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Triathlon Gear Bag Check List

The following triathlon gear check list can help ease the burden of trying to remember everything. Come race day the most stressful things are not swimming, biking and running, but the logistics of the races. Remember the saying “nothing new on race day,” and use the same gear that you have been training in.

The triathlon race day gear is listed first, then explained below in detail. If something is confusing just scroll down for an explanation. All optional items are listed in italics.

TRIATHLON GEAR LIST

PRERACE
Sandals
Long Sleeves/Long Pants
Beverage (glass container = penalty)
Snack
Rain Coat
Heart Rate Monitor & Chest Strap
USA Triathlon Membership Card
ID
Camera
Kleenex

SWIM
Swim Suit/Tri Kit
Clear Goggles
Tinted Goggles
Cap
Timing Chip & Strap
Wetsuit
Lube, like BodyGlide

T1
Water Bottle
Calories
Lube
Sunblock
Towel
Plastic Grocery Bag

BIKE
Bike
Helmet
Glasses
Bento Box (repair kit)
Bar End Plugs
Bike Shoes
Socks
Bike Shorts
Shirt/Jersey
Jacket/Arm Warmers/Tights
Chamois Cream
Water Bottle(s)
Calories

T2
see T1

RUN
Run Shoes
Race Belt & Number
Hat or Visor
Fuel Belt, Calories & Bottle(s)

POST-RACE
Dry Shorts
Dry Shirt
Sunblock
Calories
Cell Phone

ANNOTATED TRIATHLON GEAR LIST

PRERACE
Swim Suit/Tri Kit
Sandals
Long Sleeves/Long Pants – Your race likely starts before the sun comes up and it may be chilly.
Beverage – No glass containers allowed. Keep a water bottle in your hand to stay hydrated pre-race.
Snack – You may be up and fed hours and hours before the actual start. Bring a snack so that you hit the swim start with topped off glycogen stores.
Rain Coat – If there is even a remote chance of rain bring it.
Heart Rate Monitor & Chest Strap
USA Triathlon Membership Card – For annual members only.
ID – Most races require photo ID upon check in.
Camera – How else are you going to post a dozen pictures to Facebook?
Kleenex – The port-o-potties might run out of TP. Be prepared.

SWIM
Clear Goggles – In case it is overcast.
Tinted Goggles – In case you have to swim into the sun.
Cap – They’ll give you one that you absolutely have to wear.
Timing Chip & Strap – Again, they will give you this.
Wetsuit – Do you homework and check on water temps.
Lube, like BodyGlide – Only needed if you have a wetsuit. Do NOT assume that one tube will do. There’s a good chance you’ll be locked out of transition before the swim start. So, if your swim lube is the same as your bike lube you may need a second tube. Same goes for sunscreen. Assume you’ll have to leave a bag of stuff with a friend while you are racing.

T1
Water Bottle – To rinse the sand off your feet. This is different than the bottles on your bike to actually drink.
Calories – Not needed unless you have a really long swim.
Lube – See lube notes above.
Sunblock – See lube notes above.
Towel – Leave the beach towel at home. You only get 18 inches wide of a space.
Plastic Grocery Bag – This is to keep your stuff dry if there is a chance of rain.

BIKE
Bike
Helmet
Glasses – Even if you don’t need them because of the sun, wear them to keep the rocks and dust out of your eyes.
Bento Box (repair kit) – This could be a regular bike back but should include a pump (or CO2), tire levers, spare tube, patch kit.
Bar End Plugs – These are the little plugs that close off the end of your handle bars where the handle bar tape ends in the open hole. If you don’t have both of them your bike might be zip tied to the transition rack.
Bike Shoes
Socks – If you can go without, do it. Just don’t try it for the first time on race day.
Bike Shorts
Shirt/Jersey
Jacket/Arm Warmers/Tights
Chamois Cream
Water Bottle(s)
Calories

T2
see T1 – Generally you’ll need nothing new in T2 unless T2 is different from T1. Again, do your homework and read all the info on the race website.

RUN
Run Shoes – If you don’t want to deal with laces think about getting the elastic ties.
Race Belt & Number – You have to wear your number on the front during the run. You can either take 15 minutes sitting on the ground to safety pin it to your shirt after getting off the bike or you can spend $15 and get a race belt.
Hat or Visor – Even if you don’t like them, bring one just in case.
Fuel Belt, Calories & Bottle(s) – Generally a waste of time unless you have very specific nutrition or hydration needs for a long race.

POST-RACE
Dry Shorts
Dry Shirt
Sunblock – Again, your other stuff is locked in transition and it could be an hour until they open transition back up.
Calories – Never count on the race organizers to give you the food you want. Sometimes its all green bananas and day old bagels.
Cell Phone – Keep this out of transition so you can locate friends and fam after the race.

Things not to bring in to transition: family members who are not racing, glass bottles, balloons to mark your place, and any excess gear not needed during the race. Your rack in the transition area should look like an operating room, not an estate sale.

Be sure to practice just like you will race. Nothing on this list should be new or unfamiliar on race day. Race day should feel like another training day …with a number …and a thousand of your friends …and a couple hundred screaming fans …and a ton of adrenaline …but other than that it should feel like another training day. Seriously, just have fun out there.

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