I don’t know about you, but I tend to be overly prepared and border on perfectionism to the annoyance of my family and friends. I’ll put a sticky note on my cell phone, even though I maintain a bullet journal. Yeah, that’s me. So if you’re like me, great! If you’re more a go-with-the-flow kind of person, then you can still keep yourself organized and ready to go for any triathlon.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind before any race and before you even begin to set up your bike in the transition area.
- You have one meter of space TOTAL. That means you have a half meter on either side of the front tire of your bike. This is a rule that you must follow.
- Rack your bike by the nose of the seat; another rule.
- Set up your gear at the front tire, preferably on a towel.
- Purchase a one or two piece tri kit to make wardrobe issues easier. This is what you will swim, bike, and run in.
- Get a wetsuit if the water is cold and make sure it’s a triathlon-specific wetsuit. You should also get TriSlide to prevent chaffing and to make the wetsuit easier to get on and off.
- A water bottle is handy for rinsing off sand if the swim has a sandy beach.
- A bright towel will help you find your spot.
- Memorize the transition area and know where your gear is located while you run in and out of transition.
- For the bike, make sure your helmet is completely fastened before grabbing your bike after the swim. This is a hard and fast rule. You could get penalized if you don’t do this.
- Bungee laces are great for running shoes, but if you don’t like them, they are not necessary.
- Apply sunscreen before the race.
- Have your race fuel ready to go on your bike, in your running belt, etc. Do not eat or drink in transition, it wastes time.
- I also prefer to have water shoes, flip flops, or something on my feet as I walk around in the transition area. Sometimes, the transition area is on grass, but it could be on any surface, so be prepared.
- Finally, study the courses, know the layout of the transition area, and be prepared with an extra change of clothes for the car, comfy shoes, a dry towel, vinegar for jellyfish stings, and extra snacks for when you’re all finished.
T1: Swim to Bike
- Use thin rubber bands to hook your shoes to your bike. If you have triathlon-specific shoes, there’s a handy loop on the back of the shoe. I have road shoes, so I improvised. Still, the shoes are stable, the rubber bands will break when you pedal, and then you can slide your feet into the shoes later on, saving time.
- Position your helmet on the cockpit of the bike. It should be easy to pick up and place on your head.
- Sunglasses can be put on during the ride, so use a zip tie or hook them onto your bike.
- Lubricate your wetsuit and yourself. When your wetsuit is halfway on, spray your neck and armpits and all of the holes in the suit. Fold up the suit on your calves and spray the inside of the wetsuit and your calves. Repeat for arms.
- Get in for a warm up swim, take a few strokes and get your face wet.
- Out of the water, goggles up!
- Get your wetsuit down to your waist before reaching your bike.
- At your bike, push down on your wetsuit two pushes.
- Do two high knee steps with a foot on the wetsuit.
- Use your thumbs to get the wetsuit over your heels.
- Throw the wetsuit in your bag or bucket.
- Take off cap and goggles and throw them in the bag or bucket.
- Rinse feet if needed.
- Dress for the bike from head to toe: helmet on and clipped, grab bike.
- Run with your bike to the mounting area (your shoes will be on your bike already, and you’ll be barefoot). Make sure your hand is on the cockpit or handlebars and not on the seat for easier steering.
- Skip, hop, and slide onto the saddle and pedal. This should break the rubber bands.
- Slip feet into bike shoes when you get away from the crowd. Use two fingers as a shoe horn and slap the velcro down and go! Don’t be afraid to walk your bike too if it’s really crowded.
- Put on sunglasses.
- Eat and drink on the bike, not in transition.
Wetsuit — Cap and Goggles —- Helmet —- Bike —– GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
T2: Bike to Run
- Place shoes facing in to easily put them on. Widen the shoe and have laces undone if you’re tying them.
- Roll socks for easy on and place in shoes.
- Have your bib already on the belt and near your hat if you are wearing one.
- Rolling dismount for bike–take feet out of shoes and pedal with your feet on top of the shoes as you approach the dismount area.
- Feather the brakes for a gradual stop.
- Dismount the bike.
- Run to your transition area and re-rack your bike on the nose of the saddle.
- Helmet off and on the cockpit or in the bucket.
- Socks and shoes on.
- Grab your race belt and hat and go!
- Put your belt and hat on while running.
- Eat and drink on the run.
Helmet —- Shoes —- Belt —– GO!!!!!
That’s it! Try practicing with your gear each week and see how fast you can go.