Many races now offer online registration. They almost all offer mail-in registration as well. At any rate, for new racers, it is highly recommended to pre-register for the event. Your category may be sold out by the time you get there!
When you arrive at the race venue, you’ll want to find the Registration or Check-in tables. Here, you’ll need to fill out any liability release forms (if you didn’t during the pre-registration process) and check-in with the organizer. He/she will take any money you owe them, give you your race number, and check your name off their list.
What to Bring
In general, the more you bring, the better prepared you are in the event of an emergency. For instance, during warm-ups at one race, I had my rear derailleur cable snap on me. Fortunately, I had a spare in my toolkit. Ten minutes later, I was back in business and in the race.
Many criteriums allow spare wheels. These are used if you get a flat, broken spoke, or some other emergency. You stop at the wheel pit, take out your old wheel, and put in the spare. Provided the race is not in the last 5-laps, the officials will let you get back into the race when the pack comes around again.
The following lists may not be the cat’s meow, but hopefully, they’ll at least get you thinking.
These are pretty much the absolute minimums at a race:
- Jersey, shoes & shorts
- Fluids & water bottle
- Food (if a long event)
- Checkbook (if you haven’t pre-reg’d)
Other items you may want to bring:
- Floor pump
- Second set of wheels
- Cool weather gear
- Rainy weather gear (I always have my rain cape in my duffle bag)
Finally, here are some other items that usually are not important, but could be:
- Extra fluids & food
- Extra water bottles
- 2nd set of clothes (jersey & shorts)
- Extra cleats for shoes
- Extra cables for brakes & derailleurs
- Anything else that has to do with the functioning of your bike.