No matter how many times you've been there, Race Day is something not to be taken lightly. A lot of hard work goes into getting a cyclist to that big day, so you can imagine the feeling when something goes wrong. Poor preparation, lack of organization and bad equipment choice all add to the stress of a day that is supposed to be memorable for other reasons!
Here are five tips to make your day as easy as possible, and possibly even a little more successful.
1. PREPARE THE WEEK BEFORE
One week out seems a decent headstart for your preparations, so start by focusing on your bike. Drop in at your local store and ask them to give it a 'once over' before you head off for your race / event. Ask them to focus on your gears, brakes and tires to ensure the important gear all works. While you're there, purchase some extras for your event - tubes, food, and anything else you may need.
TIP: Always phone your local bike store and book your bike in. This way, you'll be guaranteed to get the bike back in time!
2. STICK TO YOUR PROGRAM
Too often, riders of any level will realise their shortcomings in training with only days to spare. If you're only 7 days away from your event, it's effectively too late to make any progress on your abilities. Stick to the plan, and learn to taper for your event. If you don't know how to taper, ask us in the comments below (or on Facebook) and we'll give you the full rundown. You want to arrive at the Big Day both physically and mentally fresh...
3. GET READY THE DAY BEFORE
Always get your stuff organised the night before so you can wake up relaxed and ready. Pump up your tires, get your clothing ready and even make up your hydration drinks and put them in the fridge - you can never be too organized the day before an event. Some may even go so far as to pack the car the night before they leave, just to save on the panic associated with race day. If you're driving long distances to get to your event, consider staying over the night before your event. This means you'll have a short trip to the start, as well as a good night's sleep - which brings us to the next point...
4. EARLY BIRD
Waking up early will make it easier for you to get enough food in your belly, and perhaps even a coffee as well! Everyone has different theories about the topic, but just suit yourself for now. Have a relaxed breakfast and make sure you eat enough. Take the time to check all your gear is ready and that your bike is ready to roll. Waking up and eating earlier also allows your food to settle, so you don't have the pleasure of uhh... you get the idea. Recent meals and maximum heart rates don't mix.
5. KNOW WHERE TO GO
Seriously, the amount of people you see "racing to the race" is just unbelievable. Leave early and know where to go! Don't forget that everyone else is going to the same place, so make sure you include enough time to cover the following:
- Find a parking spot
- Sign in or collect your race pack (number, timing chip etc.)
- Find your starting area
- Drop any bottles off at the designated Feed Zone.
Hopefully these tips will add to your racing experience. And remember to have fun, it's the only reason you should ever be there.
One last thing you could also consider (depending on your mechanical skills) is making yourself a DIY tool kit. Filling your bike toolbox with any tools you might need just means you can pack the whole box, and not worry about specific items. This way, if anything goes wrong while you're at your event, you can fix it yourself or at least provide the tools for someone else to help you with.
Just another day at the races, right?