I’ve been researching race day tips for triathlons ever since I bought my first bike late last spring so that I’d be able to be as prepared as possible. I was well prepped for the two I did last year but I stumbled onto a great list of race day tips yesterday while cruising around the web before my late afternoon Friday nap.
Knowing how I am, the biggest tip I’ll need down in Ohio is simply relax, take a deep breath and enjoy the journey. I have a tendency to get too quick through transitions and can forget something that’s laid out right in front of me. That notwithstanding, I’m still a Tri Noob so I don’t want to forget anything important which is why I do the research. The linked article gives a lot more than the standard “10 Things Every Triathlete Should Know” (or do) blog posts. It’s quite comprehensive and even has a few embedded video demonstrations.
Items such as:
Organize your gear: Lay everything out and go through your checklist. Then put related items—swim, bike, run and special needs—in a separate bag for easier sorting.
- Swim/morning bag. What you need for the swim is in this one; put any extra clothing you will wear in the morning in it, too.
- Bike gear bag.
- Bike special needs bag. This is what you’ll want out on the course for lube, food or drink.
- Run gear bag.
- Run special needs bag.
Set Up Your Gear for T1 and T2
- Space is limited. Bring only what is necessary.
- Lay your items on an open towel so you can stand on it and wipe your feet clean and dry while putting on your helmet.
- Open the straps on your cycling shoes.
- Clothing and socks don’t go well onto wet bodies, so roll your socks down to the toes to put them on easier. Do the same with sleeves or other clothing you might put on.
- Set the socks in your shoes.
- Attach the race number to the bike frame, helmet and the clothing you’ll be wearing for the bike and/or run. Don’t fold or cut it—you could get a penalty.
Tip: Use a race belt , which is an elastic belt with toggles to attach race numbers. It’s quick to put on and good for both the bike and run (plus, you don’t have to mess with safety pins). Wear it so the number is visible in back for the bike, and then rotate it to the front for the run.
- Place your helmet with straps out and upside down on the aero bars.
- Put your sunglasses into the helmet with arms open so you can put the glasses on first, then the helmet.
- Have a water bottle for rinsing your feet after the swim; you may want some sips during the transition, too.
- If using a hydration belt, have the bottles filled and any energy food loaded.
- If the weather if questionable, cover the gear with plastic.
Tip: Use a 5-gallon bucket as your transition bag—you can turn it upside down and use it as a stool for changing shoes.
Read the whole thing, it’s quite thorough.
Did you know that only 25% of the aerodynamic drag on a bike is actually attributable to the bike? That would make the other 75% me. That doesn’t sound too crazy…
“Most people don’t realize that a nonaero helmet creates four times the drag of a nonaero wheelset. So you can spend two thousand dollars on a wheelset, or spend two hundred on a helmet and be faster. How you put your race number on matters more than having an aero wheel; today, we glued on our numbers to get them to fit flatter. Then there’s water bottle placement: On a round-tubed frame, having a bottle on your seat tube is more aerodynamic than not having one at all, and it’s much more aero than putting it on the down tube. And wearing gloves in a time trial will slow you down more than using a nonaero front wheel”.
Also, because I’ll be using a road bike in my 70.3 in September, you can cheat the seat tube angle on a road bike with a special seat post (that can get you to the magic 78 degree angle to get your opened hips almost over the bottom bracket). And they come in Aluminum or Carbon – the aluminum is less than $100.
While cruising around yesterday, I stumbled on this great image that shows the geometry difference between a road bike and a triathlon bike:
Happy training day. May your Saturday be productive, healthy, happy and injury free. And remember: If it was easy, anyone could do it. More importantly, don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.