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Are You Ready to Race?

By Dave Jordaan
Certified USA Cycling Elite Coach

For many of us, the racing season is about to begin and I suggest that you complete a few basic tasks to prepare for your 1st event of 2004.

Race Bag

Let’s start with your race bag. If you do not have a racing bag as yet, start with any old sports bag. Either way, time to throw out those 1-year old Powerbars! Here is your check list of your race bag requirements:

  • Full set of riding clothing including Gloves, Sunglasses, Shorts, Shirt, and Socks (this list can be expanded as you replace your old Helmet, and Shoes, etc add them to the bag as spares)

  • Full change of 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 each: Recovery drink packets (for convenience I recommend cans of ‘Boost”), and several fresh gels (such as GU) and food bars that you favor

  • Small 1st aid pack including Sudafed, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Band-Aid, Non-stick wound pads, Roll of paper tape, Triple antibiotic gel, etc.

  • Sunscreen, Lip balm, other toiletries

  • Large towel (on race day add a small water soaked towel in a plastic bag 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 key (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.

First Race of the Season Checklist

Once you have you race bag set, you can then preview your "First race of the season” check list as follows:

Two Days before the Race

NOT THE 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 the next day but it will require only a quick wipe down to get it back into racing shape.

Night before the Race

Prepare for quick, or on the road, breakfast. You are looking for high fiber nourishment (OJ with Oatmeal with no-fat milk & brown sugar/raisins – you can add a peanut butter & banana on whole wheat sandwich and even coffee 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

On Race Day

Arrive one hour before your event (pre-registered) or 2 hours before to allow for registration. 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. After your warm-up 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).



Dave Jordaan is a Certified USA Cycling Elite Coach who has been instrumental in developing a number of U.S. National Cycling Champions. He resides in Irvine, California.

To find out more about Dave, and his “Secret to Success” coaching program, please go to BicycleCoach.com and visit his Professional Profile page here: http://www.bicyclecoach.com/profile.php?id=cybercyclecoach@aol.com


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