Tips on managing your Bike Race

Photo Credit: Sportif Images Bad things can happen
Photo Credit: Sportif Images
Bad things can happen

The bike race itself:
Okay. The race has started. Ride your bike fast and safe. That’s pretty much it. Communicate with the other riders around you and if you ever feel uncertain about your skills or your safety, drop back a bit. Every race will get better and easier.

Immediately after you cross the finish line you want to make note of who finished around you. Try to remember the race number of one or two riders you finished near. If you can’t get a race number then take note of the type of jersey(s) of those racers. This information could help you if there is a problem with the race results.

Most riders take a cool down lap after their race (in a criterium). When coming back to the finish line be careful since the next race may be lining up and the road may be blocked by riders waiting to start their race. You will want to check out the tentative results when they are posted. Results are normally posted somewhere near the registration area. For criteriums, it normally takes 10 to 15 minutes for the tentative results to be posted. In a road race, it may take 30 minutes up to two hours for the results to be posted. Once the results are posted there is a 15 minute protest period. If you feel a mistake has been made in the results, you must call any errors to the attention of the Chief Judge during the protest period.

The Chief Judge can be found near the finish line area and is the official responsible for determining the race results. You can go to the officials area at the finish line and ask to speak to the Chief Judge if you feel a mistake has been made in your results. The Chief Judge will do their best to correct any mistakes that are made in the results during the protest period. Again. Be nice. Enough said.

Photo Credit: Sportif Images Regardless of weather, racing can be fun
Photo Credit: Sportif Images
Regardless of weather, racing can be fun

Once the results protest period has passed the results are final and prizes can be handed out. Again, award ceremonies usually take place near the registration area. Note, once the protest period has passed under USAC rules the results are final and no additions or corrections can be made. In general, most officials will make corrections to the results as long as the place in question doesn’t affect the prize positions. Once the race day is over and everyone has gone home no additions or corrections to results can be made since the officials no longer have access to the video camera and other notes they would need to change the results.

There are several problems that can come up that can prevent all riders from being placed. Some problems are failures with our finish line video camera, missing race numbers, unreadable race numbers, riders obscured from the camera by other riders and emergency situations that require the attention of the officials. If you can’t remain after your race to check your results at the race, then you can normally find results posted online from us, BRAC or the race website.

Ruining it for everyone:

  • “Vigilante Parking”. You avoid eye-contact with the parking volunteer and decide that you’d rather park “over there” instead of “over here” where the kindly volunteer instructed you to.
  • Forgetting something and handling it in a decidedly UN-Fonzie way. Keep it coooool, Daddio’s and…Mama-o’s.
  • Pressuring the registration volunteers to “hurry up”. Whether verbally or silently, they can feel your evil eyes. Be patient. OFFER TO HELP if they are just getting things set up. Carry a table or two. It will give you something to do and speed up the process.
  • Setting your trainer up uncomfortably close to someone else’s.
  • Warming up on the course when a race is in progress.
  • Walking across the race course when a race is in progress. You, your kids, your dog, your significant other do not stand a chance when 50 racers are headed your way averaging 30-35 miles an hour.
  • Complaining aloud before, during or after a race about the way the event is being run, was run or comparing it in a negative way to other events. Mainly triathlons.
  • Lining up at the front of the start, then taking 45 seconds to clip in.
  • Making an error in judgment during a race and not owning up to it.
  • Worse yet, blaming someone else. We all make mistakes. Being a new racer means learning. Own up. Make it right.
  • Jumping all over the person who makes any of these learning curve mistakes. Offer grace and share what you’ve learned if asked.

Helpful Hints:

  • READ THE RACE FLIER. Read it again. Now read all the tiny stuff at the bottom. One more time. Now go to the website. Read that.
  • As much as race promoters just love to answer questions that they’ve already addressed on their fliers and on their site, sometimes they have even BETTER things to do. Like get the race in order. Do them a favor. Don’t hassle them unless you must. And if you must, be friendly, courteous and don’t expect an instant reply.
  • If the race promoter does do a fantastic favor for you (maybe you registered in the wrong category and they fix this), offer to bring them coffee to the race.
  • Ride your bike (WITH your helmet ON) to the registration tent if it’s more than 10 paces from where you’ve parked. This will alleviate stress if lines are long. Have you ever seen a bike racer run? It’s not pretty.
  • Take your saddle bag off your bike before a race. Just because.
  • Print off waiver, sign and date before the race. In fact, print off about 5-10 copies if you plan on racing a bunch. Then all you have to do is hand over the money, waiver and your license. Much easier than trying to fill out paper-work on a windy (and it’s ALWAYS windy), dark morning.
  • If you really mess something up (like you veer into someone when over-shooting a corner), make it RIGHT. Apologize immediately if possible, or find the person after the race. If it’s something little but annoying, (like your water bottle flies off into the group and almost wrecks havoc), still own up.
  • Bring a pump, a multi-tool and a spare tube with you. If it’s a long race, stick them in your jersey. If it’s short, you can leave them in your car. You might not need them, but flatting out minutes before a race that you traveled to (Deer Trail) and missing your race start while looking for a mechanic is NO FUN.
  • You know how nervous you are for your race? Multiply that by 50,000 and now you are in the mind of a race promoter. Be patient, kind and courteous at all times.

Back to 303’s Ultimate Race Guide.