I love Expo days...you get to play with some of the best equipment out there, sample some fun stuff and hang out with all of the people you've been training with during the summer. You also get to meet some new people who are also in the triathlon. My first expo back in '05, I was full of nerves. This year, while I was a little concerned about how well I would do in the tri because of my sparse training, I had no worries that I wouldn't finish and thus my nerves were more excitement then actual nerves. I knew I would finish...it was just a question of how slow I would be.
My first year, my head was swimming with question marks, the biggest one being "would I be able to finish the race". This is the big question for many first-timers; especially first timers who are women. As a first timer I was lucky; my sister had already done a sprint triathlon, even my mom had done one. There was no question amongst my friends and family that I could finish it. And while my nerves had that big question mark swimming in my head, my heart knew that I had trained well that year and that I would do it one step at a time.
Others are not so lucky. When you've never done something like a sprint triathlon, when your friends and family laugh at you for even trying, when they tell you you'll never be able to do it, it becomes a battle of epic proportions to show up on Tri-morning and even try to do the triathlon. I am always impressed by the number of first-timers who show up to do the triathlon because I know that many of them have had to overcome a great deal of fear and anxiety (both their own and others). I can personally attest that a number of women deal with this as I've met more than a few during my subsequent years of leading workouts for triathlon training. I am always a little appalled at the awful things that "loved ones" will say and do when a woman is trying to do something like a triathlon for the first time. Some women it seems are still fighting to break out the "the little boxes" others keep them in. But break out of them they do and we see many of them at a sprint triathlon.
The expo helps ease you into the race while filling a room with compatriots who are either scared, like you, or have done a race and lived to tell the tale. In an all-women's triathlon there is only support and encouragement. This year's Trek expo was no exception. Trek
is the above the title sponsor of the triathlon. The most vocal advocates of Women Specific Bikes (would you wear a man's shoe to do a marathon?), Trek is a huge supporter of women in sports. Plus, their bikes are fantastic. One of the first stops at the expo is to chat with Chris at the Trek station and test drive one of the WSD bikes built specifically for women. They also have a special Women who Ride
club that you can join for special discounts and opportunities.
Cycling is probably the most intimidating aspect of triathlons for women. Nothing empowers a girl like changing her own bicycle tire. With Trek putting such an emphasis on women in the sport, going to the local cycling shop and asking questions is not as daunting a task as it used to be. On expo day and on race day, the Trek station is available to answer any and every question you might have about your (or their) bikes.
I also fell in love at this year's Tri Expo. I've always been a fan of Greek men. Now I'm in love with Greek yogurt. Oikos by Stonyfield Farms
has got to be some of the best yogurt I've ever tasted. Seriously, it's brilliant and smooth and yummy. I had the honey flavor and it was like heaven in a little plastic cup. Other favorite foods represented at the Expo included Cabot Cheese
, and Sports Beans. There was also this cool little race belt called SPIbelt
that serves as both a racebelt and little pocket for must haves on the race. The one I bought was also reflective. I carried my cell phone and keys in it on the run portion of triathlon the next day.
is another sponsor of the race. I've been using heartzones from the moment I started doing triathlons and the knowledge I've gain has empowered me in so many ways. Triathlon Hall of Fame Member, Sally Edwards is the founder of Heartzones as well as the National Spokesperson for Trek Triathlon. Her "First-Timers" talk is one of the highlights at the expo and a much needed salve for overwrought nerves. This year, I got to be her "assistant" in the talk. It was a blast!
After the Expo, all that remains is race day. This year I was staying in a hotel virtually across the street from the race site so I was hoping to get to bed pretty early. My team-mates and I went to dinner for a good meal pre-race and commiseration and I was in my hotel room at 8pm. Going to bed before race day is harder than you'd expect. I'd be getting up at 4:30am the next morning to get to the site and set up my gear so it's imperative to go to bed as early as possible.
I managed to be in bed by 10pm which for me is pretty good, but still only left 6 hours for sleeping. I set my multiple alarms (cell phone, alarm clock, concierge wake-up call), organized and checked all of my race gear, laid out my clothes and showered. The only thing left is Race Day.