Your Post-race Homework Assignment

Previously, we focused on what pre-race homework you can do to best prepare for your races. But once the race is over we can look at things you can do after the race to help you and your team get that competitive advantage for future events.

Successful bike racers try to find any type of advantage, however small it may be, to get a competitive advantage over their adversaries. That's what makes bike racing so unique; in that you don't necessarily have to be the fittest athlete in the peloton, but a combination of fitness and smarts will put you in position to win time and time again.

Knowledge Base

Like the Borg entity from Star Trek, individuals and organizations grow only by constantly absorbing and sharing information. A lot of companies that put out software products have something called a "knowledge base."

A knowledge base represents a place where users can record their experiences of problems and solutions, so other users of the product can have somewhere to access this information, as problems and solutions often repeat themselves. (I would be willing to bet that Microsoft probably has the largest knowledge base in the world).

We can take this same idea and apply it to improving your racing, where you and your team create your own personal knowledge base. The knowledge base (KB) can be used as a "central storage location" for a variety of information to help you succeed when going into events.

You can create the KB in any of number of formats, like a notebook, spreadsheet or, if you are a computer whiz, create your own team or club database full of information to be utilized by a large group of athletes.

Let's look at a few of the many ways to populate this KB. For starters, make sure you have a simple notebook and pen to record key information after the race. It's amazing how many things go through your mind right after the race is complete. This is the prime time to record this valuable information and having the ability to do that is crucial.

The Basics

Just like looking at key things before the race—wind direction, weather, course terrain characteristics and who is competing—do the same thing by debriefing after the race.

Record important additional information like: Where did the break get away or, better yet, where did break attempts go from? Who was in the winning break? Where was the race super hard for you or where was it easier?

It's much easier to analyze after the race and add to the KB than it is to try to predict what will happen, as there are too many variables to consider. The key here, of course, is to record this detailed information for future use. The more you record, the more useful it can be in the future.

Post-race Physical Necessities

You've taken the time to drive to a far-flung location to race, gotten there in time to warm up, and then raced. Give yourself additional time after the race is over to do an effective warm-down ride (which can also serve as a further reconnaissance of the course for next year.)

Then, be sure to change out of your bike clothes, freshen yourself up to the greatest degree possible, and then it's time to eat and drink. Many riders do not fully use the opportunity of the post-race fueling "window of opportunity" to correctly rebuild their glycogen stores. Have a high-quality small meal (e.g., sandwich) within 30 minutes of getting off your bike, and remember: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

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