March 27, 2016
by Jennifer Sharp, ALP Cycles Coaching
As winter becomes a distant memory and spring arrives with a bang – you can look back and reflect on the dozens of intervals, hours of gym workouts, and mental preparation you’ve devoted to the dark winter months. Race season is here!
Whether you’ve been racing for several weeks (or months!) or just getting started, below is a checklist of important things to do before you toe to the line.
Clean your bike. My husband told me when he ran the USA Cycling Junior National team showing up to a race with a dirty bike, especially when traveling abroad, was forbidden.
Think about it – you’re about to push your limits on your equipment (and in their case, representing the United States; and in your case, representing your sponsors) – whether that be cornering, descending, climbing, etc. You want to ensure your bike is in excellent working condition and by cleaning it you may stave off disaster before it strikes. A thorough inspection could reveal a worn out tire, rubbing brake, mis-firing shifter, loose headset, etc. While you may not know how to fix everything you encounter, being aware of any problem and then takin your bike to a mechanic can save you a lot of time, money, not to mention skin.
But how do I wash my bike? Good question! Here’s a good place to start.
And while you’re at it – don’t forget to change your DI2!
Pack your race bag. It’s nice to know that everything you could need is packed and good to go the night before you race. Early mornings make it challenging to make sure you grab everything. And even though you’re likely to forget something at some point, the list below should help you eliminate any last minute scrambles.
– Jersey and shorts or skinsuit (used for time trials, cries and track)
– Cycling Shoes
– Base Layer
– Arm Warmers
– Leg Warmers
– Knee Warmers
– A trainer or rollers
– Heart rate monitor
– Spare tubes
– Water Bottles
– Allen Key
– Safety pins
– Recovery drink
Once you get back home from the race, un-pin your number form your jersey, throw it in the wash and then once clean and dry, put your race jersey, shorts and/or skin suit back in your bag.
Create a race plan. “Failing to plan is a plan to fail.”
Whether you’re showing up at a local race, nationals or world championships – you should have a plan. Talk to your coach about coming up with an appropriate race strategy. Race plans could include being the first person into a technical section, positioning yourself in the final few laps of a race, going for a breakaway, etc. Have a plan, stick to it and enjoy the process. If that plan doesn’t work, then reflect on why and what you could do better next time. Every single race is an opportunity to be better – write down what worked and what didn’t so you can learn from it.
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ABOUT JENNIFER SHARP
Jennifer Sharp, a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach, started racing in 2004 as a means to fulfill her competitive itch. Previously a national level boxer, she grew tired of getting hit in the head and decided to pound the pedals instead. She bought a pink Kona road bike completing several recreational rides and found herself passing as many people as possible. Since then she has multiple podiums at elite track national championships, master track national championship titles and world cup finishes under her belt.
Jennifer, a Seattle native, joins the ALP Cycles Coaching with a background in road and track. Her experience as a USA ParaCycling team tandem pilot, part-time work at USA Cycling in the Coaching Education Department and love for all things cycling is a welcomed addition to the ALP Cycles Coaching team.
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
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The last lap took everything she had. She crossed the finish line euphoric and then slumped over her bike, weaving to a stop and bent over, exhausted from the effort.
We all have a pain cave. The question is - how deep do you dig when you approach it? How willing are you to push beyond your perceived physical and mental limitations? And what is it you fear most that you tend to avoid because it shines a light on an area you need to address?
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