I find many athletes over look three simple but very important race week routines. First – Gear check
Simply put clean your bike first and then inspect your bike, look for frayed cables on both the shifters and breaks. Cause hey you might want to change gears up those hills or break before running over another athlete while descending. Check your brake pads, make sure there is padding and they are clean. Run your hands around both wheels, feeling out any dimples, nails, cracks, or frays. The rubber tread should be visible (unless you have racing slicks). Let’s move on to the chain, cassette, and shifters. The teeth on the cassette should catch each chain segment. If you hear or see skipping take your bike in for a tune up. Try shifting through all the gears. If there is a delay in shifting your bike needs a quick tune up or the chain might need to be replaced. If you find anything or feel something is wrong, now is the time to fix it at your local bike shop. Make sure your watch and any speed, cadence, or power meter sensors are charged, functioning, or have new batteries.
NYC Tip for the bike – Tighten your water bottle cages. The course is known for potholes, gaps or cracks along the WSH. You don’t want to lose your hydration 5 miles into the ride.
Wetsuit – again, if you haven’t worn it in a year check for tears, holes, and dried out neoprene. Make sure the zipper works!!
Running shoes – kinda obvious but don’t try new shoes on race day. In fact never use anything for the first time on race day.
Second – study the course. Read the damn athlete guide!! Know where all the hills, mile markers, and sharp turns are located on the course. Start to think about where you will consume nutrition, typically landmarks act as better reminders to eat another gel. Know where every aid station is on the run. Understand how to pass on the bike, why you don’t ride in the center lanes or on the left and what types of time penalties you might get for drafting. Be the athlete that knows what to do if you or someone needs medical attention or assistance on the course. KNOW YOUR SWIM WAVE START TIME!!! I always hear or see some idiot running to the start because they missed it. Leave transition with plenty of time to walk 1500 meters to the start.
Tip – if you have family visiting to cheer you on. Have them come to transition and swim start when your transition area is closing. There is no need for them to be out there from 3:30am till you finish. Best areas for them to watch are along 72nd street as you head into the park and of course along the finishers shoot. Post race there is a family reception area broken out alphabetically. They should meet you there.
Last but most important get the most sleep you can Thursday and Friday night. Many people struggle to sleep the night before but two nights out you can trick yourself into not worrying about “did I train enough” save that for race night.