Tips for transition preparation
Here are some tips that will help you.
Only take the essentials into transition with you. This makes the process of transition much easier. Remember this area is for competitors and Race Officials only – so your supporters cannot enter the area to help you. Usually you will be required to enter transition set-up with your bike helmet on as the officials will check it fits correctly. They may also want to check your brakes and check you have handlebar ends in place (i.e. stoppers on the end of your handlebars); you may not be able to race if these are missing.
A great way to shave easy seconds off your time is in transition. Practice jumping on and off your bike, mounting and dismounting, as part of your training. If you are using cycling shoes, as many Tristar3/Youths do, try practicing with your shoes already clipped in (very much an ITU style mount/dismount and for the more experienced). A good tip is to use elastic bands to keep your shoes in a horizontal position to make this easy.
Practice running up to your kit with wet feet and try and get your helmet, shoes and number belt on quickly. What’s the best set up for you? For example, if you will wear glasses, you could lay them inside your helmet with the arms open so they can be put on straight away before putting your helmet on. Try putting your number belt on before your shoes – is it easier? Lay out your kit in the order you will put items on. Take a photo as a reminder. Make adjustments to the layout for next time if needed.
Set up your bike
Make sure your bike is set up in the right gear to start your race when you put your bike into transition. You probably want to start in an easy gear, so you’re not struggling in the first few metres of the race when you try to pedal. Ensure your bike is placed (‘racked’) in the position allocated to your race number. Ask a Race Official if you are unsure of where you should put your bike and set up your transition.
Talcum Powder and Vaseline are your friend
Some like to use talcum powder sparingly in their cycling & running shoes to help slip their feet in easier & reduce the chance of mid-race rubbing. Some like to rub a little Vaseline on the inside of the backs of their shoes so their heel slips in more easily. You could experiment when you are practicing to see if either of these help you.
Know the course and walk through transition
Transition can often be a confusing place on race morning. Make sure you know your swim exit, bike out & in and run out to help gain those precious seconds. Make a mental note of where your bike is racked in relation to something visual so you can find it during the adrenaline rush of the race, e.g. third rack over and halfway along, or perhaps it is in line with a big tree nearby. Familiarise yourself with the path you will take from the swim to your bike and out, and then from bike to run. It isn’t a good idea to use other competitors’ bikes to locate your own – they may not be on the racks when you exit the pool! You cannot mark your transition area to make it more visible.
You may also be able to walk the course if you arrive early enough – ask the race organisers.