In my second half Ironman I was one of the first to rack my bikes. At races I’m always nervous and pretty much assume I have forgotten something, so I tend to over-prepare and show up excessively early.
So by the time transition opened in this race (which was in Bintan, Indonesia) I went in to rack my bike. There was nobody else there. If you’ve ever been to Bintan, you’ll know that at 2pm it’s blazing hot and nobody wants to rack their bike or leave their stuff under that pounding sun at that time. Except me, of course.
And when you’re the first to rack your bike in an empty transition it’s easy to find the bike. But that won’t be the case when 2,500 other bikes are there. You’re just lost in the middle. Which is why you have your number on the bar your bike hangs from. And they’re in order, so it’s not that hard to find your bike again…or is it? It has been for me. I have come out of the water having no recollection of my bib number. I have had to glance down at my race tattoo to remind myself.
And even when (if) you know your number, you still have to find the row in transition that your bike is in. I’ve run down the wrong aisle more times that I’d like to admit, frantically searching for my bike.
So the fact that I racked my bike early in Bintan that time paid off. The result was that the place hadn’t really been cleaned up yet, and I found a giant palm frond on the ground within transition, in the middle of the red carpet. I grabbed this palm leaf and dragged it over to my bike. I put it behind the bike, out of the way of the main walkway, off the red carpet. Nobody was going to move it, as it was by the back fence of transition. This served as the perfect marker when I ran out of the water.