Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Travel Time

We are now getting pretty close to the time where a lot of Perth athletes are starting to think about driving south to Busselton. Some will be heading down tomorrow, lots will be heading down Friday and some will even be heading down Saturday (more than there should be I suspect), a few lucky people are probably even down there already.

When it comes to travelling for racing, I think there are no real right answers, but I do think there are some wrong answers. When I used to travel overseas I always liked getting to a place on Wednesday (for a Sunday race) if I could. Getting there Wednesday would give me time to relax in a place before plunging into the craziness of race day, get to know a place a little bit, where to get food etc. I always found it made the trip a bit more enjoyable. Getting to a place early also meant that if something went wrong I had time to fix it.

I found getting to a place on the Wednesday to be so good that the last time I raced Busso in 2015 I did it and I quite enjoyed it. Getting down there early gave me a chance to enjoy the town before it descended into madness, spending some time enjoying a beautiful part of the world. Very nice.

The reality is though that getting to a race on Wednesday for most people isn't very practical. It also does mean you spend a lot of time sitting around and sometimes that can mean people spend time getting stuck in their own heads. Not always a great solution. For most I would say the ideal arrival time for a race is Thursday. Thursday gives you time to settle in, get your gear sorted etc before official race activities start on Friday. Arriving on Thursday means that you can register on Friday and then rack your bike etc on Saturday, you aren't tiring yourself out running around like mad on the Saturday before the race. Getting there on Thursday once again gives you a bit of time to figure things out if things go wrong. Good solution.

When it comes to travelling to Busso I would say by far the most popular day to travel is Friday. Friday can work quite well if you leave early in the morning, it is much like Thursday in that way. However, the reason that Friday is attractive for a lot of people is because it means they can spend the day working, leave work a bit early, pack their car and then head down to Busso. Getting to Busso late on Friday night like this is pushing a bit more in my opinion. Driving down on Friday night really puts a lot of pressure on Saturday. It means doing registration, racking and other running around in one big hit on Saturday, lots of running about. As Saturday becomes very busy it usually means you don't spend any time on the swim course, or anywhere else for that matter, no time getting comfortable on the course. Friday is certainly doable, and works well for loads of people, but it was never my preferred option.

That just leaves travelling on Saturday. For me, travelling down on Saturday is just not a great idea. Driving to Busso on race weekend with increased traffic etc can easily take 3 hours or so. Even if you are super organised and get on the road early you are unlikely to get to Busso much before lunch time. The afternoon is then jammed packed with registering, racking, checking in to accommodation, buying food, sorting dinner etc. In my opinion it is just too much to cram into one afternoon and there are too many opportunities to for things to go wrong. To me this is the wrong time to travel down, although I do know a number of people going this way.

It is no secret that I am a big fan of making a good plan. Part of having a good plan is giving yourself enough time to put that plan into practise and allowing time for things going wrong, planning for how to get to a race is no different in my opinion. You want to give yourself enough time to get to a place, do what needs doing and not have to rush around. Ideally you want to give yourself enough time before a race to actually relax for a little while. Remember, in the end, this is supposed to be fun.

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