Dealing withe race day jitters is a right of passage for all competitive cyclists and we have all gone through it. I will be racing this weekend and was pondering some tips on how I have coped with jitters. What am I talking about when I talk about jitters. The term jitters means different things to different athletes. For me it is mostly anxiety which may or may not manifest itself in some digestive discomfort.
Knowing that anxiety is at the root of race day jitter is 90% of the solution! What can we as competitive cyclists do to remove anxiety from the race day?
- Be prepared!
- All mechanical issues should be dealt with the week before the race. If you are racing every week deal with mechanical issues on Monday.
- Have everything you need packed and ready the night before
- Follow your regular routine the day before
- Know where your race is and how to get there the nigh before
- Don’t start reading articles and books the night before on tactics or training!
- Relax the night before and stay away from foods that might cause you problems in the AM
- Go to bed early
- Get up early to eat and use the rest room
- Get up early enough that you eat 3 hours before the race starts. Especially if you have digestive jitters!
- Don’t drive alone to the race. Ride with a teammate, friend, SO or spouse.
- Do not get overly chatty about the pending race. Keep conversations light.
- Get to the race course 2 hours before your race
- Get your race number and confirm your start time
- Get race number pinned on and your kit on
- Use the restroom
- Get bike out and set up to warm up
- Listen to music that will motivate you but not overly psych your self out
- Chat with teammates just before the race to cover tactics and strategy
- Use the restroom again
- Know the course. Pre-ride short course events when you get to the course
- Get to the start 5-10 minutes early to line up. If officials will allow it.
I have found in my own experiences that my anxieties are caused by 2 factors: Fear of the unknown and worry over preparedness. If take care of the above my jitters are not nearly as pronounced if I miss a few of the above. If you need additional help on preparedness check out my article series on Recon missions for competitive cyclists.
Until next time have great ride and remember it’s only a race and we do this for fun!