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A new year in Triathlon
A new year in Triathlon

Tips & Tricks to Faster Transitions

exmrtrobby exmrtrobAug 28th 2013
The other day I made reference to my bright blue transition box. Here I'll try and relay some tips to make transitions easier for the new to the sport.
Transition is a black art and often never gone through in detail before tackling your first Triathlon. Using some tips from pros and people that like who have done a few and learned the hard way can save you time switching between the three sports. Afterall...the clock doesn't stop till the finish line.
Set Up:
Don't take too much into transition. Take what you know you are going to need for the T1 and T2 phases and nothing more. I don't even take a wetsuit into Transition before the race. You need: Bike, Helmet, Glasses, Cycling / Tri Shoes, Running Shoes, Goggles, Race number and a Swim Hat which you will be given by the race organisers. That's it!
Racking and Organising:
Find your rack number if the race organisers have allocated them. If not find a space away from the entry and exit. The fast guys and girls will be looking for these spaces and you will be in their way. Be respectful and give them their space, they take this very seriously. Its fun to us, but to them it may be a "job interview". Hang your bike by the nose of your seat and make it straight. The front wheel will normally sit on the ground. Set up your box to one side. A brightly coloured box will save the confusion of looking for your rack after coming out of the water. You'll be dizzy getting out of the swim so don't take chances of getting to the wrong bike. Alternatively, tie a bright ribbon on the rack next to your bike. Anything that easily identifiable will help. Lay a small towel in front of your box, this will help remove grit from your feet before getting your shoes on. Place your helmet on your bars and practice getting it on quickly and doing the clasp up. Trust me it can take an age when you want to rush. Place glasses inside the helmet or shove the arms through the airvents and test they stay there. They will on your head when you hit the road for you to put on. Place your running shoes alongside with laces undone. Elasticated laces are great, but if you're not used to them they can be rubbish.
Now tweak things for no more than ten minutes and get out of there.
Starting and T1:
Go back to the car and relax. You've arrived with hours to spare and now its time to Chill, Eat and Drink. This is your race preparation time and it should be taken with a relaxed attitude. Get a little warm up done, not too much! stretch and drink some more. With 30 mins before the start (set an alarm) get your wetsuit on. It's time to head back to Transition and head to the start. Pick up your goggles and swim hat ad go get in the water to acclimatise. Flush your suit and thoroughly warm up. The organisers will normally call you out for a race briefing and this is mandatory. Its a good thing, the layer of water trapped next to your skin by the suit is now warming and the benefits of this will be enjoyed when you get back in the water. Pick a spot to start that looks quiet and free from aggressive starters. Getting kicked in the face now will ruin your day! When you spot the finish of the swim and are within 200m light up the leg kick and power home. This will put blood back in the legs and ease the impending dizzy spell you are about to go through. Goggles to forehead at this point.
Hitting the steps / slipway / beach / lakeside and getting into an upright stance will drain the blood from your head and send you into a spiral. TAKE YOUR TIME! Unzip your Wetsuit and get your arms out while walking / running and get the suit to waist level. Get into Transition and locate your brightly coloured rack point. Remove hat and goggles by sliding a finger under both at your temple point of your head and throw them in the box. Thrust your suit down to your calf muscles and stand up straight. Stand on your suit and drag the other leg out, repeat with the other leg until its off. Get your bike helmet on. Pick your suit up and throw it in your box. Wipe your feet on the towel and get your shoes on. Now you can un-rack your bike and get out. If its a good way to the mount line this is a good chance to take a drink.
500m before T2 start removing your shoes while riding. This takes practice which you should have done before the event. I like to reach through the frame with my left hand to undo the right shoe and vice versa. Stand on top of your shoes and spin the pedals into the dismount line. There is a term in cycling known as "Glass Cranking" which means you pedal but with no pressure. Glide into the D-line and swing one leg over the bike so you now have one foot on top of your shoe with all your weight on and the other foot is prepped and ready for landing. Go slower than you think at this point. It look impressive, but not you face plant! Hold your bike by either the seat or the stem and jog lightly to your rack point. Bike to rack and hands away before unclasping your helmet and dropping that into your box. Your shoes are still on your pedals so no worries for them, they can stay there. Get your running shoes on and catch your breath. Now GO!

This is my routine and I have read dozens and watched dozens more on-line. I have picked out what works for me and you will do the same.
Practice every aspect before your big day and remember: Nothing new on race day. No new kit that hasn't been worn at least twice in training. Take your time...finishing is everything and ENJOY IT.
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