October 2nd 2014
16 Things You'll Forget to Pack for Kona
Oft-forgotten necessities to lessen the stress of the most important race of your life.
by Tim Snow and Marni Sumbal
You’ve trained for months—and months—and finally that once-distant day is right around the corner: The IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Along the way you have acquired so much stuff. Some of it very useful. Much of it not. But now it’s time to gather it all up and pack for the big day.
We talked to two people with extensive experience traveling to and racing on the Big Island: Tim Snow of QT2 Systems, and Marni Sumbal of TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition. Below are their "I didn't think I'd need that" items to help make one of the biggest races of your life as smooth as possible. So pull out that suitcase and checklist, and get packing.
Triathletes are always in constant search of electrical tape. Whether you are marking your seat height, securing gels to your top tube, tightening up any loose cable housing, or doing some funky mounting with a ‘flat pack’, electrical tape is your go-to adhesive. Pack a roll, or two (your friends will surely forget it), in with your bike, so you don’t have to go searching for it, once arriving in Kona. Race week is stressful enough, that rushing up and down Palani, in search of electrical tape, is not going to help matters.
You can't cut your electrical tape without scissors. Sure, you can rip it, but that's not a triathlete, Type-A, clean tear. You have a bike that costs about as much as a condo on Waikaloa Beach, you might as well have nicely cut electrical tape attached to it. Just be careful of when, where, and how you use those scissors, and certainly don’t pack them in your carry-on. Also, don’t use your scissors to trim your bike frame number, as there can be penalties for getting crafty with your race numbers.
It's no surprise that racing in Hawaii is hot. Avoid waiting until you get to the race site to pick up sodium tablets. The race expo might very likely run out of them in the final days before the race. You may end up with a sub-par product (of which there are many) or worse yet, get shut out. You may not use them, during the race, but they are a nice security blanket if you start to experience any cramping, get a sloshy stomach, or just don’t have your fueling plan fully dialed in while out on the Queen K.
Plastic sandwich bags
If sodium tablets get wet, they become useless really quickly. The little fold-over plastic baggies that your Mom used to pack your sandwich in (and perhaps still does) are the perfect solution. Some people stuff the baggy up a leg of their shorts, or into the pockets of their tri top. Others will twist off just the corner of the baggy, with the tablets in it, and pin that to their hat during the marathon. That’s the beauty of these things—you can do just about anything with them.
Race belts (plural )
Do you have to wear your race number on your person on the bike? Half of you said yes, and the other half no. Half of the time half of you would be 100 percent right. Don’t even get involved in the guessing game; just wear it! Those Big Island trade winds can be severe, and sometimes quite gusty. What if your race number blows off during the bike? You definitely have to have your race number on for the run. No big deal. Just keep a second race belt (we all know you have 10 of them) with your back-up number attached to it, in your T2 bag, ready to roll.
With all of those race belts and numbers, we need some way to attach them. Just have a stash of safety pins, at your avail, should the need arise. It's guaranteed that a friend, or someone on your rack, will be looking for a few. Be the one to come to their rescue.
This isn’t something going on the packing list per se, it's more of a mindset: As soon as you get your timing chip, put it on, and keep it on. Sure, you may get some odd looks at Dig Me Beach, but, you know what? You'll know exactly where your timing chip is. You'll never have to have that moment of panic when you wonder if you brought it with you on your way to the Kona pier on race morning. Even better, use a safety pin from your collection to secure the timing chip strap as an added layer of defense for the early portions of the sport’s most aggressive swim.
Above is a pretty comprehensive list of the more subtle things that you may want/need, in Kona. But, most importantly, make sure that you pack plenty of patience. You can’t buy it at a store, or throw it in a bag, but it's essential. The day is long. A lot can, and will, go wrong throughout. It's your own patience that is going to be the key to absorbing anything that goes awry, and reversing the momentum to make it positive.
Reflective tape or clothing
Athletes who will be running the marathon during and after sunset will receive glow sticks as the course becomes very dark. For safety reasons, if you are anticipating being on the run course after 7 p.m., it's recommended to put on a few pieces of reflective tape.
Not only is this useful on race morning if you are walking to the transition area, but for those who are running the marathon in the dark, as above.
Seriously. Kona is known for its heat, but the weather can become cool in the mornings and evenings. If you plan on being outside late at night or touring the coffee farms (at a higher altitude) be sure to bring a light jacket.
This includes batteries, power meters, music, chargers (GPS, Di2), charger sticks, and anything you plan on using on or before race day. Be sure you have the appropriate battery and charger to keep everything working properly. It's more important that you don't run out of juice!
A life saver for many on the run course, stock up or bring your own before other athletes figure out your secret to minimizing GI ( gastrointestinal ) upset.
If you plan to arrive before the expo opens and packet pick-up, don't forget to bring a pair of goggles and a spare cap for practice swims.
Extra running shoes
You won't forget your race-day shoes, but pack an extra pair to wear the day before the race, on race morning, and after the race. In the case that you are retiring your race day shoes after the race, donate to someone on the island (ie: a charity that takes old shoes).
These are perfect for a post-race clean up before you had back to your condo/hotel. Although you may be bringing hand sanitizer in a small bottle, there's no need to buy hand wipes in bulk if you are only going to need a few. Check the travel department of your local pharmacy or store.
Always be prepared, female athletes! If there are certain feminine products that you trust before and during races, don't forget to bring them so you aren't running around the island asking locals where to find them.
Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/10/kona-race-packing-checklist.aspx#ixzz3FEEyBXze