You Already Know How to Road Trip

Turns out the skills needed to plan a successful adventure are the ones you already have as a triathlete.


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Instead of chasing a PR, you’re hitting the road with the family. With international travel still limited, now might finally be the time for that road trip you’ve always wanted to take—as long as you take the right precautions and follow public health guidelines to limit your chance of spreading or contracting COVID-19. Though the plan is far from what you pictured for the summer of 2020, it can still be fun! And you’re more prepared to take on this experience than you think. Use those iron-skills you’ve perfected as a triathlete to execute a road trip that the whole family will remember.

Plot Your Course

Just like you’d study the course map before race day, lay out your entire trip ahead of time, and make sure you’re on the same page with your crew. Are you trying to make good time or enjoy the scenery? Are you leisurely taking in every stop or getting to your destination ASAP? What’s the best and safest route? Deciding this ahead of time will lead to more fun (and less arguing) for all.

Start Early

You’ve already proven you can get up at a ridiculous hour to train—and a road trip is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of that skill. Beat traffic, take in the sunrise, and get to your next stop with plenty of time to do something with the later part of the day.

Have a Plan—But Be Flexible

Yes, a plan is key—but just like on race day, you better be willing to adapt on the fly. Flat tires, pit stops, and upset stomachs (sound familiar?) are a few of the unexpected things that can get thrown your way while traveling. With every hitch that comes your way, take a deep breath and adjust.

Make a List

You know those obsessive lists you make before a big race? Here’s your chance to show off your Type-A skills. Split it into three categories: must-haves for your destination, necessities for the drive itself, and then fun-to-have items that may or may not make the cut. Don’t forget to pack extra masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer as part of your “must haves.” You know how you don’t want to be that triathlete who has to rely on the kindness of strangers in transition? You really don’t want to be that traveler now.

Fuel Wisely

Please do not rely on gas stations and fast food joints as your fueling source. There is a time to splurge on vacation—but don’t waste the opportunity on a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Pack snacks and plan your stops around healthy grocery stores. While restaurants may be limited to takeout only or have restrictions around dining in, you can still take it to-go from local one-of-a-kind spots and enjoy your food while social distancing outdoors.

Get Local Knowledge

You know how you seek out the local bike shop when you head to a race? Do that on road trips too! Ask the local shop and athletes to find the best places to train and enjoy the area. Local routes and favorite spots are notoriously tough to find on the internet, but like-minded athletes will know exactly how to help you and your family fill your time. And they’ll likely know all the latest rules and local health guidelines too.

3 Must-Haves

Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack
$620, thule.com

Half the joy in driving is not having to pack your bike in a box. This rack option can work with road bikes, fat bikes, kids bikes, etc. As is, it fits two bikes, but with a simple add-on it can easily be adjusted to fit four.

Cotopaxi Uyuni 46L Duffel – Del Dia
$95, cotopaxi.com

Skip the suitcases and go with duffle bags. They are more durable and are easier to pack in a trunk than regular suitcases. This fun option from Cotopaxi is made from remnant fabric, making each one unique.

Split Nutrition Pouches
10 packs for $25, amazon.com

These nut butter/fruit combo pouches are a fun snack to have on the go. Go traditional with peanut butter and strawberry spread, or try something unique with the cashew butter and sour cherry spread combo.