Are you ready to race?

This is the time of the year when you need to complete a few basic tasks to prepare for your season. The 1st thing to do is to prepare your race bag. Clean out your old food items from your race bag i.e. throw out those 1-year old power bars and smelly gloves. If you do not have a racing bag as yet choose an old sports bag, preferably with a wet liner pocket, and then fill it with the following essential items:

 Full set of riding clothing including Gloves, Sunglasses, Shorts, Shirt, and Socks. Expand this list as soon as you replace your old Helmet, and Shoes, etc. simply add them to your race bag as spares
 Full change of fresh clothing including Underwear, Shorts, Shirt, Socks, Shoes and Cap/Hat
 2 bottles of water and 2 bottles of sports drink (the kind that fit directly into your water bottle cage)
 2 recovery drinks (cans of product like ‘Boost’ are convenient), several fresh power gels and high carbohydrate content food bars (not protein bars)
 Small 1st aid pack including Sudafed, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Band-Aid, Non-stick wound pads, Roll of paper tape, Triple anti-biotic gel, etc.
 Sunscreen, Lip balm, other toiletries
 Large towel (on race day add a small towel in a plastic bag with a bottle of water to wash down after events)
 Spare tire, tube, pump, patch kit, and a basic set of bicycle tools
 Several signed “Liability Release” forms, a pen and a box of safety pins
 Copy of your racing license, drivers license, other ID including emergency contact, spare car keys (AAA plastic key is flat), $10 cash and a blank check all in a single billfold holder to be carried in your racing pocket. Keep your race bag in your vehicle at all times.

Now that you have your race bag prepared we can focus on your “1st race of the season” check list:
2 days before the race: NOT NIGHT BEFORE! Prepare your bike for racing. Cleaned, lubricated and tires pumped to full racing pressure. If you shave your legs do this the same night. You will probably use the bike before the race but it will require only a quick wipe down to get back into racing shape.

Night before the race: Prepare for quick, on the road, breakfast. You are looking for high fiber nourishment (OJ with Oatmeal with no-fat milk & brown sugar/raisins or peanut butter & banana on whole wheat sandwich and coffee/tea if you like) to be eaten 3 hours before racing. Fill a food bag with your hydration fluids bottled ready to drink (1 for drinking on the road, 1 for each warm-up and 1 for each hour of racing) and nourishing snacks – do NOT rely on fast foods or snacks sold at the event, bring what you eat with you. Put out your racing address, directions and start times. Eat a healthy dinner & get at least 8 hours sleep. Finally: Place the following list up on your mirror – go over it before going to sleep.
 Objective: What do I want to accomplish in this race and what is the team objective? Do they fit?
 Vision: What psychological commitment do I have to make to achieve my objective?
Reinforce the Vision: This means think ONLY about actually achieving the goal
 Optimism: Look at my training and racing accomplishments to date – I will repeat my best effort.
 Physiological: Control stress. Physical and Psychological stresses are productive
 Relax: I will not get too serious. I will have fun and prepare myself to enjoy the experience.
 Safety: Racing is an inherently dangerous sport. I will not contribute to unsafe racing conditions

Race day: Arrive 1-hour before your event (pre-registered) or 2 hours before to allow for registration. Choose a shady or sheltered quiet area and set up your trainer. Register. Preview your race strategy with your team. Before starting your warm-up pin your race number onto your racing jersey. Warm-up in old clothing and plan to complete your warm-up 10 minutes before your start time, put on your race clothing, use the bathroom and then proceed to the line – you do not necessarily need to pre-ride the course. Race hard. Plan A is: “Stick to the planned strategy”. Plan B is: “Make Plan A work”. Immediately after the race, 10-minute cool-down, clean up and change out of your race clothing before ‘hanging out’. If you are on a podium put on your spare set of team clothing (from your race bag) and BE ON TIME for the presentation. That would be your opportunity to thank your sponsors. Once you are done – call your coach and let him know if you achieved your goal and what you couda, shouda and wouda like to have done differently.