Pre Race Check – Gold Coast Triathlon 2012

The morning of a race can be hectic and nerve-racking. From checking in to picking up your race bib to making sure your transition area is set up correctly, triathletes have a lot on their minds even before they reach the start line.

Packing for any event can represent a challenge for virtually anyone.  Overseas vacations, or a weekend away at the Coast, requires forethought and planning, especially if you do not want to be left wishing you had something that is probably sitting on the top of your dresser at home.  This feeling of aggravation can frustrate anyone, especially if you are a triathlete who digs down into their bag minutes before hitting the water to find out that they have left their goggles at home, or goes to set up his bike in transition one only to realize his cycling shoes are next to the front door, right where he left them so he would not forget.  You can borrow sunscreen or towels on a holidays, but I seriously doubt if the triathlete next to you will have an extra helmet or pair of shoes for you to use. Thus, organising a clear, detailed packing list that you check and recheck prior to traveling to your event is an absolute requirement.  Just like in your training, ultimate preparation will pay off.

The following lists is what I have packed tonight in preparation to drive down to the Gold Coast Saturday morning to stay overnight for Sundays event.  Having everything I will need to make this triathlon experience a rewarding and successful one.

Items I put in my triathlon bag:

1.Sunscreen, chap-stick: Sunscreen will take care of the forever exposed neck and arms during the ride and run legs. The chapstick will stop dry lips from becoming a needless hindrance after a windy bike ride or salty swim.

2. 2 x Asthma Puffer: Being an asthmatic it’s really important for me to use my asthma puffer before the race and give it to a friend before starting the swim, and from previous experience, I require to use my inhaler before jumping on my bike during the event.

Swim Leg:

 1. Triathlon Suit & Support Bra: I currently wear an ADIDAS two piece swim suit with a LJ Support Bra underneath.
2. Goggles: It would be easier to swim naked pulling a piano than to go without goggles. Check and double-check this.
3. Heart Rate Monitor: I train with a heart monitor, have it with you during the competition. Also, if you are a numbers person, keep that sports watch comfortably attached, just as you would during training. Making the real experience like training only increases your comfort and confidence.
4. Swim Cap: While you may have trained with your favorite cap, you will need to wear the one provided by the race organisers. The color will signify your age group and wave. Cannot swim without it. I will have a Black swim cap this time round.
5. Timing Chip: AH! The most important item of the day, upon registration you will be provided with your timing chip to wear strapped around your ankle for the duration of the race.  As the name states, the timing chip will collect your leg times for the swim, ride and run.  Provide competitors with an overall performance after the event.
Ride Leg:

1. Bike: Make sure the tires are pumped and everything is lubed up and then leave it in the Transition area.

2. Towel: For the transition following the to wipe away any grass on your feet before putting your shoes on.

3. Footware: Unless you are wearing slide-in clips and running sneakers, you will need to pack your shoes. Place them right next to the bike.

4. Hydration: Filling and chilling water bottles for the bike portion and placing them on the bike before the race will save time.

5. Helmet: Snap the helmet on the handlebars of the bike. You will not be allowed to leave the transition zone without the helmet properly snapped to your head.

6. Sunglasses: Absolutely critical on the bike. Put them in your helmet or on the neck on the bike. Forgetting these will hurt.

7. Tools and pumps: Keeping a small bag of bike tools, spare tubes, and a tire pump will help you maintain the bike and repair it as needed. Carrying a tube and pump with you during the race could help you fix that unfortunate flat (I couldn’t be bothered).

8. Computer: Many riders have a computer on board to gauge speed, distance, etc. If you rely on this during training, keep it on the bike and use it to your advantage.

9. Your Number, Race-Belt: You will need to put a number on your bike, a sticker of some kind, and you will have to attach a bib number to your race-belt. If you like wearing a race belt, then snap the number card on there before the race and leave the belt hanging on the handlebars of the bike. You need to have your number present and visible when leaving the transition zone.

Run Leg:

1. Runners: I will already have these on my feet from the ride, you will need to check the laces to make sure they will not snap when you tie them in a hurry. Look inside to get out any small stones or debris that may have gotten into the shoes. You do not want that little bump or chip of something bothering you during the run. Not only will it hurt your foot, but also it will play with you mentally.

2. Socks: I have learnt to run without socks. Normally I would pack a lucky pair. They should be thin and moisture-wicking. Invest in quality socks. Your feet will thank you afterwards.

3. Visor: A long run on a hot day will show you the value of a hat. Keeping the sun from directly hammering your face will let you feel cooler and more energised.

4. Hydration: Yes again, I can’t stress the importance of H2O enough.  I always run with a water bottle in hand. When I get thirsty running drinking water cools me down and also helps when I feel like I’m going to have an asthma attack.

In the end, double-check each piece of equipment you pack and bring, and try to anticipate situations you may encounter. It is always better to be over-prepared than left without.

Mars on Life.