Friday, January 2, 2009

Race kit, waste kit

Ever wonder whether anybody actually took the time to think about what should really go into a race kit?

after 3 years of racing, i finally received a race kit with sense. well, it wasn’t an actual race kit, more like a goodie bag from the penang fellowship ride organised by the KOTRT boys. in it were the rider number, a t-shirt, a water bottle and a backlight (!). when i saw it i thought “wow.. now this is a race kit not a waste kit”

race kit: the oh-so-crucial kit to be collected before race day. contains your race number, briefing/route booklet, race itinerary and sponsor goodies like powerbars/gels, visor cap and anything else that is race related.

waste kit: still the oh-so-crucial kit to be collected before race day and technically contains the same must have race items above but with different sponsor goodies.

naturally, the sponsor goodies that make a race kit are things like, powerbars/gels, backlight, water bottle, hydration salts/pills, sun block, even the t-shirt i got at that penang ride. sure, one does not wear a t-shirt during a ride, and i didn’t wear it either. BUT for other newbies, this t-shirt was very useful – it came with the ride route printed behind.

nonetheless, there are some sponsor goodies that made a race kit, a waste kit. here are some of the prominent ones i’ve received:
1. maps to local attractions and festivity dates
i understand the need to promote tourism, but seriously most of us only make it an annual pilgrimage to that one race weekend and none of the touristy dates fall on race weekend. even if it did, would i, after having traveled so far, trained so hard, paid so much, say “hey.. i know race is tomorrow, but erm, let’s cancel it to go see the annual international pottery competition!”? nuh-ah.. i don’t THINK so.

2. visit malaysia pins
right. so… what exactly are we suppose to do with these pins? we can’t pin our race numbers because they only provide one. and they’re not really secure.. so might poke us as we tuck into aero positioning. plus, it’s heavy.

3. plastic clappers
honestly, i love these clappers. they’re so cute and i won’t hurt myself if i wanted to clap for long periods of time. keyword here being “IF”, and IF i did.. how would i be able to do that when i’m racing? did they think i was so lonely that the only show of support i’ll get is by cheering and clapping my own self while racing?
maybe that’s why it’s a single hand held clapper.
maybe it’s suppose to be for the benchside barbie/ken that tagged along over the weekend (then give it to them directly.. don’t stuff my race kit and confuse me!)

4. handheld plastic fans
again, love the item, love the concept (i geddit.. it gets hot at races) but useless to me while i race. perhaps one day when i’ve mastered the art of fanning while on my aero tuck or while running.. won’t use it for the swim though, in case they mistake it for a front propelling device and disqualify me.. (eureka! get two handheld fans and train swimming with them on. far cheaper than pedals!)

5. shampoo & nescafe 3-in-1 sachet
ok-ok.. maybe this is pseudo waste kit material. because you can use it to clean up after race and have a nice hot coffee. received this at the recent 50km putrajaya walk, it was a 12-hour overnight race, starting at 8pm. at least they gave you the option of washing your hair mid-race and have a cup of coffee (bag even came with a ceramic mug!) at dawn just before crossing the finishing line!

6. toilet seat sanitiser spray
saving the best for last… the toilet seat sanitiser spray is formulated with anti-bacteria properties, and promises to kill up to 99% of the germs on a toilet seat. to use effectively, simply wipe the surface of the seat dry, spray it on and wait for 15secs. wipe dry after 15secs, use when necessary.

how naïve.

when, pray tell, has anybody found it necessary to sanitise the seat during a race? i can almost imagine chrissie wellington, winner of IM07, Kona going:
“o my! i need the loo..”
“euw! look at the state of that seat!”
“thank goodness i have my seat sanitiser” (brilliant smile facing audience)
“tut-du-du.. i’ll just spray it on and wait… 15 secs”
“wipe and go!”

the waiting is one thing.. have they even seen what the toilet seat looks like later in the race? it’s a biohazard!

tsk! tsk! tsk!

why can’t we get sponsor goodies that make sense to the racer? a spare tube, a co2 canister, quick lace-locks, anti-fog spray for goggles, deodorant, stuff like that.

did they really think i would train my swim with two handheld plastic fans, wear the visit malaysia pin proudly on my trisuit at IM, wash my hair at T1 coming in from the salty sea, race really hard into the night only resting for that 15secs here and there while my toilet seat gets sanitised and drinking coffee to keep me awake on the long run and not feel lonely when i cross the finishing line beyond cut off and everybody’s gone home because “hey! i have my own clapper! i’m my own cheerleader!”?

but sponsors are not all to blame. i’m sure they know how hard it can be.. they know what would make a good sponsor premium to us racers.

and after a hard day of racing, going through all that anxiety, pain, and emotional turmoil, perhaps they were right.

perhaps i should have known better, skipped the race and gone to that annual international pottery competition instead!