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Take the nerves out of pre-race with this checklist and timeline

Pre-event Timeline

  1. Pack your gear and get your nutrition ready the night before the race. Put your gear in a bag, don’t just leave it all laying around. Check of the items from the checklist (bottom of page) as you place the items in the bag.
  2. Wake up at a time that will allow you to get in your pre-race meal, put your gear in the car and load your bike, and get to the race 1.5 hours early. I like to have a drink bottle in the car with for the ride to the race to top off on fluids.
  3. Arrive at race 1.5 hours early and head over to race registration. Make sure you have your money and your annual license. If you do not own an annual license, make sure you have an extra $10 to purchase a one-day USA Cycling license. If possible, always pre-register online. It’s usually cheaper and saves time the day of the event.
  4. Some races will have different lines based on Categories and Age groups. Look to see if this race is going so and get into the appropriate line. First time road racer? This means you are a Category 5. First time Mountain Bike racer? You will be Cat 3 or Junior (depending on age).
  5. Everyone has to sign a waiver which will include personal info for you to fill in. Annual license holders will need to present your license to the person collecting your money and registration/waiver form. Please indicate what Category of racer you are. Also, for first time racers, racing age is how old you will be on December 31st of this year.
  6. Once you pay, sign the waiver, and present your license (annual or the one day you have just completed), you will receive your race number. There should be race pins for attaching your race number to your jersey. Mountain bikers will receive a number to place on the front of the handlebars. Make sure to ask which side of the jersey to place this race number as it needs to be on the correct side so the finish line officials are able to score you as you come across that line for the victory!
  7. If you have a spare set of wheels for the wheel truck (road racers), ask where your races wheel truck is located and take your spare set over. Mountain bike racers, ask where the pits are at.
  8. For some, nature break number 1 (or more) hits by now – this is why you arrived early. Good thing you got there 1.5 hours early and now you have time to take care of nature breaks.
  9. Change into your race clothes, utilizing your towel or kilt that you packed the night before. (If you live nearby, you may want to have this on already)
  10. Make sure you check the air in your tires now so you have plenty of time to change a flat that may have randomly occurred overnight. Top off to your preferred psi.
  11. Find your teammates (if you have any) and pre-ride part of the course to get warmed up. Ideally you should shoot for a 20-30 minute warm up. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR HELMET ON.
  12. Arrive back to the start with 15 minutes to spare and top off your water bottles that you were likely sipping on during your warm-up.
  13. By now you should start hearing officials calling the racers for the upcoming race to the starting area. Be alert…you don’t want to miss the start.
  14. Listen to the officials who will be giving out important information about the race and the course. They will tell you when it is “go time!”
  15. Have fun and be safe!


(Your list may vary, but this will contain all of the necessities as well as some extra’s)

  1. Helmet
  2. Glasses
  3. Jersey
  4. Base-layer (if necessary)
  5. Arm warmers (if necessary)
  6. Jacket (if necessary)
  7. Gloves
  8. Bibs/Shorts
  9. Tights (if necessary)
  10. Knee and/or leg warmers (if necessary)
  11. Socks (include a spare set for post race)
  12. Shoe and/or toe covers (if necessary)
  13. Bike shoes
  14. Wallet with license and race registration/license money
  15. Sunscreen
  16. Chamois cream (if necessary)
  17. Race food
  18. Race drink
  19. Post race food and drink
  20. Cooler for pre and post race food/drink
  21. Spare tubes
  22. Spare wheels
  23. Pump
  24. Bike trainer (if you warm-up on the trainer) and front wheel block
  25. Towel and/or sport kilt (for pre and post race changing)
  26. Water bottles
  27. Extra water bottles/food for feed zone (if there is one)
  28. Roll of toilet paper (in case porta-john runs out)
  29. Any other spare tools and parts that you might need (multi-tool generally can solve most problems)

This should cover everything that you would need – hope it helps and good luck!

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