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Day before a race

Old 11-06-17, 10:27 AM
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Day before a race

I have my last 2 races of the season this coming Sunday. Both crits, both ~30mins.

I'm curious what ya'll do the day before the race. Rest? Easy spin? Group ride opener?
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Old 11-06-17, 10:45 AM
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Im still trying to figure it out myself, but I like to do a fairly easy ride with a few openers thrown in. Depending on the race, I might jump into a hard group ride for a short portion of it just to get a few efforts in.

At the same time, ive had some really good races (for me, anyways) after not doing a thing on the bike the day before.
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Old 11-06-17, 11:24 AM
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Junior gets similar advice from several coaches.

The riding is more based on how much you already ride. If you normally would not be riding, don't ride. If you would be, do.

Ride alone, you cannot control what happens in groups.
Ride, more easy, a little bit of tempo and a wee bit of effort. Coaches vary on this one.
Having legs up is good.
Stay warm.
Sleep always matters, but does not matter as much for the race as it does for training. If you are nervous, can't sleep, don't worry about it. Just keep your legs up.

Plan eating, cafeene and bathroom trips. You should be up a couple hours before the race, normally easy.
Long road races that start early - this can be tricky.
30 min should not require much in terms of eating. Don't forget water.
Don't get silly with carbo loading etc. Better to stay off alcohol.

Some other things. If fatigued and ice bath works. I don't think you should try that 1st time for an important race.
A hot tub is not a good idea, while a cold pool may be if you just bob around and don't swim.

Edit Add: I know you asked about the day before...
A 30 min race needs more race day prep than a long race does. 30 min warm-up would help. The older you are, the more warm-up :-)

Last edited by Doge; 11-06-17 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11-06-17, 11:27 AM
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For most of my prior events, I've taken the day before as a rest day (1 day). I've played with 2 days off the bike prior to a race and that has worked well. I tried a solo "opener" ride the day before a race but due to other circumstances the night prior to the event I fell apart.
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Old 11-06-17, 12:11 PM
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Openers. Usually just an easy spin for less than an hour, with 3-4 hard efforts in the middle, plenty of recovery in between. For a Saturday race, I just do these on the commute home Friday afternoon.
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Old 11-06-17, 01:24 PM
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I have yet to find anything that makes a noticeable difference aside from learning at one race that not eating enough the day before and then getting into a break is stupid.
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Old 11-06-17, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dz_nuzz
I have yet to find anything that makes a noticeable difference aside from learning at one race that not eating enough the day before and then getting into a break is stupid.
Was it over a 30 min race?
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Old 11-06-17, 01:45 PM
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Oh, forgot that. Nope.
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Old 11-06-17, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
Openers. Usually just an easy spin for less than an hour, with 3-4 hard efforts in the middle, plenty of recovery in between.
Yep, I do that routine also as an equipment check fitting race wheels w/ the gearing for the course.
Ever see someone slip a rear wheel on the start, fail to engage top or bottom cog, have a chain skip and/or brakes that rub during a race?
Giving the machine a thorough and realistic test in actual race trim can reveal an easily corrected fault that should never reveal itself in a race, but can without the pre-race check under load during openers.

-Bandera

Last edited by Bandera; 11-06-17 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 11-06-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dz_nuzz
Oh, forgot that. Nope.
This sounds like a challenge, it isn't. I'm trying to clarify, because I am interested in that limit where food (and water) are not needed - where the rider can ride on stored energy.

Is this correct?
You were racing less than 30 min and felt lack of energy due to not eating enough the day before?

How long did you warm up?
Did you have coffee before, and if so when?
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Old 11-06-17, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dz_nuzz
I have yet to find anything that makes a noticeable difference aside from learning at one race that not eating enough the day before and then getting into a break is stupid.
I also find that not much makes a difference. Though I suspect you mean it in a manner where you can ride hard or long and not be impacted?

A number of years back I'd take two days off before a race. Then warm up light and go. I've also taken a single day off. Now I do 'openers,' but really it's a pretty light TSS day. 35 or so for an hour.

For me rest is key. But I'm old.

For hill climbs I'd generally not eat unless they had a later start. And then I'd just eat a larabar or two 90 minutes before the start. For crits, early, I'd not eat. Later in the day I make sure I'm not boated

This is starting to feel like a CDR info overload.
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Old 11-06-17, 03:56 PM
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@Doge No no, I didn't take it as a challenge. I actually forgot that this was in the context of a 30 minute race. The situation I was thinking about happened when I took off in a 3 man move 50 miles into a 64 mile race after being a moron and eating like 1 bagel and forgetting to bring food with me (I was a Cat 4).

I find I am good for maybe 1.5 hours / 1700 kJ of hard racing with no food. If I have forgotten to eat that is the point where I start to crumble.

@gsteinb I find that openers don't do much for me. I wouldn't go out and do a really hard workout the day or two before but I find that "warming up" the day before a race never makes me feel better or worse. One strange anecdote that I might play with this year is that I find if I do a really hard century (steady and solid Z2/3) I get a boost in RPEower for a few days afterward though I have never put this into practice.
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Old 11-06-17, 04:03 PM
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I've asked a lot of people the same question and got tons of different answers, the only consistent thing was no one goes over 60 tss (i.e. a bit more than recovery) the day prior.
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Old 11-06-17, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dz_nuzz
@Doge No no, I didn't take it as a challenge. I actually forgot that this was in the context of a 30 minute race. The situation I was thinking about happened when I took off in a 3 man move 50 miles into a 64 mile race after being a moron and eating like 1 bagel and forgetting to bring food with me (I was a Cat 4).

I find I am good for maybe 1.5 hours / 1700 kJ of hard racing with no food. If I have forgotten to eat that is the point where I start to crumble.
That all makes sense. I thought you were saying food mattered for 30 min. Both personal experience for me and hundreds of parenting races, over eating matters for 30 min.

@gsteinb mentions age. I'm not a good reader of his sarcasm, but it is a big factor. Not in overall speed, but certainly in recovery time, sleep, warm-up. Old guys that are faster than kids need to plan that stuff better. I watch these kids crash, bleed, and 3-4 days later they are healed. I have not seen much data on it, but everything heals and recovers faster. Sleep seems to matter more for youth recovery and training and older folks have more trouble doing that.

Guess that is just a different way to say "it depends".

Last edited by Doge; 11-06-17 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 11-06-17, 08:17 PM
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For the day before I tend to mirror what I've been doing. Big years, where I'm doing 1.5-2 hour rides all the time, 1-1.5 hour ride. Regular years, where I'm riding 1-1.5 hours most of the time, maybe 30-45 minutes. Most of my training is JRA so my Sat ride is JRA also, but easier than normal. To give some numbers, I think I've done 100w avg rides on Saturday (160-190w avg for a race).

I like to take the 2nd last day off, so if racing Sunday I'd take Friday off, do a 2/3 time ride on Sunday.

I'll sometimes do a jump on Saturday but nothing too big or prolonged, no really big efforts. I want to save it for Sunday. If on a normal year (1-1.5 hour rides, 200 hours annually) then I wait for my legs to feel a bit bloated, which is what they feel like before I'm done warming up. Then I stop. Sometimes that takes 45 minutes. Sometimes it's 20 minutes.

I also don't like to warm up too much for a race. If it's cold, or I haven't ridden much, then some spinning, but my best races are when I've raced with zero warm up.
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Old 11-06-17, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by arai_speed
I have my last 2 races of the season this coming Sunday. Both crits, both ~30mins.

I'm curious what ya'll do the day before the race. Rest? Easy spin? Group ride opener?
Tell me your age, your gender, your weekly riding, your annual racing, your category and the race (I want to see the course) - and I will tell you what is best to do.

As many here think you need to race, to know these things, be warned, I don't race (I don't ride the bike).
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Old 11-06-17, 09:50 PM
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Some are religious with their pre race prep rides, others not so much. I've been prescribed particular things in the past when working with a coach. I've done those workouts, I've done different workouts, and I've done nothing, hard to say there was a difference as a result. In my experience, there are so many variables involved that I'm not convinced if it helps one way or another. Sleep, dinner, day of diet, did you use the restroom, etc all play a part, too.

I generally do a short ride the day before to make sure the bike feels okay. This typically includes a couple short hard efforts (3 to 5 jumps ranging from 15 to 30 seconds).
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Old 11-07-17, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge

@gsteinb mentions age. I'm not a good reader of his sarcasm, but it is a big factor.
hard to read the meaning...

my sarcasm is a big factor on race day performance?

Seriously though how could you possibly take that as sarcasm? intentionally passive-aggressive? Or do you forget our kids are the same age?
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Old 11-07-17, 08:31 AM
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I free form my Openers. I know I like to do 3-5 jumps and one effort of about 5 minutes. However it works out wherever I am. Ive done long, easy rides before race day and don't like it. I like to keep it to about an hour of mostly just riding around. If I'm contained to the trainer I vary it between structure on the erg or just free form on the rollers.
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Old 11-07-17, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like there is no magic pill that I'm missing, which is good to know. Suffice to say one shouldn't go out and kill it the day before a race :-)
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Old 11-07-17, 12:41 PM
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For everyone else (riders) - Openers. 45 minutes to an hour. 3-4 hard efforts of 60-90 seconds after a good 20 minute warmup or so. 3-5 min recovery in between. That's it.

For me:
1. Assign bib numbers to pre-registered riders
2. Print off pre-filled waivers on pre-punched paper to save time.
3. staple bib numbers to waivers and separate into category binders
4. Print off payout labels for envelopes. Secure payout cash at bank in correct denominations and fill/stuff envelopes.
5. Double check the payouts when you end up short or over.
6. Load all of the gear into multiple vehicles. Tents, Heaters, tools, event stands for bikes, tables for reg, first aid supplies
7. Make sure the generator is ready and filled with gas. Fill extra cans.
8. Charge 2-way radios.
9.....well you get the point.
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Old 11-07-17, 09:29 PM
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I do what my coach schedules, which is always a day off two days prior to the race. Then one day prior a one hour opener ride that consists of two 2 min efforts and one 5 min effort at specific power targets. Twenty min warm up, ten minute cool down and five min rest between.

I'm not sure how important the specifics are, I think half of the process is setting the scene for the mind. It gets my brain into a race place.

I also do a very specifc TT warm up on race day, it's 39 min 30 sec. Also part of the process of getting the brain ready. Last Sunday, the newby who is transitioning from being a triathlete to a TTist was chatting me up when I needed to get going on the trainer. She wasn't even sure she was gonna do a warm up, I was speechless lol.

The whole process for me has a ritualistic aspect, which I think is good. Don't give your brain too much chance to think about much else.

Except the day I was visiting coach at his house before racing an afternoon TT. He suggests we going mountain biking on TT morning & the next thing I know we've climbed 1000 ft over 3.5 miles. TT still went well, so I'm not sure any of it matters too much beyond not needing to figure out what you're going to do before a race.
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Old 11-09-17, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb
hard to read the meaning...

my sarcasm is a big factor on race day performance?

Seriously though how could you possibly take that as sarcasm? intentionally passive-aggressive? Or do you forget our kids are the same age?
I missed this earlier. There was no deep meaning. I try to respond directly without looking at nuance.

There is remarkably little information on healing rates based on age.

While your kids are the same age as mine - I just don't know how often yours get skin scraped off. My cyclist kid basically does not crash unless a motor bike hits him, so very little. I was a bit surprised by his healing rate from a cx crash a week ago. My soccer kid also heals quickly. I recently noticed it takes longer fro me to heal. This is something I was a naive about. I never really looked into this stuff.
It was a somewhat new observation for me the healing time differences are mostly age based. Or are they wear based? Subsequent to this post I had dinner with an older cycling athlete (30 hours/week guy) that described different healing rates for road rash based on body area (arms vs legs). Legs - 4-5 days and arms 2-3X that. This was attributed to time in sun.
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Old 11-10-17, 05:10 AM
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uh, sorry, what are you talking about? We were discussing being fresh and open for a race? I was saying that I (me, gsteinb, gary) am older and find that being rested is key. How are we moving on to rates of recovering from road rash?
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Old 11-10-17, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb
How are we moving on to rates of recovering from road rash?
Quickly, I guess. I like to keep it moist because "moist" and "wounds" are two of my favorite words.
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