Race Weekend is just around the corner. As promised, this is the fourthand final installment in our Getting Ready to Race Email Series. Hopefully, the training is winding down (again) and the excitement is ramping up for what will be the largest kids triathlon ever held in the United States. Many improvements have been made since last year to make the weekend more fun and more efficient, and we encourage you to take the time to read all 3 pre-race emails. They are full of useful information that will help make this weekend one of the highlights of 2013.
While most of the following is focused on the little things you will want to know to be 100% prepared for Race Weekend, we welcome your emails regarding any last minute questions.
To help make it easier for you to get your kids, spouse and bikes to the right place as efficiently as possible, we have created a Drop-Off Zone for Saturday. Once you get to campus on Saturday, you will 2 options to get to the Dolphin Green:
1) You will be able to go directly to a parking spot. There will be plenty available, and you will then make your way from the parking areas to Dolphin Green. Please CLICK HERE to reference the attached map and to see the available Parking Areas. Area 1 will require a short bus ride followed by a short walk. Areas 2 & 3 will require short walks.
2) You will be able to proceed directly to the Drop-Off Zone immediately adjacent to the Dolphin Green. Once in the Zone, you will be able to unload all your passengers and stuff. Then, you will find yourself in a peaceful, quiet car, and we will help you find a parking spot in Area 1, 2 or 3. While you are parking the car, your kids (and an adult supervisor) will be able to pick-up their packets, place their bikes into transition and have a good time.
For more than half of our participants, your triathlon age will be different than your actual age on race day. This is due to the fact that your triathlon age for all of 2013 is your age as of 12/31/13 (NOT your age on race day). In other words, if you are currently 10 years old and turn 11 on July 1, 2013, you are an 11 year-old triathlete for all of 2013. Not only might this affect your race distances, but also it might affect whether you are part of the Junior or Senior Session.
Please take a minute to re-read the above paragraph. There has been confusion in the past, and we want to try to minimize it this year. It is not a big deal for kids turning 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 or 15 during 2013. However, for those of your turning 11 at any time during 2013 (even if you are only 10 on race day), you are now a Senior. You are now racing with the big kids at the longer distances. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us right away.
Based on your feedback, we are expanding the array of food and drinks available on both Saturday and Sunday. In fact, you will be able satisfy 3 meals at the race site while enjoying tasty snacks throughout both days.
On Saturday evening, the catering team at JU will be firing up the grill and setting up a pasta bar for your convenience. Once you have placed your bikes into transition, you will be able to find a spot for the Pep Rally and enjoy a tasty burger, grilled chicken sandwich or bowl of pasta. Of course, ample ice cold beverages will also be available.
On Sunday morning, breakfast will be served. Fresh, hot coffee along with a full selection of bagels, donuts, rolls and fresh fruit will be available for both participants and spectators.
Then, it will be Firehouse Time! While they will have to leave their Freestyle Soda Machines in the restaurants, Firehouse Subs will be on-hand Sunday with box lunches. Put that picnic basket away and plan to enjoy a tasty sub - ham or turkey - along with chips and a cookie. Adult box lunches will cost $6.00, and kid's lunches will be available for $4.00. Please join us in supporting one of our Presenting Sponsors with a healthy, nutritious lunch.
Please remember, there is NO PACKET PICK-UP on Race Day. Every participant must turn-in their USAT Waiver and pick up their Race Packet on Saturday in order to race on Sunday. Also, we have made 2 important improvements to the Saturday schedule. First, transition will be open. We are strongly encouraging everyone to bring their bikes to avoid the Sunday morning rush. Second, you will receive your timing chip on Saturday inside of your race packet. Do not lose it, and make sure you bring it with you Sunday morning.
Please do NOT be late and do NOT forget your timing chip. Also, please be aware of the two-session format. This is different than in the past. In total, we have 2,000 participants (and 6,000 fans) who need to arrive and get organized within a very short period of time. Rushing at the last minute will only add stress to your day (and may prevent you from being able to race).
The center of all the action for Saturday and Sunday will be the beautiful Dolphin Green at Jacksonville University. Parking is free both days, and you can CLICK HERE to access our detailed map of available spaces. On Sunday, we will have a team of experts dedicated to making sure you find a parking spot as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
The stage of the amphitheater is where all the kids will line up to start their races, and the finish line is conveniently located about 100 yards away. The swim will be in the JU Pool, and the run and bike courses are throughout the campus. Please CLICK HERE to view all of the Course Maps on the event website.
Attached to the end of this paragraph is an official-looking document which MUST BE completed by a parent or legal guardian before any kid will be allowed to race. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule. In an effort to speed up Packet Pick-Up, we are asking for you to print and complete this form BEFORE you arrive at the Registration Tent on Saturday. This will save you time and help minimize the lines for everyone. Again, you will not get your race packet until we receive this completed form. Extras will be available on-site, if needed.
While we have lots of cool prizes for both raffles, you will also have a special opportunity to win a NEW BIKE courtesy of Solantic Baptist Urgent Care. Their talented medical team will once again be staffing our finish line medical tent, and you can learn more about their services by stopping by their Expo Booth on Saturday. Also, this is where you can register to win the bike. The drawing will be part of our Pep Rally on Saturday night.
Along with your expert understanding of triathlon age, we want you to come with full awareness of the USATriathlon equipment rules. We have covered these in our Email Update #1, but let this serve as a friendly reminder. Here we go:
As discussed in previous emails, every kid who finishes is a winner and will receive a medal, a jug of Powerade (or water) and FREE ice cream. We also encourage everyone to stay around to help us recognize the fastest triathletes in North Florida. Please remember, we will be doing separate awards ceremonies (and raffles) for the Juniors and Seniors at the end of each of the sessions. In total, 104 trophies will be handed out.
While there is no one meal that will magically make you go faster on Race Day, it is very important to eat (and drink) smart on Saturday and Sunday before you race.
First and foremost, STAY HYDRATED. It is expected to be in the 80's on Sunday morning, and you do not want to get dehydrated. Stay away from sodas and focus on water. This goes for all day Saturday and Sunday morning before you race. Sports drinks are also good (though water is the original sports drink).
As for food, the most important tip is to stick with what you know. Do not try a food for the first time on Saturday (or Sunday morning). You will probably be a little nervous, and you do not want your body to have to get used to something it has never eaten before. Simple foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein are good for dinner on Saturday. Stay away from anything fried and focus on chicken and fish rather than beef. On Sunday morning, you want to eat. You will need energy and will do best by eating something with a mix of carbohydrates and protein about 2 hours before the start of your race. If you do not race until 12:15pm, bring something along and eat it once you are set-up in transition. A bagel with peanut butter and a sliced banana is a great choice (and a favorite of many pro triathletes). And, do not forget to wash everything down with a big bottle of water.
Mike Ryan is one of the most respected trainers in the NFL, and he is an avid triathlete. To help you get ready for the Big Race, he has put together the following hand-out. It is overflowing with lots of great information.
Every participant is assigned a number automatically by our registration system. When you collect your race packet at registration on Saturday afternoon, you will receive this number - it's called a race bib. This is the same number that will be marked on your body (see Body Marking below). This bib must be attached to the front of each participant for the bike and run portions of the event. It can be pinned to a t-shirt, or it can be attached to a race belt.
In the same envelope, you will receive your timing chip and a Velcro strap. This is different than in the past, and you MUST bring it with you Sunday morning.
In addition, you will receive 2 sets of stickers. The big sticker (8 ½" x 11") is designed for your bike. It usually fits well on the main bar between the seat and the handle bars. The set of 2 smaller stickers can be used in a variety of ways. Most importantly, one has to be placed on the front of your bike helmet. The other sticker can be used on your gear bag or given to your parent to keep track of the kid they are cheering for (among many other uses).
In triathlons, the legs and arms of each participant are marked (using non-toxic Sharpies) with their bib number. This will be done on Sunday morning as you leave the parking areas and head towards transition. It is important to have your race bib out and available as you get near body marking. This is the only way we will know your race number.
Because safety is our highest priority, we utilize what is called a time trial start. In effect, there will be a constant flow of kids throughout the course all morning (with just a couple of breaks to reset the distances). As a result, each participant is timed via their RFID chip that is activated when they jump into the pool and remains active until they cross the finish line. This chip will also record their movements at 8 other spots along the way. This ensures that everyone completes the entire course. It is important to note that in this type of race, the person who crosses the finish line first does not necessarily have the fastest time. Once everyone is finished in each age group, final chip times for all participants will be posted.
Our volunteers will be on hand to help, but try to remember to get your chip tightly secured to your leg (with the Velcro bands we provide) and to place it on your left ankle. This will reduce the chance it gets caught in the chain of your bike.
If your car gets a flat on the way to the Jacksonville University, we will not be able to do much. However, if your bike gets a flat (or you have any other bike issues throughout the day), we are very fortunate to have one of the best bike shops in town ready and willing to help. Open Road will have a team of experts on-hand both Saturday and Sunday to help. We will also have 6 members of Velobrew Cycling Team riding the course throughout the day to monitor traffic and to help with any problems at any point.
Just in case you just realized you have signed-up for a triathlon and do not know what it is, read this section as it may help you to understand what you are about to do.
Most important, it is fun! Your times will be recorded, but finishing is the ultimate goal. Less than 1% of all kids in the U.S. will ever complete a triathlon, so you are already in elite company. As you participate in this triathlon in years to come, you will be able to measure your success by comparing your times with previous years. Enjoy the experience and excitement of something new and encourage your fellow triathletes as you see them on the course.
With this in mind, a triathlon is a combination of swimming, biking, running and transitions - in one race. In effect, you are really performing in 4 separate races. How? Well, triathlons are timed as 3 separate races (swim, bike and run) plus the time you take to "transition" between the 3 parts of the race. The transition time refers to the time it takes a participant to get out of the pool and on to their bike as well as the time it takes him/her to get off their bike and on to the run course. So, you will see the results of each time broken out individually, as well as the total time for the race to complete everything from starting the swim to crossing the finish line.
Following are some additional details about each segment of the race:
The transition area is located on the Dolphin Green, and it almost the size of a football field. This is where the bike racks (and 2,000 bikes) are and where you will place your bike and run gear (shoes, helmets, etc.).
The Kid Corral:
Again with safety as our #1 priority, every participant will be issued a set of matching wristbands. One is to be worn by the kid with the other to be worn by a parent. Every finisher will be held in the shaded Kid Corral until an adult with the matching wrist band arrives to collect them. Do not worry as there will be plenty of water and refreshments until you arrive. Parents must have a matching wristband to collect their child out of this area.
Last but not least, we do not want you to arrive on Saturday afternoon and/or Sunday morning without all your gear. Clearly, some things are more important than others, but here is a general list of the most common things triathletes bring with them on Race Day.
WOW! If that does not answer all of your questions, we do not know what will. We are very excited that more than 500 kids will be completing their firsttriathlon on Sunday, and we have worked thousands of hours to make this all possible. We know it will be a great event, and we are very proud to have you as our partner. Your support is genuinely appreciated, and we can't wait to meet you in person in less than 2,800 minutes.
The 2013 Organizing Committee