While highly trained cyclists taper for as long as three weeks before a race, for most weekend warriors, one week of rest is sufficient.
Take It Easy
What should you do in that last week? Cut your mileage in half. If you're prepping for a century, keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone (65-75% of your maximum heart rate) on your rides. And, maintain a pace that quickens your breathing but still allows conversation.
Racers: Test Your Legs
If your event is a criterium, road race, or mountain-bike race, add three to four 10-second sprints one day midweek to keep your muscles tuned and used to hard efforts. Take several minutes rest between each sprint. The last day before the event, ride very easy for no more than forty minutes.
Ready, Set, Go
On the big day, warm up easy for twenty to thirty minutes before your event (break a good sweat and elevate your heart rate) and you'll find yourself charged up and ready to go. Have a great ride!