Junior Race Day Tips | Kelly Cycle Coaching

By: Kelly Cycle Coaching  23-Nov-2011
Keywords: Bike, Bike Shoes


It will often be cold before your race so you need to think about bringing the right clothing.  As a minimum you should bring:

  • Track suit pants and top
  • Leg warmers
  • Long sleeved jersey or windcheater
  • Under shirt
  • Booty covers
  • Arm warmers
  • Gloves
  • A beanie (when you’re sitting around between races) and a warm coat (and maybe a blanket)
  • Race jersey and bike knicks
  • Bike shoes and helmet and sunglasses
  • Sneakers/runners ( you should not walk around in your expensive bike shoes and wear out your cleats!)


If you race in the morning, you should try and have breakfast at least 2hrs before you race.  So if you know you are racing at 9am, make sure you get up by 7am and eat breakfast.  If you have to travel to the race and eat breakfast really early, remember to pack some “pre race snacks” to eat closer to your race start.  

Get your parents to bring an esky for you full of snacks

 Breakfast ideas:

  • Weetbix, sliced banana, honey and milk (or yoghurt) or
  • Instant porridge, and milk or
  • Toasted crumpets with honey or jam or
  • Toast with honey or jam or
  • All of the above in some form.

Pre race snacks:

If you are doing a road race, it is often a good idea to have a pre race snack before you race.  Eat something easy to digest about 30-40mins before you race (so just before you start your warm up).  If you are racing for 1-2.5hrs and you only have what you ate for breakfast in your stomach, you will most likely get what we call ‘food flat”.  This means you run out of energy because you haven’t eaten enough.  You have burned up your breakfast and haven’t given your body more food to keep going. 

Things you can snack on:

  • Whole or ½ jam/honey/nutella sandwich (white bread digests easier than wholemeal or multi grain) (make this at breakfast and wrap it in foil)
  • Toasted crumpet with honey (make this at breakfast and wrap it in foil)
  • Picklets with jam or honey or nutella, etc (make this at breakfast and wrap it in foil) Good for race food too.
  • Banana
  • Banana sandwich (make this at breakfast and wrap it in foil)

Basically you want to eat something that is easy to digest and provides you with a “slow release” of energy. (ie low GI foods).

DO NOT EAT CHOCOLATE AND LOLLIES AND DRINK COKE BEFORE YOU RACE.  You do not want to eat something that has lots of sugar in it.  It will give you an instant release of sugar for about 10mins and then you will be sugar flat (deficient).

For a time trial, it is better to have fully digested your food. So you should eat breakfast at least 2hrs before you race.  If you have to eat breakfast really early, (to travel to the race), make sure you have a banana or other snack in the car, so the time from breakfast to your time trial should not be 4hrs and you get food flat!!!

Eating between events:

If you do two races in a day you need to eat properly between these events.  As soon as you finish your morning race, you should get on the trainer and do a 10min cool down.  You should be drinking water during this time and eating something easy to digest (maybe a muesli bar).

Then put on some warm clothes, get off your feet (ie sit down), and eat something such as:

  • Plain Pasta or
  • Salad/Ham/Chicken Sandwich


For a time trial you only need:

  • ½  bottle of water (you don’t need Sports drinks, gels, power bars or any food at all during the race). 

For a road race you need:

  • For races over 40km two bottles (one with water and one with Sports drink)
  • For races of 30km or shorter you don’t need food, just one large water bottle will do
  • For races over 40km (U17 and U19 riders only) you should carry food in your jersey pocket such as gels, muesli bars, etc.

Warming up:

Pre start:

A pre-start is a gentle warm up you do “before breakfast” on a trainer or rollers.  You only need to ride easy in the small chain ring and spin your legs.  You should do this for about 10-15mins. 

Then get off, shower, put warm clothes on and eat breakfast.  Sometimes if you need to drive to the race, it isn’t always possible to do this pre-start, so don’t worry about this if you have to get up early to drive to the race.

Road race warm up:

Many of you were not sure how to warm up for a road race.  You should warm up for 15-20mins before your road race.  You should start your warm up about 30mins before your race start time but you need to get organised 60 – 80mins before your race. 

So if your race starts at 10.30am, this is how it could work:

  • 9.00 – 9.30am Go to registration get your numbers and the program with start times in it.
  • 9.30am – pin your numbers on your jersey, put your bike clothes on (including leggings and long sleeved jersey). Pump your tyres and put your race/warmup bottles in your bottle cages. Get your bike ready.
  • 9.45am eat your pre race snack (half a sandwich, a banana, a muesli bar, etc)
  • 9.55am – start your 20-30min warm up (depending on your age group and experience, we will talk to you about what warm up you need to do). Come back, maybe go to the toilet, etc and get ready to race. (if it’s raining you will do your warm up under cover on a trainer, about the same duration)
  • 10.20-10.25am – go to the start line. Line up with a warm jacket on. Get someone to take this from you before you start. Listen for your name to be called out and checked off.
  • 10.30am – race start.

Time trial warm up:

It is better to warm up for a time trial on the trainer or rollers:

  • Your warm up will take about 20 – 30mins, depending on your age.  Please use a heart rate monitor if you have one.
  • Spin easy for 5mins in a small gear at a low heart rate
  • Finish your warm up at least 10mins before your start time to allow time for your roll out check.
  • Typically you will need your roll out checked before you start racing, and then you must remain in the start zone area until your start. Line up with a warm jacket on. Get someone to take this from you before you start. Listen for your name to be called out and checked off.
  • If you have the chance to use a trainer or rollers at the start line, do this to stay warm before your start.

The role for parents

  • Mainly taxi driver, cheer squad, photographer, warm jacket holder.
  • Help the coach by talking to him exclusively one on one, when appropriate to do so at the race site, about anything that I may not notice about the athlete on the day. (sickness, monthly cycle, stress at school/exams etc…….)
  • Please make sure your athlete as eaten the proper breakfast and has made his/her pre race snacks
  • On the first day, make sure the athlete arrives at the race area to find us 70mins before racing starts 
  • Please make sure your athlete has their licence with them on the day or they won’t be allowed to race.
  • Please make sure that if the athlete has anything other than club clothing or plain clothing, that this is registered with CSV (before the event) as you cannot register this on the day

The job of the coach

  • At major junior events, we will be giving the athletes all the information required for them to race (at their level).  This is, in part, what you pay us for.  It is best that this information comes from us only and not from anyone else.
  • If advice to the athlete comes from the coach only, they will have a clear picture of their objectives for the day, it is less confusing for them and in the long term, makes them responsible for their actions leading up to the race, during the race, and after the race.  This will reflect their ability to get a good result on the day and take responsibility for this result.  If this is not followed, or the information has been duplicated to them it may lessen their chance to get a positive result. 
  • At the end of the day, the athletes’ results comes from constructive planning between the athlete and the coach, and this should be put into place at training and each major race.
  • In the athlete area, we try to provide seats, tent, stretching mat, etc, for them to warm up  (Parents: please bring your own chairs to make an area nearby where you can socialise and I can find you if there is a problem). 


Please note we are not trying to alienate parents from athletes. Over time, we encourage the athletes to:

  • Socialise with other athletes and develop communication skills with both me and the other athletes
  • Be in one area  so we can talk to the athletes at required times and don’t have to go to different locations (parents cars) to find athletes
  • Learn to become independent as an athlete and learn when to eat, stretch, warm up etc
  • Learn about bike mechanics and how to put their bike on the trainer, and gear restrictions, roll out rules, etc

If athletes/parents do not understand any of the above, or just want to talk about this, please call us any time.

Kelly Cycle Coaching Van

Keywords: Bike, Bike Shoes

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