Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Trusty Steed and Pre-Race Preparations

George's favorite event of triathlon is definitely the bike. While I refer to his bike as his Precious (because it is), he prefers the term Trusty Steed.

He has an entire stable of steeds at home of all different kinds. You probably know that mountain bikes and racing bikes are different, but did you know that triathlon bikes and road-racing bikes (like those used in the Tour de France) are completely different? Yeah, well, I used to be blissfully ignorant of that fact, too, but don't you dare confuse the two around a triathlete.

Tri bikes like George's Specialized Shiv have different geometry than road bikes. I have no idea what the difference is, mind you. I just know there is one.

The blue band on George's wrist identifies him as a race participant.
It gets him into the transition areas and bike area, where I am
not allowed to go.

George spent a chunk of this morning readying his Trusty Steed for the tires, fresh lube, and race number stickers added. This afternoon, he took his bike to the bike corral, where it will stay overnight with about 2,500 other bikes. When the bike area is full, there will be millions of dollars worth of bikes there. Needless to say, security is important here.

On race day, after all the racers have gone through T2 and are sweatily running the marathon, I will be able to pick up George's bike because I have a little slip of paper that says I can. (Some races also require picture ID so only the authorized person named by the athlete before the race picks it up.) Otherwise, the racer must retrieve his/her own bike. Volunteers make sure the race number on the bike matches the race number on the rider.

That's the advantage of having an IronMate or IronSherpa to help on race day. We schlep a bunch of stuff around.

The photo can't do justice to the sheer size of this area or the number
of bikes it will house.

T1 is the transition area for swim to bike, and T2 is the transition from bike to run. Here at Mont Tremblant, I'm pretty sure these areas are in giant tents. Both areas are full of bags with race numbers on them, organized in numerical order to help everyone find what they need during the race. Everything a racer needs for the bike ride will be at T1, and everything he or she will need for the run will be at T2. All this gets organized and dropped off the day before the race.

Consider that there are roughly 2,500 racers; you can imagine what a logistical challenge all this gear represents. Yet Ironman has it down to a science, and there are hundreds of volunteers making sure it all gets done correctly.

On race day, if you track athletes online or using a free phone app, you will follow them as their electronic racing chip crosses various mats around the course. You'll see when they leave the water and enter T1, how long they stay in T1, a variety of bike split times, when they finish the bike and enter T2, and various splits for the marathon.

This tracking makes it pretty easy to estimate when your racer will be in one of the transition areas (and thus close enough to hear you cheering them on) and when they will finish the whole long as the technology works properly. Sometimes, there are delays in posting various times, but generally it's a pretty slick system.

George's Trusty Steed is racked and ready to roll. His feet are up and he's in sloth mode.

Until tomorrow morning, when his swim wave starts around 6:50 AM.

Then, he's stay in constant motion for 140.6 miles.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's updates!


  1. Can't wait to follow along tomorrow. Good luck to George! And good luck to you in being his Sherpa!

  2. Can't wait to see George cross the finish line!!!!

  3. wow...amazing....Good Luck George. You are one brave guy!

  4. Thanks for educating us!! Seems very daunting to me... The race AND he organization to make it run smoothly!!

  5. All the very best to George and his crew!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!