Race Day Prep

Parent Volunteer Signup Sheet

Race Day Preparations

Getting ready for race day begins well before the day of the race!

Getting ready for races takes a lot of preparation both on the bike as well as off. If after reading the different sections you still have questions, please ask any of our coaches for help.



Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to be ready for your race. The following are some tips to avoid being dehydrated or over-hydrated for your race.

  • DAYS BEFORE your race, make sure you are staying properly hydrated by drinking WATER. If you are in the hot sun, it is especially important to drink more. Hydrating DAYS BEFORE your race is KEY!!
  • The day of the race, make sure you are drinking! Chugging a gallon of water in the morning will make you feel sick and is an ineffective way to hydrate. The key is drinking water (and/or electrolyte drink) all day long.
  • RACE DAY CAFFEINE IS NOT ALLOWED!! You will be disqualified from races!! You may have drinks with electrolytes. But water is key!
  • It is just as important to REHYDRATE your body after the race (chocolate milk, water, electrolytes).
  • If you feel light-headed, dizzy, have developed goose bumps, are vomiting or have fluttering in your chest let your coach know immediately. These are signs of dehydration EVEN when it's a cool day.
  • JV and Varsity racers will have a feedzone during their races. We will discuss this with the relevant athletes on race day.


What you put into your body during race season can make a difference in your performance. What you eat days before a race is just as important (if not even more important) than the day of.

  • High-carbo loading is actually a myth. Yes you do need to slightly increase the amount of carbs you eat the few days before a race, but over-loading will just make you bloated and ultimately make you slower.
  • The key is to slightly increase carbs BUT NOT calories. Foods high in fat such as french fries and pizza are NOT healthy race-season choices and should be eaten minimally during the season.
  • Good meal choices the week of a race are rice, lean proteins, oatmeal (oats in general), pasta, whole wheat, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • The BEST choices are what makes YOU feel YOUR BEST....some of us have food restrictions but everyone has food preferences and foods that make them feel healthy. EAT A BALANCED DIET. YOU ARE GROWING adolescents and are building muscle throughout the season. All food groups are important to your growth, including proteins, natural sugars (fruits, veggies), and grains.

What to Eat THE DAY Of A Race

Eating well the day of a race can really help you finish strong!

  • DO NOT eat anything you have never tried before on race day. This is not the day to experiment. Try foods or gels out during the training season to see how they work for you. DO NOT try a new diet on the day of the race. Experiment with foods before a ride, practice, or an active day at home.
  • For middle school races, there will be no need or time to eat during a race. For the longer high school races, some racers like to have have gels or a "power snack". Make sure you have tried this during practices to see if it works for you!
  • Eating on race day should be scheduled based on race start time minus specific hours. The key is to have food/energy in your system without feeling full or bloated. Something of substance should be eaten 2-2 1/2 hours prior to the race and then if needed, a small "power snack" 45 minutes before the start.
  • This is not the day to eat carbs like pasta nor is it the time to load up on lots of food either. You want foods that convert well into available sugars like bananas or other fruits, cereals.
  • EVERY BODY is different: You need to figure out what kind of fuel your body needs to perform and how many hours to prep.
  • EXAMPLE: You race time is 11 am. Eat a healthy breakfast at 9:00- a whole wheat bagel(grains/carbs) with peanut butter (protein) on it. At 10:15 am you eat a small clif bar.....all of these foods are foods you have "tested" on practice days or out on the trail. You have been sipping water and/or electrolyte drink all morning (and have the day before). You continue to drink throughout the race and after the race. After the race you eat a banana and then follow it with a turkey and cheese sandwich.
  • ANY gels or "power" foods eaten MAY NOT CONTAIN CAFFEINE...this could lead to disqualification.

What to Eat after a Race

WooHoo! You finished your race and now it's time to grub.

  • Immediately after you just gave it your all, your body may not be ready to eat. Hydration will more likely be key here.
  • You should be eating to replenish your system within the first 45 minutes after finishing your race.
  • As you feel ready, recovery options are drinks like chocolate milk, PBJ, sandwich or protein bars, fruits, etc.
  • But hey, you are done and you are a kid! Maybe you fancy something from one of the meal trucks that are available at the races. Congrats on a job well done!

Getting Ready for a Race

Race Registration

You can't race if you haven't registered for a race.

  • At the beginning of the season, you or your parents registered you into the PitZone. You will use the same system to register for each race.
  • Once registered, PAMTB will generate a race plate for you to use during ALL races during the season. This race plate must be secured to the front of your bike using 3 zip ties. WE WILL COLLECT YOUR PLATES AT THE END OF YOUR RACE(s), so they do not get lost.
  • Fees for each race will be paid using the pitzone system and are not part of the collected team monies at the beginning of the season.
  • NOTE: Stating in TeamSnap app that you are attending the race is NOT the same as registering for a race. We just use that to get an idea of who is coming to a race.

What to Wear at the Race

While it will be fall that races are happening, racing conditions really can vary so we have to be ready for 90 degree heat or 50 degree cold windy weather.

  • You MUST wear your helmet and jersey. (Your race plate attaches to your bike not your jersey)
  • Pack a bag with long sleeves and long pants and bring it to every race - even if the weather channel says it will be 90 degrees.
  • Bring extra clothing such as long sleeves to wear under your jersey, long pants that can be tucked into your longer socks (don't want pants getting caught in chains - yikes) and extra socks.
  • Don't forget your cycling shorts and gloves! Just like when trying new foods, this is not the day to use brand new clothing. Make sure you have tried it out during the regular training days first.
  • You may want to pack a change of clothes as well...being in sweaty bike shorts for extended amounts of time is not comfortable OR healthy. Pack some shorts, sweatpants, an extra tee, and socks/shoes for when your race is over.
  • KEEP YOUR GEAR IN A DUFFLE BAG OR BACKPACK AT ALL TIMES...there are too many of us to have loose items around the team tent. BE PREPARED with a bag of your own to keep track of your stuff! Have everything labeled too!

What Food Should I Bring to a Race

We know FOOD IS IMPORTANT to our athletes. PLEASE READ as there are CHANGES from last year.

  • Each athlete is responsible for all their own meals!
  • Due to allergies, food preferences and the shear number of kids we will not have the spread of food we did last year. We would like a few staples to be available to the entire team such as fruit (preferably bananas or oranges), chocolate milk, and a snack bar (ex:Kind bar, Clif bar, high quality granola bars). Parents will be asked via TeamSnap to donate certain food items for the team and these will be available at the team race tent.
  • Pack a lunch for yourself, labeled with your name! If your lunch needs to be kept cold, please bring it in an insulated lunch box...we cannot guarantee cooler space for this many racers.
  • Pack your favorite drinks and snacks for the RACE..see "What to Eat on Race Day" above.

Where do I put ALL my STUFF at a Race

You are responsible for ALL OF YOUR GEAR. Please bring all items in a duffle bag, backpack or shopping bag.

NEW Starting 2017 we will provide bins for students to store their bags, and additional gear. Student racers MUST store their stuff in these bins. Racers need to learn to be organized and prepared so they are not panicking before a race while looking for their gear! To prevent accidents (broken gear, people tripping, etc) we do not want any loose items in the team tent. USE THE BINS!!

  • Helmet...in your bin!
  • Lunch..in your bin!
  • Extra clothing or shoes for racing...in your bin!
  • Please make sure all your items are labeled!
  • Camping Chair/blanket/towel to rest, recover, and relax with your teammates
  • You should place your bike ON the TEAM BIKE RACK at the team tent. Lying it down somewhere is not a good representation of the team and risks damages
  • Please make sure ALL ITEMS ARE LABELED!

Getting my Bike Ready for a Race

Steps to Prep your Bike For Race Day

Having a bike that is race-ready is going to take some planning.

  • At the Tuesday practice of a race week, make sure your GEARS and BRAKES are working properly. While coaches will try to help with emergencies, please note it is YOUR job to make sure your equipment is in working order before race day.
  • If your bike needs to go into a local bike shop for a repair, make sure you work with them on a timeline so your bike is ready for race day!
  • Tire Pressure? Inflate to pressure recommended by coach.
  • Race Plate? Attach your race plate to the front of your handlebars.
  • Spare Tube/Cartridge? Handpump?
  • Do you have handlebar endcaps? You MUST have endcaps on your grips in order to race.
  • Have all reflectors been removed from your bike? These are not allowed during races.

What to Expect at a Race for Student Athletes

What Happens on Race Day

The answer to this question should ALWAYS BE "FUN"!!!! This is the biggest question any new student racer has on race day. While this section is long, hopefully it will cover what you need to know. All returning parents should be aware that a few things are different from last year.

  • When you arrive, make sure to check-in at the Registration table.
  • Pre-rides are scheduled on the Saturday BEFORE a race. You may also pre-ride the day of the race which are scheduled EARLY in the morning, before any races begin. Races begin at 9AM....ALL pre-rides need to be finished by this time!! PLAN AHEAD!!
  • When checking in, double and triple check YOUR race time!
  • After checking-in, unload your gear at the team tent. Look for the E-town Team Tent and Flag.
  • Put all of your items in a bin.
  • Put your bike on the team rack.
  • Check in with a coach to see if there are any specifics you need to know for the day.
  • If you brought team food, you or your parent may drop it off at the team table. PARENTS WILL NEED A SEPARATE TENT this year due to the league doubling in size.
  • Stay with your teammates and cheer for racers that are already on the course. Maybe check out where the bathrooms are too.
  • Make sure you have finished with any snacks 45 minutes before your race. Make sure you are staying hydrated ALL day.
  • 45 minutes before your race, check in with the coaches regarding warmups.
  • Racers will enter staging area 15 minutes before your race. A coach and/or leader will remind you and guide you in this process! If you haven't heard from someone....ASK FOR HELP!!!
  • After your race, make sure to eat and stay hydrated.
  • There are races ALL DAY LONG....that means we need a cheering squad ALL DAY LONG!!! You are strongly encouraged to stay, watch and cheer for ALL RACERS. We want everyone racing to be encouraged throughout the race and congratulated at the finish line!
  • After all races are finished, teams and individuals will be acknowledged at the PICL Awards Ceremony.
  • Before you leave, EMPTY YOUR BIN and help break down the team tent and equipment...we ALWAYS NEED HELP loading gear into the truck(s)!!

When is the Preride?

Pre-riding a course can be most beneficial to racers to gain that advantage of familiarity and confidence. The following is some information that you will need to know about pre-rides.

  • The first opportunity to pre-ride a course will be on Saturday afternoon after course officials set-up the race course(s). Designated times allowing you to pre-ride will be announced prior to race weekend. Typically the course is open for 2-3 hours in the afternoon where riders can ride at their own paces as many times as you would like. You will want to ask a coach for recommended number of laps depending on weather conditions, how difficult the course is, and how much energy you should conserve for race day.
  • The second opportunity to pre-ride a course will be on Sunday morning before the first race begins. This is a very early morning ride and is not recommended if you are going to need that energy for your race! Please discuss with Coach before trying this option.
  • You do not have to pre-ride a course, but you will be more confident if you are able to make it to the pre-ride.
  • It is always possible that the course officials may re-evaluate and slightly change the course between the pre-ride and the race. Coaches will be informed of any changes and will relay that message to you as soon as possible.
  • When pre-riding, you MUST have a race plate on your bike. You must be wearing your helmet. And all NICA rules apply for riding etiquette.
  • Coaches may be available to pre-ride the course with you, however, this is not a guarantee due to the obligations of our coaches surrounding race day prep.
  • Parents (who are not coach certified) may NOT ride the course.

What do i do when my race is done?

Race days can be intense intense but now it's over. What should I do?

While you are racing for your own standing, you are also racing for Team Points. And so, while you might race at 10:00am, your teammates might not race until 1:00pm. But they too need your encouragement.

  • First, stay hydrated and eat a recovery snack! You need to restore the energy you just spent while racing!
  • Put all your racing items back into your bin and your bike on the rack.
  • Give your legs a little break.
  • Please ENCOURAGE your teammates along the course as well as the finish line. Races will be ALL DAY and everyone needs a cheering squad!

EtownMTB team Expections on Race Day

EtownMTB will be one of the best experiences you will ever have, but that doesn't happen all by itself. We expect EVERY COACH, PARENT AND RACER to play a role in creating a positive and memorable experience for EVERYONE. Team spirit, exceptional sportsmanship and following all NICA rules are paramount in making the Etown MTB Club stand out from the rest!

  • You have prepared for this moment with many days of hard work and determination....ENJOY THE DAY!!
  • As expected in practice, we want to hear encouraging words about yourself and about your team! Cheer on your teammates....like you, they are doing their best and everyone deserves KUDOS for being out on the course!
  • Respect and follow all NICA rules honestly.
  • Listen for and follow all announcements at races.
  • You MUST wear a helmet EVERY time you are on your bike! When you are riding to the restroom, to spectate, to and from you vehicle...WEAR YOUR HELMET. If you do not, our team will LOSE POINTs. PARENTS: you too MUST wear helmets if you bring your bikes. We will lose points if team parents are not wearing their helmets.
  • All bikes must be walked in the in-field.
  • NO TRICKS!!! Riders are to keep 2 wheels on the ground in the in-field at ALL times. Again, violating this will cause our team to LOSE POINTS.
  • We would appreciate riders helping us break down the team equipment, as well as staying for the awards ceremony at the end of race day. Some races are a distance away from home but ANY and ALL families that can stay until the end would b greatly appreciated!
  • Be POSITIVE and SUPPORTIVE at all times.

What to Expect at a Race - Parents

Where do Parents Sit and How to See the Student Race

The PAMTB league has almost doubled in size compared to last year. With so many new teams and new riders, PAMTB has made some changes regarding spectator.

  • Anyone actively volunteering can enter the team athlete infield section. When active duties are over, you need to return to the spectator tent area OR feel free to actively find spectator friendly areas throughout the course and cheer for the racers!
  • Spectator tent areas will be designated by PAMTB. We will communicate those areas to you as soon as they are made available.
  • We encourage the entire Etown MTB Family to be supportive toward ALL riders. Spectators are expected to be an example to the racers by demonstrating POSITIVE messages to everyone involved on race day!
  • Signs, cow bells, and cheering like crazy are welcome at the races!
  • Parents (like coaches) are not allowed to run along-side riders on the course. NICA rules.
  • Volunteering on race day is strongly recommended and greatly appreciated! We are a large team and volunteers are necessary for PAMTB to make these races successful. See below.

Parent EtownMTB Designated Roles at Races

Race day is very demanding on coaches, riders and parents alike. It is truly a TEAM effort and we appreciate individuals stepping into active roles!

  • Roles will appear in TeamSnap: Team Tent Set-Up, Trainer Transport/Set-Up, Water Cooler Provisions/Transport, Parent Tent Set-Up, Bin Transport/Set-Up, Snack Staples SignUp/SetUp
  • Look for these jobs to appear in TeamSnap this year as races near.


Races are managed and organized by PAMTB volunteers throughout the entire year leading up to race season. There are fun and meaningful ways to volunteer on race days. Consider being part of the volunteer team by giving an hour or two to help. Your time counts toward ETOWNMTB volunteer hours. Teams accruing the highest number of hours will receive discounted league fees for the following Club season. Most importantly, you are giving back to the team and supporting the entire league!

  • When races are posted in TeamSnap, visit the PAMTB signup online and fill a position: Parking Lot Directors, Infield Organization, Work the Finish Line, Mile Marker Station on the Course.
  • Volunteers should sign up prior to the day of the race. If more help is needed we will announce ASAP in Spectator Tent. When signing up, make note that you are volunteering for Etown MTB. Report to PAMTB Race Officials for further instruction when you arrive to the race venue.
  • Anyone can help - mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. No training necessary, although there are positions requiring experienced riders with high levels of fitness (Sweeper).
  • Etown MTB will make everyone aware of signups as they become available.

What Medical Facilities are Available at Races

Occasionally injuries happen in mountain biking. PAMTB has staffed every race accordingly.

  • All races are located close to major medical facilities.
  • All races have paramedics on-site.
  • Every race has a volunteer Medical professional available to the teams for minor injuries.

Travel Arrangements for Race Day/Weekend

Travel Arrangements

Mountain bike racing in the state of PA means we have to do some traveling. Whether you decide to travel and make an overnight stay is your decision. We will try to let the team know of lodging options and any discounts available to the team.

  • Coaches are not permitted to bring student athletes to races.
  • Carpooling among team families is encouraged when/if possible however overnights would be difficult if parent/guardian is not present.

Parking at Races

Parking is the number one item the race organizers look for at race locations. Plan ahead! Give yourself ample time!

  • Please follow race organizers who are giving parking directions.
  • There is usually a small fee involved with parking. Usually it's between $3-$5 dollars - exact payment is ALWAYs appreciated.
  • Due to the high volume of cars and the sprawl of some venues, be prepared to walk a distance to the spectator tent/race course.