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by Verita Stewart
June 8, 2015
Photography by BrakeThrough Media
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
At the end of May, my Specialized Securitor teammates and I raced the fifth stage race on the Australian National Road Series Calendar – Battle on the Border.
For most of us racing is our second job, and we live all over the country, from Cairns to Wagga to Melbourne. We generally don’t come together until the day before racing. We then spend the weekend eating, sleeping and racing.
With two stages of more than 100 kilometres, a short and sharp ITT and a very hilly criterium, this particular tour is a tough one. A tour like this is both physically and mentally exhausting, and a good pre-race routine is key. It allows you to have some time to chill out, get rid of some nervous energy and most importantly, focus on racing.
There is a lot of method in our individual pre-race madness and a little bit of superstition, too. Over the time that I have spent with these girls, I’ve realised that everyone has a different pre-race routine. From the time we get up to what we like to eat, everyone does it a little differently.
Here’s what I have learned from observing and asking my teammates.
Mini’s pre-race routine generally starts with “a terrible night’s sleep,” probably because of the terrible bed coupled with pre-race excitement. The bad sleep is generally the catalyst for the desperate “need for a pre-race coffee, followed by a pre-race poo.” Gross but true (c’mon, you all can relate…)
Sophie’s pre-race routine starts in front of the mirror.
“I always put on sunscreen before the race, or you will end up looking like an old bag. Then on the start line, I always check that my skewers are done up tight, then double check them,” she said. “I know that our mechanic will have done them up, but I have to double check”
Superstition or habit? I’m not sure.
Jaz’s pre-race routine starts on the start line.
“Too many times I have been so nervous that I would forget to press start on my Garmin. So I have set up auto start, so you never forget,” she said. “I also always check that my shoes are done up tight, usually three seconds before we are off.”
Anna-Leeza’s routine is all about nutrition. She always has breakfast 3 hours before start time, even if it means getting up at 4:30 a.m. Then, she’ll eat a banana an hour before the start.
It is important to get the nutrition right so that you are racing at your best.
I’m a notorious faffer. So my pre-race routine is all about time management and having plenty of time. I like to be ready early to allow for a nervous pace up and down, a decent warm up, and time to generally faff about.
Chamois time is training time, right?
What’s your pre-race routine? Let me know in the comment below.