Luckily, triathlon is a global sport, and many far-flung destinations host world-class races. Unlike your local sprint triathlons, though, traveling to a race across the country (or in a different country altogether) can be quite the undertaking.
Keep these eight tips in mind as you register for your next destination race.
Consider Lodging First1 of 9
There's nothing more frustrating—and energy sapping—than getting to your far-flung location, and there are no available hotel rooms or campsites. Check for any available rooms and their prices before you click the register button. If there's nothing nearby that's open or within your price range, it may not be the race for you.
Book Your Flight Early2 of 9
Similar to the previous point, flights can be hit-or-miss—especially for a popular race or one during a holiday weekend. A red-eye is a great way to save money, but keep in mind it may affect your performance for the next few days. Also, arrive with enough time to acclimate to the elevation or the new time zone. The race will be hard enough; it's best to eliminate as many travel stressors as possible.
Race-Day Checklist3 of 9
All triathletes usually have some form of this, but a thorough race-day checklist will save you precious time and mental energy when both packing your luggage and prepping the night before the race. Include race nutrition and the little items that can make or break a race (lip balm, contact solution, etc.).
Food Options4 of 9
Exploring new culinary treats is one of the best parts of traveling, but keep in mind that switching up your diet just days in advance could cause problems on race day. Bring your must-have staples—or go grocery shopping once you arrive—to keep your diet on track pre-race. Once you cross the finish line, feel free to indulge. Hydration is something you'll also have complete control of, so don't forget to drink consistently throughout the trip.
Packing Your Bike5 of 9
By nature, triathlon requires a ton of gear. But nothing is more tedious—and nerve-wracking—to travel with than your expensive race bike. Luckily there are a few different options to consider. First, you can pack your bike yourself using a bike travel case (or a cardboard box from your LBS) and check your bike as luggage on the airplane. Second, you can do the same, but ship it to your hotel lobby (just make sure the staff at the front desk is aware). Third, you can arrange for a third-party bike transport company—such as TriBike Transport—to take care of packing and shipping for you.
Embrace the Unexpected6 of 9
As frequent travelers understand, even the most well-planned trips can be derailed at a moment's notice. Embrace the unexpected, and don't worry if something doesn't go as planned. Missing a meal or having a delayed flight can happen, but how you respond to these stressors will likely have more of an impact than the stressor itself.
Shake It Out7 of 9
Traveling requires sitting in a fixed position for long periods of time. Whenever possible, stand up and get your blood flowing. If this means doing a handful of jumping jacks at the back of the plane as you wait for the bathroom, so be it. Once you get checked into your hotel room, head to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill and stretch before you get in bed.
Quick and Dirty Tips8 of 9
- Don't pack CO2 canisters when traveling by air.
- Don't pack your helmet in your luggage—clip it to the outside of your carry-on bag.
- Your bike will have a flat fee when checked in—fill it up with extra gear if you have room.
- Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date and you've packed your medications.
- Mark your seat post height before packing your bike down. Don't forget a multitool.
- Deflate your tires before packing. Don't forget spare tubes.
- Don't forget any important documents: passport, driver's license, insurance cards, etc.
- Turn your wetsuit inside out and roll to pack; keep away from sharp objects in your bag.
- Bring compression apparel to wear on the airplane.
- Look for available seats at the emergency exit—the extra legroom will be much appreciated.
- Nap as often as possible, traveling saps more energy than you realize.
- Don't forget to HAVE FUN!