Are you ready for the CRCA Women’s Clinic tomorrow?

I started racing at last year’s clinic and now couldn’t imagine life without bikes!

Here’s a quick post to build on the panel last night at Bicycle Habitat and get you ready for tomorrow’s Racing Clinic. If you aren’t racing tomorrow, it’s also a good checklist for your first race.

Most importantly: Just show up. It will be cold and dark when you roll out tomorrow morning but you’ll be rewarded with a sunrise as you start your race!

Disclaimer: this is how I like to do things. You will develop your own favorite pre/post race rituals. Racers: what am I missing? Comment / Msg me & I’ll update this post.


-Go over the below checklist, make sure you have everything you need before the bike shops close tonight!

-Eat well. Specifically, eat a carb-focused dinner

-Drink water. I like to start heavy on hydration the day before a race

-Decide on your “get to the race” plan. Do you want to ride to the race? What bridge or path are you going to take? What entrance do you want to enter into the park? Are you meeting a friend to ride up together? Make these decisions & do your Google Mapping now (you know, since you aren’t doing anything at work today anyways because you are too excited to race!). I like to enter at the 59th Street & 5th avenue entrance and ride up to Cat’s Paw. You will NOT miss sign-in and the group of bike racers on the left if you go in this way.

-Lay out your cycling clothes and pump for tomorrow morning, I like to put my coffee on the stove pre-loaded with coffee & water so all I have to do in the morning is turn it on.

-Decide what you want to eat for breakfast. Oatmeal? Give yourself enough time to make it. I like hot cereal, or I make rice bars the night before. My back up option is toast with peanut butter, and always a banana.

-Go to bed early, set your alarms, get pumped to race!

Tomorrow / what to expect in the morning:

-You will love yourself for being clever enough to put out all of your riding clothes the night before

-Drink your coffee/tea, eat breakfast

-Do a quick check on your tires / inflate if needed

-I like to arrive 20 minutes before the race. If you think you need more time, arrive earlier. It will be a bit chilly but definitely give enough time – maybe 30 minutes?

-Ride or Drive/Train to the race

-Everyone puts his or her extra things (e.g. saddle bags) in a pile at near the start area. Obviously there is no guarantee for something not being lost but it’s safe to assume you can put your stuff there too. Most importantly: you can’t race with your saddle bag, pump or lights on your bike. You CAN race with your bike computer, if you have one, and water bottles.

-You will see cyclists around Cat’s Paw, there will be a table for you to sign in, show your license or buy a one-day and to sign your waiver. If you can’t find the Women’s clinic table, just ask any of the cyclists around. There will be marshals there to help you.

-At check-in you will sign a form that is pre-populated from your sign up with your address, emergency contact and racing age – yes, your racing age is your age as of December 2015…just embrace it. Pro-tip: don’t list your most recent ex as your emergency contact.

-You will be given a racing number and told where to pin that number. There will be safety pins for you to use. Again, tons of people will be around to help you. Just grab some pins and ask a marshal who can help you. I will be there and basically my only job is to pin your numbers and supply any last minute snacks.

-There is a bathroom near sign in…self-explanatory

-You will line up at the start line & race! During the race there will be riding marshals who help you understand what is going on and recommend things to you like “don’t cross wheels,” or “try to get on that girl’s wheel.”

-Post-race, Coach Tara will recap the session & have 100 other amazing tips that I am forgetting


-You are hooked? Great! Tell us & we can help you find rides and races to do. There are a lot coming up that are great for beginners.


Tires: Inflate your tires, psi will depend on rider but until you know, try running between 95 – 110 psi
Spare Tube, Tire Levers, CO2 and/or Pump, bring it all with you in your jersey or a saddle bag
Snack(s), bring a few bars, gels or other snacks that you usually like while riding or after
Water Bottles: bring two, one to sip on pre/post ride
Cash, Credit Card, Driver’s License/ID
USA Cycling License OR $15 cash for a one day license
Easily removable bike lights: It WILL be dark in the morning
Clothing: It’s going to be a bit chilly, I think tomorrow I will wear a jersey, arm warmers, bibs, leg warmers, wool socks and gloves + cycling cap. Will take off leg warmers to race.
A sports beverage in your bottle(s), I like Skratch Labs
Chamois Cream
Cycling Glasses

To read:

“What I know now that I wish I knew then” –

Clinic Page FAQ *Coach Tara will talk about this pre-race but read about what happens if your race is neutralized because of a passing field.

How to Pin your race numbers – Specialized-luluemon video

Inspiration from the amazing Evelyn Stevens “Why We Play” – (yeah you are going to cry watching this)

“YES I CAN! Learning to believe in myself” – local racer Ayesha McGowan’s blog

Other links:

USA Cycling License

Map to approx. Cat’s Paw Hill (this is where you check-in and the race starts). Put in your “from” location. Don’t worry too much about “finding” everyone…you will see a ton of bike racers if you are riding up to the race up via the east side of the park:

p.s. a thank you to Natalie who found all of the helpful links and Matt for figuring out how to use Google Maps 🙂

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