Packing and traveling for a triathlon can be very stressful if you are not organized. Remember, you're packing for three different sports instead of one, which results in a lot of luggage. Flying with luggage is expensive, let alone flying with sporting equipment. Airlines charge up to $200 each way for bicycle fees.
On average, I race about 15 times a year and have learned how to pack as efficiently as possible. I usually travel on Thursdays and Mondays, assuming the race is on Sunday.
Baggage Choices: One large backpack (transition bag), one roller bag (carry-on size), one bike case.
In my backpack I carry mostly what I need for race day. I keep this bag packed year-round, so it's always ready. I also like to have my cycling shoes and bike pedals on board in case the bike gets lost en route to the destination. This way I can use another bike but have my own shoes and pedals.
- TYR Velocity Goggles (Three pairs: mirrored, smoke and clear depending on the sun during the swim start)
- Swim cap
- Body glide
- Race suit
- Race belt
- Smith Arena sunglasses
- Garmin 510/920 and chargers
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Water bottle
- Vitamins (Vitamin C, Zinc, BioAstin, MgSport Magnesium, OptygenHP, MultiV)
- Shimano bike pedals
- Cycling shoes
- Phone charger
- Snacks for flight (mixed nuts, dark chocolate, PBJ)
In my roller bag I carry everything else that is allowed to be carried on.
- 1 cycling kit
- 2 running outfits
- 1 swimsuit
- 3 sports bras
- 1 pair of shorts/jeans
- 3 shirts
- 1 dress (you never know!)
- Casual shoes
- Toiletries all 4 ounces or less in sealable bag
- Brush/hair elastics
In my SciCon bike case I pack everything else that cannot be taken on board the plane. I also bring a race day breakfast that includes a container of rolled oats with cinnamon, salt and nuts already mixed in, so all I have to do is add water and microwave it. This eliminates the stress of finding my normal morning breakfast at the race venue.
- Trek Speed Concept (bubble wrapped and carefully packed)
- Bontrager Race Wheels
- Bontrager "Travel Charger" travel pump
- Tools/Pitstop (wrapped in bubble wrap)
- Bontrager "Flare R" light for early morning transition setup
- Race day First Endurance nutrition (EFS liquid shot gel and drink mix)
- Beet Performer (2 cans bubble wrapped)
- TYR FON wetsuit
- Small foam roller
Finally, I travel in a comfy shirt, yoga pants, compression socks, my race-day running shoes, a light jacket and a hat. I also wear this same outfit on the trip home after the race to avoid packing an extra outfit.
I have found that this packing list works best for me and is the most economical. I try and avoid every fee possible. Some airlines let your bike pass as a bag if it is under 50 pounds, so I try my best to have it under. Packing for a race still overwhelms me even today. However, I found having this list allows me to turn my brain off and just grab what I need.
Lauren Goss is a professional triathlete and IRONMAN 70.3 Champion based in Boulder, CO.