The biggest festival in the sport of triathlon is nearly upon us! Thousands of triathletes, media, vendors, college students, volunteers, fans and families will descend upon the Wildflower Triathlon Festival at Lake San Antonio, in the hills, vineyards and plains of Monterey County, Calif. The event is known as much as for its fun with three different races, as it is for its dauntingly challenging courses.
If you’re planning on experiencing this great event there are certain pitfalls and mistakes every competing athlete should avoid and prevent from sabotaging their performance. With so much going on in preparation for the camping and racing experience, it’s easy to make a mistake which can cause stress and affect your performance. Below are 10 mistakes to avoid this year for Wildflower, so you can maximize all the training you’ve done.
- Don’t forget your camping pass! Sounds obvious, but it’s like forgetting to bring the tickets to a playoff game. You will be able to pay for overflow camping at the front gate, but paying twice doesn’t make much sense.
- If you’re camping, you’ll want to coordinate necessities with the other people you’re camping with. Trying to do it all yourself, and not delegating responsibilities like food, drinks, coolers, camping stoves, tents, sleeping bags, bike tools, etc, will only make the weekend responsibilities too much to bear. Coordinate in an organized manner with the group you’re camping with, and save the rest of your energy for racing.
- Don’t have a rear cassette which is designed for flat terrain. This course is tough, from the first mile of the bike course, on to the finish. You will face tough climbs and want to have a rear cassette which will allow you to climb with ease. This means at least 25-tooth cogs for the strong bikers, 27 for weaker riders.
- Once you’ve settled into your campsite, don’t spend too much time walking up and down the big hill to the expo, transition, and swim start areas. The days will likely be hot, and the hill is steep and laborious to hike or even ride. Do it the minimum amount, and save your legs.
- Don’t plan on the food at the pre-race dinners to be enough, or even to your liking. It’s not bad, but food and tastes are personal and vary greatly. The last thing you want to do is be disappointed with your pre-race meals, or worse, not eat it because you don’t like it. Plan for your own dinner, and may be top it off with the meal they provide. Don’t forget to bring your pre-race breakfast either! There’s only a small camp store, so don’t think you can just pick something up on race morning.
- Don’t forget sunscreen and sweaters! You can expect it to be hot and sunny during the day, and cold chilly at night and early in the AM.
If you’re doing the long course race on Saturday, pay attention not to make these mistakes:
- If you haven’t seen the bike course before, don’t race it blindly! Before you enter the park to camp, drive the bike course loop, and get acquainted with it. It is challenging, with Nasty Grade Hill coming late in the course and has that name for a good reason.
- Be careful not to do too much socializing on Friday, losing focus on your race. With such a big festival, and likely many friends to be there, it can be hard not to socialize. Say hello, but save the socializing for the pre-and post-race meals, and stay focused on your race preparation.
If you’re racing the Olympic on Sunday, your big pitfalls to avoid are:
- Don’t stand out in the sun, getting worn out, cheering and watching the races on Saturday. Get up in the morning, watch the swim starts and T1, go do your pre-race day workouts, and then find a nice, shady and comfortable area to sit and watch the action. Spending the day out in the sun will negatively affect your race on Sunday.
- Don’t forget to bring earplugs for Saturday night! Those who will have completed the long course race will plan to celebrate that night, and rightfully so. They will have had a blast and worked their tails off! Problem is this isn’t a great pre-race sleeping environment. So expect the worst in terms of noise, and bring your earplugs.
Keep this in mind as you prepare for this great weekend of racing, and you’ll be sure to have both fun and a great performance. Best of luck!
You can follow Jim Vance at his coaching blog, CoachVance.blogspot.com.