Ruby West's Tips for Traveling to Race—and Avoiding Jet Lag!

22 Mar
10 MIN

Racing around the world with the Canadian National Team on the track has meant heading to some far-flung destinations for Jukebox Cycling’s Ruby West. From 36-hour hauls to make it to Peru to race to her most recent trip to Jakarta with the team, it’s safe to say that Ruby has had to figure out the best tips and tricks to make flying as smooth as possible, so she can arrive feeling as race-ready as possible. Here, she’s sharing a few of her secrets.

Know your itinerary and have all your info on hand

While the National Team does have their travel arrangements mostly booked by a staff person at Cycling Canada, Ruby realized quickly that knowing her exact itinerary and having all the info on hand was critically important—especially when travel isn’t going smooth. Flights get cancelled or delayed, and new arrangements need to be made quickly… So there’s often not time to wait around to figure out how your original ticket was booked. Take charge of your flight plans and have a full itinerary and all the documents you need organized well ahead of time for a smooth flight! (There are plenty of apps now that allow you to organize everything in one easy to access spot.)

Always have snacks. Lots of snacks.

“Going to Jakarta, my entire carry-on was just snacks,” recalls Ruby. “I’ve been in a few places where they didn’t have much that was available for us to eat, and I realized it made a big difference if I traveled with the essentials.” Now, she always has the bars she likes, plenty of easy-digesting carbohydrates for training days, packets of instant coffee and instant oatmeal, and plane snacks like crackers, pretzels and yogurt-covered raisins. "I've tried to find things that I know will like bring me comfort wherever I am in the world,” she says. "Because if I'm stuck in an airport and everything's going wrong, but I can make myself a cup of coffee that I know like or eat a granola bar that brings me a little bit of comfort, those things can really help.”

Have a ‘happy file’

If you have airplane (or airport) anxiety, take a page from Ruby’s book and make a folder on your phone of happy photos or videos. These might be pics of your pets on your phone, or a folder of bookmarks to hilarious YouTube or TikTok videos that make you smile.

Download enough content

If you have a four hour flight but plan to get to the airport three hours ahead of time, that means you may have seven hours to kill—more if your flight is delayed or if you end up sitting on the tarmac for a while after landing. Having podcasts, books, and shows or movies downloaded to your phone or tablet ahead of time can save you a lot of heartache when you realize that the airport wifi isn’t working, or that there are no movies you want to watch on the plane. (Also ensure your device has a full charge before takeoff!)

Create a sleep kit

Planes are tough to sleep on, but hotels can be just as bad. Ruby has collected a full kit of sleep essentials, including:

-Neck Pillow

-Eye Mask

-Ear Plugs

-Sanitizer wipes

-Compression socks for flying

-E-reader loaded with books

-Toothbrush/toothpaste/moisturizer (to ‘get ready for bed’ before takeoff on planes)

-Rollerball of soothing essential oil blend (“I use this every night before I go to bed, so that the scent sort of cues me that it’s bedtime,” she explains.)

Get on the right timezone

“Get on the new new timezone as early as possible,” Ruby says. “Stay up as late as you can the first day so you’re able to sleep at nighttime there. As soon as I get on the plane, I try and shift to the new timezone. I never think, ‘What time is it back in Canada?’ I find that some people do that and it really messes with their ability to train and race effectively because they feel like they’re racing at weird times of day.” (And if you can’t sleep, read a book on an ereader or do something soothing like knitting, says Ruby. Don’t scroll!)