Success on race day requires precise preparation.
By Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
The art of being prepared comes down to one simple thing—no surprises on race day.
Preparing for race day is more than training and recovery. Success on race day requires precise preparation. This means the things you can control should be dialed in, ready, and give you confidence to have the best performance possible.
“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail”—famous quote by someone who inspires people to get their sh*t together.
Preparation begins the weeks leading into the race. Do your homework and learn things such as- what is the length of the course, what are the fitness and skills demands of the course/race, when do I need to register for the race, who will be my competition, winning times from previous years, average weather temperature for that time of year, etc. Once you know this basic information, talk it over with your coach, and come up with a plan for success.
Preparation continues the week of the race. During this time, make sure your equipment is dialed in. Bike is clean and in good working condition- same with tires, cleats, suspension, etc. Missing the winning breakaway because you couldn’t get it in the big chain ring is not a good excuse for a bad race.
The day before the race is where little things you do to prepare can make big differences. These include, pre riding the course, checking who’s pre-registered so you know your competition, eating and hydrating well, preparing your race bag (clothing, shoes, helmet, extra clothing, recovery drink, etc) and day of and race food and resting and sleeping.
Preparation continues the day of the race. Most successful racers have a well-tested pre-race routine and they stick to it. Dialing in your own pre-race routine will ensure that you arrive at the start line feeling calm and ready. This pre-race routine includes things like; having a schedule for when to eat breakfast, when to pack the car, drive to the race, pick up race numbers, and pre-ride the course. This will help ensure you don’t forget items at home and you’re ready for everything. This routine also includes food, drink, bathroom, etc. The goal is to know exactly what to eat, when to eat it, when to pee, and when and how much to drink.
The goal of all this preparation is to give you the best possible chance to have a successful race. During the race, you must put this preparation into place. Have a pre-race plan and stick to it as best as possible (or have a plan B and/or C incase plan A didn’t work). Make sure to eat and drink according to plan, and trust that all the hard work you have put in will pay off.
Finally, your preparation continues post-race. After cooling down, make sure to have a change of clothes, post-race nutrition (food and/or recovery drink), and give some thought as to what went well and what you can improve upon so come next race, you are better prepared for success.
Shout out and big congratulations to ALP Coach Ruth Winder for winning the uphill time trial at Joe Martine Stage Race.
Good luck Ruth and your UnitedHealthcare team for today's road stage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com