"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - What do you do to get ready for a race?
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03-05-05, 07:10 PM
So I've got the first crit of the year tomorrow. First race in 2 years for me. Its just a training crit under ACA, but I figure its a good way to get into the flow before the major college crits start rollin' in.
This week I started with high intensity and a lighter diet. I'm a pretty firm believer in the idea that you store carbs better when you are filling up as opposed to toping off. So when I taper my training the week before a race I start with high-intensity and less carbs and work down to a very low intensity with lots of carbs just before the race. So I've followed that plan this week.
Specifically, what do you do the day/night before/morning of a race?
Today I went on a really light ride, at a moderate lunch with some rice and chicken. I've been sipping on gatorade/water throughout the day. For dinner (which was early) I had a huge plate of pasta and a bowl of mashed potatos, along with a piece of cake and more clear liquids. I've been resting all day. Took a short nap earlier, but I want to be able to get a nice long night of sleep tonight before the race tomorrow (at 11am).
Mentally tonight I've been thinking about racing and kinda pumping myself up a bit. Listening to more stuff along the lines of Rammstein, Tool, etc, etc than my typical mix of hard and soft rock. My roommate (who is also racing) and I talked a bit of strategy and what-if kinda stuff. Nothing too serious, its just a training race. I honestly don't have too high of hopes. I've never raced in this area or this organization or age-group (I was a Junior USCF before, but did do some 18+ races), this is ACA cat 4. My goal is basically not to get my ass handed to me. If i don't get dropped and finish with the pack I'll be happy as long as I did my best. If I am feeling really strong relative to the competition I can see myself switching my goal during the race to top 10, top 5, etc.
Btw, Reise Reise is a great album....
What do YOU do???
03-05-05, 07:48 PM
I don't do anything differently. I believe that cycling is a lifestyle. The races are simply a pop quiz...they show who has been the most dedicated to the lifestyle. So in essence, it's not so much what you do the week before a race or the day before a race or the hours leading up to the race. I believe that it is more important what you do day in and day out...consistently over the long haul. If you assiduously live the lifestyle...then it doesn't matter what you do the week before the race because you are going to do well no matter. You simply show up and have the race validate what you have been doing for the past months, weeks, and years. I must say that I look forward to my daily solo training rides nearly as much as a big race with a 100 plus field. Sometimes my efforts during those solo rides are harder than the efforts I put out during the big race. I like to train hard and hurt a bit during those solo training rides out there on my local country roads that wind through endless pine forests, tobacco fields, and cow pastures. I believe that you should train hard and race hard. In summary, I believe that it takes many months to achieve your annual peak in fitness. That is many weeks combined that create a successful recipe. It's not any one individual week that makes the difference...but rather it is what you have done over a much greater cross section of time that makes the real difference. I do not believe that the actions you take this week will have a great impact on how your race goes. I believe that much of that has already been determined by what you have been doing for the past weeks, months, etc...and the same goes for your competition. The more you worry about your daily training..day in and day out...the less you have to worry about the races. You know you have done the homework. You simply show up and break your competitors legs....just like you do in training out there on your local roads where you do your training. Just be consistent in the training day in and day out. Train really hard a few days a week at least. Eat sensibly. Stay hydrated. Get plenty of sleep. Show up at the races and see how much you improve over time. Live the lifestyle!
03-05-05, 07:58 PM
No doubt I think its a lifestyle. But I train pretty hard on weeks that I don't race. If I were to do that the week before a race by the time Sunday came my legs would not be in peak shape. I doubt anyone lives the lifestyle more than the pros and they surely do certain things in the week leading up to a race to make sure they are in top form.
I'm not doing these things to improve my fitness, but to make sure I can use all of my fitness. Being poorly hydrated, not loaded on carbs, having nuked legs, etc - all can have an effect the day of the race. I prep for a race not to improve my fitness but to improve the chance that I will be able to perform at my fullest. I've been riding hard since summer, my first race the matters isn't until the 19th. The one that REALLY matters (at least to me, although I'll probably peak after it) is on the 27th of March.
03-05-05, 08:25 PM
I agree with you 100%. But I must say that carb loading is as simple as not overdoing it a few days before the big race and making sure you are getting plenty of the right foods. This is simple stuff and should be as natural as breathing if you are a racing cyclist. Breathing is something that we do automatically and we don't often think about it. More important I think is consistency. the stuff you do day in and day out...week in and week out. It's the lifestyle approach that produces the upgrades from cat 4 to 3 and from 3 to 2. I don't treat every race like it is a super bowl. Sometimes races can be used to guage your progress...or to gain experience and get better at race tactics. Sometimes races can be used as hard training rides in preparation for a much bigger race later on(even Lance does this). So to the racer that started the thread...if you are a beginner or intermediate, just know that the coming race is not the super bowl. Even if you don't get on the podium...you will be better in some way or another because of the experience. It's baby steps. No rider can get to the elite level overnite. It is a series of baby steps that compound over time. The lifestyle, over time, produces exponential results that end in category upgrades, state championships, national championships, and even pro contracts. Not that that is everyone's goal.
03-05-05, 08:32 PM
You're right. I eat the right foods all the time. You've never heard of eating a good meal of carbs the night before a race? I mean more than usual. I don't know. Every racer I know personally (including people who are sponsored national-level pros) do stuff like this to get ready for every race. No doubt some races are low-priority and are basically just like a hard training ride... But you can't just follow the same diet day in and day out and say its the lifestyle.... I don't know if thats what you're saying... Where/what level do you race at that you don't do anything except roll out of bed and show up... I'm curious....
03-05-05, 08:35 PM
I've never done anything special for Critierum prep. I've done well on fresh legs and I've done just fine with 4 hours in the saddle the day before. For me I do prefer getting my hard interval day in at least 2 days prior. I'm normally hydrated and usually eat pretty well. My favorite pre-race breakfast be it crit or road is banana pancakes and I usually drink plenty of coffee the morning of. If I can get a good hour in on the bike prior to the crit, all the better.
It's just a training race, don't do anything new and give em hell.
03-05-05, 08:51 PM
Right! As I said...I often go as hard in training as in a race. So the prep is no different for me. There's nothing harder about a race. Sometimes they are easier. It's not the superbowl...and I'm not trying to diet for a body building contest.
I remember in the movie 'Pro'..just minutes before a big race..Chris Horner was shown sitting on the curb calmly(that is an understatement) reading Velonews and eating a hamburger and fries...and this was a very very big race!...and he was still in casual shorts and T-shirt. Chris Horner trains hard day in and day out. he has done so for years...and he knew in a few moments he was going to get on his bike and break their legs. The thing about road bike racing is that the best man doesn't always win every race. So it's just important to be consistent and keep coming back...and then you may not win every week...but you will win more often than those who are not as committed to the lifestyle.
03-05-05, 10:03 PM
On race day mornings, I stretch and drink more water than usual.
I try NOT to get pumped up. To me, that's wasted energy.
Stay on time.
Don't overthink things.
Have fun. It's a bike race; it's not nuclear war.
My first criterium is tomarrow also... so we are in the same boat.
I worked hard all this week, sprint intervals on Monday, hard group ride on tuesday, LT intervals on Wednesday, Hard hilly group ride on Thursday and a 30 minute ITT LT session on friday. Today I took the whole day off... it helped that my body was a little tired Saturday morning.
I have been feeling very strong all week and right now I feel awsome. My race unfortunitly is at 7:00 am so I will not be getting a huge amount of sleep... but I slept most of the morning. I ate a nice carb loaded meal for lunch, the traditional mexican dinner and I am snacking on bananas as I type.
I have been a nervous reck all day, I know that this is just a go out and see how it is race but I am still nervous... of course that will all go away at the line... In teh morning I plan on getting there 1.5 hours early, register then start hydrating again (been going since this morning). A little shot of gel, some cytomax and a 30 minute warm up (just like a tt) on the trainer there. At 7:00 am we go...
I have been reading stuff on stragegy all morning and I hope to put some of it into practice... we should both have stories to tell tomarrow...
Good Luck ... now if someone could bail me out of work... oh well :cry:
03-06-05, 06:22 AM
Definitely get a good warm up. Many amateur criteriums are often short and fast...and don't offer the chance for a proper warm up. I always like to carry a trainer to the races. I think that's much more effecient than just riding around the neighborhood before you get to the line. During your warm up do a few hard efforts too....don't just lightly pedal.
03-06-05, 04:18 PM
I'll second the warm up advice. Do a miniumum of 5 miles with some sprints for a crit warm up. Night befor I usually eat pasta and drink a ton of water. Also try visualizing the race and race situations. Try to see your self in a good field position and maintaining that till the final stampeed. Watch a movie and sleep well. Most importantly leave for the race to give your self plenty of time. I made the mistake once of showing up to a crit that started in about a half hour. By the time I was registered I was at the start line. I don't even know how I finished that one.
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