Let’s just get this out of the way. You will forget something when you do your first race. You might forget a water bottle, your shoes, your racing license, or even your name. Here’s a checklist to avoid these embarrassing situations.
- racing license
- membership card
- timing chip
- road id
- driver’s license
- sunglasses (easy to forget when you leave for a race in the dark)
- team kit (if you have one)
- chamois cream
- water bottles
- food (gels, breakfast, coffee, whatever)
- a trainer *
- a bike pump
- a spare tube
Things that will make you more comfortable, but they aren’t deal breakers:
- extra safety pins
- extra zip ties
- sunscreen/lip balm
- embrocation (cold weather races)
- extra water/recovery drink for after the race or the ride home (in a cooler if it’s hot)
- extra dry clothes to change into (if it’s cold, pack a LOT of extra clothes, hat and gloves, etc.)
- extra food for after (especially for long races or races with a long drive home)
- baby wipes to wipe away the grime; sunscreen, dirt, grit, sweat, pelts of road kill, etc.
- towel (to clean up with or to lay on your car seat for the filthy ride home)
- blanket to stretch on
- music and headphones to block out pre-race jitters (and the annoying person next to you on their trainer who is repeatedly blowing their nose)
- your phone (probably best to leave it in your car unless it’s a seriously LONG, remote race…seriously)
That’s pretty much it. If you are a recovering triathlete, this list will seem easy. I mean it’s only gear for ONE sport. If you are a former runner, you might want to first try accumulating the items on this list while breathing into a paper bag. Don’t worry. If you DO happen to forget something (despite having this AMAZING and comprehensive list), first slap yourself in the face for being so forgetful. Second, relax. It happens to the best of us. Try to make do, and don’t be afraid to just ASK someone!
Take a deep breath and say something along the lines of, “Excuse me. I seemed to have forgotten my bike pump. May I please borrow yours?” Or, “Might you have some extra safety pins?” It’s really quite simple. You might even make a friend. Make the best of your races. And even if you DO forget something big (like your bike…no joke. It’s happened), just stick around anyway and enjoy the atmosphere.
Just don’t be that person who panics, then slams junk around the back of their car cursing like a sailor. Remember that these are often family events. There are usually kids, butterflies, puppies and happy volunteers. Don’t ruin it for everyone.
Back to 303’s Ultimate Race Guide.