Let’s get ready to race. It’s go time!
At DNA Cycling, we believe in empowering youth to be a part of the thriving and engaged cycling community. Like you, we look forward to events that inspire friendship, joy, and adventure through pushing yourself to achieve goals in the outdoors with the bicycle as a tool. We have compiled a few short suggestions to make this as positive of an experience as possible.
So how do you make all of your training pay off and have the best experience possible? HAVE FUN! Different people have different concepts of fun, but if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. If you get out regularly with friends, your team, AND alone, the fitness will come. Some people enjoy pushing themselves to do leg bursting, climbing intervals, while others only ride up so they can do the fun ride down. Long endurance rides combined with shorter harder rides will give you the fitness you need. Most high school teams will have some sort of rough outline for gaining the race day fitness needed, but you can always find ready-made fitness plans online or consult with a trained coach if you are ready for the next level. Whatever you do, keep it fun.
Once you have done your prep and the race season nears, you should have an opportunity to pre-ride your race course. During your pre-ride, get to know the course so you know exactly what to expect during your race. Knowing where to pin a section, when to recover, where to eat and drink, and where to pass other riders are vital to a successful race. The more you can mentally prepare beforehand, the more stress you can eliminate the day of your event, the more enjoyable the experience will be. Don’t forget to warm up both your body and your mind pre-race.
Race Day Tips
Applying the following race day tips should ensure a safe and memorable experience for competing teens and their families alike.
Make the time to experiment with different food and drink options at practice. Figure out what time your race starts. Then find out what time your staging time is, so you can work backward and know when you should start warming up and when you should eat your last meal.
Bike Set up
Make sure that your bike is tuned and in good working condition. As a basic overview, ensure you have sealant in the tires, your brakes pads are functioning properly, and your chain is adequately lubed. You can do the drop test to check for anything obvious. Lift your bike up 3-4 inches from the ground and drop it onto the tires. Nothing should be making any unexpected noises. Bike shops right now are busier than ever so don’t leave a tune-up or service for the last minute because you will likely have a tough time getting in.
While checklists may vary, making your own is essential to avoid any last-minute scrambling and potentially forgetting something behind. Eliminating any extra stress on the day of your race is never a bad idea. Ensure you have the following:
- Computer /hRM strap
- CO2 or pump
- Spare tube
- Quick link for your chain
- Water bottles
- Cold weather clothing in case of bad weather or an early cold race start
Why does the correct kit and gear make the difference?
Our desire to create the perfect fitting high-performance cycling apparel has led us on a journey that we never anticipated, moving us to cycling apparel made using a revolutionary concept we refer to as Body Mapping. In a nutshell, we design your kit to feel like it’s painted on.
This requires matching up the perfect fabrics for different body types, riding styles, and most importantly the right fit. Here are some tips on getting that fit just right.
- Don’t wear additional layers under your cycling bib or shorts. Adding an extra layer (like undies) can cause unnecessary chafing, heat, and discomfort.
- Chamois position, make sure you’re wearing your bib or short and not the other way around. Get that chamois up in there, making sure your bottoms are not sagging and your leg grippers are in the correct position.
- Jerseys, think of them as your cooling system. When it’s hot and dusty you have a lockable zipper system allowing quick and easy opening. Flip the zipper up to the unlock position, you can then pull at your collar allowing the jersey to open. Flip down and the zipper will lock into that position.
- Remember, when riding through the finish line and posting up, flip that zipper up and raise those hands.
- Wash your kit before each ride. Hang dry both bibs/shorts, jerseys, socks, and gloves.
Given the sheer amount of uncontrollable variables that arise on race day, stay on top of those that you can control like your fitness, hydration, nutrition, and mechanical safety. Minimize the stress from other riders, the course, and the weather and you should be set to do your thing. And when you are done doing your thing, you can cheer on all of the other riders that are doing theirs.