San Diego County hosts several triathlons every year. In 2013, there will be UCSD’s Tritonman Triathlon in February, South Shores’ Fearless Triathlon and Oceanside’s Ironman Triathlon in March, the ITU World Triathlon in April, and the San Diego Triathlon Classic in September, just to name a few. If you’ve always wanted to participate in a triathlon, this is as good a year as any to start training! But you’ll need more than just the right training to make it to that finish line; you’ll need to have the right gear too. Here is a list of essential items you’ll need, along with a few preparation tips to make sure you’re ready to go come race day.
The Big Item: Your Bike
Your bike is the biggest and most important piece of gear you’ll need for your first triathlon, so it’s crucial that you get your bike checked by an expert at least three or four days before the race. That way if you find anything wrong with it, you’ll have time to take it into the shop and get it repaired. If you’re shopping for a bike, don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of saving money. The last thing you want is to have the used bike that you purchased cheap off eBay break down mid-race. If you shop around at various bike shops in San Diego, you’ll find that a lot of top brands make entry-level triathlon bikes that are affordable and still high-quality.
Essential Kit Items
In addition to hardware like wetsuit, helmet, biking shoes, and running shoes, you’ll also need some small but essential items. You should have these packed in your kit and ready to go the day before the race:
- Swimming goggles – Get a good pair and test them before race day to make sure they’re adequate.
- Sunblock – Preferably waterproof. On a hot race day, you can easily catch a sunburn during the swimming portion if your sunblock is not waterproof.
- Energy bars – Triathlons are long. Bring some fuel.
- Sunglasses –Especially if you’re planning to enter more competitions in the future, it’s worth investing in a quality pair of sport sunglasses.
- Water bottles – You’ll need to pack bottles to drink during the race and also a few drinking bottles to help you recover as soon as the race is done.
- Toilet paper–If you’re competing in a large race, lines at the port-o-potty will be long and there’s a chance the toilet paper will run out, so bring your own roll. Also, if you’re in a race that consists of wilderness portions, you might end up having to answer nature’s call in an area where no toilets are near, in which case it’s good to be prepared.
- Running Clothes – For the running portion, pack the lightest shorts and shirt you have. You’ll also want a good pair of wick sport socks, as these will help keep your feet comfortable and ventilated.
- Towel – You’ll need a towel for the transition portions of the race. You’ll use it to dry off after the swimming segment, and you’ll also want to stand on it while you change to keep small rocks and dirt from getting into your shoes.
- Plastic Bags – In the unlikely case of rain, plastic bags are good for covering your biking helmet, biking shoes, and running shoes so they don’t get weighed down with water.
- Bike Marker – A bike marker is essentially a pole with a small, bright flag or number to help you locate your bike. Even in small races, it’s easy to lose your bike amidst the multitude of other bikes there. Having a marker will help you quickly locate your bike for a fast transition.