How to Prepare for Your First Cycle Race

You may have been stepping up your cycling training and lengthening your rides, but is that enough to prepare you for your first race? In some respects, it may well be, but there are other aspects of cycle races that do not just rely on stamina and how well you can ride a bike. In this blog we look at all the aspects of looking forward to your first cycle race and how to prepare for it.

The Race Type

Firstly, before you start to prepare you need to know exactly what sort of race you are preparing for. Without doubt you will have undertaken the required cardiovascular and muscle preparation, now look at the race itself.

A criterium race is a race that contains both riding in a pack and sprints, but an endurance race covers long and diverse stretches of terrain. You need to come up with a strategy that will work for a specific race, that includes fitness and a plan.

Know the Course

Know the course well before you race on it, get a detailed map and study it. When you know about it, then you can decide how you will ride, what skills and fitness you will have to build up on. Make a note of areas of gradient and practice to similar hills around your area that will replicate the grades. Also, find a replica of the terrain and see how you handle it.

Get a Heart Monitor

A heart monitor is a really useful piece of equipment, not only can it advise you if you are in any danger but it can also monitor your heart rate so that you can match the figures in your training. You may want to set certain target paces for different parts of the course, if you do stick to them and keep your heart monitored at all times.

Ride the Course

If you can get to ride the course before the big day, this will give you invaluable research about everything it is going to throw at you. Make notes of the ground and any particular problem areas, the length and grades of climbs and downhills, any tight turns and big bends, then go back and review your notes. Now duplicate any problem areas in your training, learn how to effectively cope and to defeat these problems so they will not pose a hindrance in the actual race.

Set Up

You need to practice on your bike exactly as you will set it up for the race, make all the adjustments a couple of weeks before and don’t stop practicing on that particular set up. Eat the correct foods during your training and your muscle build up. Consume leaner forms of protein and more complex carbohydrates.

Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat a light breakfast, you can always eat energy bars and drink sports fluids whilst you are racing. Make sure after the event your body is topped up with potassium, sodium and electrolytes.