In one of my past articles, I wrote about being a race volunteer. I just finished being a volunteer at a race in which I have not missed racing or being a volunteer in for the last four years. This year, as always, I had a great experience being a volunteer, but used the time to educate myself on anything that could allow me to have a better race or pass something on to the readers at BT.Well, let me start with packet pickup!
Don’t forget to bring a picture I.D. and your U.S.A.T. membership card. I saw countless people stand in line for a while then get to the front of the line only to be told that they needed their picture I.D. and U.S.A.T. card. Needless to say, these are simple things, but they caused the registration process to be lengthier than it should have been.Race day check in!
Usually, as you make your way to set up your transition area, there will be officials checking to make sure you have your helmet and that your handle bar ends are plugged correctly. If you don’t have an approved helmet you will not be able to race. This is a rule that is taken seriously and don’t think that you will get any sympathy if you show up with a helmet that is not approved or is in unsafe condition. Now your next question is why is it such a bid deal to have your bar ends plugged? This is just a safety issue and you should make sure that you don’t have a problem with this. Putting tape over bar ends will not suffice in most, if not all cases. How does this happen? Well, many times it is that we have swapped out handlebars and we forgot to put the plugs back in or one could have just worked its way loose. Whatever the case, check on this small item so it want cause you a new problem.On to the swim!
Don’t assume that the person you are swimming behind is on course. It happens nearly every race. Someone is drafting off of another swimmer and that person goes off course followed closely by their new found drafting buddy. The shortest distance between point A and B is usually a straight line. If you follow someone off the course, you have just automatically lengthened the course for yourself. Remember to site about every ten strokes and this should help keep you from getting to far off course.On to the bike!
Chances are, when you come out of the water you are going to be a little wobbly. This, for some racers, can last up to several miles into the bike course. When you get to the bike mounting area, make sure that you take your time getting on the bike. There is nothing more embarrassing than getting on the bike and just falling over as you clip in - especially if this is your first tri. Slow down and take your time. Picking up a new patch of asphalt rash getting on your bike is no way to start the bike leg. Pay attention on the bike course. Although any defects in the course are usually marked, stay alert for any changing conditions. Any lapse in concentration can result in a new patch of road rash.Last, but not least, the good old run!
I had to stop and laugh as a competitor left the transition area in an almost an all-out sprint. You have made it to the final leg of the race by being somewhat smart with your race plan. Don’t lose control of your ability to think by trying sprint the entire run. I know that sometimes we have less oxygen going to our brain by the time we get to the run, but try to have enough in reserve to at least not blow your entire race in the first half mile of the run.Most of the mistakes that I observed were from people just being in too big of a hurry or just plain not thinking about what was going on. Have I made some of these mistakes before? Sure! I walked away thankful that I was reminded about some of the small things that we don’t think about until we see them at the race. Maybe this article will remind you to take care of - or rethink your race before race day and you won’t hear “Will number 547 report to your bike?”We fail to see that we can control our own destiny; make ourselves do whatever is possible; make ourselves become whatever we long to be. - Orison Swett Marden
"All of us get knocked down, but it's resiliency that really matters. All of us do well when things are going well, but the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure." ---Roger Staubach
Copyright When Big Boys Tri 2004
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