Allow ample time:
1. Transitions can be VERY crowded so its better to be able to set up BEFORE all others arrive and have “taken” the space around your bike.
2. Also queuing to collect race packets can take a lot of time and then leave you “rushing” to get set up and causing more stress pre race.
3. It may be along walk (what I call the car park transition) from parking and unloading your gear to the transition area (think Dorney Lake) and this can also add 20 – 30 minutes to getting ready.
4. Remember your RACE LICENCE. This should be shown at pickup of race pack or perhaps entry to the Transition Area. No licence will likely mean you have to pay for a day licence or may not be able to race at all.
5. Your bike will be checked when you enter the transition area. Brakes must work well, Bar Ends are compulsory on Drop Handlebars and in general your bike must be in good working order. It is worth cleaning it pre race to make this process easier (not to mention it will run better anyway of course)
Review the Transition Area pre race
6. Review any online plans of the transition area if possible. Understand where bike-in and out are, consider your routes and if possible what the area is made of (eg concrete, tarmac, grass, gravel) as this could have an influence on where to rack.
7. Once you arrive at your designated Transition numbered space rack your bike using the seat as the “hook” to hang from. Some people use the brakes or handlebars but this can cause additional issues in taking the bike off as you start. Consider the direction your bike is pointing if you have a choice – when you take it off the rack you want to just be able to go, not have to turn it round.
8. If no designated space then if possible get the end of a line of racking that allows more space for changing but again consider distance and time between swim and bike and run. Is it better to run further from the swim to change and then shorter in and out while pushing your bike. If it is gravel do you want to put shoes on or have them mounted on the bike – weigh up the discomfort of running on gravel in bear feet vs. a few seconds putting your shoes on and then pushing the bike.
9. Place a small towel on the ground to the left or right of your bike depending on your preference but checking what others have done (left or right of the bike). You only have the chance to use one side of the bike to lay out your kit. Choose what works best if you are first or follow others lead.
10. On the towel place your required kit in the order you will need it….. Bike shoes nearest, run shoes at the back, Socks (if needed) in the shoes rolled up ready to put on, glasses, gels etc split for each section (bike gels with bike shoes – if not on the bike, and run gels with run shoes).
11. A smaller towel or flannel is really useful to have on the top of all this ready to dry yourself more before dressing for the bike.
12. Helmet can be hung or placed on the handle bars and should be one of the first thing to be put on. Best to put on the bars so you cannot leave or touch your bike without putting it on (DQ if you do).
Note: Helmet, gloves and hat all ready to put directly on.
Note: Shoes placed in the order they will be required.
13. Race belt with number attached should also be draped over the helmet ready to put on.
14. Consider where you are going to put your wetsuit, goggles and hat. Things get lost in transition and you can be penalised if you leave gear scattered all around. Remember your Transition area must be kept tidy. If you have a box be sure all gear goes in it completely.
Take note of the right hand bike set up. Helmet on the floor, shoes all over the place, bag under the bike and towel “marking” the bike. All a hindrance (or possible DQ) to a smooth fast Transition.
Moving to ride
15. Remove your wetsuit (top half should be done before you even get to the bike), Swim cap and goggles off, step out of the wetsuit and put all in your box or transition area. Dry yourself and apply sunscreen (if required).
16. Put on your race belt, helmet, socks and shoes (if not on bike). Glasses on (and gloves if needed). Pick up any nutrition required and put into pockets.
Other things to remember
17. Put your bike in an easy gear ratio ready to ride away. Makes it so much easier than finding you are in a heavy gear as you start to ride.
18. Walk ALL the routes in Transition – Swim out to your racking space. Racing to Bike Out, Bike in to Racking space, Racking to run out. LEARN THE ROUTES AND CHECK DIFFERENT OPTIONS IN CASE ITS BUSY WHEN YOU GET THERE.
19. Most transitions operate a “Clean Transition” policy which means all baggage should be moved away so be sure to have all your needs available.
20. Enjoy your race….. and remember to start your watch when you start!
Please add your top transition tips to the comments below for others to see.