Cycling is a very fun activity that can be partaken by a couple or even an entire family. There are countless reasons why one would wish to be part of a bike race. Many races are organized for fundraising purposes while others are merely for fun and sport. Regardless of the reason behind it, it’s a great activity to be a part of. Wherever you reside, be it in the town area or on the outskirts, there are always cycling events every year.
How To Prepare For Your First Bike Racing
Ever wanted to join the circles of those famous professional riders and take your riding escapades from club riding to road bike racing? In this article, we shall look at a list of bicycle race events near you, and step-by-step guides on how to prepare for your first road racing. We shall also give you the necessary information regarding cycling license and registration.
Now that you have bought the necessary equipment and the best cycling bike, where to start? How do you start preparing for a race? The first thing you need to learn is basics. Let us begin:
Racing is typically made up of two categories:
- Circuit race.
- Road race
Circuit race, also known as Criteriums typically takes place on the closed circuit. Cyclists tend to cycle in circles in a closed environment. They are very fast and frantic and tend to last for approximately 1 hour or so.
Road racing, on the other hand, are most common for individuals. These types are held on open roads. They take place on allocated roads and last around three hours or so. These types are used mainly for charity events and family adventures.
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How To Train For A Bike Race
1. Train, Train, Train
First and foremost, you need to train properly. Some people hit the training ramp hard and heavy. This is not the way to go. A lot of people tend to train too hard. This, in turn, leads to fatigue at an early level.
By the time the race is on, they have already overused their muscles and are unable to give their best performance. When fatigue levels are too high, it is impossible to improve your performance without having a rest.
2. Train by time
Instead of training by miles, try training by time. This is because how far you ride in hours will depend on how hilly the course is, whether it’s windy, or if you are riding with a good group.
3. Record your intensity
In order to build power, include an intensity ride during the week. Try doing a mixed-intensity workout and then cool down. When doing intensity workouts, try to incorporate very hard riding and easier recovery spinning.
You can opt to do structured intervals, sprint or hill repeats with your pals to different points on the ride.
If you do not have much time to work out, try incorporating shorter rides with high-intensity levels. This way, you will be able to include intensity into your routine. Within a short period of time, you will be cycling over those steep hills and rough terrains with no much effort from your end.
4. Figure out a diet plan
Many people do not include their diet plan in the mix. When it comes to preparing for a race, what you consume is as relevant as your training sessions. Figure out your nutrition. If you do not eat properly, it might all come crashing down on you in no time. When you ride, you burn a lot of calories and a combination of glycogen (from your carbohydrates) and fat from energy.
We only have enough glycogen to last for several hours of hard riding. If you run out of glycogen, your body will eventually shut down on you.
What you need during preparation time is to experiment and see what tastes good and sits well with your tummy. You need to concentrate on a diet that has carbohydrates. Some items you can consume include fruits, peanut butter, low-fat granola bars, and cookies. These foods will provide you with much-needed energy and will leave you feeling full and amped up for hours on end.
5. Do not miss your meals
When training, you need to eat 240 to 360 calories of carbohydrates every hour plus a few proteins and fats. Also, you will need to consume fluid and sodium. Drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst plus more. Your urine should be a clear stream and not yellowish. This way, your body will stay hydrated for a very long time.
Sodium is the main electrolyte lost when we sweat. Sodium loss can make your legs cramp. To get a lot of this, you should try consuming salty snacks such as pickles or dell turkey.
6. Bike comfort
you need to pay close attention to how comfortable you are astride your bike. Pay close attention to your behind, hands, and feet as they are the ones doing most of the job for you. Discomfort at any part of these joints will result in immense pains by the second half of that long race.
If your saddle does not fit properly, it will create friction and in the long run, pain and blisters. A good saddle focuses weight on your bones meaning there is no pressure on your soft tissues. Pressure on nerves in your palms will cause pain and numbness as well.
Your core should always be strong enough that both your hands rest lightly on your bike’s bars. Ensure that you move your hands every few minutes to different positions on your bars.
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7. Loosen your shoes
Typically on long rides, your feet will begin to get hot from pressure on their nerves rather than heat. Ensure that you loosen your shoes, especially in the ankle area. At rest stops, you should ensure that you take off your shoes and walk around in your socks while flexing ur toes.
This will help with overall blood circulation and this simple movement will provide much-needed airflow to your feet.
8. Pay attention to recovery
if you do not work on your body’s recovery, it will eventually shut down on you. When you are preparing for a race, remember to use as much of your recovery time for your body. When you get to a stop sign (the ones that you have assigned to yourself), be sure to drink enough water.
What you can do beforehand is weigh yourself before and after a ride. For every pound, you have lost, drink a pint of fluids. Another ingenious way to ensure that your body stays hydrated and energized is by eating high-quality carbohydrates to replace the muscle glycogen that you have burned.
Eat salty snacks especially if you have sweated a lot. Finally, elevate your legs to get the blood flowing again. Stretch after your ride to loosen up tight muscles and continue stretching most days as you train.
9. Practice pacing
practice pacing yourself on long rides. Regardless of how long you have been at it, you should always be able to talk; even when you are on those hilly and steep terrains. Granted that you should not be able to sing, you should ALWAYS be able to talk in short sentences.
Learn to expend your energy evenly throughout your training. It’s best to save energy rather than going too hard at it and then fading.
10. Know your road beforehand.
Are you going to be racing on a smooth road or are you venturing off into rough terrains? You should always inquire about which routes you will be cycling on. This will help you figure out what sort of terrain you should be training on.
It is very different when you are on rocky roads as opposed to when racing on smooth surfaces. Always inquire about what sort of paths you will be racing on, this will actually make it easier for you when training.
11. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Always use the early stage of training to prepare. This way, you will be comfortable with your bike’s fit and will know how to work on your pedaling technique. This will remove any limiting factors that may come into play come race day.
12. Learn from your mistakes
If you are going to go far, it means that you are going to use a lot of energy. Many people tend to mistake this in their first race as they assume that if they race fast during the first couple of minutes, it is a guaranteed win. Learn from your past mistakes and pace yourself. Most people who passed you during the first few minutes will get tired faster and start dragging along. Ride smart.
List of Bike Racing Events
If you are wondering how to go about finding race events near you, we have you covered. There are countless websites one can visit to look for information about events happening near their vicinity. For example, if you head over to a bike ride, you will find a calendar that is inclusive of bike racing events near your home area. Some upcoming bicycle race events include:
- Tour de Quisqueya: Scheduled for 18th Feb at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. “This is a multi-purpose race for charity, multisport, recreational, and for those looking for a cross-country adventure.”
- Clemens Cancer Challenge: Scheduled for June 10th at Centerville, OH. This event is for raising funds for kids with cancer.
- Ride the Fault Line: Scheduled for June 10th, this event will be held in Sikeston, MO. It is a recreational and tour adventure.
- Kiwanis Ride to Read Bike Ride: Scheduled for August 12th, it will be held in Portage, WI. It is a charity ride. To learn more about any of these mentioned events, do visit above mentioned website.
- 2017 Gigantic Bicycle Festival: This event is on August 18th. It will take place in Snoqualmie, WA. Enjoy a great day out with your entire family as you cycle for charity purposes with your kids.
Bike Racing License and Registration Details
USA Cycling issues several different types of licenses depending on what type you wish to partake in. They include:
- UCI Support.
- Race Director.
Each of these categories has additional requirements. To learn more about them, do visit, www.usacycling.org
Buying a license can be purchased in two ways: online (Contact with bike race web editor) or through the mail. Click here to learn more:
If you have partaken in this type of activity before and need to renew your license (all licenses expire on December 31st of the year issued) then simply go to the USA Cycling website and renew your license – this can be done at any time during the year.
For those individuals looking for a one-day license, the process is just as simple. You can get a one-day license when you register for any cycle race event. Keep in mind that this is just valid for one day and you will not be able to enter championship events.
However, your one-day pass will get you to the USA Cycling accidental medical coverage for that day (all medical coverage are subject to terms and conditions and exclusions of the policy (is). One-day licenses can be purchased when you sign in via USA Cycling’s Online Registration System (www.usacycling.org/registration/ or on-site.
Note: Events that do not use USA Cycling registration might require on-site payment of the one-day license fee.
For the road, track, and Cyclo-Cross events
You will need to purchase the one-day racing license for $10. This will permit you to enter races open to men’s category 5 or women category 4.
Mountain bicycle races
Mountain bike Riders must purchase a one-day license for $10. This will permit you to enter races open to category 2 or category 3 riders. To learn more about categories, do visit the USA Cycling Organization page.
Fee rebate one day license :
This is where you are able to apply the cost of a single-day license toward the purchase of the yearly/annual domestic racing license. What this means is that the cost of a one-day license cannot be applied to the purchase of the following:
- Collegiate annual license.
- Junior annual license.
- International licenses (including BMX).
- Professional licenses.
- Or Race Director Licenses.
To receive a one-day license under this rebate, you must ensure that you purchase within 12 months of your scheduled event. If you wish to receive a refund for an annual license purchased online, your one-day application has to be mailed to USA Cycling and a refund will be issued.
Keep in mind that only a $10 discount per adult annual license per year will be granted. If you have any queries, do not hesitate to call them or email bike race web editor at 719 434 4200 or [email protected]
Racing, regardless of your reasons; be it for charity or for pure pleasure can be a very difficult task if not trained properly. That is why you should always ensure that you have trained as hard and as best as your body can. You do not need to race against those who are able to cycle harder, fasters, etc. allowing your body to speak to you and listen.
This way, regardless of your final position, you will be able to finish – perhaps not in the first place but you will finish that race. In due time, your body will adjust and you will be able to push past your previous uncomfortable zones. Within no time, you will be regarded as a professional cyclist. But until then, pace yourself and always learn from your mistakes.
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Last Updated: July 1, 2022