Getting all that stuff to race day…flying can be a pain in the a**

The hilarity of traveling to a triathlon race with so, so much gear; and my awesome bike carrying bag.

Update: Two days ago I wrote about using alcohol to dry out your ears after swimming. After that post, a reader and friend shared with me that she uses alcohol mixed with vinegar. While the alcohol dries out the water, the vinegar kills any bacteria. If you have water troubles, you could mix each in a little eye dropper bottle to put in your swim bag. Thanks for the tip Kathy!! 

Triathlon requires an incredible amount of gear. It’s quite comical really. For my current trip, if I were on a regular vacation, I would be able to fit a week’s worth of stuff into a carry-on. Instead, I have a bike bag, filled with some clothes for extra padding; along with my bike helmet (carry-on), bike shoes, running shoes, bike pump, a silly amount of food for race day and leading up to it…you get the idea. 

And then we also have a bag full of dive gear to go along with race stuff. We are not traveling lightly. On the other hand, we are planning to have lots of fun above and below the ocean! 

It’s not just the amount of triathlon gear that is challenging. I seem  to have to think through everything every time. The swim – what do I need for the race, what do I need for practice swims, and what will I want in the way of body glide or something to reduce chaffing. Same for the bike and the run. You would think I would a packing list. Sometimes I use one from a book that I have, but there are little nuances that I consider for each race, and I have always changed something and desire something a little different.

Perhaps this logistical challenge is part of what I love about the sport! I do love event planning and this fits right in. 

Packing your bike is the most challenging, nerve wracking, part of flying to a race. I have largely delegated the taking apart and putting together to my race sherpa and better half, but it is probably something we should all know, and I’m pretty sure I could do it if I had to but have no desire to push the issue. 

There are many different bike carrying options on the market. Some of them are ginormous. For years, with almost complete success (one broken derailleur on an older bike, which we later learned to remove), I have traveled with a soft-sided case from Pika Packworks. I suppose because it is smaller, or maybe the awesomeness of Alaska Airlines, I have rarely had to pay an extra fee for the bike bag. In other words it is treated as a normal bag; I understand that others often pay an extra fee based on size. It has served me phenomenally well so I am a huge fan. It is pretty easy to pack in, has nice padding and securing options, and nice pockets. The biggest downside over other cases is that it doesn’t have wheels and is awkward to carry. On the flip side, some of the bigger ones surely require a mini-van to transport.