Part 3: Race Day.
U.S. Cycling Tech Dave Dean shares insight on approaching your first race. Whether on a road bike or mountain bike, the same guidelines apply.
“It took me years to understand that racing is more mental than physical,” Dave says.
Picking a race:
To do your first race, start local and short. Most races will let you know ahead of time if the course is pre-marked, so you can actually ride and begin your mental training. Familiarize yourself with as much information about the course, distance, location, and area as possible before you sign up. Ride the course before the race, taking mental notes of landmarks, difficult stretches, and hazards. Visualize the course as you train and at various times of the day. This type of mental training for physical performance will give you a huge advantage come race day.
Entering the lineup:
Take a quick look around at the starting line and make a headcount of everyone in your category. Keep track of your placement during the race so you will know when to push yourself and when to rest.
Pacing in the pack:
It’s important to think about how you want to start. Do you want to go fast out of the gates to get ahead of the group and then set a consistent pace, or should you start with the pack and gradually increase your stride to pull ahead later? The answer depends on the course and your endurance. Know your body and how it responds to race pace.
Race day nutrition:
Always experiment with your food and supplements during training so that you know what your body can digest. Experimenting with new food combinations the day of the race is a great way to see it end up all over you and your bike during the race.
Next up: Part 4 of Dave’s cycling tips covers the basics of recovering from a ride.