triathlon and family can mix

Ironman 70.3 Calgary Race Logistics

Ever participated in a point to point race?

Ironman_Calgary_Mtn._Logo_small

Ironman 70.3 Calgary goes at the end of the month. Sadly, actually not that sad, I will not be participating this year. Between family vacation and limited training time in 2013, I have reserved to race again in 2014. I wrote some of my thoughts as to my learning from last years race. Hopefully they can help you out.

Like most triathletes, I am a creature of habit when it comes to race morning. I always eat the same breakfast, wear the same sweater, and set my transition up the same way. So when I read that the Ironman 70.3 Calgary was a point-point race, I instantly began thinking how T1 and T2 would work.

Transition Bags
Different to any race I have participated in, all of your gear from swim-to-bike, bike-to-run and dry clothes are put in a transition bags and transported for you from Ghost Dam to Glenmore Park for pick up after the race.
Dry Clothes Bag
Packed with all of your gear you brought to the race, it can accommodate a lot of things. Mine was packed pretty full with clothes, shoes, water bottles, backpack, and food I didn’t eat while in transition.
T1 Bag
Packed with all of your bike gear prior to the race. It is pretty light as the only thing is shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and race number.
T2 Bag
Packed with all of your run gear prior to the race. I had my fuel belt with water (1 flask), gels (1 flask), and electrolyte tabs in addition to my shoes and socks.

Transition Setup
All athletes are required to travel to Ghost Dam on Saturday, the day before the race, to drop off their bikes and T2 bag. I drove myself, with my daughter along for the ride, although there is a bus service if needed. It was quite a walk from the parking lot, which was a grass field, to the transition area. We would bike along the route on our way from T1 the next morning, so it gave me a good view on the first 1km of the bike leg.
Tip: Only your T2 bag is required to be dropped off the day prior. Your T1 bag is dropped off on race morning.
My spot on the rack was reserved by race number. I did not fill my water bottles or set up my nutrition on my bike as I did not want them sitting in the sun for a full afternoon; forecast called for 28 degrees. I also deflated my tires a bit to ensure they did not burst in the heat.
Tip: Bring you tire pump and label it with an extra race number and leave it with the dry clothes bags. This way you don’t have to rely on another racer to lend you one.
Tip: Bring your nutrition and water on race morning. Don’t forget electrical tape.
After setting up, I double checked my T2 bag and dropped it off at the transition exit. We headed to the water to test the temperature and get a view of the swim start, played in the sand for a bit, then headed home.

Pre-Race
I hit the bus from the Dalhousie train station as I didn’t want to drive out to Ghost Dam to pick up my truck after the race. The bus was scheduled to depart at 0530 but left about 10 minutes late. We arrived at 0630 which should have been enough time, but with the hustle of stetting up my nutrition, hydration, and dry clothes bag, I barely made it to the water in time.
Tip: Get changed into your wetsuit right after you bike is set up.
The dry clothes drop off was at the top of transition, as far from the water as possible. I was under the impression it was at the water, so I had to run back to drop it off.
Tip: Drop off your dry clothes bag at least 10 minutes prior to your wave start then head to the water.

T1
After being stripped of my wetsuit by two lovely ladies, my T1 bag was handed to me by a volunteer. I dumped it out and grabbed my helmet and sunglasses, put them on, and grabbed my shoes. I ran barefoot to my bike which was a long way up transition. I did not have to pack my T1 bag with my swim suit, goggles, and cap as the volunteer did it for me.
Tip: Don’t put your shoes on until you get to your bike. I can see slippage in your future if you do.
Tip: Don’t assume, but the volunteers should pack your T1 bag with your swim gear for you.

T2
All racks are numbered, so you have to rack in the right spot. Again, volunteers were there to direct me to the right spot and dropped of my T2 bag. I leave my shoes on my bike, so the only thing to pack was my helmet.
Tip: Not much here, just put your shoes on and run.

Spectators
The point-to-point is tough for spectators who want to see you start and finish. Unless they like to drive, your support staff will only be able to see you at a select spot in the race. My family watched me enter into T2 and a couple of times on the run.
Tip: Set up in between the loop heading east, the racers pass this spot a total of four times.
Tip: Parking is limited, the best spot is just off 37th street in the community. If you can get there early enough, 66th Avenue is decent as well.

For all of you racing this year, GOOD LUCK.

Question: Are you planning on racing in the Ironman 70.3 Calgary this year?

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