Little did I know that my past life as a road warrior would help me prepare to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer. While I don’t travel as much for work now, I was able to take the knowledge gained from road warrior status to my 2016 Hall of Fame run, which took me all over North America.
1. Research your destination and airport options
Some cities have one main airport, while others may have a few options to choose from. This is true for many tour stops, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Brooklyn, Virginia Beach and several others. For Rock n Roll San Francisco, SFO and Oakland International are both great options and easily accessible with public transit. I was able to fly into one and out of the other based on flight times and costs. Check the Travel section of each race’s web site for potential discounts from sponsoring airlines.
Source: Google Maps
2. Find the sweet spot for your stay
Look at the race venues (start/finish lines, expo) to help identify the good locations for a hotel. The Travel section of your race weekend page is an excellent source to get the lay of the land. In some cases, the event venues are centrally located, but in others, not. When possible, I love to find a hotel within walking distance of a start line to give my legs a little warm up before a race.
3. Find out what public transit options are available
Many cities have excellent light rail systems, which are quick, clean, and an affordable option to and from an airport. In high traffic times, light rail can be faster than a car, too! I’ve taken the Dallas DART light rail straight from DFW Terminal A to Downtown Dallas, and hopped on the classic Muni street cars to get me from my hotel in San Francisco to the expo.
4. Pack like a pro
I’m a HUGE fan of Eagle Creek packing cubes. I always bring a Pack-it Sport with me to carry my race gear (water resistant, anti-microbial and anti-odor) and some Specter cubes to carry my regular clothes. I’m always able to find everything easily, compress my gear as much as possible giving me extra room in my suitcase, and keep my dirty clothes separate from my clean ones.
5. Use airport programs to fly through security and customs
TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Nexus are game changers. Pick a program based on your travel patterns and program rules. Often, it takes an application, fee, and an interview to join one of these programs. I’ve had great experience traveling since enrolling.
6. Show off that bling at the airport
By that, I mean, don’t forget to pull your shiny new hardware out at security. Especially on Remix Challenge weekends, or when I’ve gotten some aptly named Heavy Medals, I find it’s easiest to keep them in a bag that I can easily pull out of my suitcase at the airport so I don’t undergo extra searches for a “large metal objects” in my bag.
7. Eat like a local
Because of my travels, I’ve been able to enjoy awesome food all over the country. Isn’t part of why we run to eat? Poutine in Montréal, breakfast tacos in San Antonio, deli in New York City, fresh fish in Seattle. I always ask local people for their favorites and Yelp is another tool I use to discover hidden gems.
One last pastrami on rye at Carnegie Deli before it closed!
8. Take advantage of your destination
It’s easy to eat, run, sleep and leave. With so many great destinations in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour Stops, take some time to explore the sights! I found a great free walking tour of Old Montréal (with a downloadable app to guide us on our way), rode a cable car in San Francisco, visited and learned the history of the Alamo (and visited the LBJ Presidential museum in Austin) during a trip to San Antonio, and saw Britney Spears in concert in Las Vegas. Check the Runners Perks section of the web site for your race to find discounts on local attractions.
Bon voyage and happy running!