Ok, so you're new to racing and you want to upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4? Or, perhaps you've got your very first Cat 5 race coming up soon. Regardless, here's a few tips for you newbies:
1. Are you registered? If so, don't forget to bring your license with you the day of the race. No license..No racing.
2. Do you have directions to the race? Don't rely on GPS alone. Bring a map along with you too.
3. Equipment ready? Is your bike working properly? Lubed up and clean? Don't be making any last minute changes to equipment. That includes tires. Do you have an extra wheelset you can bring for a Crit? Got your HR monitor and Power Meter? Got the right gearing for the race?
4. Get to your race early. Don't rush to your race. Leave early and arrive early so you can get a parking spot close to the start/finish line. Relax and warm-up on the trainer.
5. Know the course. If you haven't been to the race venue before, ride the course. If you can't ride the course ahead of time, at least go to Google Earth and check out the elevation profile. Nobody likes surprises the day of the race. Are there any obstacles on the course? What's the length? How many laps for your race.
6. Is there a lap counter? Where is it?
7. Are there primes? Pronounced "preems". Which laps?
8. What's the weather going to be like? Any chance of rain? Hot/cold? Be prepared.
9. Where should I start?..in the front...in the back? If this is your very first race..stay in the back until you feel comfortable moving up. If you're a strong or seasoned Cat 5..start up front. No sense having to move-up positions during the race if you don't have to.
10. Where is the 200-300m marker? It's nice to know when you should start your sprint for the finish line.
11. Nutrition? Are you adequately fueled and hydrated for your race? Water bottles?
12. Porta-potties..where are they? You're going to use it sooner or later.
13. Be confident!
1. Conserve Energy..stay in the pack and draft as often as you can. Stay out of the wind.
2. Keep track of laps..know when the primes are. More importantly, know when the bell lap is.
3. Pick a line..preferably a smooth and fast line through the course..avoiding all obstacles.
4. Move-up early and often. If you don't move up (in the pack) early you won't be able to later in the race when the pace quickens.
5. Where does the pack slow-up and accelerate on each lap? Don't get accordian'd off the back. Bridging gaps requires a LOT of energy.
6. Pace yourself. You don't want to go too hard or you'll blow-up.
7. NEVER give up!
8. If there's a breakaway (and you're not in it)..work with others to bring em back.
9. Be Safe! Don't do anything stupid. Hold your line.
10. Have fun! Isn't this why you're racing?
2. Be thankful to judges, volunteers, etc. If it wasn't for them..you wouldn't be racing.
3. Be Social!
4. Phone home! Let em know you're ok and that you had fun.