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June 7, 2021

Triathlon Travel: How to Arrive Race Ready

Arrive race ready no matter how far from home your race adventures take you! On this episode, coaches John Mayfield and Elizabeth James discuss mitigating the effects of travel on your race performance. The coaches outline pros and cons of driving v. flying to your event, share tips for booking your accommodations, and give recommendations for packing your gear. Don’t let travel take away from the performance you’ve earned in training!

The TriDot Podcast

Episode .89

Intro: This is the TriDot podcast. TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile, combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries.  Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain.  We’ll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests.  Join the conversation and let’s improve together. Andrew Harley:  Welcome to the TriDot podcast.  New episode today and whether all ya’ll like this one or not, I am going to have a grand old time.  I love traveling for a race.  I think it’s just the best way to get out and see the world and today we’ll talk through all the nuances of race week travel to help ensure that you have a great race no matter how far away from home your race adventures take you.  Joining us for this conversation is pro triathlete and coach, Elizabeth James.  Elizabeth is a USAT Level II and Ironman U certified coach who quickly rose through the triathlon ranks using TriDot.  From a beginner to top age grouper to a professional triathlete.  She’s a Kona and Boston Marathon qualifier who has coached triathletes with TriDot since 2014.  Elizabeth, thanks for joining us! Elizabeth James:  Well, really glad to be here.  I’ve actually been on the road a lot these past few weeks so I think it will be perfect to chat a little bit more about travel. Andrew: A good time for us to probably plug…we don’t normally talk about where we’re at when we’re recording.  Sometimes we record these in one of our houses. Sometimes we record these when we’re on the road traveling for races and since we’re talking about travel today we are in Galveston, Texas right now sitting out--the beach is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.  So beautiful view for us.  So I just had to plug that while we’re talking about traveling right Elizabeth? Elizabeth: Oh for sure, yes! Andrew: Also here with us on the beach in Galveston, Texas is Coach John Mayfield.  Now John is a USAT Level II and Ironman U certified coach who leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs.  He has coached hundreds of athletes ranging from first-timers to Kona qualifiers and professional triathletes.  John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012. John, you enjoying Galveston today? John Mayfield:  I always enjoy Galveston.  This is actually somewhat my backyard.  I actually live only about 30 miles away from here.  But we affectionately call it the Sandbar on the Gulf.  It’s a tiny little island, but a lot of cool stuff and a great race hosted here every year.  So yeah, always good to be in Galveston. Andrew: Well, I’m Andrew the average triathlete, voice of the people, and captain of the middle of the pack.  As always, we’ll roll through our warm up question, settle in for our travel themed main set conversation, and then wind things down with our cool down.  Lots of good stuff.  Let’s get to it. Warm up theme:  Time to warm up!  Let’s get moving. Andrew: I say it all the time.  I love it when we get fun warm up questions suggested to us by the TriDot podcast audience and we had an athlete submit his own voice asking a great question for the podcast.  This is Mike Loftis. He comes to us from Midland, Texas and he is going to throw out today’s warm up question.  Take it away Mike. Mike Loftis: Hey TriDot family!  This is Mike Loftis from Midland, Texas.  Fairly new into triathlons and training and already I’ve had a couple of pretty interesting experiences whether it be a conversation where I thought something was being talked about and it was something very, very different than what I thought.  Or getting to the end of a triathlon race and 20 feet away from the finish line just puking in the parking lot and not able to finish for a couple of minutes while everybody watches me do that.  I’ve heard some experiences and obviously you hear some of the general wisdom—you know never trust a fart on a long run.  Or you hear Raines talking about letting it fly on the bike while urinating while on the bike to save time.  And so my question for the panel is what is an awkward experience that you have had, either you personally or you have witnessed while at triathlon? Andrew: Yeah, so this is a really fun question because obviously there’s moments in all of our triathlon journeys that can be a little gross or a little different or a little awkward to use the word that Mike used.  There’s things like when you’re amongst triathletes and you’re wearing skin tight, bright colored lycra you feel like you fit in and then all of a sudden on the way home from said gathering of triathletes you go to the grocery store or the gas station and now you feel really out of place and awkward wearing skin tight, loud lycra, right?  So it’s a sport that makes sense in a vacuum, but can get real awkward real fast depending on the scenario you’re in.  So, yeah, let’s talk about this.  Elizabeth, let's start with you.  What is something that…what was kind of an awkward moment for you or an awkward thing or gross thing you witnessed when you were out on course? Elizabeth: Well, yeah.  I have to say there is a little bit of a learning curve not only getting into the sport, but with the language of the sport as well.  And gosh, as that clip was coming through I just also remembered a couple of conversations that I had when I was still a teacher and kind of explaining things to some of my colleagues.  I remember the first time that I was explaining a crack pipe and talking about inflating a disc wheel and my principal walked by, so I really had to explain that one as well to my boss. Andrew: You had to clarify what you were talking about. Elizabeth: Oh yeah, exactly.  And in the teacher’s lounge talking about the wetsuit strippers.  So that was an interesting one too.  Probably not school appropriate conversation. Andrew: Every triathlon has crack pipes and strippers on site. Elizabeth: A personal story for me, it wasn’t so awkward for me, but it was certainly awkward for the poor teenage kid at the aid station at Ironman Chattanooga.  It was a warm run, I was utilizing the ice at the aid stations as part of my cooling protocol.  I asked him for a cup of ice and after getting the cup from him I poured it into my tri shorts and the kid just looked mortified that I had taken this cup of ice and poured it in my pants. Andrew: I mean the poor aid station workers, sometimes they are fellow triathletes that aren’t racing that day and sometimes they’re just kids from down the road, some organization and they have no idea what’s going on and everything like that can freak them out. John can you…I want to make sure before we move too far past Elizabeth’s comment.  For any triathlete listening who is not familiar with the purpose of a crack pipe in triathlon, please explain that one to some of our listeners so we don’t just glance by that and not explain ourselves there. John: So that was going to be my answer as well.  That was the first thing that came to mind as far as awkward and questions and something we talk about.  We share like a packing list and my packing list has crack pipe on it.  So that’s always like, is this to like calm the nerves before the race. Andrew: It’s an attention getter. John: So with a disc wheel and sometimes some of the older tri spoke wheels the valve is in the carbon or in the actual wheel structure as opposed to your typical spokes where there’s plenty of room to get an inflater valve on the stem.  So basically it’s a 90 degree adapter that goes in the pump and it fits in the little hole where the valve stem is on a disc or a tri spoke wheel and it looks exactly like a crack pipe.  You would not want to have it in your cup holder if you got pulled over on your way home from the race.  But, yeah. So that’s kind of been a long running joke.  I had the same thought about strippers.  It’s always like, if you know you know, but if you don’t you’re like, “what the heck are they talking about with strippers and crack pipes?”  True classic fun. Andrew: Yeah, my first couple tris were pool sprint tris with a pool swim.  So I had been a triathlete a good year and a half before I even heard of wetsuit strippers. Right?  So yeah, it’s not everyday lingo unless you’re in this sport.  So John, what’s something that Elizabeth didn’t share that maybe is an awkward or different thing unique to triathlon? John: So I think it has to do with…Mike mentioned being relatively new to the sport. Andrew: Yeah. John: And I’m kind of on the polar opposite end of that spectrum.  I’ve been around a while and it’s almost to the point like where nothing is surprising. Andrew: Nothing phases you? John: Not really. Andrew: You’ve seen it all and the things you haven’t seen wouldn’t surprise you at this point? John: If I haven’t seen it I’ve heard it. Andrew: Okay. John: Because triathletes love to share all sorts of things.  Sometimes it’s too much.  Oftentimes it’s relevant especially as a coach.  The information that is shared is probably even more so than what some people share with their doctors and family members and that sort of thing and that’s great.  But I think that has perhaps dulled my senses to awkwardness and too many surprises. And I think Mike will probably have that experience.  You hang around long enough and you’ll get to the point where nothing is particularly awkward.  Nothing is particularly surprising or shocking. Andrew: So the first thing I thought of here was the port-a-potty lines on race mornings.  Because it’s an interesting place because we’re all there to do the same thing, right?  We’re all there to poop.  Like, that’s just…there’s no getting around it.  We’re all there to get that pre-race poo out of the way and there’s a couple kind of awkward things that can happen depending on what’s going on with the facilities and the lines. I hate being the guy who kills off the toilet paper in the port-a-potty that you’re in because you’ve got anywhere from a dozen to 40-50 people backed up in a line with a row of port-a-potties there.  The person at the front of that line is excited to get their chance and they’re ready. Elizabeth: It’s almost their turn. Andrew: Yeah, it’s almost their turn so when you come out their eyes light up, they start walking toward the port-a-potty and you have to announce to a group of 20 to 40 to 50 people that you killed off the toilet paper and this port-a-potty is no longer good.  Now of course, it wasn’t all your fault that that toilet paper is gone.  There were hundreds of athletes that came before you that contributed to that, but you were the guy—you’re the visual representation of a port-a-potty that can no longer be used.  I hate inconveniencing other people and I just felt bad John.  I did, I felt bad. John: You should. Andrew: Hey guys, we’re going to throw this out to you.  The Mike Loftis awkward moment triathlon podcast warm up question.  We want to hear what have you been through?  Race days are long.  A lot happens.  A lot goes down.  What’s something you’ve seen?  What’s something you’ve experienced?  Is there anything gross, anything weird, anything different that really just stands out in your mind as yep I’ve been there and this is my story?  Find the post on the I Am TriDot Facebook group and let us know what you’ve gone through on race day.  Maybe you’ll surprise John Mayfield with your answer, maybe not. John: Probably not. Main set theme:  On to the main set.  Going in 3…2…1… TriBike: Today our main set is brought to you by TriBikeTransport.  If you are traveling for an upcoming race, let TriBike Transport ensure that your bike gets there race-ready and stress-free.  TriBike Transport is the original fully-assembled bike transport service for cyclists and triathletes.  I love traveling for a race and after registering, the first thing I do is book TriBike Transport for my bike.  You start by using the easy online reservation form to guarantee space for your bike.  Then, about one week out from the race, you’ll drop off your bike fully-assembled at one of their conveniently-located partner shops.  Your bike will enjoy a smooth ride all the way to the race site where you will pick it up near T1 ready to race with your bike fit position untouched.  Thousands of athletes have trusted their gear to TriBike Transport and you can too. Learn how by heading to TriBikeTransport.com and as a friend of the podcast, use coupon code TriDotPod for $25 off your next booking. Andrew:  Logistically not every race we sign up for will be close to home.  And whether a race is a few hours down the highway or on the other side of the world, once travel is involved extra considerations need to be made to be ready to rock when the big day arrives.  John and Elizabeth have traveled for many, many races themselves and coached athletes through races all over the world and so today they will talk us through the smoothest travel experience possible when you’re heading out the door for a faraway race day.  So John, you are the most traveled of all three of us when it comes to race weekends and you also cover race travel on your Race Recon Webinars you do for every North American Ironman.  What does a typical travel year look like for you and what have been some of your just favorite memories from traveling for races? John: I could do a whole podcast on favorite memories from those trips.  A typical year for me actually starts down here in Galveston.  One of the first races of the year is Ironman 70.3 Texas which, as I mentioned, is just down the road from my home.  So we start here and then traditionally Ironman Texas is one of the next ones.  It’s up on the north side of Houston.  So another one pretty local to me.  It’s about an hour drive from my house even though I still travel just like any other race to that one.  In years past it’s been somewhat of a western swing going to Ironman Santa Rosa then Ironman Boulder.  We do a little bit of a break through some of the warmer summer months.  There’s not as many Ironman races and then the fall gets really busy with more of an east coast swing.  There’s races...there used to be Ironman Louisville which we don’t have that one on the calendar now, but.. Andrew: And Santa Rosa and Boulder as well no longer have the full. John: So kind of switching up, but we have some new ones I’m super excited about getting out to.  Getting back to Coeur ‘d Alene.  Now we have Ironman California that’s also up there in northern California that’s similar to Santa Rosa.  We end the year with Chattanooga, Louisville, Maryland, Florida, and then what we’ve historically referred to as our big season ending party at Ironman Arizona which is a great experience. There are so many people that come from all over for that race and it’s a huge turnout.  Very popular race.  We do similar events and functions at each one of these races, but everyone has its own kind of feel and each one is unique in the venue and what we’re able to do there. It kind of mirrors the race in and of itself. I always say every race is a little unique.  Every race has its own personality, its own culture.  So we tap into a little bit of that.  As I reflect on what are my favorite memories from these trips it always revolves around the people.  We get to spend time with people whether it’s guys like ya’ll that I travel with and get to spend time with, or if it’s athletes and coaches that we’re out there on the road meeting sometimes for the first time.  Others I have athletes that I’ll meet up with all over the country and I haven’t seen them since the last time we met up at the race and I won’t see them again until the next race.  Those are always special.  I enjoy the opportunity to get to meet people, to spend time with people.  We get to see them go out and achieve great things.  One of my most favorite things to do is snap pictures at the finish line as these athletes are hugging their loved ones.  That’s always something that’s super special.  Just to have the opportunity and the privilege to do things like that.  Those are the things that I remember the most. Andrew: So Elizabeth, in your Ironman career so far and your race career, just looking at your four Ironman races that you’ve done at this point, they are all in totally opposite directions of the country, right? Elizabeth: Yep. Andrew: So you’ve been well traveled in your own race career.  What are some of the places you’ve gone to and kind of the same as I asked John. What’s kind of a standout memory or two that you only have because you traveled for a race and got out of the comfort zone? Elizabeth: I would say that most of my travel is triathlon related whether that be for racing, different training opportunities, or supporting our TriDot athletes at the races.  And yeah, that’s such an amazing part of the sport.  Getting to experience these new places and really just as John was saying get to experience that with great people.  I mean, this almost seems like a cop out answer, but Kona was my first thought. Andrew: If that’s the favorite, that’s the favorite. Elizabeth: Yeah, and definitely one of the favorites.  But again, it kind of goes back to the people that were there.  That’s an incredibly special memory for me just getting to share that race experience with my family.  It was the first triathlon race that my brother and sister-in-law were able to attend.  My parents were there too and of course my husband, Charles.  So that was really cool just to share that with family. Another just fantastic experience was when I had the opportunity to Sherpa for one of my athletes in Alaska and actually John was there as a Sherpa for one of his athletes too.  So, both of us got to be… Andrew: Small world!  I apparently need to find one of those athletes because I’ve never got to go to Alaska. Elizabeth: It was a phenomenal trip.  And again, just—Alaska was great, but being able to be there and experience that with the athlete that was racing was just the best part of all of it.  One last thing and this might be another cheater response.  I don’t know if I’ve fully answered the question here, but I’ve also just been thinking about the places that I want to race in the next few years.   I’m really looking forward to traveling to new places and getting to share those experiences too. Andrew: And obviously on the podcast I’ve been on every episode.  I’m there. I’m on there!  So people have heard the races I’ve done.  I did my first 70.3 in New Zealand, did a race-cation 70.3 Greece.  But also, we talk about Ironman so much because those do often require travel, but I’ve even had the privilege to travel for a few sprint and Olympic races as well.  Having family that lives in Florida, I’ve done a few races with my dad in Florida. You know, flying the bike into Tampa or Orlando or Miami airport.  I got to do Challenge Daytona with John in Florida.  I even flew to Nashville and did a super sprint with my brother.  He wanted to try it out and so I definitely want people to know there are some super cool sprint and Olympic races out there that are in different corners of the world that are worth taking the time and effort to book accommodation and travel to and figure out how to get there. When I first set out to travel to my first race I had this mindset that the further I traveled for a race, the more travel I was doing for a race, that I ultimately was going to suffer my performance because of it.  I just kind of had this mindset that you can’t go halfway around the world and still PR.I think the more I’ve learned about the sport, the more I’ve learned about the coaching side of this sport, the more I’ve been on the podcast with you guys; you can have a very good race halfway across the world.  You can have a good race on the other side of the country.  You can have a good race four hours down the road.  It’s just all in planning properly, executing properly, making sure you’re rested, and all that.  So I want people to know the things we are talking about today are going to be all the ways that you can, no matter where you’re going, how far it is and how hard you plan on vacationing.  You can line up and have a great race anywhere in the world on any given day. Elizabeth: I mean really just even think of the pros.  Most of them are traveling in for Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.  They have phenomenal races! Andrew: Yeah, I’ll say!  Yeah, great point.  So as we talk about this before we get real deep into travel specifics, are there any differences to the approach an athlete should have planning their travel based on the distance of the race; whether it’s an Ironman or whether it’s a super sprint or a sprint? Elizabeth: Some of this is going to be determined for an athlete already based on the race event schedule.  So for example, in most full distance Ironman events athletes cannot, they are not allowed to check in the day before the race.  So they will need to travel earlier than they may otherwise for a shorter distance event.  Beyond the required check in dates for the event there is some athlete preference to take into consideration as well.  Do you want to stay in your home routine and sleep in your own bed as long as possible or is that going to stress you out to get there the day before? Do you want to arrive early at the race site and just kind of know that you’re there?  Start to get oriented?  Just kind of as a rule of thumb for me, the longer the event the earlier I plan to arrive ahead of it. Andrew: Okay.  So let’s get into some real specific travel questions and here’s a big one. A lot of vital travel dominos will start to fall into place based on this question.  How many days before a race should we make sure to arrive by? John: So it’s really going to depend on the person, somewhat their objective, and as Elizabeth mentioned the distance. I absolutely agree the longer the race the more prudent it is to arrive early.  I would say the higher the priority of the race also assuming that you have that personality even as she mentioned too, if it’s beneficial for you to arrive.  There are advantages of being there.  So my rule of thumb that I use whether I’m racing or also when we travel to races. For the Saturday races we travel on Wednesday.  For a Sunday race we travel on Thursday.  So you have three nights in town prior to the race.  For me I’ve found that’s a good amount of time.  I can get everything done without being overly stressed, without having to pack too many things into a short period of time.  Something else I always talk about is that extra time is somewhat of an insurance policy.  So things go wrong.  Things get left at home.  Things break in transit.  The more time you have the more ability you have to deal with those things.  If you forgot something, perhaps there’s an issue with your bike that happened when you were flying your bike,  You have time to deal with that and you’re not running around panicked the day before the race trying to get those things sorted out. So that time, in and of itself, is a little bit of an insurance policy.  And as we talked about too, I love going to these races.  I love checking out these new cities, new venues. So for me if I’m going to go and do all this stuff I want to have a little bit of time there even if it’s just spending time in the city.  Not necessarily doing touristy stuff or just taking in attractions.  Just being there in town for me is enjoyable and it also provides time to acclimate to the new city.  Not necessarily that true sense of acclimation.  There are things we absolutely need to consider and I think this is probably in a whole other podcast things like elevation and heat and those sort of things. Andrew: Yeah. John: Those physical acclimations.  But just getting to know the town that you’re in. Getting to know the venue.  That’s going to be beneficial on race day even when it comes time to race morning.  Knowing how to get down to the race venue.  Knowing where to park.  Knowing what traffic is going to be like.  You don’t want to figure that out on race morning.  So the more time you have to do all those things, take in everything, really enjoy the experience.  But at the same time there are those that are stressed out by travel. It is an increased expense to spend more days.  You’re typically paying for lodging.  You’re paying for meals and food otherwise.  So there are all those considerations.  So it really comes down to each individual and I think that’s a great conversation to have with a coach or someone who has been experienced to really find out what’s optimal for you.  But I always recommend getting there in plenty of time to take care of everything without being rushed or stressed headed into race day. Andrew: So there are some instances where you will obviously drive to a race and there are some where you will obviously have to fly.  But for a race maybe is kind of far, but maybe not so far that you have to fly…what are the pros and cons to each method of travel?  Or maybe a better question along these lines…what is the travel duration that would prompt you to advise someone to fly instead of drive? Elizabeth: For me if it’s longer than two days of driving then we’ll start to look at flights.  If we can break it up into two days in a car then that’s probably still what I’m going to do.  I don’t pack lightly.  I mean, both John and Andrew have traveled with me.  They know this.  They’re like nodding their heads now and probably rolling their eyes a little bit. Andrew: And I want people to know Elizabeth, it’s not like the stereotypical “Oh, Elizabeth is a girl and so she’s bringing more clothes.  She’s bringing more hair care.”  It’s none of that.  It’s the gear. Elizabeth: Yeah, it is the gear. Andrew: It’s the gear and it’s the nutrition is what she brings more of and because of that whenever we go out for a ride Elizabeth is much better prepared than the rest of us are when we’re on the road. John: And shout out to Coach Jeff Raines. If he were here he would be making a joke about my hair so we would be a little amiss if we didn’t mention that. Elizabeth: You know John has more hair care products than me. John: I don’t.  I have a brush. Andrew: John, did you just dunk on your own hair? John: Yes.  Just...I’m so conditioned by Jeff to do that.  But I do, I carry my brush everywhere we go. Andrew: Yeah. Elizabeth: I mean even for this weekend. We’re here in Galveston and my SUV is jam packed just for this weekend.  You know, if I’m driving I like to have all my things.  So Andrew as you were mentioning I’ve got my cooler of nutrition.  I have my Normatec boots, my foam roller, all my swim gear.  So if the drive is reasonable I’m probably driving. John: So when we travel with Elizabeth it’s like a 15 passenger van.  When it’s Andrew and I we get like a convertible Mustang and we... Andrew: Oh, I wish that were the case.  So I’ve even seen on our Facebook group; I don’t remember who it was so I apologize to this athlete if they’re listening. But somebody even threw out, “Hey I’m considering doing such and such race.”  And it was like whichever side of the country they live on, it was on the other side.  And they were asking the question, is it crazy…would it be insane for me to drive from—let’s say it was like California to Florida.  It was something like that.  Polar opposite sides.  Is it insane to do that drive?  And different athletes were giving their thoughts and stuff.  So for Elizabeth it’s if it is reasonable you’re going to drive because of the ease of taking gear.  John with your athletes and the athletes that you coach is there like a cap, is there a ceiling where you’re like, “Hey, I as your coach, I advise you to fly at such and such duration.” John: Not so much a recommendation, but for me personally my threshold is around 600 miles which is kind of on the short end perhaps.  I definitely like to fly.  I like to hop on a plane, get there, and be done even though I do always enjoy a good road trip.   One of my favorites every year is driving to Ironman Florida which is right at that—and that’s probably where that 600 mile threshold comes from because that is about 600 miles from my home. Andrew: Because when we drove out there together this past iteration of Ironman Florida it was, what, a 10 or 11 hour drive? John: Yeah, something like that. Andrew: So that’s kind of your ceiling? John: Yeah.  Definitely one day.  I do not do two day road trips.  But a couple years ago Ron Brown, a TriDot athlete, lives in northern California drove to Ironman Texas.  I don’t know how many hours that was, but I was like “Ron, that is a long way to drive.” And he agreed, but he did it. Andrew: Because Ron is in California? John: Yep.  And he only outdid himself by later that year driving to Ironman Chattanooga. Andrew: California to Tennessee. John: And he even agreed that Chattanooga was a mistake.  That he is not doing that. Elizabeth: That’s even too much for me. John: I can’t imagine.  Yeah.  It’s a two or three hour flight, not a two or three day drive. Andrew: So long story short, it’s really not necessarily more advantageous or less advantageous.  It’s just what is your tolerance?  What is your personal ceiling?  Make sure you’re not mentally taxing yourself by just being in a car way too long.  But, if you have a tolerance for a couple days and you’ve got the time, it’s not the worst thing to do. John: There are absolutely pros and cons. And yeah, I think it is preference and budget.  There are a lot of considerations.  There’s definitely not a right or wrong answer, but yeah.  It just comes down to what works for you and it’s great when you don’t have to worry about how many bags you’re bringing and having to decide which things to bring and which to leave at home.  But then again, it’s also…like I said I enjoy time in the venue. So if I fly I can get there a lot quicker and have more time. Andrew: So with that in mind, for an athlete that has chosen to drive to a race…driving a long way can be fairly taxing depending on the circumstances.   What are the best practices for having that drive take as little out of you mentally and physically as possible? Elizabeth: Having somebody else drive. Andrew: Oh! Elizabeth: And maybe this is why my road trip duration is a little higher.  If my husband is listening he is rolling his eyes at me right now.  He is such a trooper and does almost all of the driving to and from my races.  So I should throw that out there that when I’m saying a two day road trip I mean… Andrew: Two days of Charles driving you to the venue. Elizabeth: Yeah.  Kicking my feet up in the passenger seat.  He’s fantastic about just letting me kind of chill out in the front seat.  So if that’s a possibility where somebody else can drive and you can be in the car, that’s definitely less taxing than being the one behind the wheel. Andrew: I think of when we did Challenge Daytona just this past year, one of our athletes, Caleb Chapman, who if you’re on the I Am TriDot Facebook group you have definitely seen pictures of Caleb Chapman’s bike.  He’s a TriDot ambassador.  He has a Diamondback Andean bike which is a massively aero bike.  It’s got a lot of carbon.  It has TriDot logos kind of customized into the paint job.  He got a bike wrap with TriDot logos on it and so Caleb raced Challenge Daytona.  John and I were there.  We met him and talked to him a little bit.  But he and his wife left immediately after the race to start driving back home and he texted us a picture of himself.  His wife was driving.  He was in the passenger seat just like Elizabeth you’re saying and he already had his compression boots on.  So he was in the passenger seat with his compression boots on, legs kicked up, enjoying his ride back home after dominating Challenge Daytona.  So, yep. Elizabeth: So yeah.  A little different in the passenger seat than it is behind the wheel. So a big consideration there. John: No compression boots while driving. Just a disclaimer. Andrew: An important disclaimer. Elizabeth: Yes, yeah.  But you know whether you’re in the passenger seat or behind the wheel a couple other things that you can do are to take frequent breaks.  So don’t just power through that drive. Make some stops, stretch, walk around. Make sure that you’re staying hydrated which is also going to force you to take those frequent breaks as well. Then stay on top of your nutrition. I really like packing my own meals and snacks so that I am in control of that and I’m not at the mercy of whatever is on the side of the road there. Andrew: Gas stations and fast food doesn’t do it for you? Elizabeth: It doesn’t work for me.  No. Andrew: No.  I mean, great tips there.  I really like that.  Conversely flying even being a little bit more time economical, flying can even put a strain on us as well.  Particularly the longer that we’re in the air.  What flying tips do you have for athletes hitting the skyways for their race travels? John: They’re largely the same as the car.S o a lot of crossover.  I think these are applicable to the road trips as well. One of my favorites is the compression socks.  There’s something about sitting in a car seat or on an airplane for a long period of time. There’s a tendency to have fluid buildup in the lower extremities which is not conducive to running a race with heavy legs.  So compression socks can help prevent some of that fluid buildup in the lower legs. And that’s again true whether you’re sitting on an airplane or sitting in a car.  So compression socks.  As you mentioned earlier it’s a great opportunity to be really awkward and stand out wearing your neon compression socks through the airport while wearing shorts. Bring your own water onto the airplane. So a little bit different.  I always advise this for road trips as well is have that case of water in the car with you.  It’s a little more difficult or a little different on the airplane. You obviously can’t bring bottles of water through security.  So either plan to buy a bottle of water before you hop on the plane or bring an empty water bottle.  So this is kind of one of those tips from the road that I’ve learned.  Many airports now have those bottle filler water fountains. So you can bring an empty bottle through security and then once you’re past that checkpoint you can fill up the bottle.  There’s just something about travel that tends to be dehydrating.  Perhaps opt for an aisle seat or be a little—I don’t know. It’s hard to say it’s inconsiderate, but don’t be shy in asking to get up for those same reasons of not wanting to stay seated for those long periods of time.  Then it’s a great opportunity to sneak in a nap.  So that’s something we always advocate for heading into your race. Get as much sleep whenever you can. It’s largely idle time so if you can sneak in a nap that’s a great opportunity. Andrew: Once you’ve decided how to get yourself to the race, the next thing you have to start thinking about is how to get all of your gear to the race.  The bike is obviously the big necessary equipment that can complicate travel a little bit.  What advice do you give your athletes on efficiently traveling with all of their tri gear? John: So the no brainer for me is professional bike transport.  We use TriBike Transport for all of our trips, all of our races.  They carry my bike to the races.  They carry our gear to the races so when we do our at the race events and we have our tent there, that’s compliments of TriBike Transport. It is so much easier to let them do that than that.  I really…again, I’ve been promoting this for years.  It just makes sense.  It’s something that I don’t want to mess with so I’ve always opted for that.  But recently in 2020 it was really solidified with an experience where because races were kind of up in the air I didn’t schedule TriBike Transport for my bike transport and I opted to fly with my bike for the first time ever and it was a mess.  It cost almost as much to fly with the bike as TriBike Transport. By the time I bought the bike bag and paid the airline fees I was actually over what I would have paid. And they talk about relieving stress and taking stress away by allowing them to take care of the bike.  And I didn’t realize how stressful this was going to be from packing the bike into that bag, getting it to the airport, getting it through the airport.  Then the hardest part was handing it off to disappear to God knows where into the belly of that airplane and then seeing it plop out onto the conveyor belt drive side down.  It was just like oh no! Andrew: And you have no idea what that bike has been through the last couple hours. John: And this is what they’re doing in public.  This is what they’re doing in front of me so who knows what they were doing with my bike and how many suitcases ended up on top of it in the cargo hold.  I did have some issues.  I had to switch up my bars.  I had to move my fit.  I had to hope that I got everything back tight and nothing slipped.  My seat post did actually slip in transport.  It was a mess.  So this is something I’ve been advocating for years, but man!  That trip straight up solidified.  I am never flying with my bike again if I can do anything about it.  So that’s really a 100% true story of just how I learned my lesson.  Yeah.  That’s a top tip from me to really let these guys do what they do.  They do it well.  It’s a huge convenience.  It’s a huge stress reliever.  If you’re going to do one thing, do that. Andrew: Yeah and we perhaps John, TriBike Transport being the sponsor partner of this particular podcast episode is probably the most organic and natural podcast ad we’ve ever had.  So at the beginning of the main set we announce them as the sponsor of this episode.  A great partner company of TriDot.  We believe in their services for all the reasons you just said.  Now, it’s really eye opening for me watching you go through that experience.  I car pooled with Coach Jeff Raines down to Galveston and he was telling me.  He had a very similar experience flying his bike to Challenge Miami for the first time and just got it there and it came out on the conveyor belt which it’s not supposed to.  It’s supposed to come out with oversized baggage and he just had a lot of problems.  So he was having to take his bike to the mechanic on day one where as he could have been using that time to relax and kick back and other things.  I’ve flown with my bike.  I’ve taken over a dozen individual flights with my bike all over the world, all over the country, and never had a problem.  So seeing you guys go through that…I never understood why people get so wound up about flying their bike and stress and I get it now. Because you get there and all it takes is one problem, one baggage handler throwing it the wrong way onto something and suddenly you have a lot of problems to deal with when you arrive to your destination.  So if you fly with your bike frequently and you’re listening to this, if you have a travel bag like I do…I’m going to keep flying with mine when I need to.  Don’t be freaked out.  I mean the odds are your bike is going to get there just fine, but it is a calculated risk.  It is a risk that you’re going to get there.  My advice would be, and I always do this, as soon as you get there while you’re in baggage claim, while you’re there at the airport, unzip that bag. Take a look at your bike and make sure nothing major happened to it in transit and then when you get to your hotel don’t wait a day or two to put your bike together.  Immediately put your bike together.  Spin the wheels.  Make sure the gears are shifting correctly and just double check all those touch points to make sure that it got there without any problems because if there were any problems like you were talking about John and like Jeff experienced you need to get them resolved right away. John: And that actually is something that I learned somewhat the hard way.  I did have some damage to my bike on the return home. Fortunately everything was pretty good when I got there.  I was able to race without incident, but when I got home I did have some…and I wasn’t in a hurry.  I took two or three days to call the airline and they informed me I actually had four hours after the plane landed to make any claim.  So I was well beyond that.  Then they also, I had a high end bike transport bag, but it was a soft shell bag which also does not comply with their insurance or guarantee or whatever. It has to be, for this particular airline which was Southwest, it has to be a hard bike box.  The soft bags are not covered under their policy.  So those are all things to look into and consider and to be aware of just again, to protect yourself and protect your baby. Andrew: Yeah and mine is a—we didn’t plan on camping out on bike bags for a little bit, but this is the travel episode. So this is the time to talk about it. Mine is a soft shell bag as well. For anybody out there that has considered buying a bike bag if you are basically the advantage of the soft shell bags is you don’t have to take your bike apart as much.  You might have to lower the seat post.  You might have to scoot the aero bars back a little bit to get your bike to fit in there.  But you take the wheels off, the wheels go in slots on the outside of the bag that are padded, and then you just bolt the frame to two skewers.  It’s a hard frame and it rides just like that.  That’s all you have to do.  You don’t have to take pedals off.  You don’t have to take the seat post off.  So if you get a hard shell bag there’s obviously way more protection there, but you do have to disassemble your bike somewhat.  I am not mechanically inclined at all so I opted for the riskier, soft shell bag knowing that it was just going to be a little bit easier for me to travel with it.  But if you are out there, you’ve been thinking about getting a bike travel bag, that’s in a nutshell the pros and cons of the soft and the hard case bag. So do keep that in mind. These days there are a lot of options for accommodation in the race host town.  Folks can book a hotel, they can find a rental house, they can camp out at a campground, etcetera, etcetera.  Just depending on where the race is, what should an athlete consider when booking their accommodation? Elizabeth: For me, price is usually the biggest consideration.  Obviously the accommodations that are closest to the race site are going to be more expensive.  If you’re flying in you may want to weigh the pros and cons of having a rental car and how that would factor into your total cost of the trip.  So the hotel might be more expensive closer to the race site, but then if you can get by without a rental car and everything you need is easily accessible from the hotel then that higher accommodations cost may be worthwhile or even sometimes cheaper, more cost effective, than if you’re staying in other areas that need a rental car as well.  Same idea kind of with the amenities that are available in the accommodations.  I’ll often look for a place that would have a kitchen area which could reduce the cost of eating out at restaurants.  So I’d say kind of look at the total cost considering the flight, rental car, cost of gasoline if you’re driving, the meals if you’re eating at your place or having to eat out a lot.  For me there can be a number of factors that go into this, but price is usually the biggest consideration. Andrew: Yeah, no. It makes sense.  As much as I love the idea of staying in the closest hotel or closest accommodation possible.  Usually there’s an official race hotel that is really close often to the race itself. The one advantage I love, if you do go that route it’s more expensive and that’s the thing, is you do usually get the chance to avoid the port-a-potty lines entirely.  So all those awkward moments you can have at a port-a-potty that I talked about, you can avoid that by having your own bathroom in your hotel room sometimes just 50 yards away or so from transition.  So that’s like the one perk I really like. I think once or twice I’ve stayed in an official hotel close to the race site.  But yeah.  You’ve got to look at the prices.  Ironman Texas is an example where I looked at the official race hotel that’s close to transition and looked at the price and was like, “Not worth it.”  I can stand in the port-a-potty line for the price that they wanted me to pay to stay there. Elizabeth: And it could depend too, like on the priority of the race for you and your comfort level, how much that’s going to stress you out.  For my first Ironman I stayed at the host hotel because I was stressed out enough about the whole situation.  So I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is my first race.”  Let’s reduce stress as much as possible, stay at the host hotel. Loved it!  Fantastic experience.  A little more expensive for that first race.  I have not done that for the other IRONMANs that I’ve done. I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable with that, been willing to stay a little bit further away.  Kind of felt like I had a grip on what race week was going to look like.  So, you know. That might be just dependent on your race priority and your experience; comfort level. Andrew: Yeah, and I’ve seen from again some of the sprints I’ve done that I’ve traveled for, there’s been times we’ve been five minutes up the road from the race.  There’s times we’ve been 15 minutes away from the race and for me so far there hasn’t been a distance away from the race that has negatively affected the ease of our morning.  We’re usually going to transition so early in the morning there’s rarely any other traffic out so it’s usually within reason pretty easy to get down to the race site. John, is there a point that you would say is like maybe too far away to be a viable option, or is it just kind of up to you on your comfort level and how much you want to drive on race morning? John: Yeah, there’s a lot of things to consider in that.  I would say that too close can be an issue for some as well.  This is something we talk about in our webinars that we do prior to the races.  I always recommend checking out the Ironman Village on the first day.  Check in early and check out the village.  Get that out of the way because there’s a lot of really great energy there, but for some people that can be an energy drain and you can get kind of caught up in that.  For some it can be a stressful thing.  So I always recommend doing that early.  So for some they may need a little more space to get away from that. Others may thrive on it.  So it kind of depends on the personality and the individual.  It is very, very nice to stay very close.  I’ve been able to walk to a couple of even my Ironman starts.  I was able to stay at venues that were within walking distance to transition.  That’s great. There are others where that’s just not even a possibility. So it really depends on where you’re racing and what your needs are.  But, the biggest consideration is the logistics. Is it too far?  It’s relative.  It’s going to take you longer to get there.  There can be curveballs thrown in especially if you’re leaving in the early hours.  Sometimes there can be road closures.  Oftentimes if a freeway is going to close it’s going to be closed overnight kind of a thing.  You would hate to be surprised on race morning that the 30, 40, 50 miles you had to drive had a closure.  So those are things to just check out and be aware of.  Do your due diligence.  Do your homework, but as a rule, closer is generally better, but it’s really going to vary by the individual. Elizabeth: So kind of an interesting thing here. When you said too close can sometimes be an issue, I once coached an athlete and the Ironman event was in her home town and she was actually pretty close to the swim start.  She opted to stay in a hotel the night before that was actually further from the race site than her home though just so she could help kind of get into that race mode and separate.  So kind of an interesting thing too. Andrew: So just mentally, would it have felt like the night before an A race if she was in her own bed and she said, “Not so much.” Elizabeth: So she opted…she was like it’s worth the hundred dollars to me to be able to separate, to kind of leave work there, be in a different place, kind of get in that mind set to race to.  So to each their own. Andrew: Yeah, different perspective. Elizabeth: And whatever is going to set you up for your best performance. John: I’d say this is kind of a B question that doesn’t really speak directly to it, but I’ve also encountered that even like here racing in Galveston.  I’ve mentioned it’s 30 miles from my house.  When I raced Ironman Texas it was just on the other side of Houston from my home. I felt like it was a different experience for me because it was that hometown feel and it was great that I had more support there.  I knew lots of people.  All the local tri clubs that I know folks in.  So there were some huge advantages and really cool things, but I also had a hard time unplugging because I was in a very familiar setting.  I wasn’t in a new place and it didn’t have that same feel of being someplace new and some place detached from home.  It felt like I was home. Andrew: Interesting. John: So for all the advantages of it there was a little bit of that as well that I had a harder time kind of unplugging, putting away the daily tasks that I usually do on a normal time and kind of going into race mode.  So kind of that same kind of feel.  Sometimes it can be too close whether it’s staying within a mile or five miles from the venue, but sometimes there’s also considerations of is your race in your hometown versus somewhere else as well. Andrew: So it makes sense that scouting the course and knowing the area around the race can be very advantageous to an athlete and their supporters on race day.  What is the best way to kind of scout the course and get your bearings in the short time a traveling athlete will likely have leading up to a race? Elizabeth: Well I’m going to give a shameless plug here for the webinars that John leads.  In terms of scouting the course, being familiar with the area, even a month ahead of time.  Listen to the RaceX Race Recon Webinar.  That’s an awesome way just to get a feel for the venue that you’re going to be traveling to.  John does a fantastic job of going through the course itself for swim, bike, and run. So even if you aren’t going to be able to scout it out yourself, in person before you arrive or only have those couple days, you’re going to go in with that information already and that’s a great way to just even get your mind kind of around what the course is going to look like.  Then when you do arrive I always like to drive the bike course and bike the run course so I have the opportunity to be on the course itself.  Not necessarily in the discipline that I’ll be doing on that day, but have the opportunity to see where are the hills?  Where are the turns?  What is this going to look like?  Is it going to be shaded?  Is it going to be full sun?  Then for the other things like the logistics—you know the restaurants, the grocery stores—where am I going to plan my meals?  A simple Google search does me a lot of good. Andrew: One resource I’ll add that, Elizabeth I hadn’t even thought of until you were talking, but if it is one of the major Ironman races or an Ironman 70.3 event or like a Challenge Daytona size event, we have within TriDot we have kind of sub-Facebook groups within the Facebook group.  So there’s a TriDot @Ironman Texas Facebook group.  For all the athletes that race Galveston the 70.3 Texas…while we were here in Galveston there was a 70.3 Texas Facebook group and there’s always a couple hundred athletes in these groups that are just talking about that specific race and able to ask questions.  Our coaches are often moderators in there and the coaches that have experience with that event will kind of share different things.  So we have those groups and then Ironman also has those groups.  So there’s an Ironman Texas 2021 group that I’ve been in and people kind of share things.  Now you have to take the Ironman one with a grain of salt because there are thousands of athletes there and some of them know what they’re talking about and some don’t.  So know how to kind of filter between the two whereas obviously the TriDot ones we have an eye on them and see what’s being said.   An example of the Ironman ones benefiting me is the first time I went to do Waco 70.3.  It was the year that the swim ended up being cancelled and so because the water levels were just way too high in the Brazos River and so there were some local Waco based athletes that were in that group and they were posting pictures.  So all of us were at home wherever we live, all across the nation that we were going to be traveling in that weekend for 70.3 Waco and wondering how’s it going to be?  What’s it look like?  And somebody was able to put, “Hey, here’s footage of the Brazos River right now.”And you saw how high the water was, and you saw… Elizabeth: This is probably why you’re not going to be swimming. Andrew: Yeah, yeah exactly! Elizabeth: It’s not safe. Andrew: So it kind of gave you an idea before you even got there.  So there’s often athletes in those groups that are from the race site that can kind of the week of give you a sense of what the weather’s doing, what the conditions are doing.  “Hey, bring your cold gear.  It’s going to be chilly this week.”  So those groups are also a great tool just for kind of getting a sense from the local athletes on what the race site is going to be like as we get closer and closer to race day. Elizabeth: Oh yeah.  And the other things you need.  You know, if you need a bike shop they can make recommendations for that. Andrew: Yep, great point. Elizabeth:  Restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores. Andrew: Yep, great point.  So in my humble podcast host opinion, exploring a new place is really a large part of the fun in racing away from home.  Whether you find yourself in a new city or a new country entirely, any destination worth racing in will also have other cool experiences to take in.  So imagine you have an athlete on a race-cation somewhere.  You’re talking to them.  You’re prepping them for their race.  You’re helping them get ready for their travels and they ask you, their coach, to help them balance their vacation load so to speak with their race preparations and ability to have a good race.  What wisdom do you pass on to an athlete in that scenario? Elizabeth: It’s going to depend a little bit on their objective for the event, but as you mentioned in the question here their ability to have a good race.  If they’re really targeting a good performance I’d say vacation after the race. Before the race I’m very focused on the event.  After the event then I’m all for finding the cool restaurants, checking out the sites. It might be great to be up and moving around a little bit too to get in some active recovery in those days following the event.  But, if you’re up moving around, trying different foods it can likely have a negative impact on your performance on race day. Andrew: John, what about you?  You have an athlete.  They’re in a new city, in a new location for a race.  They want to nail the race, but they also want to kind of take in the sites a little bit.  What advice would you give them in that scenario? John: Just be mindful of it and every decision you make, make with that consideration.  So again, how much time on your feet?  What are you eating?  How do you handle those types of foods?  Maintain a sense of normalcy as best you can, but I think it’s also important to acknowledge those that get us to the race start.  Those that support us in that and oftentimes those are the people that are accompanying us on these trips.  You want to make it special and enjoyable for them as well.  So sometimes it may even be worth maybe having 99% of the race that you would have, but you spent a day or two with the kids at an amusement park or something like that.  It’s all about trade off.  It’s compromise.  It’s making it enjoyable and beneficial for everyone.  You can often question what is the true impact?  It may not be anything.  It could be.  A day of 30,000 steps around an amusement park is probably not the greatest thing before a long course race.  But if you’re making special memories and you’re able to draw on those memories the following day in the race then maybe so.  Just be cognizant of it and aware and do the best you can. Andrew: TriDot training always gives athletes training sessions leading up to a race.  We talked a little bit more about why that is and what those sessions look like back on episode 79, Rested and Ready for Race Day.  In some instances an athlete might have access to swim, bike, and run options to kind of properly do these sessions leading up to a race, but in many instances the logistical stars just might not fully align for us to get all those race week sessions in.  What would you say to athletes about how much to prioritize race week workouts in light of their travel situation? Elizabeth: Even the perfectionist that I am, I’ll say that it is okay if the logistics do not allow for every session. I mean, I’ve done a race where I wasn’t able to swim in the week prior to the event.  I’ve also done a race where the weather before race day just included a whole bunch of thunderstorms so my pre-race ride was in the hotel room on the trainer.  You know, prioritize them as you can.  Your body is used to movement.  It will feel better, you’ll perform better if you stay moving during race week.  But, yeah, if those logistical stars as you said just are not aligning to get in every session or maybe every session as you would have liked it to in a particular timeframe, it’s going to be okay. Andrew: Something I always forget about until I’m actually in the host town a day or so before the race is what I’m going to eat in those key meals the day before and the morning of a race. Sometimes we may have a familiar option nearby, but other times we might not.  So talk to us about making food choices in a new location heading into a race. Elizabeth: Some planning can go a long way here. I’ll either look for accommodations with a kitchen area so that I can prepare my own meals or if I know that I’m not going to be able to do that and I will be eating out at restaurants I’ll actually eat at the restaurant on some of the Friday evenings before the longer brick sessions just to kind of practice that element of it as well.  So you know, order what I’m going to order. Make sure that the meal I order from that restaurant is going to work well, sit well for me on those longer sessions kind of as a practice of what it would be like on race day. Andrew: To close down our main set today, I would just love to hear a bit from your own race travels.  We’ve given some very specific tips.  John, you’re very well versed in teaching this to athletes both on the race recon webinar and to the athletes you coach.  So it’s been real practical today which is great.  So just to close down this main set with some good stories.  What is maybe a travel lesson you learned the hard way through your own travel experiences? John, let’s start with you. John: This has happened a few times. Perhaps one of the most stressful things that can happen is getting to a race site and realizing you’ve forgotten something.  There’s something that you need.  You think it’s there or you realize I didn’t grab it.  So one of my top tips, and this is something I always cover in those webinars that we’ve talked about, is planning in advance and making lists.  I know Elizabeth will really appreciate this. This is one of the few instances where I really am very regimented in list making and then executing on that list. I have a packing list that I share on all those webinars.  It’s an Excel spreadsheet so you can edit it because everybody needs different things and I really hype on planning in advance and being just kind of cognizant of what are those things that you’re using in all of your sessions especially your long sessions?  What are those things that you have on your long rides, your long runs, or those A priority sessions?  What are those things you need and want to have with you on race day, and make lists of those.  Oftentimes when we’re traveling that is already stressful in and of itself.  Racing can be stressful.  So now you’re putting two stressful things together; triathlon, three sports, you’ve got to have swim gear, bike gear, run gear.  You’ve got to have things that you would bring for a normal trip anyway.  So there’s a lot of stuff to bring.  A lot of stuff to remember and it’s super easy to forget something.  So what I do is I make a list of everything that I need, even including everything swim, bike, run, but the other stuff as well just to make it easy and make sure that I don’t forget everything.  It’s a way that I’m able to reduce my stress heading into race day which is a key factor in traveling.  So make that list and then use it.  I use it specifically when we do Ironman races, you have all those bags to pack. I have two lists.  I have a list of everything I’m going to pack to take and then I have a list of everything that goes in those specific bags.  That’s how I start my packing.  I start with those things that are going in those bags and then that goes in the suitcase.  Then I move over to everything else so I know exactly what I have and what I need and I’m confident when I head to the airport I’ve got everything I need. Andrew: Coach Elizabeth James.  Pro triathlete Elizabeth James.  Do you have any major stories of just something that you’ve learned the hard way from your own race travels? Elizabeth: This story isn’t necessarily from a race itself, but because of this it is now on my pre-race kind of travel checklist to make sure that I’m getting my car serviced ahead of time.  So we were on a training trip and had major issues with our car and so now I make sure that before we’re leaving for a race we’re not going to have some unexpected time on the side of the road or in a town we weren’t expecting. Andrew: Yeah sure! Elizabeth: Because our car wasn’t kind of up to date on those service requirements.  That is now on the travel list and something I make sure I take care of. Kind of a lesson I learned the hard way. Thankfully it was not for a race experience, but certainly would not want it to be either. Cool down theme:  Great set everyone!  Let’s cool down. Andrew:Well, we packed a lot of tri travel talk into the main set today so I’ll keep the cool down short and sweet.  As host of the podcast I truly, truly try not to talk too, too much about my own training and racing.  You know, I’m here to pick the brain of some of the best minds in TriDot and the triathlon industry so that we all get better and smarter together.  And as I do that, obviously I need to use my own stories and anecdotes from time to time. So ever since we launched the podcast I’ve mentioned my Ironman Texas training several times.  Well, it keeps getting cancelled.  So all of you keep having to hear about it.  So huge apologies for that.  I was very pumped for the race to happen in April 2021 and absolutely gutted when it got shut down.  I dealt with it.  I got back to the training and started thinking through what to do with my deferral options.  I actually made a Google sheet listing the pros and cons of all the races Ironman offered for us to do instead.  I talked it over with Coach John, Elizabeth, and my wife Morgan and made a decision. Now, I never intended to make a big deal about that decision, but as our team has traveled around to the first few races of 2021 we’ve met so many athletes and I keep getting asked what race I am doing now that Ironman Texas has been cancelled for the year.  So consider this just my quick, low key, mini Lebron James-esque; the decision announcement for which Ironman I’ve registered for to be my first and hopefully only Ironman.  I went back and forth between Ironman Texas 2022 in April in the Woodlands or Ironman Waco in October of 2021.  And I’ve officially switched over to Ironman Waco.  Not sure what the course is going to look like, but I love the city of Waco.  My wife graduated from Baylor University so I’ve spent a lot of time there while we were dating.  I know the city well.  I know that area well around the Brazos River where the race is held.  So I think it’s going to be a great race.  I think it’s going to be a special race and honestly after going through the race prep phase multiple times after multiple cancellations and after honestly seeing so many of you cross the Ironman finish line in my few years as a TriDot athlete, I’m just ready to do this thing.  I’m ready to take it on and I decided I don’t want to wait for 2022 for my shot at Ironman.  Now of course if you come across this podcast episode after the year 2021 hopefully Ironman Waco is done.  Hopefully I finished and hopefully there is a decent finish time for you to go find if you look up how I did.  But for those of you who are active listeners of the show, at the time this episode is coming out, just know that Coach John, Jeff Raines, Elizabeth James, and myself; we’re just so floored by how many of you care about our own race schedules and performances.  The TriDot tribe is just truly the most supportive and positively engaged group of triathletes I’ve ever come across.  So thanks for your support.  Thanks for always popping in to listen to the podcast and know that we can’t wait to get out to your races to support you just as much as we know you are out there listening and supporting us. Well that’s it for today folks.  A big thanks to Coach John Mayfield and pro triathlete Elizabeth James for talking to us about traveling for a race.  Enjoying the podcast?  Have any questions or topics you want to hear us talk about?  Head to TriDot.com/podcasts to submit your questions or leave us a story for the show.  Until next time, happy training. Outro: Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot podcast with your triathlon crew.  For more great tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.  Ready to optimize your training?  Head to TriDot.com and start your free trial today!  TriDot – the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.
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