On race day, the outward composure of an "elite" level triathlete seems far from stressed. Although someone like myself may appear to be calm and have a plan on race day, there are lots of things going on behind the scenes that may cause you to think otherwise
Most first time triathletes will get very exited the week leading up to the race, and will pack their bags a few days prior to the event. I tend to do the opposite, waiting until the night before the race until I even take my bag out of the closet. I got better as the season progressed, but my worst late night packing adventure was for the Binbrook triathlon. I got a bit distracted from my packing by playing a few too many games of ping-pong, and by the time I finished it was close to 1:00am. Considering that I was going to be waking up at 4:45am, it was defiantly not one of my better-planned packing jobs (I did manage to win the race though).
I have also found that there is a potential for the pre-race setup to go quiet wrong. Most first time racers will have bad dreams the night before the race of doing something like forgetting their timing chip, or not brining an essential piece of gear. During the Wasaga triathlon (modified to DU), I did both. Due to high winds and a looming storm, racers were banned from using any disc wheels, which of course I had installed on Francesca. I do have other wheels, but unfortunately, I left them sitting by the front door. This led to a huge pre-race scramble for a non-disc rear wheel, and was only cleared up five minutes before the start of the race. In my rush to the starting line, I also managed to forget my timing chip, having my second mess up of the day before the race even started.
There have also been some interesting moments in transitions this past season that were unexpected. My most recent mishap occurred at the lakeside triathlon, where instead of running straight to my bike as fast and as smooth as I could, I took a big detour into the tri a tri transition area. This was a bit embarrassing, considering before the race, I was introduced as an elite, only to make a classic rookie mistake.
Perhaps my favourite behind the scenes moment to share is a look at what happens to my room after a race. Most people would assume that as an elite, I am just as efficient at putting away my gear as I am at using it. Here’s a look at my room three days after the race:
|Shoes, helmet, clothes, and my bikes (Francesca on the right)|
Two weeks later, the scene hasn’t changed (minus a few pairs of underwear). So there’s a look behind the scenes of “elite” triathlon racing. If you are new to triathlon and you are afraid that some of these things might happen to you, don’t let it deter you from racing. Even "elites", who appear to be so confident, are just as susceptible to chaotic moments that no triathlete wants to deal with.