Welcome to the world of triathlon. Where life is divided into thirds. Swimming, riding and running. But let’s face it, whether you are coming from a swimming or running background, triathlon quickly becomes all about the bike. We fall in love with our bikes, trendy cycling kits and soon become aware of sock style and trends (even though we promised we’d never be like that). And then everything becomes matchy-matchy (that’s a story for another day!). Though once the training is all done, we have to smoosh the triad together to form a whole; the actual triathlon, the reason we have been training (all Winter!).
Recently on our home turf, we hosted the inaugural Yeppoon Triathlon Festival. The festival consisted of a 5km Fun Run, Cycling Criterium Race, Ocean Swim, Kids Aquathlon, Sprint Distance Triathlon and the Olympic/Standard Distance Triathlon. It brought first timers, beginners, and more experienced athletes together in one place for a fun filled active weekend of racing (or participating).
While talking to some friends who were first timers, I remembered how confusing participating in races (triathlon in this case) can be, especially organising your bike. The bike needs to be prepped, stickers stuck on, and bike racked in a certain way.
The hard work is done. You have trained tirelessly throughout Winter and now it’s time for the fun part. Let’s race! But first… Just like getting ready for a night of dancing on the town, theres a bit of maintenance to do first…
A fast bike is a clean bike. Check out Grease Lightning, and remember that new bike feeling. You will be the envy of the transition area, while your rear cassette glistens in the first rays of sun for the day.
Every girl knows that a sexy pair of heels will make any dress look a million bucks. They might not let you walk any where any faster than normal, but sometimes it’s only appearance that counts. Now lets add in a ‘w’ to heels. And change those wheels and make that bike look expensive and fast. Sometimes even just changing your tyres will make you roll a little bit faster. I train on heavy puncture proof tyres and love any chance I can to switch them over to something faster.
Check your saddle bag and make sure that all your gear is ready to go. A refresher on how to change your tyre is also a good idea, before you go into any cycling event. Check out A Wheelie Deflating Topic for a list of gear for your saddle bag, and how to change a tyre. And pray that you don’t need either. Better safe than sorry though.
Let’s get stuck
Let’s face the music here folks, sticking on bike stickers sucks. When you pick up your race pack there will be a sticker page that looks similar to this (see photo below):
Some races require you to rack your bike into transition the day before the event. You will have to put your bike stickers on prior to entering the transition area. This is to ensure that your bike can be identified by you and others as your bike for security reasons. You don’t want your bike to be stolen.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Warning: If you are a perfectionist, drop your standards low, low, low.
Fact: It doesn’t matter how hard you try. Its going to end badly.
Remove sticker from the page and try not to get it stuck to itself or you just yet. If you have long hair and its windy, you might want to tie it up!
Position the sticker evenly on the seat post before folding it back. Make sure that the angle that you stick your sticker is such that it wont end up touching your tyre. Otherwise you are going to have an annoying noise following you where ever you go!
The hard part. Getting the sticker to evenly fold onto itself. Just line it up and go for it. Perhaps practice makes perfect, who knows? If you know a secret, let me in on it!!!
Perfectly imperfect. If it lines up, hoorah you are amazing! If it doesn’t, don’t get caught up on it!!!! I know some people who cut theirs to make them even and not over lapping. I’m not overly OCD when it comes to things like that, though having said that you might have realised that my finger nails perfectly match my bike colour…
By law we are required to wear helmets at all times to keep our noggins safe and sound while we ride around on our bikes. In triathlon races we are required (if they are provided) to place the sticker on the helmet. The downside of needing to put the number on your helmet is that it can stop ventilation to your head. Keeping your noggin warmer than you might like. So keep air ventilation in mind when placing your sticker on your helmet.
Your steed is sparkling, your stickers are stuck on with expert precision. It is now time to rack it. If your event requires you to rack your bike the day before the event, it is best to hang your bike from its handle bars.
On race day, I prefer to hang my bike from the seat. It is easier to get her down and roll out, not having to swing the bike around. Though at the end of the day it comes down to preference.
Be mindful of those around you when setting up your area. Keep it neat and on one side of your bike. And remember to have a look around you for familiar faces. Recently at the Sunny Coast 70.3 I was setting up my gear in the morning, and the person racked next to me asked if he could borrow my pump. I said yes and passed it to him. Then we realised that we were actually friends and knew each-other. Small world. Three thousand competitors and the person racked next to you, is a friend. Hilarious.
Where to put your shoes and gear, what nutrition you will take, and how you will carry it. You can get food bags for your bike. And also stick gels onto your bike with electrical tape. While you are still in transition, get familiar with the layout; where swim/bike/run entry and exits are. Some things we can talk about later…
What is done, is done. What is not done, is not done. There is no need to stress. Just before the race kick back and relax. Breathe. And enjoy. Some people like to listen to music. I enjoy a coffee, talking to people around me, and have a bit of a laugh.
Swim faster than the fishes, bike faster than the postie being chased by a magpie, and run like the wind! Happy training girls xxx