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2010-07-28 10:33 AM


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Subject: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
So, I'm doing my first HIM in a couple of weeks and I was wondering, how do the bike aid stations work?  Do I have to give up my water bottle to get a new one? What kind of bottle is provided and what should it have in it? Do I have to stop at the station or just slow down for a hand off? Once I finish off the aid station bottle do I need to retrun it? Should there be Powerbar/Shotblocks/Gel stuff at the bike aid station? How crowded are these stations usually?  It is a two loop course with two stations on the loop, so I'll get to hit it four times.  I want to carry as little as possible on my bike. Any kind of bike aid station info would be appreciated.  Oh, and it is the Lake Stevens 70.3 if that helps any.


2010-07-28 10:42 AM
in reply to: #3009684

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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
From http://ironmanlakestevens.com/course.php

BIKE COURSE

The 56 mile bike course will be a double loop course that is moderately hilly through some of the most beautiful terrain in the Pacific Northwest.

The bike course will offer 2 bottle exchanges. Each station will offer fresh water bottles, energy bars, energy drink, medical assistance and portable toilet facilities.

The bike course will be clearly marked with directional signs and mile markers at every five miles.

2010-07-28 10:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
rasmussenreg - 2010-07-28 11:33 AM So, I'm doing my first HIM in a couple of weeks and I was wondering, how do the bike aid stations work?  Do I have to give up my water bottle to get a new one? What kind of bottle is provided and what should it have in it? Do I have to stop at the station or just slow down for a hand off? Once I finish off the aid station bottle do I need to retrun it? Should there be Powerbar/Shotblocks/Gel stuff at the bike aid station? How crowded are these stations usually?  It is a two loop course with two stations on the loop, so I'll get to hit it four times.  I want to carry as little as possible on my bike. Any kind of bike aid station info would be appreciated.  Oh, and it is the Lake Stevens 70.3 if that helps any.


At most races, usually hand out the sport bottles with a squeeze cap for both water and sports drink.  The wrappers/foil have already been removed.  One problem with these bottles is that they're usually a little smaller than a regular water bottle, so they can bounce out.  There's a place to toss used bottles at the start and at the end of each aid station.  There's no need to stop, usually.  You may want to practice receiving a bottle from a friend before the race.  You should slow down, though, and if you don't need anything, stay to the left. 
2010-07-28 10:49 AM
in reply to: #3009684

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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
You come up to the bike bottle place. If you have an empty bottle, throw it at the trash can they put on the side of the road prior to the station. Generally you're okay if you're within sight of the station to drop bottles or gu wrappers, etc.

Yell, "Water" or "Gatoraid" or "HEED" whatever you want that they have on the course. One of the people will step forward and the others will back off, generally.

Make eye contact with the one person, especially if more than one step out.

LOOK OUT, there are yellow scrunchies, bottles, water, gatoraid, spit, sweat, blood and everything else on the road for this whole thing and a number of cyclists who seem to want to come to a full stop in the middle of the street right in front of everyone.

the volunteer will hold out the bottle. If they're used to it, they'll hold it towards the bottom so you can grab at the wasp waist of the bottle. BEND YOUR ELBOW and let your hand fall backwards as you grab it. This keeps you from dropping it or ripping the volunteer's arm off.

Thank the volunteer!

They'll probably have water bottles and gatoraid bottles. Neither of those fit in bike cages all that well at all. Use them to refill your aerobottle and toss the one they gave you next chance you get.

No, you do not have to stop. You do not have to swap out. Bring the cheapest bottles you have if you are going to live off the course and toss your old ones.
2010-07-28 10:51 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
If you're going to exchange a bottle, SLOW DOWN and stay right.

If not, unless RD says otherwise, and unless the course is not at all crowded, stay left out of the way of those who are going to exchange.

Have fun!
2010-07-28 11:13 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Good suggestions above.

PRACTICE this beforehand if you can (line up some friends, practice slowing down and grabbing an empty bottle from your cage and tossing, then grabbing a full one and putting it in the cage ...)

I've also found it helpful to POINT to the person from whom you're going to grab the bottle ... eye contact alone can be hard to tell, esp. if you're wearing shades.


2010-07-28 12:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Also: SLOW DOWN!

The RD at ChessieMan told us that he told his volunteers if a cyclist comes through at 20 mph, don't risk getting your arm pulled off along with the bottle. Be extra careful doing bottle exchanges -- some riders are just riding through, same may totally stop, etc.
2010-07-28 12:35 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
TriAya - 2010-07-28 11:13 AM  I've also found it helpful to POINT to the person from whom you're going to grab the bottle ... eye contact alone can be hard to tell, esp. if you're wearing shades.


This.  At Eagleman, with about 100 yards to go I popped out of aero, slowed to about 15-17, yelled WATER very loud and pointed right at a volunteer.  They acknowledged, stepped into the lane, handed off the bottle, I thanked them and I was on my way.  Once you go through the first station you'll have it completely figured out.
2010-07-28 4:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
thanks for all the great info. this should be put in some type of sticky thread or FAQ thread as we all have these questions, and with the community growing so rapidly, and seemingly most of newbies starting here first, we all have these questions.

the yelling of what you want, and pointing makes total sense. i have my first HIM next april, so thanks for all the info! 
2010-07-28 4:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
LOL  For some reason I got an image in my head of someone pointing at someone and yelling, "HEED!" If someone did that to me, I would stop and listen for more to come instead of handing them something to drink.   Laughing
2010-07-28 4:20 PM
in reply to: #3010789

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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Pector55 - 2010-07-28 2:04 PM LOL  For some reason I got an image in my head of someone pointing at someone and yelling, "HEED!" If someone did that to me, I would stop and listen for more to come instead of handing them something to drink.   Laughing


If someone rode up decked out in chainmail and a sword I might do the same thing.

 Thanks for the tips everyone! I was wondering the same thing. 

Is it possible to retrieve your ditched water bottle after the race? Throwing them out seems like such a waste.


2010-07-28 4:38 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
I just completed my first HIM and went through my first aid stations in the process.  I agree with what every else said about slowing down as you go through.  I was in an uncrowded aid station and almost got wrapped up in a crash.  I also pointed at the volunteer I was going to take a bottle this seemed to help with the exchange.  In my mind it was better to go through the aid station very slowly and make sure I got a bottle rather than go through too fast and miss the exchange.

One thing I wish I had done differently was to start out with two gatorade or other cheap waterbottles (i.e. bottles bought at gas stations with the squirt tops).  I ended up throwing out two of my own bike bottles during the race.  Sacrifices to the tri gods I suppose, but next time I will be loading my bike with the gatorade bottles instead of bike bottles.

During the course talk the RD was saying that despite the volunteers best efforts there is going to be some missed exchanges. He said that the people in the aid stations are volunteers and not professionals.  I thought of that when I rode through the exchanges and made sure to thank the volunteers.
2010-07-28 4:43 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Pector55 - 2010-07-28 3:04 PM LOL  For some reason I got an image in my head of someone pointing at someone and yelling, "HEED!" If someone did that to me, I would stop and listen for more to come instead of handing them something to drink.   Laughing


Heed! Pants, NOW!
2010-07-28 9:56 PM
in reply to: #3009684


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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Thanks for all the advice/info.  I'm feeling much better now.
2010-07-28 10:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Aarondb4 - 2010-07-28 3:43 PM
Pector55 - 2010-07-28 3:04 PM LOL  For some reason I got an image in my head of someone pointing at someone and yelling, "HEED!" If someone did that to me, I would stop and listen for more to come instead of handing them something to drink.   Laughing


Heed! Pants, NOW!


LOL! Classic movie! 
2010-07-29 12:27 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
The first year I did Hawaii 70.3 I only had one bottle cage on my bike and I had one of my own bottles in it.  At each aid station they gave me a bottle of Gatorade (and I dumped the old one) but without an empty cage (and unwilling to chuck my bottle) I found myself struggling for where to put it.  I balanced it on my aerobars, held it in one hand, stuffed it in a jersey pocket...none of that was very satisfactory.

This year I had the behind-the seat bottle carrier PLUS the bottle cage on the downtube.  I put my bottles behind the seat and left the bottle cage empty for aid station bottles.  Worked a treat.  Each station gave me a Gatorade which went in the cage; I'd drink from that until the next station (when it was mostly empty) and I'd exchange it for a fresh one.

Message: Try to have one empty bottle cage on the bike for the aid station bottles. 


2010-07-31 10:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
Did my 1st HIM this mo.  Good advice here, esp practicing bottle hand-ups before event.

I use Aerodrink (new model with black flap cover) & it worked great.  Used downtube bottle cage & twin bottle cages behind the seat (in case I missed a hand-up).  Could have easily done with just the downtube cage though as event had aid stations every 12mi.   Approaching aid station I would discard my empty bottle, grab another (always asked for water), ride on a ways to clear the station (watch for other bikes & litter!!!), then refill the Aerodrink & put the bottle in downtube cage. 

FWIW- I ALWAYS just take on water at aid stations & use my own nutrition (gels & bars).  From past experience I do not trust mixed drinks at events (too often inconsistent strength, not promised product, sometimes contaminated, etc.).
2010-07-31 1:06 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
The bottle you discard either gets thrown away or refilled and reused by someone else at the race.

Like someone mentioned before, when you grab the bottle, let your arm trail behind you when you grab the bottle.

It lessens the impact on you and the volunteer.  Hopefully th evilunteer just has their hand cupped under the bottle.
2012-07-18 3:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)
I've never done a HIM or a bottle exchange either. Since I'm planning on walking through the water stations on the run, is there an acceptable and safe way to do the equivalent thing on the bike --- that is, unclip and stop at the water exchange? The minute I lose will be worth it to me for making sure I actually get the right stuff in the right place (for instance pouring it into my aerobottle) and not crash, but I want to know the safe way to do it.
2012-07-18 4:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike aid stations (yet another noob question)

chris2533 - 2012-07-18 3:05 PM I've never done a HIM or a bottle exchange either. Since I'm planning on walking through the water stations on the run, is there an acceptable and safe way to do the equivalent thing on the bike --- that is, unclip and stop at the water exchange? The minute I lose will be worth it to me for making sure I actually get the right stuff in the right place (for instance pouring it into my aerobottle) and not crash, but I want to know the safe way to do it.

Nothing wrong with that, better safe than sorry...  Just be sure to get far right as possible as you are slowing & stopping, since folks behind you won't really be expecting that.

My one & only bad bike crash was at a bottle exchange - bottle exchanges are a notorious spot for wrecks, so use extreme caution (especially at your first one!) as you go through - whether you are stopping, grabbing, or just passing by.

Below is a copy/paste of a post a I made a couple years ago on this topic:

For your FIRST exchange experience - SLOW DOWN.  If you think you are slow enough, slow down a little bit more

The station will have a "drop" area well before it ... dump your empty bottle there.  SLOW DOWN going into the station itself...

Identify the volunteer you want the drink from - they should be shouting whether they have "WATER!" or "GATORADE!" - if not, then you yell what which you want and they should point you to someone who has it...

Make eye contact with that volunteer - you will probably be wearing shades, so POINT at them as you approach - make sure they are looking at you. 

They will hold the bottle by the top or bottom - grab it securely and just hold it for now.... Thank the volunteer!!!

Pedal away carefully - watch out for weaving riders, and littered bottles while in the station area.

When safely away from the station, THEN secure the bottle to your cage.

I have just two regular cages on my bike, even for IMs.  My downtube cage has my fuel - I only exchange that bottle if I run out on-course for some reason.  That bottle should last me a full HIM, but if I drain it early, i still have the option to then exchange it on course.

My other cage is between my bars.  I start off with water or basic sports drink in that, and exchange it on-course at each exchange.

If you don't have any "extra" bottles laying around to use in the race - no big deal.  Just start the race with an empty cage and pick up a fresh new bottle at the first one - there's no reason to start out the race with a full load of hydration when you have those stops along the way.

It's called an "exchange", but no one makes sure you turn in a bottle before getting a new one, so no worries about that

Cheers, Chris




Edited by Hydro 2012-07-18 4:08 PM
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