3. Racing Abroad: The Details
This is the third in the series of four blog articles on traveling to an international World Championship event or abroad to any other event. This article follows on from
The following prompts will help you with planning either where you will stay or what you should try and do on arrival in a new race location. These can be considered before committing to a location on before arriving.
Plan out where you can get your evening meals, and lunch/breakfast if it is not included in your accommodation. Work out where you will have dinner the night before the race, and book it before it is filled up by a few thousand other triathletes! If you are in a location with a specific food speciality, look for where you can get food you are accustomed to – don’t go for the local cuisine if it is not something your normally have, stick with the standard pasta beforehand! (Go crazy afterwards!) Also consider your pre race breakfast and how you will get it – room service, a super market or other means.
Borrowing an electric bike however may be frowned upon...
Find a local bike shop. Yes the expo will have stuff, but if you arrive early enough, it is worth getting to know the local bike mechanic. They will let you use things like their stand to prep your bike, give local advice on where to do training rides and you can also pick up things like gas canisters. Know where it is beforehand- if there is anything wrong with your bike on arrival, you know where to go!
Where are you going to swim, what are the opening times, what about the swim venue, can you get in before the race? All these are questions you should find out before you get there. Or at the very least you can have a list of things to ask a local contact (usually the bike shop is a good place to start!). It is worth getting to know the course, but there could be some other more interesting areas or places to see in the nearby neighbourhood which you can ride to. Amongst your race preparation it is worth actually seeing the new country you have visited – just don’t get caught up in doing too much.
Has your hotel got a pool that you can use to train in?
It is a new location. Make sure you are completely happy with what is happening on race morning. How are you getting to transition, how are you getting back, is it a split transition? Are you dropping off bags somewhere –where? What time is the hotel breakfast will you be able to go? All this needs to be considered either before arriving or when you arrive for the race. It is always worth going to the briefing (they are mandatory) as the race organisers will explain any last minute changes.
Do you have friends and family coming? If you do, give them a head start with the organisation of what is happening on race day. Where should they stand, what are your approximate timings? Do you want them to help spot other competitors and give you information? I personally always ask one person to give me some technical information which will refocus
my mind on what I need to be doing. This will help them, but it will also help you as you will look forward to seeing them on the course and they will feel more part of what is happening and become a lot more involved.
Try and arrange some time to visit the place you are racing in. It is very cool to race around the world, but it is no fun if all you see when travelling around the world is a bit of tarmac and all you can comment on the water purity of a few lakes. Have a look around as you ride. Visit some of the touristy places and get a feel for the location you are staying in. You may not go back, but you will certainly enjoy fond memories of a location and a great race just by looking up.
I love racing, but I also see racing as an excuse to travel around the world. It is one of my favourite reasons for doing triathlon. I look back at races in Thailand, the US, France and South Africa with very fond memories, but what I like most is that I end up enjoying spending time with other like-minded people.
Enjoy your next race abroad and I hope I have made your planning a little easier!