Wish me luck for my first race

Taking on my first road race this Sunday.

I’ve raced TT and cyclocross on and off for a couple of years, but this feels a little more serious somehow!

I think I’m in at the deep end with 70 miles and 4200ft of climbing but I’ll give it my best shot. I’ve done plenty of those sorts of rides before, but never competetively. It’s an 80 man field but only 10 cat 4s on the start sheet.

Any tips for my first experience?


You’re gonna crush it!!!

I’ve never done a road race, so no advice based off experience from me, but I’d say go out and try to have fun and use this as a benchmark to make your next race even better.


Focus on the technical skills, don’t stress the small stuff

Eat and drink more than you think you’ll need. 70 miles is a long first race - carry a lot of water particularly if it is going to be hot or get someone in the feed zone. Two bottles will not be enough

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Good luck!! It’ll be a great experience!

A few things you might not expect…

It won’t be a steady pace. There’s times you’ll be cruising, others totally in the red. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Don’t make any sudden moves in the bunch. Be aware of where your front wheel is at all times, but don’t have your eyes glued to it. There will be some shouting. Don’t worry about it. As soon as the race is finished it’ll be forgotten.

That’s a fair bit of climbing - rolling or some big climbs? If there’s longer climbs the race will spilt up. You’ll find yourself in a group of guys that can climb at a similar pace. If the road goes up, it’s going to come down. The descents will be fast. If I can’t pre-ride a course I’ve not raced before, I’ll go round it on Google Streetview to get an idea of road furniture, surface, technical sections etc.

A race of that length, I’d suspect it’ll take you around 3hrs. Plan your fuel/hydration accordingly. Race day isn’t a time to try anything new.

Have a look at the RaceSmart videos on the British Cycling website. The will give you a grounding in what to look out for and how to, well, race smart.

Above all, enjoy the experience. The rush from riding in a proper road race is like nothing else. You’ll love it😍


Thanks for all the great advice guys, theres some stuff there I hadn’t thought of!

As for the course, its rolling with 2 notable climbs. One is 2 miles and one (10 miles out from the finish) is 3 miles, both average 5-6% so I expect the field to be especially strung out on those.

I’ll aim to carry 2 big bottles so that’s 1.2L of water and electrolytes. I don’t think there’s a feed zone so maybe another 500ml in a back pocket?

Nervous and excited :grin:

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Two bottles for 70 mile is plenty, if unsure ask a helper to have one ready to hand up on a slow section of the course. Having raced CX you should not be phased with group or lack of skills. My piece of advice would be to sit in about 10th place and just follow wheels saving energy until the last 30 minutes. Even experienced riders will do this.

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I’m guessing that the race is point-to-point and not laps? Kind of makes this a little redundant but, I was going to say that you should use the first lap to gauge where it might be possible to recover and take on some food.

Whatever you’re planning to eat during the event, make sure it’s easy to grab. You don’t want to be rummaging in jersey pockets. Some people laugh but I often stick a gel under the the leg grippers on my bibs. Super easy to get hold of.

With that in mind, be careful NOT to pin your number on in such a fashion that it restricts access to your pockets.

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Yeah, it’s point to point. Hopefully I will just quickly find a group I’m well matched to and can stick with them.

The race is cat 2/3/4 so I don’t expect it to stay together for very long to be honest. If I can finish with the rest of the 4s then I’ll be happy.

It’s a good point about food. I’ve started writing a plan for the day, which includes reminding myself to open my energy bar wrappers before the start. I’ll also aim to dedicate certain pockets to certain things to keep it simple out on the road. In cyclocross I normally pin the top of my number just below the top of my pockets so hopefully that won’t restrict access.

I need to see if I can set up alerts on my wahoo bolt that remind me to eat (its easy to forget) and I might even print out a little course preview sheet for my stem/top tube. But if I’m hanging on for dear life then that won’t be much use anyway :sweat_smile:

Don’t be phased by the category of other riders. There will be a big spread of ability in a 2/3/4, but it doesn’t always go to say the cat 2 riders will be fastest!

Sounds like it’ll be a race of attrition with those climbs.

Unusual for a race to be point to point. Do you have a link to the course on strava? They’ll often include this in the race book.

Our club captain always tells us - “You have 5 matches to burn in any race. You need to make sure you use them wisely”. What I’ve learned this season is the crucial point of knowing where not to burn them!!

Be sure and let us know how you get on!!

Thanks, really appreciate your encouragement!

I only mean its point-to-point in the context of laps that @PusherMan mentioned. Luckily, despite not doing laps, the start and finish are fairly close to each other, I don’t need to get a train back to the start :smile:

Here’s the course:

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Ah!! The Sam Robinson!!! That’s going to be a hard race! Trial by fire doing that one as your first RR! Lots of respect. I’d expect the selection to be made on the Braes of Greenock, then folk will settle in for the final climb. Make sure you get over the top of the Braes in a group and don’t lose the wheels on the descent. It’s a great area for racing. Watch the weather as some of Flanders Moss is notorious for crosswinds.

I’m not racing this one as I’ve had a busy June. Let me know how you go😊

Setting up alarms is a distraction in my view. You’ll be too busy watching the wheels in front of you, or should be. Accidents happen when riders get distracted or loose concentration. In terms of duration, 70 miles will take around 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Suggest you eat every 30 minutes, so only 6 times in essence. What you eat for breakfast and the night before is most important.

It sure isn’t the easiest one to start my road racing career but it’s the first one I’ve had chance to enter so I’ll give it my best shot! My 2nd ever sportive was the Fred Whitton so there seems to be a pattern emerging.

My w/kg isnt anything worth talking about but the descents are actually my bigger concern because losing a wheel going downhill is just the kind of thing I’m likely to do, especially as a nervous first timer.

I’ll be back with a race report and welcoming comiserations on Monday :grin:


I’ve no doubt you’re right but eating whilst holding a wheel will be harder than hearing a beep whilst doing so. I’m a cautious rider so much more likely to lose a wheel in these situations than be a danger to anyone else. And I’d rather maintain a fuelling strategy than do either of those things.

I’ll be sure to keep glycogen stores topped up in the 48 hours running up to the race

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You don’t happen to have a copy of the start list do you? I’d like to see who’s riding. Do you have any clubmates in the race?

I’ve lost wheels both on descents and whilst trying to take on a gel whilst in the red! I don’t know the descent from the final climb, but the on from the Braes is fast. It’s only technical in one section if I remember rightly, and the point I lost the wheel of the chase group during the Auld Yins RR was on a fast right hander quite near the bottom. You’ll know the one when you come across it. It took me almost 8 miles to chase back on!!! The break were about a minute up the road so we were constesting the minor places!

I’d expect some attacks early on, but if I’m honest, I wouldn’t worry about them. Get over the Braes comfortably in a group and save everything for Crow Road.

That’s one hell of a way to open your account! Good on you for having a crack.

Looking forward to your race report :+1:

Thanks! Promise you wont laugh :grin:

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If you send me your email address I dont mind sending it across privately. The organiser told me it hadnt been updated to reflect a few additions/dropouts but i guess its mostly accurate

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don’t forget to lean your diet towards carbs 48 hours before the race starts!

all the tips in there sound good; it’ll probably be a hot start as a few get up the road, but things will really shake out on the first climb at 22k. Try to get over that hump with the fast guys! Why not try; maybe you have cat 2 watts for that duration. The only way to find out…

Go deep in the pain cave and test yourself.

First Road Race, how exciting!! Wishing you all the best of luck, have blast!

Thanks! Are there any specific recommendations you can make for amount/percentage of carbs I should be eating in the 48 hours approaching the race?