Below we've compiled some best practices for participants and creators.
Tips for participants
- Go for the sprints, climbs, or overall fastest - NOT all three. Pick a strategy and stick to it - better to specialize and finish well than to blow yourself up going for everything.
- Preview the route ahead of time so you know where each segment begins and ends. Also pay attention to the race notes in case the creator listed anything special.
- Download the route to your device. You must follow the route correctly to be considered in the results. After you join a race, you can download the route's GPX file and then upload it to your Garmin, Wahoo, or other bike computer.
- Warm up before starting the route so you're ready to go full gas when you're on the clock.
- Press start on your GPS-tracker. Duh, but it happens. Charge it the night before, and don't stop recording during your activity!
- Consider the environment when deciding when to go for it. Which way is the wind blowing? How bad is traffic? Make sure the environment will be working with you and not against you before you set off for a hard effort.
- Consider GPS accuracy. Most modern GPS head units are accurate to 5 to 10 meters a majority of the time. Just to be safe, go a couple seconds beyond the finish in case the GPS is off by a bit.
- Fuel appropriately. Make sure to bring enough fluids, electrolytes, energy bars, and whatever else you may need with you...and use them! Nothing kills the backhalf of a strong effort quite like bonking or dehydration.
- Safety first. Always wear a helmet, stay hydrated, and keep yourself out of harm's way! There's no pride in having the fastest time if you end up in the hospital. Protect yourself (and your bike!) by following these safety recommendations. Hightlights: ride during daytime hours, be on the lookout for drivers or pedestrians who may not see you, and ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.
- Wear a helmet. Important enough that we mention it again. You must wear a helmet to be included in the results.
- Obey all traffic laws. Besides protecting yourself from potential legal consequences, it's considered cheating to violate traffic laws including, but not limited to, running stop signs and stop lights, going the wrong way, riding on side walks, and not yielding right of way to pedestrians. Read up on bicycle and traffic laws in your area before heading out.
Tips for creators
- Focus on quality over quantity when adding sprints and climbs. A good rule of thumb is no more than one sprint and climb per 20 miles and no more than three per stage. The grand tours sometimes feature five or more categorized climbs in a stage, but remember that's spread over 100 miles or more - and they're pros! A couple well-selected sprints and climbs will be make your stage one to remember.
- Take advantage of landmarks. An obvious start and end location will make it easier for participants to know when to push and when to ease up. The same advice applies when designing sprints and climbs.
- Place start and end markers in open areas. GPS accuracy is best when there's nothing between the tracker and the sky - try to avoid starting and ending routes, sprints, and climbs in deep canyons, next to tall buildings, in thick tree cover, and other places where the signal may be blocked.
- Share a link to your event on socials. Make sure potential racers know your race is happening!
- Schedule your event at least a week in advance, that way there's ample time for word to spread about your event.
- Give your participants an appropriate window to complete the stage. Balance here is key - go long enough to give some flexibility but not so long that racers lose interest waiting to see results. When in doubt, go with one week.
- Mark areas with bad traffic, stoplights, or stop signs as "neutral". Though racers know to obey traffic laws, it'll encourage fair competition to remove areas with lots of stopping and going from the total time. You can also use the neutral mark to designate a water refill spot (be sure to mention that in your race description!).