I thought I'd give you some tips on how I prepare for races...specifically my next race which is tomorrow, Sunday April 20 in Harrisburg, PA. It's a 20k Time Trial. Here are my Top 10 tips:
1. The first thing you want to do is check to see when your start time is. For me, it's early 7:42 a.m. to be exact..bleh. The last thing you want to do is miss your start time...or your warmup.
2. What time do I need to be there? Well, the shorter more intense efforts require more warmup time. So, that would be at least 60 minutes for me (incl. registration, bike setup, dressing, etc.)..everybody is different. I HATE BEING RUSHED FOR A RACE!
3. Where is the race? Find directions and print them out. If your'e a geek like me, you have a GPS so program it now, don't wait. I ALWAYS recommend printing out maps ahead of time, even if you have a GPS..cause if your GPS goes tits up..you're lost. Hey, it's happened to me!
4. How long does it take to get there? For me, from my home in Doylestown, it usually takes 2 hrs. to Harrisburg. Always check to make sure there's no traffic delays or construction enroute. Ok, so that's 2 hrs. to get there, and 1 hour warmup with a 7:42 a.m. start time. So, I'd have to leave my home at 4:42 a.m. That's LEAVE at 4:42 a.m...not get up at 4:42 a.m. I'd have to get up at 4 a.m. then drive for two hours..bleh.
5. Well, I'm not getting up at 4 a.m., so in this case, I decided to get a room tonight/Saturday night. Red Roof Inn, Harrisburg- $54/night AAA rate. It's a room..what can I say. Write the confirmation number down and telephone number.
6. Ok, got your directions, booked your room now what? How about your equipment? Bike all setup? Got your helmet, gloves, shoes, kit, glasses, booties/bandanna, etc? Got all your nutritional items: Gu's, Power Bars, Accelerade/Gatorade, Recovery Bars, Food, etc. for the race and after? Tire pump? Tools?
7. How about money, waiver and your racing license? Did you fill your car gas tank? You don't want to have to stop if you don't have to. Clean the windshield? Oil ok? Tires?
8. Got your cell phone? (Hard to believe anyone leaves without it these days) How bout clothes and a towel for the ride home? Relaxed? The day before is NOT the time to get in a last minute workout.
9. How about a trainer to spin on before the race? I used to laugh at guys that did this..but now, I think it's a great idea...for various reasons. Especially when you can't ride the course ahead of time. How about an iPod w/ some crazy tunes to get you pumped up while on the trainer?
10. Ok, you think you're ready..and you have all your stuff..now what? Do you know the course? Have you ever ridden it? If not, DEFINITELY try to get out and ride on it in advance..even if it's with your car. If you can't, I HIGHLY recommend you check out the course with Google Earth. Google earth will show you the elevations so you know EXACTLY where the hills are. You don't want to be surprised on race day. I even print the course from Google Earth.
By the way, this is all easier if you go with a group..because you have people to bail you out if you forget something, or if you get lost, have a mechanical, etc. Heck at my last race, three cars got stuck in the mud and had to be towed out. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone from my area going to this Time Trial..so I'm on my own. If you got any OTHER tips I missed, please email me and I'll include them: firstname.lastname@example.org
HAVE FUN...GO FAST!