Race Prep: The Day is Near, So Where is Your Gear? Part 1 of 2

author : Ontherun
comments : 5

As race day apporaches anxiety builds. Don't let packing add to that list of worries. Part 1 is a checklist compiled by many that I have used on race day.

I just completed my first Olympic tri ever this past weekend which happened to also be my first tri of the season. As I started to get ready for the race, I realized how disorganized I had become. So as a reminder to me and anyone else interested, I put put together a checklist of things to bring to a race and some often overlooked things to take care of days before the race.


First (the obvious) is training. You should be ready with all the hard work you have done. Be sure to allow for a taper. “Tapering” is backing off your workouts for the purpose of letting your body heal and refresh itself. The more important the race, the more important the taper.

Equipment check

Your equipment check should start about the week before the race. Do you remember where your wet suit is? If you have been pool swimming for a while you may have lost track of it. Another item to look for at the beginning of the season is your helmet. Most people do not train with a helmet on a trainer, and if it has been a while since you have been outside, it may be hiding on you.

Make sure you go through your bike and clean it thoroughly. A good cleaning after every ride is a good idea. If you are like me, you ride it hard and put it away dirty. A good cleaning of the bike a week before the race allows you to look at all the components very carefully. It is never fun to show up to a race and find out your rear gear set is missing a bunch of teeth. If you are not mechanically inclined, you might consider a tune up. Hopefully your bike got one of those during the off season. Do not be afraid of picking up a bike maintenance book and learning what to look for when you are cleaning the bike. It is the most expensive piece of tri gear you own, and you should be taking care of it! Be sure to check for bar ends—if you do not, the official will.


If you are traveling to the race, do you have a bike rack, or will your bike fit in the car? Flying brings its own set of issues. Do you have a bike box and can you take apart your bike and, more importantly, put it back together?

As race day approaches and you’re doing your previously mentioned taper, it’s a good time to get packing. I like to have all my race gear in separate bags two nights before the race. With the gear in separate bags, if I decide to go out for a ride, run or swim, I am not struggling to find equipment that is all mixed up together. This packing can and should be done even if you are driving to your race. There is nothing like forgetting a strap for your heart rate monitor like I did at my last race.

What gear to take is a different matter. I have a list that I have compiled from many I have seen. I will put the most important on the top of the list with explanations for the slightly more interesting items as I go.



      swimsuit or tri suit

          (wetsuits may not be allowed)

  ear plugs




  nose plugs



      anti-fog solution 

  swim cap




  spare set of goggles




          (or other approved wet suit lube)







  race wheels



      spare tires




      bike pump or CO2 cartridges 

  tire levers



      cycling gloves 

  water bottles



      cycling shirt or jersey  

  tool set



      cycling shoes

  bike trainer







*The bike trainer was added for the far-away triathlons where you may be spending a few days away from home before the race. It is nice to go for a ride on your bike, but not in extremely bad weather. As you may have figured, this is a very low priority for me.








      running shirt

  running shorts




  number belt



      fuel belt

  hat or visor



      water bottle




Misc. Clothes


      sports bra  




      warm up clothes

  post race clothes



Misc. Items (in no particular order)



  Champion Chip




  race number



      flasks for gels   

  electrical tape



      directions to/from race

  energy bars



      energy drinks

  energy gels



      heart rate monitor

  race number



      positive ID

         (needed at check in)

  sun block



      towel for transition

  USAT card (if applicable)




  wrist watch



      confirmation letter

          (for check in)

  Large Ziploc bags

      (if it is raining before the race starts ).



The electrical tape is for generic quick repairs, but I have found it very useful for attaching your race number to the bike. The wire ties issued at check-in just do not seem to do the trick. It is also useful for taping gel packs to your bike if you are not using a flask to hold them in.

In my next article, I will outline some ideas for race check-in and transition prep.


Good luck!


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date: July 31, 2005


Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03


Father of two, devoted husband, Clydesdale, hope to become just an age grouper someday. Competing in the 40-44 bracket this year. Have done a 1/2 Ironman tri, a marathon and a bunch of sprint and oly distance races. Member of BT since 12-1-03

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