Logistical Ironman Questions

June 20, 2014 — 8 Comments

Besides the obvious questions — how long is this going to take me? what will happen after 6 hours? how much is 6,000 feet of elevation really? — there’s quite a few logistical aspects to Ironman that I still don’t really understand. I’m not sure if there’s some place that everyone is taught these answers. Or, if most of the people doing Ironman have already done Ironman, so they just already know and can’t remember ever not knowing.

Maybe those people can answer some of these:

  • What happens with your stuff if you have to leave it all there after checking it in a day or two before?
  • Does your food and drink go bad/melt?
  • Obviously you can check on your bike race morning. What all are you actually allowed to do race morning? What do you have to do in advance?
  • Why, why, why do you have to do all this before race day?
  • How do you get your special needs bag? Do they just throw it at you on the bike? Do you have to stop and wait for them to sort out the bags?
  • Does whatever is in your special needs bag go bad?
  • How many special needs bag stops are there?
  • What is the deal with the changing tent and volunteers? Do I need to change clothes? What do they help with, what don’t they help with? Why?
  • I can’t pee on the bike. I’ve tried. Do I just stop at port-a-potties on the bike then?
  • How do I not get drowned in the mass swim start?

8 responses to Logistical Ironman Questions

  1. 

    Good questions – I’ll take a swing at as many as I can:

    What happens with your stuff if you have to leave it all there after checking it in a day or two before?

    The bikes are racked and the bags are stored in a different area; there isn’t a conventional transition like you’d find at other races. I would recommend parting with the gear you can the day before the race – bike and run bags, and also your bike. I would drop off your special needs bag on the day of the race and make any modifications to your bike and run gear when transition opens.

    Does your food and drink go bad/melt?

    Depends on your food/drink, but I would generally recommend bringing your food/drink with you on race morning. You can access your bike when transition opens.

    Obviously you can check on your bike race morning. What all are you actually allowed to do race morning? What do you have to do in advance?

    Some races require you to check your bike the day before the race – I would recommend checking the IMC athlete guide to confirm. Check your gear bags in advance. Pump your tires and take care of nutrition on race day.

    Why, why, why do you have to do all this before race day?

    How do you get your special needs bag? Do they just throw it at you on the bike? Do you have to stop and wait for them to sort out the bags?

    A little from column A, a little from column B. It depends on the race. When you approach special needs, volunteers will call out your number and others will sift through the bags. It’s generally a smooth process.

    Does whatever is in your special needs bag go bad?

    Again, depends on the food/drink and the temperature. If it’s going to be very hot, consider freezing your bottles so that they defrost in time for pickup and don’t get too warm/nasty.

    How many special needs bag stops are there?

    Typically 1 on the bike and 1 on the run – double check the athlete guide.

    What is the deal with the changing tent and volunteers? Do I need to change clothes?
    What do they help with, what don’t they help with? Why?

    When you finish the swim, a volunteer will bring you your bike gear and you’ll head to the changing tent. You either throw on your shoes/helmet or change entirely, and when you exit the tent, your bike will magically appear thanks to the volunteers.

    I opted to change my clothes at Ironman Lake Placid and will be doing the same at Ironman Lake Tahoe. Why? I’m not going to win my AG, and I prefer to be comfortable for a 112 mile ride and full marathon. I see little benefit in wearing a tri outfit the entire time unless you’re competitive.

    I can’t pee on the bike. I’ve tried. Do I just stop at port-a-potties on the bike then?

    Just stop – there will be plenty of aid stations.

    How do I not get drowned in the mass swim start?

    Seed yourself accordingly. Ironman has launched a program that breaks the swim into self-seeded waves by time for some races – I’m not sure if IMC is one of them, but it’s worth looking into. If you’re not racing for time, let the pack go and jump in when you’re ready.

    Good luck!

  2. 

    Whistler is my backyard, so if you have any questions specific to that, just ask any (or feel free to email me keple dot alison at gmail dot com

    You won’t drown in the mass swim start, it’s wide and Whistler is one of the cleanest swim starts I’ve ever seen for an IM. Check out http://yearofalison.blogspot.ca/2013/08/imc-whistler-swim.html for my take on last year.

    But seriously – fire away any specific IMC/ Whistler / Canada questions.

  3. 

    Reply from the earlier commenter:
    “When you finish the swim, a volunteer will bring you your bike gear and you’ll head to the changing tent. You either throw on your shoes/helmet or change entirely, and when you exit the tent, your bike will magically appear thanks to the volunteers.”

    No – that’s not totally correct. When you finish the swim, YOU pick up your bike gear and head to the change tent. There will be heaps of volunteers to help you get changed, put things on, things into your pockets, whatever. Then you exit the tent and run to your rack. You MAY have to grab it off the rack yourself, but volunteers try to get it for you to hand it to you.

  4. 

    What happens with your stuff if you have to leave it all there after checking it in a day or two before? – your stuff stays there, it might get wet if it rains overnight. don’t open any food, half the time the transition bags are placed in the open sun.

    Does your food and drink go bad/melt? – see above, generally the gear is all outside so yes stuff can go bad.

    Obviously you can check on your bike race morning. What all are you actually allowed to do race morning? What do you have to do in advance? – you can access your bike and all transition bags. i like to pack helmet/bike shoes/sunglasses/gloves/nutrition that does not need to be opened and running shoes/race number/visor/nutrition that doesn’t need to be opened ahead of time. race morning i pump up tires, bring nutrition that i mixed in the morning/needs opening to put on the bike/in transition bags, and also stick my bike computer on my bike.

    Why, why, why do you have to do all this before race day? – i’m guessing the 2500+ athletes all trying to get their bikes into transition at 5a on race morning would be a complete cluster

    How do you get your special needs bag? Do they just throw it at you on the bike? Do you have to stop and wait for them to sort out the bags? – usually you get the beginning of the area, call out your number, they direct you to the area, and you stop and some volunteer hands you your bag. they are sorted numerically so *usually* easy to get the bag. then i will take 1-2 minutes grabbing whatever and then giving the bag back and going on.

    Does whatever is in your special needs bag go bad? – depends on what it is? you drop off special needs race morning so i think everything is usually okay.

    How many special needs bag stops are there? – depends on the course. 1 if it’s a big loop, could be 2 if it’s smaller loops

    What is the deal with the changing tent and volunteers? Do I need to change clothes?What do they help with, what don’t they help with? Why? – I think women especially tend to like to chance, I never have. it is nice to get out of the sun for a few minutes. you usually get a volunteer to help you put on your socks, shoes, race belt, etc.

    I can’t pee on the bike. I’ve tried. Do I just stop at port-a-potties on the bike then? yes – but try peeing! i think you can lose 60-120 sec per stop.

    How do I not get drowned in the mass swim start? – stay on the outside. or goof up and get in the water late and end up on the WAY far side, but with very little people in the way

  5. 

    You are obviously going to be in front of everyone in the mass swim start, so no worries! :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s