The South African XTERRA triathlon is considered the biggest XTERRA event in the world, with over 2 000 people taking part over the weekend. It takes places yearly in Grabouw where the terrain lends itself to some mean climbs and tough sandy stretches.
If you, like me, are a last minute Lucy and have only recently cottoned on to the fact that XTERRA is this weekend (or, in my case, only just got your paws on an entry) then worry not because I’ve been hunting down some last-minute tri tips (for the both of us).
XTERRA Tip No. 1: Know Your Stuff
Make sure that you know which race you’re taking part in and which day that race is. XTERRA is split into two categories, the full and the lite. The XTERRA Full is taking place on Saturday (24 February) and the Lite is on Sunday (25 February). Trust me, you don’t want to get the two confused… Race packs can be collected from the Grabouw Country Club on Friday from 2pm to 6pm, or on the day of your race – but preferably before you start.
Something a little new this year: no water will be supplied for competitors due to the severe drought the Western Cape is facing. For this reason, athletes will need to carry their (already filled) water bottles or hydration packs with them. You don’t want to be stuck without water, so remember your liquids! Limited water will be available at water points along the way and at the bar, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
XTERRA Tip No. 2: A little Bike TLC
Although the time is past to get yourself in better shape (it’s tapering time), there is still time to make sure all your equipment is in perfect working order. If you can squeeze in a quick bike service, this is ideal, but if that is not the case, then these are the main things you should check.
Are your tyres in good condition and do you have enough sealant? Check the tyre pressure the night before and in the morning when you wake up. Are your gears shifting smoothly and is your chain lubed? Spin both wheels and make sure your brakes aren’t brushing. This little test will ensure your mean machine is ready to ride.
And while we’re talking bikes, make sure you have your helmet as the “no helmet, no ride” policy applies. It’s even necessary for both feet to be on the ground before unbuckling your helmet.
XTERRA Tip No. 3: Got Ya Goggles?
It’s not easy swimming 1.5km, so imagine doing it without goggles!? Make sure you have a pair that fits well and make sure they don’t leak or fog up. It’s always advisable to try out all your equipment thoroughly before the actual race day so there are no nasty surprises.
READ MORE: 3 Kilojoule-Obliterating Swimming Workouts
XTERRA Tip No. 4: Don’t Be A Tool
You do not want to get a flat tyre on race day and then only realise that you left all your tools behind. There will be limited mechanical support en route, but the most time-efficient solution would be yourself and your tools. Make sure you have a bomb and a bomb adapter for your bike. Should you be using tubes, a spare tube is advised. And a set of Allen keys never goes amiss…
XTERRA Tip No. 5: Nutrition, Nutrition
Again, stick to what you know. Don’t start experimenting with nutritional yeast the day of the event. Eat something light, but energy-loaded, for supper the night before and eat your regular breakfast on the day. Some bananas for energy are always a good plan. Eat at least one and a half hours before the race to make sure the food has digested. And hydrate! Water and electrolytes…
READ MORE: What You Should Eat And Drink During A Race
XTERRA Tip No. 6: Be Mentally Ready
It’s all a mind game really. If you believe you can, then you are far better off than if you get into a negative mindset. You’ve done the work (however much or little) and now it’s time to have fun. Relax and get a good night’s sleep before race day. Make sure you leave enough time to get up and ready in the morning. But don’t stress – we got this. See you on race day!