For me there are too many subcategories of "gravel" (ie- I use a hardtail MTB for some of my very rugged gravel-based rides here in Croatia, then almost a road bike or very lightweight cross bikes for light gravel. I do have a more "traditional" gravel bike- 40c tires, and very low geometry as I never plan to pedal it around corners too quickly, and a steep seat tube angle so I can lengthen the front end to take some weight off the front tire when the bar is loaded with snacks. I’ve done bike touring on gravel on a road bike with a 130 stem, it’ not ideal. Bottom line: ride whatever you have.

#9 Gearing
Big gears win big races. Joking aside, I've won several races with a broken front der and had to finish in just the smaller chainring. I do personally enjoy how a larger double chainset feels on my bike for some reason, especially when some dirt and grime are mixed in. When paired with a larger cassette you can climb most hills without any issues. I like the big range cranksets that allow for quite a large chainring and a smaller small ring for steep climbing only.

#10 Hydration for the race (and nutrition)
This all depends on the weather and what I'm into at the moment. For me it's very important to be excited to drink what I have in the bottle, this may be just water with a bit of salt and maple syrup, other days I may be craving some warm Stirka or tea with honey. For P2A specifically - the race is usually around 2 hours for the front runners with the course being so flat, so the race nutrition plan, or lack thereof, usually shows its head during the after race spin back to Paris to get the car (I’ve had some book fests on that one). This depends on how long your race is going to be. I would say choose low-fiber snacks, and any drink you will enjoy and have tested in training. I don’t bring food, which is probably why I bonk on the ride back to Paris.

#11 How to layer properly
I look at this as a full-day event, so there are different considerations. There’s going to and from the event; immediately pre and post-race (or hard workout), and during the event itself. I make a plan for each phase and analyze why each garment will function perfectly and what the transition will be like from one phase to the next). Obviously, it’s weather-dependent. But last time I raced, I wore a thermal jersey and tights, lightweight wool socks, and a wicking under-layer, and I changed gloved through the race from a lightly insulated long-finger glove to a low-profile short-finger glove.

#11b What warmup clothing do you use?
LASTIG - check out the ziptights I made for these types of rides! But before, I used to wear ziptights and a thermal jacket that I picked up from old teams I raced for, and double gloves

#12 Bar Tape
Ahh, Youtube is likely the way to go here, I use the take a very long time method (+start from the bottom with even pressure, ease off on the end, and cut it like you care about what you're doing)

#13 What to bring on the ride
Let's see the #notp2a2021 kit grids! I challenge you all to share what you bring, Ill check the hashtags and comment on favorites for sure! I usually bring 1Liter of fluids, an appropriate multi-tool, tube and pump, and a chain master link. No food for me usually. Keep in mind this is for a 2-hour ride.

#14 What's the deal with this Lastig Soap?
It’s a promotional product for my off-road clothing brand LASTIG. We wanted to support P2A somehow and I just thought people are going to get dirty, and for the folks riding the indoor virtual ride, they won’t get dirty but they might enjoy this particular soap, you’ll see why. I'll be challenging folks to send me their first smell reaction videos!

Lastig Soap