10 Tips for Being Race-Day Ready

10 Tips for Being Race-Day Ready

Use a race day routine to get your mind in the game

by Patricia Schwager

Some athletes have already completed their first race of the season, others will kick off their season very soon. Either way, 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.

Ideally one should have a race day routine and maybe even a checklist that will help get the mind into the game.

Here are some tips and tricks:

  1. Check the condition of your bike: Is your bike in good working order? Are the tires, brakes, drive-train and shifting in good condition and working? If the bike needs any work done, bring it to the shop early enough to have the bike "race ready." Especially after winter training, it is important that your bike will get a good maintenance check. Also make sure the cleats on your cycling shoes are in good condition. 

  2. Check batteries: If your bike has electronic shifting; check the battery status and charge the battery if needed. 

  3. Pack your trainer or rollers for a proper warm-up, especially for Time Trials or Criteriums.

  4. Talk with your coach about the race course, strategy and how to approach the race. 

  5. Look at the race course, profile, past results (how did the race unfold/endbike plan for race day last year?) and check weather forecast. If needed write a stem (or top tube) tape with some important cues. The stem notes will help you to remember important key points during the race.

  6. Pack your bag the day before the race to avoid any stress on race day. Don't forget to bring your race license. Pack bike tools, pump and any other items you will need. Bring enough clothing options and layers even if the weather forecast looks good. Having an extra jacket or arm/knee/legwarmer as options is always good. Also bring some warm enough clothing to wear during the warm-up and after the race. 

  7. Nutrition: Prepare your race bottles and race food the night before. Bring food and hydration/water for pre and post race. Remember that you should have a recovery drink within 30 mins after finishing the race plus a snack (solid food). 

  8. Pre-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. 
  9. 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 lease 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. 

  10. 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 10-15 mins). Don't forget to have your post race snack. Have a chat with your teammates and coach about what went well and what could have been better/can be improved for next time.

Good luck to all our ALP Cycles Athletes for their race season!


Patricia Schwager began racing as a junior in 1998. After racing at the domestic level and completing her Diploma as Pastry Chef, she got her first professional cycling contract in 2006. Patricia raced 10 years on professional level and has a lot of experience racing in the European peloton. She raced for some of the best and biggest teams like: Raleigh-Lifeforce, Cervélo TestTeam, Nederland Bloeit, Faren-Kuota, TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. Patricia is a 6 time national Swiss champion and has represented her home country, Switzerland, at the World Championships 12 times.

In early 2016, Patricia ended her pro racing career due to a chronic leg injury. She enjoys sharing and passing on her knowledge in her role as an ALP Cycles Coach. Patricia has 2 Diplomas from the Swiss Federal office of Sport as Cycling Coach J&S and Cycling C-Coach J&S. She also has a TrainingPeaks Level 1 certification. Along with coaching, she also works as Logistics Coordinator for Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank.

Patricia specializes in road racing and race tactics.