Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Logistics

It's Tuesday and that means I'm linking up with the Tri Talk Tuesday ladies once again.  When I saw the topic for this weeks post, I HAD to jump in.  This week's topic is Race Day Logistics.  Most of the races that I've done have been local to me but I've done a few destination races as well (like this year's 70.3) and adding long distance travel to the mix can make things interesting to say the least.

Here are my 6 tips for destination race logistics:

1) So you've signed up for a destination race, now what?  Well, if you're like me, you've done a bit of research into the course before hitting the ENTER button.  If not, well then that should be your first order of business.  How you train for said race will be partly be determined by the type of course you're racing on.  Does the bike portion go through mountains?  If so, you'll need to get some good climbing & descending work in.  Swimming in the ocean?  You might want to get used to swimming without a wetsuit.  You see where I'm going with this, right?  Part of having a successful race is being prepared for the course you're racing on.  Nothing prepares you as much as being able to train on the course but that's not always feasible so if you're jetting off to some far flung destination to race, give yourself time in the days leading up to the race to either drive or ride some or all of the course (or at the very least the parts that scare you the most, ha ha).  I did that in Luxembourg and it helped immensely.

Bike Course Scout!
 2)  If you're traveling to a different time zone, give yourself a few days to adjust and get back on to a normal schedule.  A friend once told me that you need 1 day for every hour of time difference.  I didn't find that to be the case the first time I went to Europe but, this time around, I'd say that it definitely took me at least 3 days before I felt like I was on a regular sleep schedule.  Giving yourself those few extra days will also give you time to get your bearings.  Which brings me to my next point.

3)  Familiarize yourself with the race venue and it's surroundings.  If you're staying nearby, great.  If you're staying a bit further away and have to drive in, figure out how long the drive is.  Factor in traffic if necessary.  You may also have to figure out parking as you likely won't be able to park close to the race venue.  In Luxembourg they recommended parking in certain lots and offered a shuttle service for athletes to and from the race venue.

4)  Find out where the local bike shops are.  If you're flying to a race, you're going to have to dismantle your bike and pack it in a bike box.  Your local bike shop should be able to do that for you but when you arrive, you may need help with assembly.  You will definitely need to get CO2 cartridges because you can't fly with them so plan accordingly.  If you have bike tools, bring them.  My bike shop took my Vectors off when they packed my bike and they can only be put back on with a pedal wrench which we didn't bring.  So we had to find a bike shop and buy one.  While we were there we picked up some CO2 cartridges.

Flying to a race?  Pack your patience.  Hauling all this stuff is stressful.
 5)  When you're packing, put everything you need for the race in your carry on.  I took my Apera bag as my carry on and I was able to fit everything I needed for my race in it.  I had my aero helmet in the main compartment, along with my sunglasses, Real Deal racing kit, Garmin, heart rate strap & socks.  I put my cycling shoes in one of the outer compartments and my running shoes and goggles in the other.  That way if my luggage got lost, I at least had almost everything I needed for race day.  I put my wetsuit and race day nutrition into my bike box so all those items were together.   I'd like to think that the chances of a bike box being lost or left behind are less than that of a suitcase being lost or left behind.  Here's hoping I haven't jinxed myself for the next trip, ha ha.

 6) If it's a big race, you'll get an Athlete's Guide.  Read it.  There will also be a pre-race briefing.  Go to it.  It will give you the opportunity to ask questions and get clear answers.  Not every race is going to be the same.  For example, in Luxembourg the draft zone was 10 meters vs. 7 meters like it is in the US.  I never would have known that if I didn't go to the pre-race meeting because I'm 99.9% sure it wasn't mentioned in the Guide book.

Do you have any tips you'd add to the list?  Head on over to The Tri Girl Chronicles and You Signed Up for What to check out their tips and join in the link up!  The Cupcake Triathlete is on her way back from Lake Placid so she'll be joining back up next week. 


Unknown said...

Never occurred to me that you can't fly with C02 canisters, but that makes complete sense. Man, I'd love to do a destination race that's not in North America. IM 70.3 Sunshine Coast, heck yeah. Put that one on the bucket list, haha.

Unknown said...

What a great topic! My husband and me do travel a lot to race. And it’s so important to plan ahead! Once when we traveled to NY (from Argentina=10-hour flight) for the Gran Fondo NY we forgot the pump! I bought one from Amazon that arrived just in time the day before the race! And I forgot some bike tools in other trips, so now I’ve made a list that I carry in my phone, as well as the order I should follow when assembling my bike. I liked the idea of packing the wetsuit with the bike but weren’t you worry about the bike puncturing the suit? (specially when the case is sometimes opened by the airport's security officers)

Krysten Siba Bishop said...

Oh my goodness! There is so more to think about when you are flying! So many great tips and things to think about!

Abby said...

Wow. Great tips. Tons to think about when flying to a tri.