Last year when I started training for my first triathlon (Irongirl), I joined the CNY Triathlon Club to participate in their weekly triathlon training events held at Oneida Shores and Jamesville Beach. These weekly training sessions were instrumental in getting me prepared for the swim and bike portions of the triathlon.
I remember dreading every Tuesday night packing my gym bag and car with all the essentials that I would need to workout in. I kept rummaging through my bag checking the gear several times to ensure I had my swimsuit, goggles, running and biking shoes, etc. Then on Wednesdays, while at work, I would start to get nervous all over again thinking I forgot something like my wetsuit and would not be able to swim.
After several weeks participating in the training series, I started to observe how the seasoned triathletes were toting all this gear to and from their cars. I noticed that several athletes were carrying their stuff in those big white oversized paint buckets. You know, the kind of buckets that you purchase at a home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes. I didn’t pay much attention to those buckets at first because I thought they looked kind of silly.
I continued to watch and learn from the veterans. After seeing someone transform the plain old bucket into a seat to sit down and put on their bike shoes, I was convinced that I needed to get my own bucket.
I was then on a mission to find the perfect bucket to lug all this triathlon gear back and forth. But, I knew that I didn’t want a plain old white paint bucket for my stuff. I wanted one with style. Then one day, my husband came home with a bucket for me that had little pizzazz. It had the Syracuse University logo on both sides with the colors of orange and blue. I didn’t get to use my bucket last year so I just stored my triathlon gear in it for the winter.
Here is what I did this summer to transform my bucket into an organized system for all of my triathlon belongings. I no longer have to keep checking a gear list to make sure that I have everything I need for training or come race day.
As you can see, I personalized the outside of the bucket with fun stickers that I had stashed away. I also hobnobbed a long strap handle at first because I don’t like to carry heavy things with my hands. I prefer the shoulder strap. Not to mention the wire handle equipped on the bucket created indentations in the palm of my hand. After seeing my crafty strap invention, my husband decided to perfect my shoulder strap concoction with the proper hardware so the strap would be permanently affixed to the bucket. Don’t you dig my bluebird angry bird dangling from the left side of the strap? Angry bluebird is for good luck!
I knew if this bucket was going to work, I need to figure out a method of organization to be efficient. The last thing that I wanted to do was to have to dump out all of my junk on the lawn to search for the sunscreen that was buried at the bottom. Then the lightbulb went off. I remembered seeing the above bath organizers at a store and went on a mission to find it. Once I saw it again, I knew it was perfect. The contents I have stored on the 7 outer pockets are as follows: swim cap, racing belt, sunscreen, water socks, first aid kit with Band-Aids, blister Compeed, surgical tape, & anti-bacterial ointment, biking/running socks, wide tooth comb, xtra contact lenses, wisp toothbrushes, Charmin to go – cause you never know, sample size foggle, tic tacs, gum, cliff shot blocks, Aflac sponge, Say Yes to Blueberries towelettes, 1 Olay daily facial cleaning packet, powder, and safety pins. Yes, all of that stuff fits around the outer of the bath tote.
Inside the center of the bath organizer, I have packing tape, beach towel, 2 super absorbent face towels, biking gloves, 2 pairs of Aqua Sphere Vista goggles, bike maps, and 2 waterproof storage bags for the wet stuff.
The bath organizer then gets dropped into the bottom of the bucket, then I layer my bike and running shoes on top. I snap on the lid and I am almost ready to go.
I clip on my bike helmet to the shoulder strap and pack my wetsuit in a mesh backpack bag. Hmmmm, If the bucket were only a little bit bigger, I could fit the wetsuit. I usually wear my sunglasses and running/biking outfit over my swimsuit so I don’t have to worry about packing those accessories or clothing items. Last but not least, I put my hydration bottles in the cages on my bike so I don’t need a place to pack them.
I restock the bucket as soon as I get home from my event so I don’t have to worry about being prepared for the next event.
What’s in your tri bag or bucket? I would love to read about any tips you have or how you stay organized toting all this triathlon gear around.