Final preparation for the 2016 Spur Schools Mountain Bike Final at Bekker High School
Get your mind right. If you managed to finish in the top 3 in your province, well congratulations. But you are now going to race against competitors who are at least on your level or better! So you have to adjust your perspective and your attitude. This is where you have to have a big match temperament.
You still have enough time to improve your condition. Use it!
Plan your training and preparation, counting back from the race date. The last few days you will rest, travel and arrive at the venue. What are you going to do the days before that, and what about the week before that?
Do not change too many things before the event. New bike, new kit, new energy drink? Think carefully. Your body needs to adapt to all of these, and that takes time.
Analyse the demands of your event, and rate yourself accordingly. Use the pizza slice graphic, and colour in your own current performance or condition. It’s an easy way to see what you need to improve on. Schools XCO racing requires fast starts, very high intensity racing, good technical skill and ability, good tech zone preparations, good bike mechanical skills, and more. Rate yourself against these demands, and focus on improving them. Practice wheel changes and bottle handovers for example. Consult with your coach to help you with all this
Relax, never take it too serious, and remember it has to be fun. If it’s not fun anymore, stop!
Take time to prepare your bike properly, do not wait until the night before the event to put on that new tyre or chain. You will set yourself up for disappointment.
Avoid any last minute activities. You want everything under control the day before the event.
Make sure you sleep well in the week leading up to the event. Sleep and recovery are very powerful in fine tuning your body for that last hard event.
Arrive on time, and prepared on the day. Make sure you know what your start time is, and when the course will be open for practice.
Good luck, and enjoy it! It’s a huge privilege to have reached this stage.
Written by Marcel van der Poll, UCI accredited Level 2 mountain bike coach and founder of Velo world