What to expect on race day

Every race is different, but some things are generally the same across disciplines and levels of competition. Before arriving on site, read the event guide if one is provided and get familiar with the course and schedule.
Juniors raceday1


When arriving at the venue, check in at the registration table. A staff member or volunteer will check to see if you have an annual race license or need to purchase a one-day event pass. For National Championship events, riders must have an annual license and a UCI ID*. You will then receive your race number and any last-minute instructions. If you have not pre-registered, you can also register and pay registration fees at check-in.

*UCI ID: To compete in a USA Cycling National Championship, riders must have their date of birth, gender and citizenship or permanent resident status verified. Having verified this information, a free UCI ID is issued. If a UCI ID is not currently displayed on your license, log into your USA Cycling “My Account” and look for this in your Profile link. If these items are not listed or are incorrect, please do the following to update your account: Create a copy of your Birth certificate or Passport and Permanent Resident Status (Green Card) as it applies, and mail, email or fax (719-434-4300) it to USA Cycling.


Depending on the discipline, you may need to pin your race number on your jersey. The number must be pinned on so it can easily be seen and read by a race official. The images to the right shows the proper way to pin on a number. Numbers should not be cut, folded, or otherwise altered. Altering a number, covering or bad placement could result in fines and lack of results.

For some events (Mountain Bike, Gran Fondo, Gravel Grinders) you will be provided a race number place card to affix to your handle bars with ties provided by the event organizer. Some events may require you pin a number on and have a handle bar mounted place card.

Time Trial

A single number should be placed, low and centered on the back of the rider’s jersey.

Road Race & Criterium

Numbers should be placed so as to be seen from the sides by the officials and the photo-finish camera.

Juniors raceday2


Arrive with enough time to warm up before your event. This could involve a short ride off the course, using a bike trainer, or pre-riding the course as is done in a Cyclocross or Mountain Bike race. Make sure to be back with time to line up before the start.


Before the start check to see your hydration bottles/systems are full and any race nutrition is ready to go – snacks, bars, gels, etc. Some races include a “Feed Zone” where parents, volunteers, coaches or your teammates can pass water and other food to you. Understand the Feed Zone is the ONLY area on the course where you can receive this kind of assistance. Remember to ride slowly and carefully in and out of the Feed Zone – rushed riders who are not paying attention to the activity happening around them can cause problems for other riders which could result in an accident. And, make sure you’re drinking enough fluids – it will lead to a better performance and better experience.

Juniors raceday3


Sometimes things will not go as planned during a race. Mechanical issues, a flat tire, “bonking” due to lack of proper fueling or preparation, and a crash can all impact your race. No race day is perfect and absolutely everyone makes mistakes. The best riders take stock of what happened on race day, learn from it, and plan their next event. The more you race, the better you will become, so stick with it, embrace the good with the bad and remember racing is supposed to be FUN!