Race Day Preparation

Race Day Preparation

It's race day, you stumble out of bed and hastily try to find your race kit only to discover that some of it is unwashed, or missing. There are remains of food in your kit bag from the final race of last season (so that's what the smell was) and worse there's something growing in your water bottle that looks like it's from Alien… Does this sound like you? Well it needn't. Feel free to print off the checklists below. Read and put them in to practice to ensure that race day preparation is as smooth as you are at pedalling. Feel free to modify them as needed.

Generic checklist for racing
It's important to realise that these are generic checklists, and therefore, warm ups, and routine may need to be modified. Furthermore, mental preparation is also vitally important (this is only touched on). Accordingly, the lists are a great starting place, and can be added and modified!

48-hours prior to race

  • Check bike, make sure, gears, brakes, wheels, and bottom bracket are correctly attached and functioning
  • Clean bike
  • Check weather forecast for race day - if weather is going to be inclement ensure that you have suitable race tyres
  • Ensure that (race) tyres are in roadworthy condition
  • Make sure chain, gears, brakes, etc., are lubed
  • Wipe off excess oil, and makes sure bike is clean
  • Ensure that race kit is clean, or about to be cleaned
  • Make sure you have begun carbohydrate (CHO) loading

24 hours prior to race

  • Go for a Pre-Race Day spin, with race pace intervals
  • Continue carbohydrate loading
  • Lay out race kit
  • Get race bag ready (warm-up oils, spare food, food for after race, spare clothes, 2nd set of race clothes, race licence, first-aid kit)

Day of race

  • Pack remaining race clothing (e.g., crash helmet, shoes, etc.)
  • Eat a high carbohydrate meal around 2 - 4 hours prior to your event. This will depend on personal digestion, duration of the race, expected intensity of the race, etc.
  • For each hour that you eat prior to race you should consume, 1g of CHO per kg of body mass (BM), i.e., 2 hours prior to the event you should consume 2g CHO/kg BM, 3 hours prior 3g CHO/kg BM, etc. You should however, practice this in training first
    The food should be high carbohydrate, low in protein, and low in fat, choices could include-
    • Pasta with tomato-vegetable sauce or a little extra virgin olive oil
    • Rice with tomato-vegetable sauce
    • Cereals, low-fat milk, 2 - 3 pieces of toast, muffin, or bagel with jam/honey etc., juice, energy bar
    • Carbohydrate energy drink (e.g., PSP 22)
  • Arrive at race 1 - 3 hours prior to race (depending on location - you should generally arrive as early as possible)
  • Arrive at race
  • Find signing on point, and sign on
  • Find start/finish location
  • Locate toilets
  • Ascertain that races are starting on time, or what the delay is
  • Take spare wheels to service vehicle or pit-area (ensuring that they are correctly inflated, and have been checked for cuts - see 48-hours prior to race)
  • Get race bike, (and spare bike) ready to race
  • Pin race number on to race jersey/skin suit
  • Put drinking bottles on bike, and ensure you have a 'spare' for drinking when warming up
  • Discuss race tactics with team mates
  • Sip on energy drink
  • Put on race clothing, with extra layers if needed (e.g., cold weather). Have spare race clothing ready if it is raining
  • Ensure race bike (and spare bike) is ready to race
  • Relax, play some soothing music
  • Keep off your feet as much as possible (you don't want to waste any energy)

Warm up
Once you start the warm up, you enter the 'zone'. This is not the time to be chatting to people - you need to concentrate on the task ahead (the race!). Partners, family, and friends need to be aware of this prior to the warm up. During the warm up you should drink a bottle of energy drink (e.g., SiS GO) to ensure that your fluid and energy stores are fully topped up.

  • Place bike on trainer (trainers are great for warming up on for TT, MTB races)
  • Approximately, 50 minutes before the start get on the bike - play some 'energetic' music
  • Start sipping a carbohydrate - electrolyte solution (e.g., SiS GO)
  • 5 minutes very easy (e.g., 42 x 21)
  • 5 minutes at a light level (e.g., up to 42 x 17 / 16)
  • 10 minutes at 50 b·min-1 below MHR
  • Strip down to race clothing (leave on leg warmers - depending on weather)
  • Start to visualise the race circuit (very important for TT, MTB XC, MTB DH)
  • Visualise yourself doing well, and start positive self-talk
  • 3 minutes at 40 - 30 b·min-1 below MHR
  • 3 minutes at 45 - 35 b·min-1 below MHR
  • 3 sets of: 30 seconds race effort (e.g., 53 x 16 / 15) with 3 mins easy between each interval
  • Ride easy for 5 minutes to arrive at the start (< 50 b·min-1 below MHR)
  • RACE - Go get 'em!