Racecation! There is nothing better than combining a vacation to an awesome destination with a race weekend! This is the second year in a row I’ve come to the Outer Banks Triathlon for a racecation. The Outer banks are a great place to vacation, and Outer Banks Sporting Events puts on a great race.

This is part 2 of my “racecation” report. See part 1 for all the details of the race portion of the racecation. Here in part 2, I’ll go over some of the things you should look at when planning a racecation and how things went for us this year!

Timing

This year we decided to arrive a day earlier than we did last year. For a Saturday race we got in to town on Thursday afternoon to give us a half a day to get settled and then a morning to relax and enjoy the beach before focusing on pre-race activities like packet pick-up, naps, dinner, etc. we also back loaded the trip with a few extra days to enjoy the beach and the sights before we had to head back. We prefer back loading the trip instead of front loading it so that we can enjoy time off as a family instead of spending most of the trip thinking about the race that is coming up.

Accommodations 

This year we went with a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) instead of a hotel. This was the right move. First of all, sharing a hotel room with small children is a nightmare for sleep. Second, being able to cook your own food is a must. I don’t think I’ll do it any other way for a race ever again (I know I know… never say never!) The rule of thumb for a race is to be as comfortable as possible and keep to as close to a normal routine as possible. Being in a house instead of a hotel made a world of difference in that department!

Plan for the worst 

Nothing new on race day is always the biggest rule for an A race. Practice everything! I had everything down and practiced, but I wanted to make doubly sure, so I went for a bike ride in my race gear the day before the race. I’m so glad I did! Somewhere in transit between the bike shop and the beach, one of my tires started to run AND I had a bit of brake rub too! I spent a good 30 to 45 minutes getting that all worked out and went for my ride. On the ride, my power meter was going haywire! Dropping to 0 and then never really getting over 200. S bit of troubleshooting that afternoon and I decided the best thing was to replace the batteries. I didn’t bring any so I went to the grocery store and bought the LAST PACKAGE OF BATTERIES they had that fit my power meter. Altering replacing those and recalibration etc. things were as good as new.

Lessons learned… bring extra batteries (and change them before a big race even if you think you don’t need to). Also, check everything and bring extras. I had a back up plan if my power meter was shot, but it would not have been fun at all. Thankfully I was able to get it all worked out without taking it to the local bike shop. But that’s another lesson: know where the LBS is before you go on your trip!

Unwinding

Like I said, we backloaded our trip with real vacation days after the race. The OBX is a great place for a family to visit! I’ve been going there since I was a little boy and now I get to take my family and keep that tradition alive!

We spent most of our time beaching it up… so basically… spending a hour getting all the kids changed and sunscreen on, loading the car, driving a block to the public beach access, and setting up on the beach. Then we spent about 1 1/2 to 2 hours trying to keep the little ones happy and especially keep the littlest one from eating any sand. It’s great fun!

In all seriousness, we love the beach and even the slight hassle of taking small children to the beach is worth the memories.

We also hit up some of the local restaurants like Sugar Creek Seafood. This one of our favorites… you have got to try the Shrimp and grits! It also have an awesome sunset view over the sound! We also found a sweet little coffee shop that we took a couple of trips to over the weekend. It’s called the Front Porch Cafe and it is wonderful! They roast all the coffee locally and have a wonderful environment to just hand out including a little play area for the kids! Score!!

Obviously the Outer Banks is known for 2 main things: Lighthouses and the Wright Memorial/ Jockey’s Ridge. We spent one afternoon seeing lighthouses and another flying kites at Jockey’s Ridge. Pro tip: park at Kitty Hawk Kites and walk across the road to the park. It’s a long walk if you park at the actual state park parking area. Plus, you can also buy a kite right there if you need it!

Final Thoughts

We had a great trip with the family all around. There is just nothing like going to the beach and enjoying time together, and to add in a race and the fact that it was not peak beach season makes things even better! I hope you have been able to pick up some pointers on planning a racecation and that I’ve inspired you to plan your own. The OBX Triathlon is a great place to start, but any destination race would be awesome to bring your family along and enjoy time together after a successful race!

What are you favorite places to “racecation.” I’d love to hear about it! Hit my up in the comments below or on Twitter!