Waking up in your own bed and getting ready for a race in the comfort of your own home feels great. But with so many beautiful and challenging courses on this planet, you're bound to end up traveling for at least one or two! If you get a chance to go to Kona, what are you going to do, say no? Here's a list of tips when traveling, particularly if you have to get on a plane.
Planning is EVERYTHING
• Do your research before you go. Find a restaurant that serves your favorite pre-race dinner or a hotel with a kitchen so you can prepare it yourself.
• If you are traveling into a different time zone, consider arriving a few days early (if possible) to adjust to the time difference. Jet lag is the worst!
• Make a list! Make lots of lists! Start your list early and go over it multiple times. It may be helpful to break it down into categories (swim, bike, run, carry-on).
• Take pictures of your bike (for insurance purposes and to document seat height, etc before dismantling).
• Lay everything out before you pack and go through the race in your head. (Okay, I'm getting on my bike, do I have my gels/dry socks/helmet?)
Getting Your Bike There
Getting your bike to your destination (safely) can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of traveling for a race. But there are plenty of options.
• Break down your bike and ship it to your destination ahead of time.
• Check it as luggage when you get to the airport. If you go this route there are three different ways to pack your ride.
1. Cardboard box: The most cost-effective option, this can work if you take extra care with packing. Don't be stingy with that bubble wrap! Just be aware of inclement weather as cardboard is not waterproof.
2. Padded/soft bag: Relatively light-weight, you can find one for around a couple hundred dollars. The extra investment should provide your bike with sufficient protection. Just make sure your aero bars aren't sticking out!
3. Hardshell case: These can cost upwards of $1000 and can weigh a lot too. But that could be worth it for the peace of mind!
• If none of these options work, there are also transportation companies who will come pick up your bike and have it waiting for you!
Pack with a Purpose
• Put all of your race day essentials in your carry-on. Just in case!
• Plan on purchasing CO2 cartridges when you arrive. That way you don't have to worry about bringing them through the airport.
• To avoid any unwanted damage, try this foolproof way of packing your wet-suit (Mackenzie Lobby, Active.com)
1. Turn the wetsuit inside out.
2. Place a thick towel down on the floor and put the wetsuit on top of it.
3. Cross the arms of the suit together and fold the suit in half so the head is on top of the feet.
4. Starting at the top, carefully roll the suit so it looks like a jelly roll.
• Go through all of your race day gear to make sure nothing was damaged during the flight.
• Purchase any last minute items.
• Don't be afraid to ask questions once you get there. The hotel concierge should have a list of running paths near the facility.
• Use a sleep mask to help with jet lag and make sure to drink plenty of water.
• Relax and get ready to race!
How often do you travel for a race? What are your favorite tips? Tell us in the comments below!
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The following sources were utilized in this article:
de Neef, Matt. "Flying with your bike: tips from a baggage handler". https://cyclingtips.com/2016/06/flying-with-your-bike-tips-from-a-baggage-handler/. October 2017.
Lobby, Mackenzie. "Complete Checklist for Traveling Triathletes". https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/complete-checklist-for-traveling-triathletes?page=2. October 2017.