Top 5 Ways to Prepare for your First Cycling Race

My first race felt like my first day of school. My jersey was two sizes too big, I clicked in with SPD cleats, and my bike was half the price of my competitors'. Let’s just say I felt nervous and completely out of place.

Since then I have made a few upgrades and learned a lot about racing. Now I would like to pass on some basic tips that would have helped me at my first race!

1. Don't stress

There is nothing to worry about. The course looks scary, and the cyclists are fast, but once you are out there "it's just like riding a bike." You have already prepared for the race, and adding extra stress will only drain your energy and slow you down. Do whatever it takes to relax. Do yoga, take deep breaths.... You get the idea.cycling race tips

2. Ignore the egos

Let's face it: Most cyclists are cocky and they will size you up. I have encountered gear heads, weight weenies and some other names I can't mention here. Don't let it get to you. Just take it to them on the course. There is nothing better than seeing these guys suffer at the finish line -- especially as you click out of your SPD cleats.

3. Eat right

Nothing slows you down faster than heartburn on race day. Skip greasy foods, load up on carbs, and do NOT try new foods. One morning I ate a different breakfast and was puking 30 minutes into a crit. Now I eat the same meal before each race and I have never been happier.

4. Get lots of sleep

I cannot say this enough. A good night's sleep is very important. Don't waste the night fine-tuning your bike. You will be much better off getting an extra hour of sleep.

5. Ride the course before the start

This tip should not be overlooked. By riding the course you will gain a slight advantage over your competitors. You will know about pot holes, learn where to take a turn, or even plan your attack.

Kurt Simpsonby Kurt SimpsonGoogle+Kurt Simpson, AKA The Handsome Cyclist, is an avid road racer and Bikewagon's hipster-in-residence. He currently runs the retail location at the Wagon.