5 ways to prepare for your next race

Are you inspired and want to feel the thrill of a cycling race? We’ve put together five handy tips on how to prepare for your next race

Sep 6 2022

velodrome track viewed from above

Track cycling is all about speed, stamina, and technique. Practising your cycling around the Calshot Track is a great way to build up your strength and stamina for races. Whether you’re training for a road cycling race or a triathlon, velodromes are a perfect place to train inside when the weather conditions outside are not so ideal. Calshot Activities Centre houses the only indoor banked velodrome in the South of England - 142m around with a banking of 45 degrees! This track was where it all began for some of Great Britain's Olympic heroes, such as Chris Hoy who has now gone onto win 6 gold medals in cycling from Beijing 2008 to London 2012! It is now used by a wide range of cyclists today.

Are you inspired and want to feel the thrill of a cycling race? We’ve put together five handy tips on how to prepare for your next race.

1. Training

Before the race, it’s important to create a training plan based on the type of event you’ll be participating in. For beginners, start with a low-volume plan to strengthen your muscles and increase your stamina. Why not try interval training? This consists of shorter bursts of exercise to strengthen different muscles. Indoor training at the Calshot Track is a great way to train all year round, no matter what the weather is like or the traffic on the roads. Pace yourself during your training and ensure you give your body time to recover and recharge ready for the race.

cyclists on velodrome track

2. Warm-up

A 30-minute warmup is key before a cycling race or any cycling training. As well as increasing your heart rate, ensure to add some dynamic stretches into your warmup to stretch out those key muscles. Key muscles used while cycling include your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles. Stay warm after your warmup - try jogging on the spot to keep those muscles moving. As you continue your training, your muscles can become tight, so focus on some simple stretches. 

3. Check your bike

Before every cycling race and outing, it’s important to check your road bike. Is your bike in good condition, is it clean, degreased and safe to ride? Here are a couple of key areas on your bike to check before a race:

  • Tyres - Ensure to check the air pressure of your tyres and the tread. Are the tyres in good condition and have enough grip for the terrain? Are there any slow punctures which could cause you an issue? Have they been inflated to the optimal pressure?
  • Wheels - While checking your tyres, don’t forget to check the wheel spokes. Give each spoke a wiggle to make sure none are loose.
  • Brakes - Brakes are key to any cycling race. Check that your brakes are safe, clean and working correctly. This includes checking if the brake pads have worn down. While the wheel is spinning, check the disc or wheel rim is running cleanly through the brake calliper.
  • Chain – Check the chain by pedalling backwards to see if the links glide over the pulleys. If the chain catches, this is a sign that a pin or the chain might need replacing.
  • Gears - Make sure your gears are moving smoothly and adjust the gear cable if needed.

4. Pack a bag

Be prepared by packing a bag for your cycling race. Have you packed plenty of high-energy snacks and drinks? Are you wearing the correct clothing for the weather conditions? This includes the most appropriate glasses lenses, the correct cycling shoes to clip into the bike pedals, and the warmest gloves for the temperature. Bike multi tools can also be handy for any last-minute adjustments that need to be done before the race. Don’t forget your puncture repair kit too! 

cyclist on bike with assistant preparing bike for use

5. Nutrition

Ensure to pack plenty of nutritional snacks with ingredients for high energy levels, - you should be consuming around 75g of carbs per hour of the race. Don’t forget those sports drinks full of electrolytes - these can help to stop your muscles from cramping.

Leading up to the race, introduce a higher proportion of carbohydrates into your diet so your body can store this energy. Have a healthy breakfast on the day of the race but try not to eat an hour before the race to give your digestive system a break. 

woman preparing cycle wheels
cyclists on velodrome track

Whether you’re a seasoned track cyclist or just setting out, Calshot offers a range of track courses and sessions so you can experience the thrill of riding the boards. For children and adults, improve your confidence on the track as a beginner or develop your skills riding at a faster pace – there’s something for every ability! Bikes and all equipment needed are available for hire, or bring your own (see guidelines).

Don’t miss the UCI Road World Championships on 18 September. Situated south of Sydney in Australia, this gripping race features around 1000 athletes! Look out for media coverage coming soon.

For more information on getting into track cycling, see the British Cycling website.