October 22nd, 2012

Emergency FAQ

Accidents, particularly bike wrecks, are an unfortunate fact of life in triathlon training. Several team members have been involved in wrecks, so we’ve compiled their advice and information on what to do if you or someone you’re with is in an emergency situation.

First things first : ALWAYS CALL 911 (or UCSD campus police at 858-534-4357)

Before you ride: bring personal identification

Why do I need this?

Almost half a million people a year are taken to the hospital unconscious with no identification whatsoever. This is a serious slowdown to your medical treatment generally and a life-or-death problem if you have any medical conditions. When you bike, bring along your ID and insurance card. If you have medicine allergies or other conditions, we also recommend Road IDs, which are a relatively cheap, unobtrustive way of notifying emergency responders, and increasing your own personal safety.  Road IDs are easy to keep on you while running or swimming, and also have your emergency contact information.

If you get in a wreck

Call 911

It can’t be said enough: get police on the scene, get an ambulance if you need (or might need) hospitalization: if any insurance complications come up later, this step is crucially important.

Get the driver’s information

At the very least, you’re going to want , a name, phone number, and auto insurance policy info. The police, when they come on the scene, will do this as well, but you also should get the information yourself.

When ambulance / police arrive they will determine if you need to go to the hospital and take you there

At the hospital, fill out the forms and get treated: take care of your health first. Have  the bills sent through whatever insurance information you have on you: forwarding those bills to the appropriate channels can happen later as you work with an agent from whatever insurance company the driver has.

Call a friend to come get you

In a state of high adrenaline, it can be hard to remember who might be willing to pick you up and bring you home. Think right NOW about 2 or 3 trusted friends who could come get you and wouldn’t mind being called at a random ridiculous hour. Remember that we’ll make team contact information available to you via Google Doc, should you need somebody’s number (most hospitals can get you internet access if that’s what you need).

After the wreck

Report the accident through the driver’s insurance

This may not apply in every situation, but it is very often the case that, if you were doing the right things (e.g. in the bike lane, under the speed limit, and respecting traffic signals), the driver will be found at fault, and their insurance will pay for your health bills and insurance. One of the most important tools in dealing with insurance companies, though, is the police report. Which is why you dialed 911 first thing after the accident.

You’ll want to call the insurance company and make sure there’s a claim on file: the information you collected from the driver should be enough to do this. Talk to team leadership if you have questions, and they will point you to someone who has had experience in this area.

Bike shop estimates/ other damages

You’ll want to check out a at least one bike shop to get an estimate for the damage done to your bike. If other valuables were lost or damaged (e.g. a cell phone), make sure that you get estimates on those items too. Insurance companies will most likely want to see both an estimate and your replacement value for everything before they cut the check. Make copies of everything!

September 27th, 2011

Membership FAQ

How do I join the UCSD triathlon team?

Joining the team is easy! Here’s what needs to happen.

  1. Fill out all required health and authorization forms at SCOMS (required by the University before you come to practice)
  2. Come to practice and meet the coaches and the rest of the team.  You can come to a few practices before deciding if you really want to join.
  3. Join our mailing list, which will keep you up to date on practices and workouts sent out by other team members.
  4. Pay team dues of $170/year. This fee covers various costs that the team incurs throughout the year, and entitles you to any sponsorship items the team will be receiving during the year.

What do I get as a team member?

As a member in good standing (you’ve paid dues), you receive a team uniform, access to our workouts, coaches, and athletic trainers, and reimbursement for most of the races you do with UCSD Triathlon.  Additionally, you are entitled to the numerous sponsorship deals that the team has negotiated with various companies (see the list of our sponsors).

Can I still join the team if I don’t have a bike?

YES!  While having your own bike is a big advantage, we realize that it can also be a big investment.  Entry level road bikes that are suitable for training and racing start around $700.  Fortunately, the team has sponsorship deals set up which allow team members to purchase bikes at  significant discounts.  In addition to new bikes, senior team members can help new athletes purchase used bikes through various classified services.  Until you decide to take the plunge on a bike of your own, you are welcome to come swim and run with the team.

What are the essential things that I need to buy to get started doing triathlons and how much do they cost?  What things are extras?

There are a number of upfront costs when starting out in triathlon.  However, once you have invested in the equipment, it does not cost much to continue doing the sport from year to year.  Our team tries to make entry into the sport accessible by keeping our membership dues low and by seeking out sponsorships from a number of well respected companies.  We currently have a number of arrangements in place to get most of the equipment that you will need at significantly discounted prices.

Here is a list of essential gear that you will need to start training and racing with the team.

  • running shoes ($60)
  • swim suit and goggles ($30-$60 depending on gender)
  • bike (>$700 + tax)
  • bike helmet (~$50)
  • misc bike accessories (water bottles, bike shorts, chain oil, etc) (~$100)

Additionally, there is no shortage of fancy triathlon equipment, which will make you go faster, look cooler, stay more comfortable, or all of the above.  Once you get into the sport more, you should consider some of the following items.   Again, we can usually get the following things at good discounts from our sponsors.

  • RoadID – the easiest way to make sure any information is available in case of emergency (~$15)
  • bike shoes and clip-in pedals – makes for happy feet on long rides and dramatically increases your efficiency on the bike
  • sports sunglasses – keeps the bugs, wind, and dirt out of your eyes when cycling (and makes you look cool)
  • elastic shoe laces – makes it a lot easier to get your running shoes on after the cycling part of the race.
  • aerobars – special handlebars for your bike that will make you more aerodynamic
  • swim-specific wetsuit – keeps you warm and helps you go faster. definitely recommended for races with swims in cold water.
  • cycle computer – keeps track of how far and how fast you’ve gone on the bike
  • heart rate monitor – gives you reliable feedback about how hard you are pushing yourself

I’m terrible at swimming/biking/running! Can I still join the team?

YES!  While having some experience in each of the sports is a big help, it will not keep you from practicing and racing with us.  Every triathlete has their strong and weak events.  Our practices seek to develop each person’s weaknesses, while honing their strengths.  As a team, we strive to create well-balanced, competitive athletes.

I’m really slow at (swimming/biking/running). Will I be able to keep up at practice?

Our team is open to all students at UCSD and is composed of a wide range of athletes – from complete beginners to decorated elites.  As such, we have athletes who train at many different speeds and intensities.  Chances are good that there will be someone you can train with.  It is also very common that new members are intimidated by our sport and under-estimate their own potential.  If you are uncertain of your fitness, we recommend coming to practice and taking things slow.   With some time and dedication most athletes improve far beyond what they ever thought possible.  In addition, our team strives to be inclusive of new athletes – ask around at a practice if you have questions, and we promise you’ll find a lot of helpful people.

 

 

January 20th, 2010

Race FAQ

How to register for a race:

1. Go to the race website: historically, we have gone to an early February race at UC Irvine (the Zot Trot), an early-March race at UCLA (the Ironbruin), and the WCCTC championships hosted by Cal Poly SLO (the March Triathlon Series), so search for these if you don’t have a link!
2. Click on “REGISTER” –  this will most likely take you to active.com or eventbrite.com.
3. Select the “Collegiate” race
4. You will need your USAT number and a credit card number. (If prompted for a WCCTC number, this is just your USAT number).

Race Travel:

  • We leave the day before a race unless its very far away (more than 4 hours of driving)
  • The Travel Coordinators will send out emails 7-10 days before the race asking who can drive and if we can stay at your house.
  • If you have a car and can drive, we need you, otherwise not everyone will get there.
  • In order to increase the incentive to drive, we will be paying drivers to cover wear and tear on cars. We will pay 10 cents/mi. (For example: if you drive to and from UC Irvine it’s 70mi each way according to google = 140mi roundtrip plus 20mi while you’re there. That’s $16)
  • You’re responsible for collecting gas money from the people in your car


Race Lodging:

  1. We either stay with family (we love to meet your families and invade your houses). If your parents are cool to let us bring our sleeping bags and camp out in your living room, that’d be great.
  2. Cheap hotels. In this case, the team might ask you to split the cost of the room with your teammates.
  3. For some races, we’ll stay at a nearby campsite
  4. Nationals is the only race we stay in hotels paid for by the team.

Racing FAQ:

How early do I need to register for a race?

In general the collegiate races do not sell out as quickly as most races, but we suggest registering early to guarantee a spot. Races like Wildflower, will have price increases as the race nears, but we will let you know when this occurs. Also, the team will only reimburse the cheapest entry option.

Do I need a USAT Membership?

No, but we recommend buying an annual membership for $40. Otherwise its $12/race for one-day race permit and you run into problems like you can’t score points for the team, or compete in nationals  with a one-day pass. Plus, you get a cool keychain tag and list of things to bring to every race. Info is available at usatriathlon.org

How do I get selected for Nationals?

In short, Nationals team selection is up to our coaches and captains. Their decisions are based on race performance, practice attendance, team commitment, and overall attitude. This means you can’t show up at the conference championships after not being a part of the team all year and expect to race nationals. However, it also means you can’t just be at all practices early every day and volunteer everywhere and go just based on that, either.

It’s normally fairly clear who has earned the privilege to go, but if there are equally qualified candidates then the final decision is up to the coaches.

What do I need to bring to the race?

There is a long list, and we highly recommend packing your race bag the night before.

Essentials:

  • UCSD race kit
  • Helmet
  • License / Photo ID
  • School  ID
  • USAT card/day pass
  • Running shoes
  • Bike shoes
  • Bike
  • Tools and tubes to change a flat
  • Race numbers
  • Race Belt
  • Timing Chip and Band
  • Body Glide
  • Wetsuit
  • Goggles (and spare goggles for the one teammate who will undoubtedly forget theirs)
  • Swim cap
  • Your inhaler or other necessary meds
  • Race food, drink, and salt/electrolyte tabs
  • Water bottles
  • Extra bar-end plugs (Race official can be really stubborn on this)
  • Post-race nutrition
  • Clean, dry post-race clothes & shoes

Extras (but they help):

  • Sunglasses
  • Running hat or visor
  • Speed laces
  • Socks (optional)
  • Transition bag
  • Warm race clothes, if necessary (vest, jacket, arm wamers, wetsuit cap)
  • Warmup clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Transition zone towel
  • Floor pump
  • Electrical tape
  • Rubber bands
  • Towel for post-race
  • Garbage bag (for wet clothes)
  • Medical kit + RoadID
October 15th, 2008

Practice FAQ

When and where do you practice?

Our main practices are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, and our Sunday group ride starting at 8AM from the UCSD Bike Shop.

 

What is the workout schedule?

    • Monday: Turbo (Bike & Run) workout at Spanos Track @ 5:30 PM

 

    • Tuesday: Swim Practice on your own

 

 

    • Thursday: Turbo (bike only) workout at Spanos Track @ 5:30 PM

 

    • Friday: Long Run from Spanos Track @ 7 AM; Swim Practice at Canyonview Pool @ 2 PM

 

    • Saturday: Bike hill repeats on your own

 

    • Sunday: Long Bike Ride @ 8AM. Meet @ UCSD Bike Shop. Please see Bike FAQ page for more information about riding with the team.

Besides our official team practices, people also workout on their own throughout the week.  The team email list is the main forum for announcing workouts and finding other people to workout with.

Are practices mandatory?

Team practices are not mandatory, but you should attend as many as you can. Of course, we are all students, so we understand if you have conflicts with school or have a big deadline.

 

What do you do at practice?

For turbo practices (Mon and Thurs), we’ll put our bikes on stationary trainers and focus on interval training. Monday’s Turbo practice will also include a run workout after we get off the bike.

Track practices (Weds) will work on speed and pacing using shorter intervals.

Swim practices will train technique and endurance.

Long rides (Sun) focus on group-riding skills and bike handling, as well as endurance

 

What should I bring to practice?

For a turbo workout, you will need to bring your bike, as well as, shoes to ride and run in.  Most people wear bike shorts and t-shirts (or some sort of athletic top).  Additionally, you will want to bring a water bottle and, if you sweat a lot, a small workout towel.  The team will provide the stationary trainers.

For running workouts on the track, just come wearing clothes to run in and your running shoes.  You may also want to bring a water bottle.

For what to bring on the Saturday ride, please see the Bike FAQ.

For the swim, you need goggles and a swimsuit, and (usually) hand paddles, size S or XS.

 

How long are practices?

Swim practices last about an hour, but some people will stay in and swim longer.

Monday and Wednesady practices can last between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on the workout.

The Sunday bike rides typically go from 8am to 11am, which includes times to stop for breaks and to let everyone regroup. Occasionally, the group will split up and people will ride shorter or longer.

 

How do I find other people to workout with during the week?

To find people to train with, join the team email list and look for announcements.  Also, if you want some company on a workout, send an email to the list and invite people to join you.

October 1st, 2008

Bike FAQ

Riding with the team

What should I bring on a team bike ride?

  • Helmet – this is REQUIRED!  You must wear a helmet on all team rides.  No helmet, no ride.
  • Proper clothing – temperatures can be in the 40′s when we begin our morning rides in the winter, so it’s up to you to know what the weather will be and dress accordingly! Remember that you’re adding a 20 mph wind chill to however it feels outside.
  • Water or sports drink – When working out, it is generally recommended that you drink a bottle of fluid per hour.  Please plan accordingly.  On longer rides, we will stop and refill bottles.
  • Food – If you plan to ride longer than an hour, then please bring snacks (Clif bars, power bars, PB&J sandwich, banana, trail mix, etc).  You need to consume about 200-300 calories per hour of riding!
  • Spare tube and/or patch kit
  • Small pump or CO2 inflator
  • Emergency info – In a plastic bag, put a photo copy of your drivers license, student ID, and medical insurance card.  Also write down who to call if you get injured. Alternatively, buy (and wear!) a RoadID. This keeps your important information (name, emergency information, allergies) right on your body. Even with a RoadID, you still should bring an ID and insurance card.
  • Money or Credit Card – Bring $10 to $20 dollars just in case you need to stop by a bike shop to get something fixed, or you need to buy more food or drink along the way.
  • Cell phone

Note: all this stuff will fit nicely in the back pockets of a cycling jersey + a small saddlepack- there’s no need to bring along a backpack.

What is the route for the team bike ride?

The team ride on Saturday can follow any number of routes, depending on how far people want to go and how adventurous people are feeling.  However, our default Saturday ride is a 40 mile route that starts at the UCSD Bikeshop in the Old Student Center. and heads North through Del Mar and Rancho Sante Fe before heading out to the coast and back along Coast Highway.  This is typically referred to as the “Rancho Ride”.  There are a several variations of the this ride for those wanting less or more mileage.  You can see a map of the Rancho Ride and couple variations here.

During the week, people will do short aerobic rides in the mornings.  Look for email on the team list to find out when these are happening.  Typically these rides are about 25 miles long and often go up and back along Coast Highway

Map of Rancho Ride & Variations

Additionally, here are some of the longer routes that the team does from time to time:

  1. Elfin Forest
  2. Highland Valley

Buying and caring for a bike

How much does a bike cost?

The team has sponsorship deals in place which allow team members to purchase bikes at significant discounts.  New entry-level road bikes that are suitable for training and racing start around $700. In addition to the bike, you should also expect to spend another $100 to $200 dollars for other bike-related accessories (helmet, bike shorts, shoes, etc)

What should I look for when buying a bike?

For a good summary of road bike features and components you can look at the UC Cyclery buyers guide.  You will want to find a bike that has at least “enthusiast” level components (the gears and other pieces that make up the bike’s drive train).  This will ensure good performance and longeveity for your bike.

Many people on the team are happy to help new members learn about and find bikes.  If you are looking for a bike, please ask one of the captains or senior team members for help.

What should I know how to fix and maintain on my bike?

Three big things:

  • Know how to change a flat tire. Flats happen on a significant fraction of our group rides- you NEED to be able to change it quickly and correctly so that your ride doesn’t end there.
  • Know how to keep your tires inflated. You should probably be riding on tires that are inflated to about 110 PSI, but within 2 days, your tires which were just at the right pressure will be down to 80-90 PSI. For this reason, it’s important to have a floor pump and check/inflate your tires before every ride you do.
  • Keep your drivetrain clean and greased. The easiest way to go this is to wipe your chain with an old t-shirt (pedal backwards while you hold the rag steady), lube your chain with chain grease (about one drop per link), then repeat this process once more (i.e. wipe, then lube). After that, you should either go outside, or hold your rear tire off the ground while you pedal forwards and cycle through all of your gears. If you can do this somewhere between once a week and once a month, you’ll greatly extend the life of all those expensive components that you paid so much for.

What are good resources if I want to learn more about adjusting and maintaining my bike?

Here’s a good primer: http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/basicstuff.html

Park Tool has good guides to adjusting your front and rear derailleurs

In general, Google is your friend! Learning to fix your own bike requires only a little bit of special equipment, but it can save you a lot of money, and will make your races and group rides go much more smoothly.