5 Things not to do at a race

There are lots of things that can go wrong on race day - here are some things to make sure you don't do to add to the challenge.

| August 1, 2017 | TRAINING

Race start at Ironman Austria.

Race start at Ironman Austria.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

With so many different pieces of equipment, not to mention the stress of what to eat before and during an event, there’s plenty that can go wrong on race day. Here are our top-five things you don’t need to have happen before or during a race.

  • The exploding tire. Nothing really gets our pulse racing quite like hearing an exploding tire in the transition area as we all enter the swim start. It’s a bit like unlucky dip. Chances are that it’s not your tire that you just heard go bang, but you won’t know until after the swim. Look on the bright side, at least you’ve got something to worry about other than the mass start. (Hint: make sure you take into consideration how hot things will be once the sun rises as you're pumping up your tires on race morning.)
  • New and untested nutrition.  This is mainly for the long course folks, but it can just as easily destroy a first-timer’s sprint- or standard-distance event too. There is nothing like trying the race sponsor’s on-course nutrition on race day for the first time only to discover that it’s only benefit is projectile vomiting and explosive anal outgassing. Nobody feels fast when hucking up a gel or squirting out the remnants of a bar. There is so much wrong with bad nutrition stories that we don’t know where to start. And we don’t want to…
  • A mechanical. Your bike has been running smooth for the 16 weeks prior to your big race through all your epic training moments. You even paid top dollar for a service and you took it for several shake-down rides prior to placing it in the racks. There should be no reason why that brake is rubbing, those gears are jumping or the left aero extension has come loose. Honestly, the number of snapped chains we see on the side of the road on race day just does not make sense, I mean we don’t see a broken chain all year… Our only explanation is that you have angered the triathlon gods and only the burning of carbon or perhaps the ritual sacrificing an iron-virgin will appease them.
  • Chafe. We don’t care if it’s a new wetsuit, tri-suit, race belt, pair of goggles, shoes or even a heart rate strap. The laws on new stuff are very clear: if you have not been wearing and using an item for six weeks prior to a big race it will remove all your flesh in the immediate vicinity. As the day goes on the chafe gets worse until all the skin is gone and you’re left with a mixture of white clear flesh, blood and that clear fluid that slowly migrates to puss yellow as the infection and eventual blood poisoning sets in. Once all the skin is gone to that place no amount of Vaseline will bring it back. Still, we can’t wait for the next expo where we will repeat the same stupid mistake over and over again. And let’s be honest, we’ve all made this mistake.
  • No chicken, no fish, no curry.  It sounds so simple but it’s an often forgotten maxim come the night before an important race. The number of tall, fair and strong athletes that have been laid low by consuming chicken/fish/curry food groups directly before an event are legendary. You may never have had salmonella or a copped a dodgy vindaloo in the past, so why would you tempt fate before the big dance?  May we humbly suggest a simple lasagna or bowl of pasta. Just keep it simple and nothing from 7-11.