Sports are notoriously superstitious. There are many variables you can control in terms of training and creating a race plan, but when you get out there on race day there are many, many things you cannot control. Bad luck can ruin your day. So it makes sense that to do things to try and increase good luck.
So, what about using new kit on race day?
For me? Never. Never ever. I don't even like using kit that I've only worn once, and will only do so if I have to (e.g. a skinsuit for a TT I did, I had to wear the skinsuit on my commute to work to avoid it being the first time).
I used to save pieces of new kit for important races (makes me shudder thinking about it now), thinking it'd give me a psychological edge like wearing a new suit to a job interview can. But the results were always bad or disastrous:
- 2 of the 4 times I've been pulled from a race have been wearing new jersey and bibs and I simply was unable to keep up with the pace.
- When I broke my collarbone I was was wearing new jersey and bibs.
- I was wearing new socks when I crashed in the State Criterium Championship and broke my front wheel.
- When I used new tires/tubes in a road race I got a flat.
So, what do I wear to important races now? Kit from that season that I've gotten the best results in so far. Easy peasy, tried and true. I never change a recipe that's working, and only try things out in training or group rides.