International Race Travel: The Good, The Bad & The Lessons Learned
I have been a Sherpa (basically a backup for a friend racing) internationally, so when given the opportunity to travel to Denmark for a race, I thought family trip!
Let’s do this. Sounds great six months out. I book our hotel. Parents, husband, and son on board -- great. Three months out a close family member gets sick. Will we still go? Not really important.
Your dog dies. Will we go? Still, not really important. You are semi-training. You are thinking okay maybe I’ll go, maybe I won’t. Your family member is getting better. You decide to get two new puppies because obviously, three would be excessive. Okay, two weeks to go. We are going. Let’s get airfare.
First lesson, book Tri-bike transport early. I did not and they sold out. Okay, borrow a bike bag- I’m back on track. The bike bag was for a road bike. Okay, no tri bike, it’s cool.
Next lesson, call the bike shop early. Your favorite mechanic might be on vacation. Okay, he is awesome, he is going to fit me in before he leaves. Back on track. The bike bag is giant…but it has wheels, still on track.
Pack your bags. Wow, triathlon has a lot of stuff. Go online and look at a triathlon checklist. Obviously, this check list is for someone driving...but still, I don’t have half of this stuff. I am not going to have half of this like ever. Okay, go back online and research more. Some of the info is good, like don’t bring CO2 cartridges on the plane because they will blow up (OMG!).
All right you are packed. Get to the airport, pay a million dollars for bags. Hope and pray your bike makes it. While everyone else is sleeping on the plane, think about what you are going to do if the bike doesn’t make it.
We make it!
The first night we stay in Copenhagen, wow this isn’t bad. Next day we are going to get up and take a train to Fyn. Okay, read the race literature. Buy a ticket for the bike and get told by ticket salesman that they might not let you on the train with the bike as it is up to the train staff if they allow bikes.
Okay...back to no bike visions. Spend the next two hours on train worrying that I’m going to be thrown off the train in the middle of Denmark.
Arrive at the train station. The hotel staff said we could walk to the hotel. It’s 4.5 miles. Okay, next lesson check how far the hotel is. Get in a cab. Okay, cabs in Denmark don’t allow five people. Lesson learned, get two cabs. Check into the hotel, it’s hot and sunny. The hotel doesn’t have air conditioning. Oh boy! Another lesson learned.
Finally, go to race expo check-in. Find out there will be jellyfish in the swim and a lot of them. Okay, there is a new thing to worry about. My mom goes crazy and makes us go to a thousand stores for Vaseline and vinegar (evidently after I get stung and before I get on my bike I’m going to want to take a bath in vinegar- but at this point if it makes her happy let’s just walk the ten miles for it).
Everything goes fine- I swim through lots of jellyfish but I don’t get stung. I bike in the Denmark wind (hello windmills). I love the adventure. After all of my lessons learned, I loved it! I highly recommend traveling and seeing the world triathlon style. Trust me it’s great!! And score, my son was in Europe for the first time ever.
Triathlon has taken me to a lot of great places and I can’t wait until the next stop on my journey.
Written by Valerie Bergman, Siren Luminary
Follow Valerie on Instagram! @vberg5791
If you liked this post, make sure to check out Travel Tips for a Stress Free Race