It looks like it may be rainy for Columbia. What is the normal procedure? I assume they would call it off for lightning, but does rain cause any changes?
Also, if they don't call it off, what is there to consider?
It doesn't seem like my narrow slick tires would do so well -- maybe move to a different bike. What about swimming in the rain? How do you keep your running shoes dry while you are swimming and biking, etc...
You can bring a painter's bucket and turn it upside down on top of a plastic trash bag or your transition towel to keep your running/biking shoes dry while you are doing other stuff.
If there is high wind with the rain and it makes the water rough, they may turn the tri into a dual. I had that happened to me once. Last year it rained heavily for about 17 hours during IMLP. The race still went on as a tri. I saw pics of a lot of folks riding in their normal tires setup. I don't think that it will be a problem as long as you use common sense on the bike course and on the downhills. I personally have ridden in some heavy rainstorms in my normal bike tires and have had no issues with slickness. Your brake pads will be wet so you might not stop as quickly as you normally would. Be cognizant of that when braking. Avoid puddles at all costs. There may be a pothole underneath those puddles that you will not see.
Lightning or damage to the roads (i.e., a lot of fallen trees or electrical wires on the grown) may cause the race to be altered or canceled. I had one race canceled on me because the race director cited the fact that the police would be pulled from the course to attend to higher priorities stuff during a rainstorm. Since they can't guarantee proper security on the course, they had to cancel it.
Swimming in the rain in itself is not such a bad thing. Visibility and sighting might be affected but since you spend so much of your time with your face in the water, it's not as difficult as you would imagine. I say that as someone who can't swim :) If there is high wind then we are talking about a different ball game.
I will probably blow a tire and drown, anyway...
I believe you should deflate your tires a bit to have more traction. Be careful not to deflate too much and you'll get a pinch flat. Also, be prepared to change flats because lots of debris would be on the roads.
Latest I heard was cool(er) and 40% chance of rain that day. I assume they would call it off if there was severe lightning but I've actually never had that happen. They may delay the start of the race to let a system pass.
The swim - you will not notice the rain. Don't give it a second thought.
The bike - your regular tires and bike will work fine. Make sure your bike is in good working order and is properly lubed. If the rain is heavy it will wash away all of the oil and grease on the road. The danger is when it's a light rain, as the oil and grease will "float" on top of the puddles. Common sense will get you through - avoid the usual hazards like holes, rocks, and sand, and don't kamikaze the descents. Lastly, if it is pretty rainy don't fill your tires to the full 120psi, leave it at, like, 100psi. In slippery conditions you want the extra gripping power of a slightly underfilled tire (whereas in dry conditions you want the least amount of tire/road friction possible, hence 120psi).
The run - the only thing you can do to avoid wet shoes is to try to shelter them in transition, so maybe bring a plastic bag to cover them or keep them in your duffle in transition along with a dry pair of socks. Wet socks & shoes can equal blisters so consider lubing up your feet with Body Glide or something in T2. If rain on your face will drive you nuts, consider racing with a visor or cap.
Transitions - Transition areas can get really muddy in rainy conditions. Be aware that your cleats might gum up with dirt and make clipping in difficult but if that happens, don't panic. If it's happening to you it's happening to lots of other people as well, so just take your time and clear away the dirt and then get riding.
As much as racing in the rain sucks, it can also make you feel a bit like a badass. And racing in the rain with other racers and spectators galore is so much more fun than training alone in the rain, so enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere.
this may be a dumb question (but I'm okay with that) - but I've only done a few races and never had to rack the bike the night before.
what can we do to protect it if it storms? cover it with plastic bags?
in general, unless its a natural disaster area, the only things that stop a triathlon are things like a hurricane, or lightning.
regular rain even if heavy usually lets a race go on.
assuming it only just rains, whether drizzle or downpour.
swim - you are in a body of water, the only thing rain does is make visilibity a bit harder but just sight more, simple.
bike - if you have ever biked in teh rain, that is the same thing as racing in the rain. its simimilar to driving a car in the rain, no sudden movements, and your braking distances will increase.. in other words don't race like its a dry road, take a little more care. if you want to wear a windbreaker bring one, etc.
run - i have a question why are you all covering up your shoes before the run? if its a downpour your shoes are going to get waterlogged in the first 1 mile of the race, right? forget the whole covering up stuff with plastic bags, if its raining its going to get wet there is no way around it.
also please do not put the "bicycle body condom" on the bike in teh transition area, ie a trash bag, again why? the rain you ride in and the road spit will soak your bike within the first 5 miles of riding, so you coverd the bike so that it can now get completely soaked anyway..does that make sense, covering a bike to only have it get soaked anyway? and in the process you have nothing but huge plastic bags all over the transition area because 1500 other people are thinking the same thing, very wasteful and unsafe.
remember these bikes no matter how expensive (yes even Lance's $10,000 custom madone) are made to be ridden in foul weather, engineers stayed up all night figuring that out when designing it. Don't let their work go to waste. As long as you wipe your bike down after the race at home and relube your chain at that time the bike will not be damaged.
other than that, remember to have fun, afterall its epic races in bad conditions that make triathlons fun and gives you good stories to tell people later :)
You might also apply extra body glide before the swim, and/or in transition, to certain vital regions, to ward off chafing during the run.
Also, humidity can fog up your goggles more thana normal, so it's good to have anti-fog goggles or, if it works for you, apply anti-fog saliva to the goggles.
Tris in the rain:
I know everyone brings plastic Safeway bags for their bike seats to protect their saddle when it rains, but please don't do this.
Why? Because when you hop out of the water with a soggy butt, you land on your saddle. Right? This is a triathlon after all. It doesn't matter if a little water gets on your saddle because it happens all the time after T1. Plus, no one picks up their plastic bags. It leaves a mess in T1 and usually the volunteers are demoted to cleaning up the plastic bag storm.
Good luck and wear sunglasses with clear or yellow lenses.
Furthermore, petition the Chinese Olympic Committee to drop iodine pellets over Rockville, diverting the rain to that distant city. :)
If rain is forecasted, I usually cover my drivetrain and aerobars with plastic bags. This protects the equipment if it rains the night before the race. Maybe wishful thinking but it may only rain on Saturday evening and then clear up for the race.
As a transition volunteer this Sunday, I echo the comments about the plastic bags - please don't make me pick them all up! If your bike is properly maintained spending 24 hours outside won't kill it.
if it rains bring these two things.
1. CHAIN LUBE (cost $4.00) - this is to lube your chain so that race morning even if it poured all night your chain is ready to go, do this while setting up race morning.
2. A RAG (cost = old tshirt FREE) - this is to wipe off your bike and to use while lubing your chain race morning, again so you dont' need to cover anything with aplastic bag.
Cost of making a Volunteer's job eaiser and your race more enjoyable by having a clean transition are = PRICELESS!!
sorry had to do it :) seriously, have a safe an enjoyable race everyone.
I had an epic fail in my only two tris last year. I did a 70.3 in Kansas and was forced to stop 11 miles into the run due to threat of lightening. Then there was IMLP. I don't think I have ever seen it rain that hard for that amount of time before. The one thing you might think about doing is trying something like an anti-fog coating on your sunglasses. That was my biggest problem with the rain.
Joe, I hope you aren’t insinuating that your IMLP was a failure – earning your M-dot under such grueling conditions is amazing!
At the risk of adding. "one more thing..." I think you (ESPECIALLY new cyclists) need to know this: if there IS a heavy rain the night before or during the race, do yourself a favor and either after the race or as soon as you get home remove your seatpost and drain any water out of your seat tube. Believe me, if it rains enough water WILL get past your seatpost and collect inside your seat tube, unless you have a bike with a drain hole at the bottom. This can happen during a long ride in the rain, not just from overnight exposure.
If you don't get the water out it will ruin your bottom bracket, preventing your next ride and earning you a trip to the repair shop for a ~ $100 repair job. Or close to $200 if you run Campy. Don't ask me how I know that... Any other questions, please just ask!
Lawrence, aka The Freak