One of the best decisions I made for Mont Tremblant was using Tri Bike Transport. I had heard great things about the company and service but for some reason was always somewhat hesitant to sign up and try it. The number one reason I decided to try them this race was that I just finished getting my bike fit re-dialed and didn't want to risk messing it up. Second reason was the pure convenience of it all.
In addition to not having to break down my bike for travel, I didn't have to lug it to and from the airport—which is always a big pain when you're dealing with 6am flights and 4am cabs to the airport. Plus, when your checked bag looks like a small body bag, the last thing you want to do is check yet another bag...
Am I the only one who refuses to flat out claim that it's a bike unless they ask point blank? "Ummmmm... it's gear and some wetsuits...." usually works for me but then I feel so guilty about circumventing the system and potentially racking up bad karma, no matter how annoying the excessive bike charges.
And when you think about it, if you are flying anyone other than Frontier or Virgin, you're bound to rack up obscene bike fees while flying that might cost you just as much, if not more, as the relatively reasonable $300 charge that Tri Bike has for their service.
As for logistics, about a week before the event, I dropped my bike off at the local bike shop and all I had to do for prep-work was remove the pedals. In fact, I could have let Jack and Adams remove them but I had a pedal wrench so went ahead and did it myself. From there, I got an email notification when the bike had been picked up and was en route.
My bike also happened to be on the same pick-up as another athlete's ride, "Wilson", who was tweeting funny back and forths with TBT about the journey up to Canada. On that note, I absolutely love TBT's sense of humor:
On the Friday before the race, same day I arrived in Mont Tremblant, I was able to pick up my bike from the little corrals they had set up close to transition. Technically you could pick up the same day as bike drop-off and roll it over to transition and never have to deal with your bike but I picked mine up a day early to ensure I had enough free time for my pre-race spin and making sure all the parts were tightened and at 100%.
In addition to showing your ID to pick-up your bike, they also put a sticker on each ride with info about the owner and pick-up shop. Normally I'm hesitant to put my new bike in someone else's hands (especially after the stolen bike drama from earlier this year) but this was never a concern. The entire process was entirely seamless and I couldn't (and still can't) stop raving about how awesome of an experience it was using TBT instead of flying with my bike for a change.
No really... could not stop raving. I probably told the poor folks working TBT twenty times that this was the best. experience. ever. when traveling to a race. Could not be happier from start to finish.
When I went to drop off my bike for the return trip, a few hours after finishing, after I had showered and was going back to spectate at the finish line, I made the decision that I was 100% going to use TBT for my next race in Kona! One less thing to worry about and they will even get the bike there by the time I arrive on October 5th, a whole week early!
They also had hat and visor freebies so I loaded up on my new post-swim hat, which I tested out over wet hair tonight after my swim:
The only drawback to TBT is that they don't support the Rev3 races!! Since I moved further away from most of my favorite races and can't drive as often, I'm still stuck flying with my bike to most venues. Maybe as they grow in popularity (which is bound to happen once more people test them out...), we'll see the schedule open up as well. The only other thing is that there is a week-and-a-half window on either side of race day to transport the bikes. Before I bought my roadie, this might have been a teeny bit of an issue but since I have my back-up bike, I'm completely fine in the days leading up to and after race day. Plus, getting away from my powermeter in these key recovery days also makes coach happy : )
I would highly recommend Tri Bike Transport for your next A race or if you really just want an easy and seamless race travel experience.