So, what should you do?
Just a small amount of preparation thought time can really support your race performance. Here are a few things to consider before you line up for your next race.
Four Basic Steps To A Killer Race Plan
Below are four basic steps to get you started. Next month, I will discuss more detailed plans for specific race tactics of your target races. I realise that not everyone races regularly and that maybe you compete in two or three events per year such as Lake Taupo, K2 or Le race. If there is interest, we can look at tactics for one off events.
1. Do you know the course?
Knowing the course prior to the race will be of huge benefit to knowing where the possible cross wind sections will be, hills or dangerous corners to be aware of.
2. What are your strengths?
You should always look for ways to put yourself in a position to exploit your strengths against the competition. If you’re a good time trialist, and not a strong sprinter then look to go near the end before the sprinters start licking their lips. Of course, if you’re a sprinter, then keeping the bunch rolling and keeping the speed up near the end is a likely tactic. Motivating riders to chase if riders do go near the end would be in a sprinters interest to get that bunch gallop. If your neither a sprinter or a strong time trialist, try and get in a small breakaway. Chances of a podium increase dramatically if your away with a small group over a large group.
3. What are your weaknesses?
If you struggle with accelerations in races, try and not get too far back from the front of the group. If you are at the back and a fast acceleration happens, it’s not a good place to be. Better to be near the front and have riders go around you and at least have a chance to grab onto some wheels. If cross winds are difficult, again be near the front, especially with anticipated winds coming up with a change in road direction. Likewise, if hills are your weak point, then start at the front and drift through the pack so you are at the back of the group by the top.
4. Know your competition
If you’re not thinking about who your competition is, you should be! Who are the strong riders to follow? Who is worth chasing and who is not when breaks go? Chances are the stronger riders will be near each other marking their competition. If you’re a sprinter and know your competition is not so quick, then keep the bunch rolling and speed higher to increase the chances of the group staying together. If a lot of riders around you are fast finishers and you are strong on climbs then hit the hills hard to tire them out and keep the pace on after the hills so people don’t get back on if they are distanced.
See you out there on the start line with a race plan!