So, you finished a bike race… now what? This list might be super obvious for many of you long-time racers, but we find that every year, it takes a couple of races before we get back in a smooth rhythm.
Take off your chamois
Whether the race was dry or muddy, whatever the conditions, get the hell out of your kit ASAP. No hanging around for 45 minutes til podium in sweaty, wet kit, please. For the sake of your nether regions! Even if you can’t get to a shower, just pulling on dry, clean clothes is an instant win. (Highly recommend having a water bottle of warm water, a towel, and some wet wipes on hand for a quickie cleanup if possible.)
Stop your cycling computer
It’s pretty common to come over the line and forget to turn off your computer, especially if the finish is a tough sprint! But it’s a lot easier to stop your computer soon after the race versus trimming the file the next day after recording your drive home…
Have some carbs + protein
The longer you wait post-race to refuel, the fuzzier your brain is going to get, and the worse you’re going to feel. While we don’t think you need a protein shake after every ride, a drink mix that has protein and carbs is a great post-race option to start helping you rehydrate and replenish those glycogen stores while starting on muscle repair. Chocolate milk is another big favorite! It doesn’t have to be a full meal, but having that bottle ready to go post-race can be super helpful. (If you’re a post-race beer person, we’re not going to tell you to skip it… but we will *highly* recommend having some carbs + protein first!)
Mudfest? Rinse your bike, shoes + kit ASAP
Do your future self a massive favor and at minimum, rinse the mud off of your bike, shoes and kit while they’re still wet. Once that mud dries, it’s infinitely harder to clean off. Take the 2 minutes while you’re already cold and wet to do this if at all possible. (This is why we love having a weed sprayer or mini pressure washer in the van for post-race!) When you’re done, bonus points if you dry and lube your chain (it will save you serious $$$ in the long run.)
However, DO NOT hit your headset, shifters or bottom bracket with any kind of intense spray/pressure washer.
Make a few notes to self
Immediately post-race is the best time to quickly record in a notes app or voice memo anything you want to remember about the race. Tire pressure thoughts, tactical missteps, things you need to work on for next time, any moments you want to tell your coach about… get them recorded while they’re fresh in your mind!
Start laundry and the dishwasher
Coming back to things being easier to clean while still wet, when you do get home, bottles go into the dishwasher, wet kit goes directly into washing machine, and both should get started ASAP. Especially since most of us race, but then wake up the next day and have to go to work, it’s super important to get as ‘reset’ as possible for the next day. Unpack your bag instead of collapsing on the couch, charge your phone if needed, et cetera—basically, try to take 10 minutes to reset so that when you wake up the next day, you don’t feel wildly behind.
Have an extra snack if needed
Racing can make you ridiculously hungry. If you need a bedtime snack, go for it! Again, try to get protein in that snack as well—think yogurt parfait—to boost recovery. That extra snack will likely help you get to sleep easier… and avoid that middle-of-the-night snack attack.