Below is a message from Heath Sherratt, former racer and local bike shop owner, Roseville.
Welcome to race week!
Great news, this is the week where you get to relax and focus on your mental preparation. I'm not sure what your coaches will suggest in terms of riding for the week before your racing, but I recommend little to no riding so your body can replenish glycogen stores (sugars in your muscles). I use race week to prepare my bike (make sure it's tuned up, lubed up and ready to race!), prepare mentally to achieve my personal goals for this weeks race, and I remind myself to relax and that all the work for this particular race is done and now it's time to go out and see how well I prepared. Race Day is the best day because you get to test your training and see your friends! Remember that failing is a mindset, if you choose to fail, you will, if you choose to learn from an experience, you will. Winning is also a mindset, that is why I am writing this to you. You choose to win or lose before you ever line up at the start line. So ask yourself the week before the race, "Am I here to win?" "What do I need to do to make this race week successful?" and then begin the check list to success.
- Check in with how you are feeling. Both emotionally and physically. This is extremely important to do because it will set the tone for the rest of race week.
- Check over your bike or have your mechanic/shop check over your bike. This relieves mental and emotional attention in your subconscious. When your bike is ready to go and you know it, it frees up space in your head.
- Eat! Carb loading and hydrating start the week of the race. Start eating and hydrating for the weekend. it will do your body good. It also adds to the psychological effect of self preparedness. Your self efficacy will improve as your routines improve.
- Visualize your race weekend. Are you familiar with the race track? If not, can you watch a Youtube video of the course? See your whole race day in your head. Think about when you will wake up, what you will eat, how you will have your bike and race attire set out and prepared. How will you be getting to the race? What are you going to eat and when? Is your race nutrition ready to go? Are you using a cyclometer or Garmin? Is it charged? Try to keep all of your gear in the same place so you don't have to scramble on race day to make sure you have everything. If you can, try to have everything ready to go the day before. Make a physical checklist if you need to and then go through it. Prepare mentally for the whole race experience. Are you getting a call up? Do you know where you want to start in the pack? What happens if you start in the front? How will your ride differently if you start in front vs the middle vs the back of the pack? Doing all of this before it happens gives you a huge edge over all the kids you are racing against that haven't done this. You will be prepared because you chose to be at the beginning of the week. Remember, you chose to win or lose or just achieve personal goals before you got to race day, now it's time to execute!
- Be fluid. Be prepared for things to go wrong or at least not the way you were hoping during your race. All the preparation in the world won't prepare you for someone crashing in front of you or your bike having a freak mechanical, things happen but your mental preparedness gives you that edge. Be confident that you are ready to go and that you have done everything you could have to be the most prepared you can be. Being prepared for things to go wrong will also give you and edge. it will help you see things before they happen and lots of times, just by looking out and being ready for anything to happen you can avoid things that can derail your plans. The mental edge to racing will always benefit you, there is literally no negative aspect of preparing this way, it's a win in itself!
- HAVE FUN!