Top tips on how to prepare for your first bike race

Your first bike race is an exciting time. You will be pushing your body (and your bicycle) to the limits, seeing how far you can go after all your hours of training and hard work. But it can be difficult to know how to prepare for a bike race if you are just starting out on your two-wheeled adventure.

You can look online for bikes for sale from reputable bicycle shops and start planning your training routine today. Below are some top tips to follow to prepare for your first bike race.

Become accustomed to group riding

In a bicycle race, unlike in a cross-country or sprinting race, you will be cycling in a large group of people. This can be intimidating to those who are only used to cycling on their own, and so you will need to become used to riding among other riders at high speeds and in tightly-packed groups.

In order to become accustomed to group riding, you should join a cycling club in your local area. This will expose you to how to manoeuvre your bike and your body around other riders effectively. You will need to learn how to avoid riding into other people at high speeds which can be daunting. Look for bikes for sale with easy-to-use gears and brakes to make this process easier.

Familiarise yourself with the course

One of the most important steps you need to take in preparation for your bike race is to familiarise yourself with the course. You need to know what the terrain is like, whether there are any potential hazards you might run into as well as how you will manage the hills and valleys that you will come across.

If you are taking part in a road race, try cycling the route every day before the race to become completely familiar. You will find that access to the road is easier to gain than it would be for mountain bike races, which can often take place in parks and on courses that are not easily accessible until race day. Be sure to bring along a map during training so you have the exact route planned out and will not get lost or make a wrong turn on the day.

Get the right gear

When you look for bikes for sale, you will also need to look at the corresponding gear. You will need to ensure that you have the right helmet, the right clothing and the right shoes to fit the type of race you will be taking part in.

For example, if you are racing on a road, your helmet will need to highlight aerodynamics and ventilation while a mountain bike helmet should have a visor to protect your eyes with  added protection for the back of your head. Spandex clothing is ideal for road racing whereas mountain bike racing requires hardier clothing. You will need to ensure that your gear will protect your body and head at all times, no matter what race you are taking part in.

Check your equipment

This is one of the most important steps when preparing for your big race. At least a week beforehand, check your bike thoroughly, ensuring that you check the tyres for any punctures, check the frame for any damage and make sure the handlebars are correctly aligned.

On the day before the race, spend time checking over your bike once more, cleaning your chain and drivetrain as well as checking that your shifting and your brakes are functioning properly. You will need to look at your race pack  and be sure to include items such as your helmet, clothes, shoes, extra tubes, mini-pump, multitool and plenty of water and snacks (if your race is taking place over a day or two).

Get plenty of rest beforehand

If there is anything that can throw you off on a big race day, it is not getting enough sleep. So you will need to ensure that you get at least eight hours of sleep the night before your big race so you wake up feeling refreshed and energised rather than tired and groggy.

Start a sleep routine at least a week before the race day, including it in your training routine. It can be something as simple as drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime to help you sleep or you could practice sleep hygiene practices such as meditating before going to bed, switching off all electronics in your room and using an aroma diffuser with a pleasant scent. Proper sleep is vital to performing at your optimal level on the day of the race.

Get on your bike and ride

Preparing for your first bike race is an exciting experience, and can give you a leg up on the competition if done correctly. You will need to ensure that you become accustomed to group riding before heading off on a race and remember to choose the right gear for the type of race.

Familiarising yourself with the course and the routes is vital, as is checking your equipment regularly. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night beforehand and you will see yourself crossing the finish line in record time.