You’ve put in lots of time and energy. You’ve shown enormous discipline, waking early to put yourself through the necessary paces or perhaps even braved that windy hill at the end of a long day. Spinning, and group or endurance races have become the norm and you’ve sweated – lots! You’re fit. You’re race ready. Right?
Without taking anything away from your effort and training, there is perhaps more to being race ready than meets the eye! Whether you’re taking part in your first 94.7 Cycle Challenge or joining the kids in a 10km fun ride, following a few simple tips can go a long way to being 100% race ready and guaranteeing a fun day out.
The following tips from MiWayMTB can help you prepare – physically, mentally and practically.
1. Take it easy!
As tempting as it may be to continue training and sweating, the reality is that about one week before race day you are as fit as you’re ever going to get. Avoid the temptation to cram in a few more training sessions, be it in a spinning class or on the open road. Remember that your body needs time to recover and gather its energy and any potential for injury so close to the big event is never a good idea. At the very most, and just to get your legs ready, go for a relaxed 30 minute ride at 60% heart rate with minimum effort the day before.
2. Race ready – bike ready
It would be a shame to spend so much time preparing yourself while neglecting your essential partner. If you haven’t had your bike serviced in a while, it’s a good idea to do so at least 2-3 weeks before. If you think that’s overkill, then be sure to still give your bike a good once over at least before race day – lube the chains, pump tyres and stock up on spares and other essentials you may need. If you don’t have bicycle insurance, now may be a good time to consider protecting your investment. While your bike may be covered under a general home contents policy this may not include travel or races. MiWay has standalone bicycle insurance products which are worth looking into!
3. Be prepared
Even if you’ve chosen the cheaper and easier option of registering for your race online, don’t forget to make a point of collecting your race number and goody bag during the times allocated. Over and above the essential race number and stickers, these bags normally also contain other important items such as a route map, your batch number, start times and information regarding what to expect on race day. If entering on race day, be sure to do your homework and find out from the organisers well in advance about registration times, costs and any other essential information.
4. One more sleep
Take the time to get your cycling kit ready the night before. Not only does this include a clean and comfortable kit, your helmet, gloves, sunglasses, socks and shoes but also make sure you take care of your other essential accessories as well. Fill your hydration pack’s bladder and refrigerate overnight, pack spare water bottles, spare tubes and CO² bombs. Pump your tyres and ensure your bike rack is set up on your car and in general working order. Double check you have your timing chip if applicable, energy gels and some extra cash. Depending on your plans for after the race, it might be a good idea to pack a change of clothes and some toiletries. Mud, dirt and sweat, however proud you may be of them, aren’t known as the best socialisers! And lastly, but most importantly, enjoy a good night’s rest.
5. The morning of
Rise and shine with enough time to enjoy a nourishing breakfast. And remember the sunscreen. There will be many other reasons to remember the day, without the long-term shorts ’n shirt sunburn.
6. Plenty of time
Armed with venue map and parking directions, be sure to leave early enough to avoid unnecessary stress. Once parked, remember to remove all valuables from your vehicle or to lock them in your cubbyhole or boot for safe keeping. In case of a break-in, your insurer won’t cover you if you do not take the necessary care to safeguard your belongings!
7. In case of emergency (ICE)
Rather safe than sorry. Accidents can happen at any time and it is always better to be prepared. Ensure your emergency contact numbers are readily available by either wearing an ICE bracelet or having an ICE emergency contact number on your phone.
And if all of this sounds perhaps a little bit too much, you can also simply just arrive with your helmet and enjoy the ride. But remember, a little preparation both on and off the bike goes a long way. You’ve worked so hard, why not give yourself the best chance at success and a hassle free day of fun and great memories?