A year ago I was joking with my boyfriend, Alvaro, and friend, Shay, about heading to China for the Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships. Tomorrow we will be on a plane heading half way across the world. Last year we all competed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the USAT Age Group Sprint Triathlon Nationals. We qualified for Worlds by placing top ten in our respective age groups.
I had just started the second-degree nursing program and truly had no clue what was in store my crazy schedule but it was fun to think about seizing the opportunity. To me, it was really just “talk” amongst friends. I started thinking, “When else am I going to get the chance to compete in China?”. Before I knew it we were talking to the travel agent and booking a flight. Six months of planning, training, and anticipation we are ready.
I need to work on my intimidation look.
Planning has been frustrating because I have never been to Asia before and I’ve never flown anywhere for a triathlon. After the flight and hotel, we were hit with fees for the Visa, race fee, Team USA uniform, bike travel, etc. Obviously this trip is expensive and I wouldn’t be able to go if it wasn’t for a few donations from family and friends. Thank you so much for making this trip a reality.
Training has been all over the place the past year because my schedule changes every semester. Sometimes I’ll have 10-12 hour clinical days followed by a full day of classes and studying for tests. You learn to make training a priority despite difficult schedules. Anybody with kids that finds time to train has my utmost respect. I’ve been really happy with the fact I got a lot of 5Ks and sprint triathlons in this summer to get my speed back. Every race this season was an opportunity for an improvement.
Anticipation has finally reached its peak. I can’t contain my excitement anymore because I’ve always wanted to go to Asia and it will be so incredible to meet all the other athletes from around the world.
So here are a few tips I’ve learned about traveling internationally for a race:
- Pack your wetsuit no matter what the website says. I left mine because the race was borderline wetsuit legal (76 degrees F) and a few hours later an e-mail from USAT comes out that the water is 65 degrees. Let’s hope I swim really fast. Argh.
- Know how to pack a bike box. Videos help but having a friend or mechanic show you a few tricks makes the difference between the bike fitting into the box or not
- Secure everything in the bike box so nothing can move around. Fill your bike box with workout clothes, towels, etc. since you are being charged by the airline for the bike and not for the weight. Pack extra zip ties.
- Airborne and pepto bismol have been recommended by most people I talk to who travel frequently
- Be prepared for all the additional fees that add up when you consider traveling for a triathlon
- Notify your bank you will be out of the country
- Pack a really good book for the 14 hour flight…and of course bring your nursing school stuff to study for my test when I return
- Plan a few days but don’t plan every minute of travel to leave room for spontaneity
Any other tips? Have you ever done a race internationally?