Friday, November 7, 2008

The Day Before

(N.B. I don't know if this picture is earnest or ironic (the police tape makes me think it is earnest) but either way it is pretty awesome—the FosterGrant bit makes me think it is ironic, but that might be too generous)

The day before a race is sometimes more stressful than the day itself. Triathlons, sadly, aren't like bike races, which make good on the imperative to simplify. Triathlons require the kind of obsessive checking and re-checking that makes our sport attractive to the more type-a professions out there: doctors, or businessmen and women, people who really love lists (it's funny that more cooks don't turn into triathletes).

Races with "clean transition areas" make the day before even worse (although they make the day of better). You've got to put run stuff in the red bag, bike stuff in the blue bag, and make sure the bike is ready to roll with shoes attached and helmet clipped.

Here's the day that was:

7:30 AM get up and run: 20' with four 20" strides
8:00 AM oatmeal and coffee
9:15 AM ride to race site with my amazing homestays
10:00 AM check in, get the aforementioned colored bags, talk to another Vermont transplantee
10:30 AM swim course (I got in about 2000M, I think)
11:00 get bike and gear back from gear bag check-in.
11:00 AM-12:00 PM purchase new tire for dicey rear wheel, drop bike with mechanics, cruise expo, move water bottle back from downtube to between aerobars (had a great, conclusive discussion with Chris from Cervelo; I asked him why the CSC guys ALL had their water bottles on the downtubes during the tour TTs this summer. I wondered if, for the P3C, that putting the bottle down there might actually be beneficial. No, it turns out: "It's the worst place to put it," Chris told me. "The CSC guys put it there because of tradition, and because they say the bike handles worse with the bottle up on the aerobars." Happily I won't be doing anything technical tomorrow (the course is about as technical as making cereal), so the bottle is back on the aerobars), check out THIS:
12:00-1:00 PM sort gear into blue bags and red bags. Recycle all the garbage that was in the race packet.
1:00-2:00 PM pick up bike, check in with a friendly volunteer named Natalie (she surprised the hell out of me by saying she'd read going pro; I thought only friends and mom read the damn thing)
2:00-3:00 PM pro briefing, and good god there were a lot of PROs in attendance (no Craig Alexander or Paul Amey, however): more Volcom, shaved legs, and chunky sunglasses this side of a surf competition in Malibu.
3:00-3:45 PM attempt to hydrate, get a pre-race massage from a kindly portly chap named Manfred. Yes, Manfred. He was marvelous.
4:00 PM-Present moment return home. Start re-hyrdrating. Shave legs (Belgians everywhere are going nuts), try to deal with stupid rookie wetsuit hickey I gave myself this morning. Eat.

Soon I'll be off to bed. Race report tomorrow.


Colin R said...

Alrighty Chris, I need an explanation for one of the many odd things triathletes do.

This whole shoes-pre-attached thing -- what's the deal with that? In my magical and naive cyclocrossing mind, I could slip shoes on in seconds, jump on a bike and clip in. If the shoes were preattached, doesn't that just makes something quick and easy (putting on shoes) really hard?

I'm sure there's an explanation, but I lack the PRO-ness, or even the pro-ness, to get it.

maura said...

wait...did you change the name again...from the pro-life? Because of the Christian right?

Chris Bagg said...

Here's the deal with the shoes thing. If we were able to leave directly from the bike racks, I think folks would be more inclined to slip their shoes on at the bike and then just jump on. Problem is, race directors often seem to set up transition areas to assuage their frustration with athletes, as the prospect of thousands of triathletes (remember, these are people who have trouble with the whole peeing off the bike thing) skidding across pavement, roots, gravel, or, I don't know, fresh oil in some cases, all while clad in carbon-soled road cycling shoes, is hilarious. I doubt XTerra athletes do the whole shoes to bike thing, as mountain bike shoes (as your naive and magical mind knows) are easy to run in.

I did, once, in a particularly "crossy" transition area, shoulder my bike as a joke. No one got it.

kilidogs said...

Whoa, now I can follow your blog.... race hard! -JR