Posts tagged ‘Travel’

Tournament Preparation – What to bring…

In a previous post I wrote about how to prepare for a tournament from a training and fitness point of view. Not long after publishing the post I realised that another important element of tournament preparation is making sure you bring along all the right things to get you through the tournament.

This post is about making sure everything is available to you when you need it to be. I like to know that if I need something during a game I will be able to grab it and get on with playing. I don’t want to have to fret about not having the right bit of gear for a certain weather condition, or the right food for my particular energy-levels at any given time.

By being prepared with all the right items I can focus on the important aspects that are happening on the field without having to worry about anything else.

The first consideration is a bag to put everything in. I’ve dedicated an entire post to the bag I use for Ultimate Frisbee tournaments so you can check that out here. Once you’ve got the bag sorted there’s a bunch of stuff you’ll need to put in it:

Ultimate Clothes/Accessories

Who knows what weather you will be playing in across a 2-3 day tournament? In southern Australia it is impossible to plan for any weather in particular so here’s how to cover everything:

  • Jersey/Shirt – Your team jersey!
  • Shorts – Shorts that match your jersey or whatever your team is going with.
  • Compression Shorts – Worn under your regular shorts if it isn’t cold. Quite good for your muscles over a tournament.
  • Base Layers – I like wearing a base-layer when I’m playing, one that wicks away sweat. They keep me warm when it is cold, and keep the sweat off me when it is hot. At a tournament they also help keep my jersey fresh for more than a day. They don’t have to be expensive, I use these ones from Torpedo 7. I bring one for each day of the tournament.
  • Socks – I bring heaps of socks, at least one pair for every day of the tournament and potentially 2-per day. Fresh socks are amazing mid tournament and also help prevent blisters from sliding round with sweaty feet in hot conditions.
  • Cleats/Boots – Some people have tournament-specific boots. I just have some trusty Asics that I love and wear whenever I play Ultimate
  • Cap – Helps visibility and also helps keep the sun off your face. Alternatively, if it is raining/cold it keeps your head dry and warm and stops water running down your face.
  • Sunglasses – I squint a lot in the sun so prefer to play in sunglasses if it is sunny. Some claim it is a disadvantage if my teammates can’t see where I am looking but it hasn’t seem to be too much of an issue.
  • Compression Tights – If it is really cold you’ll want some coverage on your legs. Compression tights allow you to run around with coverage without getting too hot (as opposed to some sports-oriented tights that are fleecy and generally too hot for running in).
  • Arm Warmers – Probably my most crucial bit of Ultimate kit aside from the usual stuff. I have found cycling arm warmers to be brilliant for variable weather or warming up. Your arms stay warm without adding an extra layer to your chest, which then gets hot when you run. The biggest benefit is you can just pull them off when you warm up, even mid-point. Some are water-resistant such as the Castelli Nanoflex ones that I have. I originally started using Arm Warmers for cycling but I can highly recommend them for Ultimate.
  • Beanie – If it gets really cold I will play in a beanie to keep my wears warm.
  • Underpants – I play Ultimate in briefs whereas I generally wear boxer-briefs. As a result I need to remember a pair per-day.
  • Waterproof/Windproof Jacket – On cold days you’ll want something warm to put on between points and in breaks between games.
  • Sweatbands – On hot days I like to wear a sweat band on my throwing arm. Mainly this is for wiping my face but if it is really hot it also stops sweat running down to my hand a bit.
  • Gloves – I’m not entirely sold on the idea of playing in Gloves as yet but I do currently carry a paid of the Lookfly Ultimate gloves with me and wear them occasionally. As a mini review, I wish they let you choose which hand you throw with so the other hand could have five full-fingers on the gloves rather than two useless cut-out ends.
  • Thongs – Similarly to having fresh socks, being able to take your cleats off and wander round in thongs at lunch time is amazingly good for your feet. Do it!
  • A frisbee! – You’ll need it for warm-ups and to kill time in the airport.

Food and Liquids

You need to stay hydrated and well fed throughout a tournament. This requires some preparation:

  • Drink Bottles – I bring two and have them full and on the sidelines within easy reach at all times. One is for water and one is for electrolytes/sports drinks.
  • Sports Drink – In the past I have carried a tub of Gatorade around however more recently I took a tube of Nuun tablets to a tournament. These were much more portable (smaller) and heaps easier to prepare in a drink bottle each time. I try and drink water and electrolytes equally, aiming for a bottle of each per game.
  • Gels/Energy Bars – Running all day for several days in a row saps energy. You won’t feel hungry but you’ll need fuel. I bring 2 energy bars per day but can substitute one for a banana if there are some available at the tournament (they are a bit easier to eat mid-game). I haven’t tried any Gels as yet but they’d be fine if you can find any that taste nice!
  • A bowl and Spork – Some tournaments offer dinner but require your own cutlery/crockery. I normally bring along a bowl and a spork as I’m not overly keen to eat off a frisbee.

Medical Stuff

  • Sunscreen – apply regularly and liberally. Nothing worse than having to deal with sunburn on the second day of a tournament.
  • Anti-Inflammatories – Either Voltaren or Nurofen. If you get a sprain or a twinge or an ache you can safely start taking anti-inflammatories to help you through the tournament.
  • Paracetamol – If you’re taking Voltaren and need some extra pain relief then Paracetamol can help. Nurofen has pain relief built in.
  • Sports Tape – My feet aren’t used to spending a couple of days cutting hard in lots of different directions. I can start to develop blisters after a while and sports tape can help to avoid that.
  • Ankle Brace – I’ve sprained my ankle a few times during tournaments. If it is still ok to run on a brace will help avoid doing more damage whilst you continue playing.

Feet Taped Up – Helped to avoid some impending blisters. Not sure what was going on with my bruised toes…

Regular Clothes

Generally speaking if you’re going away for a weekend tournament you won’t actually spend a lot of time wearing your regular clothes. This section is really up to personal preference and baggage allowance! Last tournament I brought what I wore on the plane plus some shorts and a spare t-shirt.

Toiletries

Whatever you would normally bring when you’re travelling – don’t forget any prescription medicines or similar. Also, don’t forget your toothbrush! I forgot mine last tournament 😦

Other general travelling stuff

The usual travelling stuff applies:

  • Phone Charger
  • Book to read
  • Chewing Gum
  • Headphones – probably one of the worst things I have forgotten.
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Plane Itineraries – I store mine on my phone normally.

I think that’s about it! Hopefully that’s a useful list of things to bring to a tournament, along with some tips for a few things you may not have considered.

How about you? Is there anything missing on my list that you would bring? Any pro items that I’m missing?

May 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm 6 comments

Ultimate Frisbee – Bag Review – Tatonka Barrel

I recently went through the process of researching and purchasing a bag to use when attending Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. In some ways this process was relatively straightforward as I had seen several good examples already at previous tournaments. I had also talked to a few people about their choices.

That said, I like to check things out myself so I started looking into it with the following considerations in mind:

Requirements

Size

The bag needed to be big enough to fit everything for a 2-3 day tournament, but small enough to get away with using it as carry-on luggage on domestic flights. I also wanted to use the bag as my regular league-bag when I am not attending tournaments so I didn’t want it to be too huge. Keeping in mind that there’s a fair bit of stuff to bring along for a tournament, getting the right size was not straightforward.

Comfort

There’s a good chance that there’s some walking involved when you’re travelling for a weekend. Even walking through the airport can be a bit of a trek. As a result it is necessary to have a bag that is easy to carry for a while without getting too uncomfortable.

Weatherproof

If you’re playing in an Ultimate tournament there is going to be some point where you’re on the field in the middle of the point and it starts raining. Your bag will be on the sideline and, unless it is weatherproof, everything inside it will get soaking wet. This is far from ideal and I didn’t want to have to worry about all my gear when I’m in the middle of a game. As a result, I wanted a weatherproof bag that wouldn’t let the rain in.

Options

I was already fairly certain that I wanted a barrel/duffel-type bag after seeing the bags that others had been using. I did consider a more traditional backpack however I was put off by the general design whereby you have to stack gear from the bottom up, and access things through a smallish opening at the top. I suppose “accessibility” could have been another requirement as I do like being to quickly grab something (such as a sweat band or energy bar) out of my bag between points if required.

In particular I was aware that several manufacturers make weatherproof duffles that also have conversion straps that allow the bag to be carried like a backpack. All of these manufacturers also offerred the duffels in a variety of sizes allowing me to choose one that was small enough to take on a plane as carry-on, but big enough to fit everything required for a tournament.

In particular there are options from  Mountain DesignsThe North Face and Tatonka.

After hunting around online I settled on the Small Tatonka Barrel in yellow for the following reasons:

  • I was able to check these bags out in person at a shop in town so I could confirm the sizes were right.
  • I found a great online price from Bagworld, including free shipping!
  • The yellow would be visible in a group of bags or on a carousel at the airport if I ever checked it in.
  • A few friends had recommended them.
  • They were available for a good price in Australia, instead of having to buy from overseas and pay more for shipping.
  • The bag is specifically approved for carry-on with Qantas.

The Tatonka Barrel in a Small size – it isn’t very full at the moment.

That said, all of the bags were pretty close in terms of price and features. The only other notable aspect is that The North Face offer a much broader range of colours (and the yellow is nicer too dammit).

Result

I have used the bag for a while now, both as my main bag for all my frisbee gear as I play league and also for a 2 day tournament in Melbourne. Overall I am very happy as the bag has met all my requirements above.

My only criticism of the bag is that it could benefit from some more pockets. Inside the bag there is a narrow pocket at each however these can’t be fastened shut. As a result it is hard to successfully store stuff in those pockets without it falling out when you use the bag in “backpack mode”.

The interior compartment at one end. Things can fall out when the bag is vertical.

Aside from those two pockets there is also a zippered pocket in the lid of the bag. Given this is the only secure separate pocket from the main compartment I ended up putting more stuff in here than I would have liked. Anything small ended up in here like keys, phone, sweat bands, a fork, chewing gum, energy bars and other things such as tickets and boarding passes. Overall it was good to have those things separate from the main compartment but there were too many things in there which made using the pocket a bit inconvenient.

The pocket in the flap is full of sweat bands, a beanie and any other random small items.

The bag does also has an exterior pocket that is designed to house the backpack straps when you want to hide them away. Whilst not ideal, I ended up using this pocket for a few things, like sunscreen, just to get them separated from everything else. You can’t shut this pocket when the backpack straps are out, and if they’re in then the pocket is full. As a result you wouldn’t want to have things stored in that pocket when it is raining as you would want the whole bag zipped up tightly.

This is where the straps go when you want to fold them away.

The other consideration when using a bag like this is the fact that it needs to hold together when it is horizontal and vertical. I am a fairly obsessive packer and I like to know where things are in my bag. As a result I don’t want things moving around too much when I am carrying the bag. You pack the bag when it is horizontal but as soon as you lift it onto your back it ends up completely vertical. As a result it is necessary to pack the bigger things to the right-side (assuming you have the bag open with the flap facing away from you) of the bag so they will be at the bottom when it is on your back. This isn’t a problem though, just a consideration.

The bag in backpack mode…

Summary

Overall I’m really happy with the purchase of this bag. It worked extremely well for my tournament and I was able to fit  a lot of gear in there. I am planning another post in the near future which details the things that I bring to a tournament so you will get better idea of the capabilities of the bag then. It didn’t rain during the tournament so I haven’t actually tested the waterproof capabilities of the bag yet, but it certainly looks very rugged and waterproof – we’ll see!

I would recommend this bag to any Ultimate player or anyone who travels for a weekend of sport. You’ll comfortably get all the gear (depending on your sport) you need inside and it is comfortable to carry around. Great bag!

About half full of stuff … just my general league gear minus my shoes.

All the gear that was in there. The green bag has a few spare jerseys in there. Plenty of room for my shoes and a bunch more stuff.

Update!

I have now written a post showing the list of things I typically pack for an Ultimate tournament. This gives you a great idea of how much stuff you can fit into the bag.

May 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm 5 comments

Travel Update

Oh I’ve been so quiet I feel bad!  I haven’t recently taken photos off my camera and figured a textual travel update might be too boring!

I don’t have long (falling asleep!) but suffice is to say that we’re still alive and having lots of fun.  Our time in England is drawing to a close which is somewhat sad.  I’m looking forward to having some time off work on the way home and sleeping in our bed again but aside from that I’d be happy to stay over here for significantly longer!  Brighton has been great.

Anyhow – since last post we’ve been to visit Maz’s Uncle an Aunt up in Sheffield.  I quite liked Sheffield and we spent a good long weekend there.  The train ride was nowhere near as bad as we were expecting and actually went quite swiftly.

Last weekend some different relatives came to Brighton for the weekend so we got to stay at home which was a nice change.  We checked out some Brighton sights including the famous Pavilion and a bit of a boat cruise.  We also had diner at a Jamie Oliver Italian Restaurant which was decent.

Aside from all that I’ve managed to get a bit of shopping in and am somewhat concerned about my baggage allowance as a result.  Tonight I went on my first ever rollercoaster (I don’t like rides) on the Brighton Pier which was actually not too bad 🙂  Maz and I sat between some sizable Germans for protection. (Hi Marius!).

We have another week in Brighton and then 2 days more of work before we’re on leave for 1.5 weeks.  We’ll spend a couple of days here, a few days in London (house sitting for Maz’s cousin in the middle of the city…aw yeah!) before heading to Malaysia for a few days.  Last night we booked 3 nights at a tropical resort in Penang along with a single night’s accommodation in Kuala Lumpur.  I forgot to bring my boardies so it looks like I have a bit more shopping to do 🙂

Anyhow – work has been especially exhausting lately so I need some sleep.  Apologies for the lack of pictures…  I feel pretty bad about that actually… 😦

September 10, 2009 at 8:03 am 1 comment

London calling…

Its Monday night and I’m already writing a blog post about what we did on the weekend.  Efficient!  Maz and I spent a busy couple of days in London after scoring some bargain tickets due to a sale online.  £3 each way ($6 AUD) which is awesome!

We got up nice and early (that’s 7am for us) on Saturday and headed to the train station for a 1 hour ride into the city.  Once we arrived we navigated The Underground no troubles to arrive at the stop nearest our hotel.   Stepping out onto the street we were greeted with this:

St Pauls

I didn’t realise at the time but the variety of modern buildings scattered about ancient masterpieces turned out to be one of the things I liked most about London.  Using the underground to pop up around various places with London you’re constantly treated with a mix of modern and historic architecture.  It results in a fairly unique feel for an Australian, a relatively young country in comparison!

Once we’d dropped our bags off at the hotel we popped back down to The Underground, heading for Leicester Square in an attempt to locate some nice cheap theatre tickets for the evening.  We seemed to be able to navigate The Underground without many problems but what struck me was the craziness of the stairs, tunnels, escalators and ramps that you walk around when changing lines and locating your train platforms. Here’s a bad example, but I like the photo anyhow:

London Underground

Here’s a photo of Maz in da Undeground:

Mazindaground

Once we made it to Leicester Square we were presented with a ridiculous amount of outlets promising cheap theatre tickets but on Maz’s dad’s advice we headed for the centre of the square where the official cheap ticket booth was located.  We’d previously decided that the musical we both wanted to see the most was Wicked however there were no tickets available!  We looked at what was on offer, decided upon Peter Pan and joined the silly long queue:

Ticket Line

Whilst we were in line an elderly gentleman wandered past claiming that he had tickets for sale for a few different musical, including Wicked!  Given how much we wanted to see it we foolishly made a snap decision, asked him where the seats were, and purchased some tickets.  After we had handed over the money we quickly checked the theatre map to figure out where we had to go, and then walked off.

After about 5 minutes we both realised that we may have just made a huge mistake.  We didn’t ask the guy any details about where he got the tickets from, or for any details at all really!  We spent the rest of the day wondering if we were even going to get into the theatre!

After that we took a wander to Trafalgar Square.  Last time we visited there was some restoration and construction work going on but this time everything was looking good!  Amazingly popular with the tourists too.  No surprise but there were people everywhere!

Fountain

Nelson's Column

From Trafalgar Square we jumped back on The Underground and headed out to Camden Markets.  This was a recommendation from someone we met at Frisbee and it didn’t disappoint.  Crazily busy but really good shopping.  Bit of a hippy vibe but if you ever need a tattoo or a piercing there were plenty of places on offer here!  The shops were pretty decent from the outside as well.  We didn’t get to see all of it but spent a few hours here, got some dodgy KFC for lunch and then headed back into London central.

Campden

For some reason The Underground was going a bit nuts in the afternoon.  It was getting really hot and was fairly icky to be honest! Crowded much:

Undeground Crowd

We spent the afternoon on Oxford Street where I spent way too much money and Maz didn’t find anything to buy 😦  That evening we made our way to the Theatre a bit early in an attempt to get there early and avoid the crowds.  We sat down at a restaurant for dinner, realised we didn’t have time, got Subway and headed off to the Theatre.  Once we arrived at where the Theatre was supposed to be we realised that something wasn’t right.  A quick look at our tickets and a check on the ol iPhone and we realised we were in completely the wrong place and the actual theatre was across town!

After a couple of horrifying seconds we got our heads together, found where we needed to go, jumped on a train then into a taxi and made it there in time after 20 minutes of stress!  Luckily we’d gone nice and early in the first place!  We managed to get into the Theatre fine and as expected, the show was excellent 🙂

The next day we decided to check out Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as it was nice and close to our hotel.  Was a decent tour and an interesting place (even though its not the real one).  It was hard to take good photos in there!

The Globe

After the tour we wandered back into town via the Millennium Bridge (from Harry Potter omg!).   For some reason there were loads of jets flying around:

Bridge

After that we scooted back into town for some more shopping before heading back to Brighton.  The train ride went really really quickly as seemingly I fell asleep!  As the weather was so awesome that evening we decided to go for a wander around the Marina.  It was quite a trek but it was really mild and sweet to be outside in the evening without being completely frozen!  Going to be tough to go home after living here for a while:

The Marina

Next weekend – Sheffield!

August 25, 2009 at 6:58 am 2 comments

Southampton Sojourn…

After a busy week of work Maz and I jetted off to Southampton for the past weekend.  We stayed with Stu and Shani whom I met when I was on a contiki tour in New Zealand.  They treated us to a fine Southampton weekend with a variety of lovely foods and beverages and also some decent Southampton touristy experiences.

On the Friday night after a long boring train ride we went out for a few drinks then to the most amazing purple Indian restaurant I’ve ever seen.  Everything was purple including the custom made carpet and pointy shoes of the guy on the door.  We ended up eating at about 10pm before heading out to see the residence of Stu and Shani.

The next day we went to Portsmouth to visit some famous ships.  We went on a couple and also saw the hull of a ship that was dredged up from the bottom of the sea a number of years ago.  First we went onto, and inside the Warrior:

Portsmouth HarbourPortsmouth Harbour

Inside the WarriorSteering Wheels 🙂

Decent Chain...Anchor Chain

Stoking the fire...There were about 30 of these, all for running the engine.

We visited another ship and a museum before heading to the pub for some drinks and then out for Italian.  The next day we decided to go for a jaunt in the forest with the intention of riding some bikes around.  We got stuck in traffic for about an hour and then found out that the bikes were stupidly expensive so we headed off to the pub for lunch.

HorsesSome horses laying around in the forest…

Maz...Maz and Shani Feeding Horses…

Roast LunchYorkshire pudding…aww yeah…

Now we’re back at work and tonight we decided to cook a joint dinner and declare it Pimms’o’clock!  Time to eat!

Preparing the Pimms...Jess preparing the Pimms…

August 20, 2009 at 4:47 am 2 comments

I know I said we were busy…

Well we’re still flat out!  Tuesday night we rushed off after work to play some Ultimate with the Brighton frisbee community.  Their website was a little misleading so we had to wait around for around 1.5 hours until the games started but aside from that it was awesome.  The people were all really friendly and it was a super casual, but fun, game.

I was reminded of Hobart Ultimate about 2 years ago whereby there was a huge amount of beginners and inexperience coupled with some really good intense players that liked to huck between themselves.    Maz was assigned to one of the four teams and Col and I to another. We all won the games we played in, which means our team is playing Maz’s team in the finals next week!  Regular frisbee bbq to follow – should be sweet.

Last night (Wednesday) we had a work dinner.  We have a lot of staff in the UK who work remotely from the office but this week they are all in Brighton for training.  We went out for Thai and it was really yummy 🙂  Tonight we were going to play virtual golf but it fell through as the place shut at 9pm.

Tomorrow we’re heading off to Southampton for the weekend to spend some time with Stu and Shani, friends I met in NZ.  The train tickets were pretty expensive at $80 but we made up for it with return tickets to London for the weekend after for $24!  Super cheap!

We’re now trying to figure out the best way to get to Sheffield on the long weekend to see some of Maz’s family. The train tickets are quite expensive and its cheaper to hire a car… but its a 4 hour drive!  Not sure what to do ..

Anyhow – should be some new pics in place after our weekend in Southampton.

August 14, 2009 at 6:10 am Leave a comment

Feeling rather English…

After a busy few days and work Maz and I are now half way through our first weekend in Brighton. Its been great so far!  After introducing our UK office to the concept of Friday afternoon beers we then headed down to Brighton beach for some fish’n’chips.  Maz also got a side order of Mushy Peas to fully Englishify the experience.  It was a beautiful summer sunset on the beach and a perfect evening to wander around for a while before heading home.

On our way home we attempted to pick up some beers to sample with our dinner but unfortunately we couldn’t find any that were cold to buy!  Whilst they sell alcohol in the supermarket, its just on the shelf not in the fridge!  We couldn’t find a bottle-o around here either so we ended up lining some brews in the fridge to try the next day!

On Saturday (today) we ventured out of Brighton for about an hour on the train.  Our destination was the village of Arundel which has an awesome castle!  Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos inside but we got plenty of snaps outside.  It was sweet to wander around the village/town and it was once again beautiful weather.

Tomorrow we’re planning on spending the day in Brighton.  Our next few weekends are already booked up so it will be good to just spend some time in the city we’re living in.  We have a few memorable shops that we visited last time we were here that we’re keen to visit again so overall it should be a fairly relaxing day.

Anyhow – I’ve uploaded some photos to facebook of what we’ve been up to so far.  You can see the album here:

Facebook Brighton Album

These photos will all make it onto Picasa at some stage but for now this was the easiest way to share them!

August 9, 2009 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

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