Some triathletes spend so much time on physical swim, bike run
training in the lead-up to race day, but fail to make a checklist of all the essentials needed for the competition. Failure to carry adequate equipment can cost you dearly. In some cases, it could endanger you! From your bike to drinks, you need to have a comprehensive checklist to avoid any last minute panic. Failure to carry proper equipment could even result in a violation of the triathlon rules, penalties and even disqualification in some circumstances. With experience, triathletes make a mental note of their checklist but it is still essential to have a hard copy so that you go into the race with everything that you need.
Pre-Race Day Preparation
Do not take any new equipment into the race without having used it, or tested it a week before the event. Ensure that you check batteries on your heart rate monitor, get your bike tuned up, setup race wheels or check tyres and tubes. Practice doing a dry run
to ensure that your gear is well organised and consider your nutrition plan for the race, ensuring you have given yourself adequate time to make purchases of your favourite bars/gels etc well in advance. This is the time to label your gear with your name and phone number on your shoes, tag of your wetsuit, inside of your helmet, bike accessories kit, etc. Depending on the race you may also need to put reflective tape on your gear.
Getting your Gear to the Event
If you are travelling by plane to an event then bike transport becomes a major component. You should be confident enough to put it back together and handle minor tuning. You'll also have to arrange the transporting of your bike to and from the race site, so bike bags are a worthy investment if you intend to travel further than you're likely to drive.
For most of us however, driving to local events
means we can chuck everything into the car. However, having a compact way of getting everything from your car to the event requires thought as you'll often have to wheel your bike as well.
For a more detailed look at this subject, see our article Travelling to Events
Although you are generally not allowed to leave a bag within the transition area, most people pack a "transition bag". This can be a duffel bag, or a backpack, which contains everything you need for race day. All you should need goes into the bag, leaving your hands free to wheel your bike and carry your foot pump from carpark to race registration area. Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised how much stress and panic goes on before the race. After a few races you'll soon see how easy it is to forget the most obvious things and how much unnecessary stress can be caused when you feel unprepared.
Using a Checklist
Below, is our checklist of what to put in your transition bag. You could print out this page or use it as a template to make up your own checklist. Either way, the idea is to keep your checklist in your transition bag at home (leaving the essentials in there for readiness next race) as a reminder to what to pack in the lead-up to the event. At least 1 week before your event, refer to your checklist - there may be personal items to purchase/replace like sunscreen, anti-fog solution
, gels and much more.