Pre Race Gear Check
By Coach Brendon
nothing worse than getting half way through the bike leg of a triathlon to
find your front changer coming loose and jamming your chain so that you
can't pedal anymore. Or putting on your goggles on the start line to find
the nose bridge break. Planning and checking all your equipment could be
the difference between reaching your goal and dreaming about what might
have been. Put together an essential equipment list.
For an Olympic distance triathlon you could pack the following:
Running Training Shoes
Track Suit, Gloves, Beanie
Swim Cords (for cold days)
Drink (Sports Drink)
Pre race food if required
Swim suit and Race Top or race clothing you will wear under your
Race number belt with race number
Hair Brush, Blow dryer and Generator
Your Bike with Race Wheels
Drink Bottle with Sports Drink
Food for the ride
Drink Bottle for a quick drink
things you might like to take are 'post race' food and drink - how often
do you wish there was something other than sausages and sports drink?
Don't forget to pack sun screen if you are likely to be exposed to
moderate UV, the last thing you want after a hard race is sunburn on top
of the muscular aches and pains you may have! The ever handy plastic
shopping bags are extremely useful for wet clothes and also for getting
your wetsuit on so if you want to keep your gear dry, pack 3 or 4 of
these. And lastly, don't forget to take a change of clothing for after the
race as there's nothing worse than having to walk around and travel home
in your smelly race gear.
Think about all the "what if's"
the gear that you may need in extreme circumstances - in this I would list
things like spare wheels and backup equipment. What if the coldest day
every recorded hits town? What if it's really windy? What if it rains?
What if the local road crew digs up a 2km stretch of the road? What if it
hails? What if there is a frost? What if the swim is cancelled and
replaced by a run? What if the start is delayed by 60 min? You get the
a list to get you started for the "what if's":
cold "what if's"
hot "what if's"
Mechanical "what if's"
Spare Parts "what if's"
A cuddly teddy bear
Alternative racing clothes
drink bottle (for a hot day) Additional sweat proof and water
Alternative racing clothes
Set - have a full set (4,5 &6mm are essential)
Multi Tool - get a mountain bike 14 piece tool
Chain Oil (what if it rains on the day before?)
Spare folding tire
Spare Spokes (if going overseas)
Spare Bottle Cage
Quality frame mount pump and pressure measure or Foot Pump with Gauge.
essential to at least have some basic repair tools when going to a race -
also a very good idea to have some idea how to use them for certain
repairs!! Even if you don't know how to use one of the tools having them
you are more likely to be able to find someone who does and can fix it for
you, using your tools.
Check your equipment
system that you can use at all races. I recommend that you start with the
equipment that you will use first in the race and work through to the
equipment that you will use last.
goggles, check that the strap and nose bridge are not going to break on
the start line or during the swim, check that the seals have not perished.
If the lens is scratched consider a new pair for racing and keep the old
pair for the pool.
wetsuit for potential tears, check the seams are not frayed and likely to
split, if so get it fixed in enough time. Also look for holes and cuts,
these can be glued and stitched to prevent water entering the suit and to
make the suit streamlined.
Bike. There is a lot to check here so if you don't know what to do, get
down to your local bike store (and try to learn). Nothing is worse than
athletes arriving at the pre race inspection needing a new frame or
another wheel for safety. A bike store can teach you how to check a bike
for safety. Inspect the frame for dents and cracks at the joins - a key
place is the head tube welds and the welds at the bottom bracket. Check
your tires for cuts that go through the rubber and have sliced the
underlying canvas - replace tires like this. Check the side walls of the
tire, any cuts through the canvas indicate that the tire needs replacing.
Check that the wheels are true by spinning them. Check that each spoke is
tight, check the rim spoke junction - if the junction is cracked replace
the wheel. Check the hub runs smoothly by spinning the wheel in your
hands; check that the cluster can spin freely on the rear wheel and that
it does not have any excessive sideways play. Check tubular tires are
glued on firmly. Check the chain for tight links and check that the cranks
and bottom bracket are tight and can spin freely, check the pedals are
attached and spin smoothly, check the cleats on the shoes are fixed
firmly, have all screws and are not worn excessively. Check all bolts but
especially those on the handlebar stem and seat post if these break they
can cause major injuries. The financial cost is minimal for these so if in
any doubt have them replaced, I would recommend replacing stem bolts every
2 years. Check gear and brake cables can move freely through the housing
and are not frayed especially at the ends.
you are traveling by air to a race, get your bike assembled as soon as you
can on arrival. Check that nothing has been crushed or broken during the
travel, it happens all the time and the only defense is good packing. I
recommend that athletes use a fork packing spacer that bike stores can
supply or an old hub to protect the fork and rear stays.
helmet, the plastic shell needs to be firmly affixed to the foam and the
strap should not be frayed and needs to fit firmly. Check that there are
no cracks or dents as these will likely not pass in a pre race check.
running shoes. Look to see that they are not worn out of alignment or that
the midsole is crushed. Also check that the elastic laces or the laces and
toggles are working well. Check that they are washed clean and dry.