I bumped into Jarrad Adams at the 2011 ITU race in Sydney. Jarrad was racing but had spent the best part of the week working on some of the bikes the ITU elite triathletes had brought to Sydney to race on. They had been sent ahead to be properly prepared for the race.
I asked Jarrad if he would be able to write an article on some of the things that we everyday triathletes should think about when travelling with our bikes. This is timely with Ironman Austalia and 70.3 only a couple of weeks away and also TRI NSW Club Champs and the Hervey Bay triathlon around the corner.
Jarrad Adams has spent many seasons racing and travelling through Europe competing in duathlons. He works at Jet Cycles and below gives us a bit of insight into being properly prepared for travelling with a bike.
What a hectic week it was with the Sydney ITU here at Jet! We’ve had a cascade of interstate and international athletes in the store, helped run the Specialized test the Best demo program, help the Specialized sponsored athletes and team mechanics and of course tried to taper down and stay fresh for our own racing (this last one as not achievable with everything going on). Every big event sees the same common problems which are essentially very minor but in the lead-up to an event they create havoc and unrest.
The big boys know how to be prepared. They plan it out, ring ahead and ensure they have everything either on hand or available to them when they arrive. Specialized did this perfectly for their riders, in fact, the best we have seen. The new S-Works Venge bikes for Tim Don, Javier Gomez, Jan Frodeno and Paula Findlay were shipped to our store a week in advance. We checked over to see that everything arrived and there was time to obtain everything else that was required which was smart as I can’t tell you how many tubular tires were glued up by their team mechanics in the days preceding the event. Their actions were a great example of how to get things done correctly and ensure a smooth sailing run into the event.
If you are travelling interstate, ensure you have a checklist when packing your bike and all components that accompany it. The process of a checklist is important. There is nothing worse than leaving the seat and seat post to your beloved Transition TT bike at home as finding a new one at the race site is going to be potentially difficult and also expensive.
One thing you can usually find in the event of a problem is technical people to assist, whether it is the local store or a tech-savvy competitor. What is more challenging is finding parts and accessories to suit, particularly as bikes are becoming technical with proprietary components. At the Sydney event, we assisted many athletes, some organised who pre-booked their bikes for assembly and tuning months in advance, some were unfortunate transport related breakages, while others were down to forgetfulness.
Here are a few get out of jail free cards that should be in every athlete’s bike kit for when they go racing – either internationally, interstate or even the local as it’s almost always the same problems. If you can’t afford the spares, you probably can’t afford to race!
Essential spare equipment to take:
- Derailleur hanger
- Seat post binder
- Inner cables (brake and gear)
- Tires and tubes
- Spare spokes and nipples (specific to your wheels)
- Chain and chain pins
Essential tools for your race day:
- Torque wrench
- Cable cutters
- Allan keys
- Pedal wrench
- Electrical tape
- Spoke key to suit your wheels
- Chain breaker
It is cheaper to spend a few extra dollars on spares you may never need than to pour in hours of time training and the expense of race entry and travel only to be sidelined for a simple part you could have taken with you.