We all have to start somewhere when it comes to cycle racing. If you’re a beginner, it can sometimes be a daunting thought to think "where and how do I get started?".
The nerves and pressure of a cycle race can sometimes take away the enjoyable experience of what it’s all about but if you train, plan, prepare and know what to expect on the day of the race it will be an experience that you will want to do over and over again. Here’s our top tips of how you can prepare yourself for your first cycling race…
Building up to the race
Getting used to riding in a group is the number one priority when it comes to bike racing. Investigating local group rides will give you opportunity to ride amongst other cyclists and in tightly packed groups. If there isn’t any local bike groups in your area, try to get in touch with an experienced racing cycling that can teach you the ropes and the basic skills to get started.
Familiarising yourself with the course will prepare you for what’s to come. Race organisers will more than often share a map of the route well in advance before the race which gives you the chance to ride it beforehand. Whilst riding the course take note of all the potential hazards and danger points as well as the length and the climbs in the race.
Giving your bike regular checks leading up to the race will make sure nothing is loose and everything is working properly. We suggest giving your bike, chain and drivetrain a thorough clean with our DirtWash bike wash and chain cleaning machine a couple of days before the race.
The Day Before
Although you will want to get as much training in as possible before the race, over doing it can sometimes have negative consequences on race day. Instead, having a gentle ride on the day before your race will keep your body ticking over and prepare your muscles for the following day.
Making sure you have plenty of drink, energy bars and gels ready the day before will give you spare time in the morning to get to the race early. The night before race day is not the best time to experiment with what foods you should be eating so stick to a carbohydrate meal that you would normally eat the evening before a training ride and remember to hydrate!
Lubricating your chain and checking your tyres over for any deeps cuts the day before will prevent things going wrong. Don’t forget to pack any spares that you may need for the race such as a puncture repair kit, spare tubes and inflator. Give your bike a final check over, before getting a good night’s rest for the evening.
On Race Day
On the day of your race try to eat breakfast at least two hours before and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the race. It’s amazing how many people don’t know the exact location of their race start so getting there early will allow you to have time to register, take a short warm up and get in position ready to start. For your first race, don’t set your standards too high and expect to win. Instead just aim to gain experience of being in a race situation by learning and watching other riders to enable you to win in the future and most importantly have fun.
Want the inside track on what it’s like to be in a race team? Check out our very own Team Jadan Weldtite for race reports, stories and tips.