How to Prepare for Race Day

How to Prepare for Race Day

Have a back-up plan ready in case plan A is not working out during the race.

By: Patricia Schwager

Race season is almost here. Some of our athletes will kick off their 2018 road racing season this weekend. Everyone is excited to finally pin on a number and make use of all the training during the winter months. But in order to have success, you should be well prepared for race day and do your "home work." 

 Here are some important tips and tricks to get ready for race day and to avoid any bad surprises:

1. Check the condition of your bike. Is your bike in good working order? Are the tires, brakes, drive train and shifting working alright? If the bike needs any work done, bring it to the bike shop early enough to have the bike race ready. Also check the cleats on your cycling shoes. 

2. Talk with your coach about the race, race course and how you should approach this race. 

3. Look at the race course, profile, look at some past results (how did the race unfold/end last year?) and check the weather forecast. If needed write a stem (or tube with some important notes. The stem notes will help you to remember important keys of the race course, it is easy to forget details while going hard in the race. 

4. Pack your bag for race day. Pack your bag the day before the race to avoid any stress on race day. Bring enough clothing options even if the weather forecast looks good. Having an extra jacket or arm/knee/leg warmers as options is always good. Also bring some warm enough clothing to wear after the race.

5. Nutrition: Prepare your race bottles and race food. Also bring food and hydration/water for pre and post race. Remember that you should have a recovery drink soon after finishing the race, plus a snack (solid food) within 30mins.

6. Pre Race Talk with your Teammates. Show up at the race venue with enough time to pick up your race number, warm-up and also to have a chat with your teammates about the race. Having a plan/tactic for the race is key for success. Have a back-up plan ready (plan B) in case plan A is not working out during the race. 

7. Pre ride the race course or the last few miles. This may not be possible for every race but if you can pre ride a course or at least the final few miles of a race, it will be an advantage for you in the race. If you live close enough to the race course, you should pre ride the race course in training. 

8. Post Race. Put on some dry and warm clothing, have your recovery drink and go for a cool-down ride (spin your legs out with an easy gear for 10-15min). Don't forget to have your post race snack. Have a chat with yoru teammates and coach about what went well and what could have been better/can be improved for next time. 


Patricia Schwager began cycling in 1998, racing as a junior. After racing on the domestic level and completing her Diploma as Pastry Chef, she got her first pro contract in 2006. 2015 will be here 10th year of professional racing. Patricia has a lot of experience racing in the European peloton. In 2013 she started working with Shawn Heidgen (Current ALP Cycles Coach) as her personal coach. In 2014 she changed her focus to racing in the US. Patricia is a 6 time national Swiss champion and has represented her home country, Switzerland, at the World Championships 12 times.