In this blog our ambassador Levi Maxwell gives the travelling athlete some sound, helpful tips on how to make sure your next destination race is stressfree, leaving you to focus on your performance....
Flying to races.
It’s may sound simple but having to fly to a race, particularly overseas can be overwhelming for the OCD personality of most triathletes who like structure and normality. This obsession to have “all your ducks in a row” can be very difficult when travelling as quite often most, if not all of the trip is out of your control, causing stress which potentially could detract from your performance and enjoyment. Having performance blocked myself or not enjoyed a trip that I should have as a result of my own doing by trying to control everything, I have come to develop some thoughts and techniques that help me cope. I would like to share them with you.
The most important thing to do is get insurance and check what is and what isn’t covered. Sounds simple but insurance policies can be confusing and time consuming but it’s worth the time and energy to do the research and shop around to be covered incase of the unexpected. I came off my bike when in Thailand once and broke my arm. I was pretty sure that I had travel insurance but I wasn’t 💯sure, and I didn’t know what it did, and didn’t cover. Adding more stress to an incredibly stressful situation. You also want to double check this for the bike. You will find there are many fine prints when it comes to your machine. Usually resulting in you not being covered.
Check your flight connections to make sure you won’t get stung for the bike. Even if it’s all booked under one airline/ticket. Partner airlines don’t always play nice.
“Make a list and check it twice.” Even Santa Claws acknowledges that he may make mistakes. As Triathletes we swim bike run most days, but it’s not everyday we race and have to have everything prepared days or weeks ahead of time. So it’s important to make some check lists to assure you don’t forget items that you might need on race day. If you can, get a training partner or someone close to you to triple check it with you. Particularly with things that you might not be able to get travelling such as nutrition, or items that could cause discomfort changing and cost some serious coin like a race suit. (Been there done that)
Depending on your baggage allowances. Try to pack key items in your carry on, such as; goggles, Helmet, runners, bike shoes, wet suit, race suit, nutrition etc. not only will this decrease the risk of key items being damaged (it’s always great to open your checked bag to have squashed sticky gels everywhere) but also in the chance your bike doesn’t arrive or arrives late, you will be making good of a bad situation by having most of your key items. Worst case you might be able to borrow or hire a bike, and at least you will have all of your other regular equipment for race day, and training. Otherwise you could make an already expensive trip extra expensive, or race in your tee shirt, bordies and thongs.
In transit / at destination
When you arrive at your destination it’s easy to start to relax or have the feeling of “I just want to get to the accommodation and relax or train.” But once you pick up your bike, it might be a good idea to check it over looking for damage before you leave oversized baggage. This will give you a better chance of any damage being paid for by the airline or travel insurance. It can be difficult to prove your point once you’ve left the airport. After all, how does the airline or insurance company know that the damage was caused in transit? And not you putting it in the car or running it over? If you find damage then take pictures with evidence that you are at the airport and try to get a staff member from the airline to assist or put something in writing. If you forget to do this and find damage when you get home. You might still be able to make a claim. You will just have to jump though a few hoops likely having to go through the airline and then insurance, taking weeks. Make sure you keep any bag tags, boarding passes or receipts as insurance might ask for them.
Superstitions. AKA, time, money and energy wasters of something that is irrationally rationalised amongst Triathletes. It could be a prerace meal or treat you like to have, having a bath or fan, or something else that might be unavailable whilst travelling. These things are not always obtainable and if you feel they are key to your preparation for race day and you don’t have them, you have already had a negative influence on your race before it has even started. Or you might waste time and energy in searching desperately to obtain them, when you would probably be better off chilling out.
I hope some of these tips/ experiences are useful for your next trip. Just remember not every trip goes smoothly. But no matter how frustrating a situation may be, no bike, bike turns up broken, you get sick. It doesn’t matter how upset you get over it, it isn’t going to change what is. Just roll with it and do the best you can. After all, you could be at work 😝