We all know that triathlon forces you to be organized. With the first race of the season upon us I thought I would share with you some of the things I do to prepare that have little to do with training but that will most certainly impact my race day. Equipment can sometimes be overwhelming and this year I have felt that more than ever. After taking a year off from racing and selling my bike at the end of the last year I was a lot like any of you just starting the sport. I had to order a new bike which I know from experience takes time. It was actually here earlier than I anticipated (Thank to Emerald City Bikes). After that initial purchase you would think I would be all set but then I needed a new seat (Thanks Karel at TriMarni Coaching), then race wheels because the ones I had were no longer compatible (Thanks to Greenville Cycling Center). New race wheels don't come with tires so I needed to order those too (Great deals to be had and points to be earned at Bike Tires Direct). I needed tires (tubular) and tape, valve extenders and carbon break pads, just some of the complications of using race wheels. I have been doing all this for years but the enormity of all these purchases and making sure I have everything organized for the race made me realize how daunting this must be for those of you who have never done it before. While all these things are the big things there are just as many little things that I like to have with me at a race. I have a very long detailed list for those of you interested (e-mail me to request) but at the top of my list are:
My own personal Sharpie Marker
A copy of your driver's license and USAT membership card in my transition bag
(these are to tape your number to your bike frame so it isn't flapping around)
Running shoes with quick lock laces for racing
Race goggles that always stay in my transition bag
Extra socks always in my bag...just in case
Body Glide stick that stays in bag
Extra gels etc. for the days when I forget something
Extra visor that always stays in the bag too.
Last but not least I have a small bag with shampoo, soap, deodorant and a small towel so if the opportunity for a shower presents itself I can get cleaned up after the race. This comes in particularly handy at Parris Island since they have a big co-ed shower area.
Yes, I have a lot more little things with me, like bike tools, spare tires, valve extenders etc. All the things you might not be able to find but that can make or break your race.
Before going to a race I like to have race wheels on my bike at least a week ahead of time which allows me to ride them a few times to make sure the derailleur doesn't need an extra adjustment, or the brakes need to be opened up to allow for race wheels. I clean my bike, lube my chain and always CHECK your cleats on your bike shoes to make sure all the screws are tight and the cleat itself is in good condition. Cleats usually need to be replaced once a year.
Planning ahead when it comes to the things you need to have taken care of BEFORE a race is key to being able to go to your race relaxed and able to focus on simply racing versus worrying about your equipment.
*Want an extremely comprehensive list of everything you need for racing and training? Check out world famous DCRainMakers blog but specifically