Transitions

Transitions can be a daunting experience, particularly new comers to the sport, not knowing what to do, some can even be intimidated with all the hype & activity, with everyone preparing for their race in their own unique way.  The secret is to focus on yourself, your race & your plan.

It is always important in your race preparation to think about transition, what to take & how to set your area out. If the race organiser provides details about the transition area in your race information, then review this in detail prior to race day. Note some races provide bags for transition so not all of this will apply if that is the case.

Firstly, what to pack for your race? Refer to previous post for a race check list http://trifocus.co.uk/2009/04/24/all-the-gear-a-race-day-checklist/

Arrival

  • Allow plenty of time to park, register and rack. It is better to sit and relax for ½ hour before your race than to be flying around in a panic.
  • After parking car (assuming you drove), assemble bike, a quick check of brakes, gears, all wheels running smoothly. Pump up your tyres – if the weather is dry up to the maximum recommended pressure, if it is wet, then drop by around 10 – 15psi (a well pumped up tyre very rarely punctures! and is more efficient).
  • Register, follow instructions (e.g. they may say to get your helmet checked before entering transition). Look for maps of transition and understand the flow and numbering. Review the registration pack for things to do. Do these immediately, e.g. Place timing chip around your ankle, place sticker on your bike and helmet. Pin number to your number belt or shirt. Ensure you are organised before entering transition.

Transition

  • Locate your position according to race no. or as instructed by marshalls and place bike on rack and place box or bag down.
  • Look at your surroundings and look for landmarks.
  • Walk through transition (careful of any competitors racing & give them right of way) walk from the swim exit to your bike (plan your route) walk to T1 exit (bike) look at the bike mount line. Locate bike finish, look for the dismount line, walk to your racking position, then walk to T2 exit (run). Commit this to memory. Return to bike and prepare you equipment.
  • Plan so your equipment is in a logical order, i.e. so you approach your equipment before your bike.  Place bike shoes either on your bike or on the front of towel (depending on your mounting technique) and running shoes and cap at rear of towel. Place helmet, sunglasses, number belt and any clothes on your bike.
  • Ensure bike is in an easy gear for starting and ensure drink bottles are on your bike (Full)
  • Put on your wetsuit and prepare to race. Ensure you place body glide around areas of chaffing (esp. neck, under arms) and body butter on arms and legs to assist with wetsuit removal. Ensure wetsuit is as high as it will go, i.e. the crutch area, arms right up to underarms (too low will restrict arm and body movement and means you will be carrying too much water in your wetsuit). Place goggle straps under swim cap.

Swim

  • Aim to be ready to enter the water 10 minutes prior to race start. If there is a walk to the swim start factor this into your timing too.
  • Have a plan and stick to it. If you can warm up before hand & acclimatise to the water temperature then do it. You can also warm up on dry land with dynamic stretching. For the swim you can start at front, side or rear, swim defensively (not aggressively). If confident swim hard to the first buoy (100 – 200m) then aim for some feet and find a rhythm.
  • Sight every 3 – 4 breaths.
  • Review the swim prior to starting. Is there a current? Will it drag you a certain way (work with it)? Will you be swimming against the current, then try and swim close to the bank. If the current is behind you then aim for the centre of the river (this is where the current is strongest).

T1

  • Immediately out of water lift goggles onto head and reach for your wetsuit cord with left hand and pull down zipper. As you run to your bike pull down wetsuit to your waist. Before you pull out your left arm grab your goggles and swim cap & let go of them as your hand goes through the sleeve, this should be a good secure place to store them until after the race. Aim to have the wetsuit in a position where you can pull wetsuit down and step out of it (practice it) by the time you get to the bike.
  • Put on bike shoes (if not on bike) and any clothing (it is better to have  a tri suit on under wetsuit if applicable). Put on number belt, glasses and helmet (before unracking bike).
  • Unrack bike and move towards exit if you can run with bike by holding the saddle & pushing.
  • Mount bike on mounting line as instructed. Only do what you have practiced and keep an eye out for anyone out of control (wobbling or not aware of their surroundings). Start cycling and get up to speed & settle into your predetermined pace & effort level.
  • Practice your transition at home or in a park (it will be worth it).

Bike

  • Cycle sensibly be aware of others and choose an effort that you can maintain for the race distance.
  • Take care cornering or at intersections.
  • Drink regularly (you should drink a minimum of one bidon (750ml) per hour).
  • Approaching end of bike, start to spin legs ready for the run and prepare for dismount (practice it).

T2

  • Dismount and run with bike to racking position again guiding bike by the saddle. Rack bike. Take off helmet and place on ground (don’t throw it). Put on running shoes (& socks?), pick up cap and any nutrition if applicable. Run towards exit, turn number belt around to your front and put your cap on.

Run

  • Ease into your running legs (don’t sprint and die a thousand deaths) and work on building your running speed throughout the run.
  • Throughout the run you should be aiming to maintain your pace or increase your pace slightly, look for the person in front and focus on trying to catch them (progressively) or hold the gap. After the last turn you should be running at full flight  and on your limit. As you approach the finish keep working and run hard all the way to the finish line.
  • Finish & congratulate yourself & your fellow triathletes.

T3

  • The undisclosed aspect, rehydrate, eat, stretch, cool down, talk to your friends and talk it up.
  • Plan your next race.


“If you are comfortable with your training regime then you should be concerned. You can only make the big gains by being out of your comfort zone.”
- Me

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