Race Day & Race Travel Checklists

Every time I travel to a race, my biggest worry is that I’m going to forget something.  You know, something so tiny – but so important, such as a small-but-required part for my bike, or sometimes something even much bigger – like my running shoes.  And it doesn’t matter whether I’m travelling 3,000 miles or 30 miles, my fear is the same.

So, a number of years ago I put together a race day checklist, based on my continued packing and repacking.  I’ve since refined it to be my perfect list of exactly what I need for any race, be it close or far.

While there is no perfect ‘everyone list’, I think this covers most of the major items that folks usually need for a triathlon.  I would make tiny little tweaks for an Ironman event (more nutrition), but otherwise, that’s about it.  And a few of them are specific to if I’m breaking down my bike to travel somewhere.  And finally, some of them are ‘just in case’ type of things…just because I’ve found it’s nice to have spares in my transition bag.

So here’s the whole list:


Now because I’m your bestest friend ever, I’ve also made the thing available in Excel format, so you can add your own items and tweak it as you see fit.  And, for everyone else who’s Excel deprived…in PDF format.

Of course, the second list I use is my pre-race checklist.  This is the one I go through in transition area to ensure that during the race when I run into T1 or T2 I’m not missing something important (like my race number or gel bottles).  I do this just before I leave transition the final time to head to the swim start.

This list is meant to be super-quick, and is mini-laminated and zip tied to the top-inside of my transition bag, so it’s always accessible and always there.  Here’s what’s on that brief checklist:


This list can be found in a simple .txt format here.

For me, getting to the race without having to worry about what I’ve forgotten is key to a successful race day.  Obviously, feel free to download these and tweak them however you’d like.  Good luck!

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  1. What a star! My first middle distance race this weekend (IMUK 70.3) and the first race that is far enough from home that I’m having to camp the night before.
    With 2 children in tow this list will certainly help me with my packing – thanks very much!

  2. Ha, you rock!!! My girlfriend totally makes fun of me for making lists. That was until I forgot the bladder to my CamelBak for my 100 mile MTB race. Bladder wasn’t on the list but CamelBak was! lol! They both are now! :)

  3. Great list, downloaded the Excel file and plan on putting it in my tri bag!

  4. You think of everyting dont you? I too always fear forgetting something. However with your nifty list, my fear can be put to rest.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! This will definitely help me in my upcoming races!

  6. Wish you did this post in March! I was LOST trying to get ready for my first Tri…but I made it through by doing several mental lists over and over and over. I will definitely be using this for my next one in October!

  7. Wow, you sure don’t travel lightly when it comes to your check list! But way to stay organized…I should get me one of those.

  8. Don’t worry, you’re not the only anally retentive obsessive list making triathlete!
    I would add… vaseline (for the heel cups of cycling and running shoes)
    Marker pen (think that’s “sharpie” in American ;-) – I write where my bike is in transition on the back of my hand at big races – nothing worse than the possibility of spending a minute running around transition while other people head off onto the course!

  9. i love the “regular person bathing suit” line-item :)

  10. Ha! I love the “in easy gear” reminder. Lord knows I forget that one quite a bit!

  11. good list Ray! good luck to you both tomorrow!

  12. Rob P

    Thanks for the checklist and all the awesomeness you provide!

  13. Boaz

    Hello Ray,

    Great lists!

    I see you swim with an HRM, then you have a bike GPS unit and finally a GPS running watch.
    Can you please explain how these play together?
    Do you use one HRM for the entire race and then a GPS-only bike unit and finally a GPS-only watch?
    If so, does this mean you run with 2 watches?
    Are you not collecting any location info for your swim?

    I’ve seen in other posts that you use the Garmin 910XT. Isn’t it good enough to do it all?


    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, just a single HR strap with two units (watches). Both are paired to the same strap.

      I don’t use the FR910XT as much as I like having a separate bike-focused unit on the bike. Sometimes I do wear it on the swim, but not always.


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