Triathlon 101: Packing for Race Day

Completing a three stage race in unpredictable weather conditions can require the most remarkable amount of stuff. Sit down a few days before the race, think about each stage, each transition and what will you need. If in doubt bring it.

 For the swim:

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A triathlon suit – These can be one or two piece. One piece is preferable if you will not be in a wetsuit. You can use a swimsuit but you will want to change in T1.

Goggles preferably open water ones – If you have an extra pair bring them just in case.

Swim cap- These are often provided but bring one just in case.

Wetsuit – This depends on water temperature and race distance but most Ottawa area events are wetsuit legal.

For the bike:

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Bike – If you take one wheel off to transport your bike make sure you bring that too!

Cycling shoes- If you are looking for a fast transition triathlon shoes are better because they use Velcro only.

Sunglasses- Even on an overcast day you need to protect your eyes from bugs.

Helmet- These must be CSA approved but any bike helmet purchased in Canada will be.

Gloves-  These are not always needed for shorter races.

Triathlon shorts- You can use bike shorts too but you can run in triathlon shorts. Bike shorts are more comfortable for longer rides but you will need to change in T2

Socks- These are not always required for the bike but you will need them for the run.

Water bottle(s) with water / electrolyte solution.

Snacks to eat on the bike.

Tri or cycling top- If you swam in a swimsuit you must cover your torso for the bike and run.

Arm warmers or jacket in case it’s cold.

Raincoat- Hopefully you will not need it but better to have it.

A race belt for your number- Most races no longer require you to wear your bib on the bike but check. You will need your number for the run.

A spare tube for your bike tires- You should be able to change a tire if you need to.

A hand pump or a CO2 pump with an extra cylinder- If you are bringing CO2 make sure you know how to use it.

Tire levers

For the run:

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Shoes – Speed laces are highly recommended.

Socks

Hat

A shirt and or shorts if you plan to change.

Gels or other nutrition if you plan to use them.

For the transitions and just in case:

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A towel- Bring a brightly coloured one so your spot is easier to find in the T-zone.

Two or three plastic bags – If it rains put one under your stuff in the T-zone, and lay one on top, the third one is just in case you need it for something.

A seat cover or bag to put over the seat of your bike if you will be leaving it in the Tzone overnight. Most races do not allow you to cover the whole bike.

Warm up clothes for before and after the race.

If you wear contacts or glasses: An extra pair of glasses or contacts.

Sandals to wear before the race, to walk to the swim and possibly to go from the swim to the T-zone.

If you have long hair: a couple of extra hair elastics.

Body Glide

Sunblock

A dollar store rain coat- These are good for keeping you warm and dry and they are disposable.

A pump for your tires- Most races will not allow you to leave it in the T-zone so pass it to a friend or supporter before the race. If you are leaving your bike in the Tzone overnight it is better to let some air out of the tires and pump up in the morning.

A water bottle for a drink or to clean off your feet.

A snack for before or after the race.

Baggies- Great for putting small things in, you can also unwrap bars before the race and put everything in a baggie instead.

 

Your list may differ just keep in mind:

Riding a bike when you are still wet can be cold at first.

Once you dry off you may get hot quite quickly.

The more clothes/ stuff you put on the more comfortable you will be but it will take longer to get through the T-zone.

You will be in the sun for a long time.

You could also be out in the rain for a long time.

Make sure you pack everything up the night before the race. Don’t leave it to the last minute.

Give yourself lots of time before the race. You need to set up your stuff, get body marked, put your wetsuit on and do all the other things you would normally do before a running race.

 

Most of all, have fun!

Tips for Buying a Triathlon Wetsuit.

Thinking about buying a wetsuit for open water swimming and triathlon? Here are a few triathlon wetsuit basics.

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  • You need to try a wetsuit on before you buy it. The fits are different from one brand to another.
  • It has to be a triathlon wetsuit.  Regular wetsuits keep you warm but they do not provide the same flotation.
  • Any triathlon wetsuit will make you faster. Weaker swimmers get more out of a wetsuit than stronger swimmers do. Swimmers whose hips and legs tend to sink will see the biggest advantage because the wetsuit brings your hips up.
  • In general when you pay more for a wetsuit you get more panels with different thicknesses of neoprene. This makes the wetsuit easier to get on and off, easier to move in and it will make you a little faster. Bottom line buying any triathlon wetsuit makes much more difference than buying a more expensive one. Having said that the more expensive models are more comfortable and easier to swim in.
  • When you go to buy one, use the size charts as a starting point and try more than one brand.
  • Keep your fingernails away from the wetsuit because they can tear the neoprene.  Trying them on you may want to put a plastic bag over your hand/foot to get it into the wetsuit. Then pull it up a section at a time (one leg to knee, other leg, then up to hips etc.). If it is really easy to get on it’s too big! If it’s impossible to get on it’s too small.
  • You should be able to get a full range of motion in your arms with the wetsuit on and you should be able to do up the neck without feeling like it’s too tight. Trying on wetsuits takes a while so come alone or bring a friend who is willing to be very supportive!
  • If you plan to race in your wetsuit check first to make sure they are allowed at the event. All triathlons allow wetsuits unless the water is too warm (the cut off depends on the race and most local events are wetsuit legal). Open water swims may or may not allow wetsuits so check before you go. Our largest local event, the Bushtukah Bring on the Bay 3K Open Water Swim does allow wetsuits.

2016 Events- The Gatineau Triathlon

Held each year at Lac Leamy Park this event includes triathlons, duathlons and running races for adults and for younger age group racers. Some of the races are part of the Quebec Cup.

This was our second year a sponsor at this event but we have entered a corporate team each year since 2013.

In 2013 we entered a team and placed second behind Service de Police de Gatineau.

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In 2014 we stepped it up a notch and placed first. The Service de Police de Gatineau were second.

2014-podium

 

In 2015 we entered two teams and placed second and third. The Service de Police de Gatineau were first!

In 2016 we entered two teams again. We placed 1st and 3rd with Service de Police de Gatineau in 2nd. Our Stittsville store manager would want you to know that the Bushtukah Stittsville store was the winning team. img_3087

We will be back in 2017 and we have no doubt that the Service de Police de Gatineau will be too. It’s a lot of fun and each year we have won a giant cheque to donate to charity.

2016 Events- The Winterlude Triathlon

The Winterlude  triathlon is a skate-ski-run triathlon held on the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink.  It’s part of Ottawa’s Winterlude, a celebration of Canada’s unique northern climate and culture. It is also the first event required to win a Rudy a triathlon award unique to Ottawa. It’s an 8k skate followed by an 8k ski and a 5k run.

Bushtukah has been a sponsor for many years. Mother nature often plays a role in this event. We have had years when it was really cold and years when it was not cold enough. IMG_0256_copyLucky for us all, long time race director Rick Hellard rolls with the weather and always makes it happen. This year we skied and ran at Moonies Bay.

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The 2017 edition of the event will be held on February 4th. Details can be found here.

2015 Events- The Gatineau Triathlon

Held each year at Lac Leamy Park this event includes triathlons, duathlons and running races for adults and for younger age group racers. Some of the races are part of the Quebec Cup.

This was our first year a sponsor at this event but we have entered a corporate relay team for the last three years. In 2013 we entered a team and placed second behind Service de Police de Gatineau.

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In 2014 we stepped it up a notch and placed first. The Service de Police de Gatineau were second.

2014-podium

 

This year we entered two teams and placed second and third. The Service de Police de Gatineau were first! We will be back in 2016 and we have no doubt that the Service de Police de Gatineau will be too. It’s a lot of fun and each year we have won a giant cheque to donate to charity.

The 2016 edition will be held July 9th.

2015 Events- Bushtukah Bike Night

This was the second year for Bushtukah Bike Night. It’s a free event held in store on a Sunday night in early spring. We bring together representatives from major bike brands including Trek, Cannondale, Cervelo, Shimano, Mavic and more so you can see what’s new and cool.

This year our special guest was Katie Compton.

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We even have FREE beer and hot dogs!

Mark your calendars the date for 2016 will be March 20th.

2015 Events-The Winterlude Triathlon

The Winterlude  triathlon is a skate-ski-run triathlon held on the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink.  It’s part of Ottawa’s Winterlude, a celebration of Canada’s unique northern climate and culture. It is also the first event required to win a Rudy a triathlon award unique to Ottawa.

Bushtukah is a long time sponsor of this event which features athletes of all abilities. When mother nature co-operates it’s an 8k skate, an 8k ski and a 5k run. When she does not the race still goes on we just have to improvise a little.  A great event that’s worth braving the cold for (and this year it was cold)!

The 2016 date is January 30th. Details and registration can be found here.