“He was a Midwestern boy on his own. She looked at him with those soft eyes, so innocent and blue. He knew right then he was too far from home.” Bob Seger
We’ve travelled to our first out of town tri of the year and our goal is to be relaxed at the start of the race. We’ve come from different backgrounds be it former runner, biker, swimmer, other, and we may have extensive experience in our sport but now we’re adding two other disciplines – 3 if you count the transitions – which you should.
Our preparation begins weeks before the event. Race entry, lodging, taper (if planned), get bike inspected by local bike shop for whatever we may have overlooked. (Although some feel this both unnecessary and a waste of money, I always have my bike inspected by someone else – another pair of eyes, another pair of hands, and I’ve never had a bike related issue on race day! How do you feel when passing another athlete a mile into the bike portion of the local race when he/she is at the side of the road addressing some tire or chain issue that might have been preventable? Please, learn from their misfortune.
One week ahead, start piling the items you’ll need in a heap in your bedroom – using your checklist and review the list a couple times before leaving the house. Practice your transitions. Practice them again, even if you feel foolish in your wetsuit in your front yard, repetition is an invaluable friend on race day.
The day before the race is an ideal time, particularly at the same time of day as the race to swim a couple hundred on the planned race course (with a buddy), ride easily along the bike portion, get a feel for the area so it’s not new with the rising sun. Think about the conditions, the sun, wind, etc.
On race day you’re up early, pre-race meal (previously practiced before hard workouts) and an early arrival at the race for a short bike and short run before body marking and bike inspection. Check out the competitions equipment, learn something, set up your transition area and then walk through the entrance and exit of T1/T2 so you know it by heart. A warm up swim, final pee, yes, even in a wetsuit, head to the swim starting area and relax. Think about your pre-swim goal, appropriate line up position…you’re prepared for everything. THE GUN! Early adrenaline, relax you’ve got two more sports. 3 if you count the transitions – which you should.