This week we’re talking about what’s often referred to as the fourth triathlon discipline – transition. Transition is important in both triathlon and duathlon and it’s the handover point for teams.

Firstly, it’s useful to understand the abbreviations and phrases that you might hear:

  • T1 – transition between the swim and bike in triathlon, or first run and bike in duathlon
  • T2 – transition between the bike and run
  • Swim in, bike out, bike in and run out – these refer to the entrance and exit to the transition area.

Preparation and set up

So you’re now ready to set up your space. I’d recommend doing this before putting your wet suit on.

If you’ve hired a bike for SoBC, it will be racked for you, according to your wave and bib number. If you’re bringing your bike, there will be a space allocated for you.  

I lay a small towel next to my bike and place my cycling and running kit on it. This includes my helmet (upside down with the front of the helmet pointing at my feet so I can put it on easily), sunglasses, gloves, top (if not wearing a tri-suit).  

I also find it useful to put any food or gels on the towel so I can grab them easily and put them into my pockets. If you try this, consider the order you’ll need items with the first items being nearest your feet as you arrive at your transition spot.

Make sure you have a good look around and check which rail your bike is on. Count the number of rails from a significant point and see if there is a reference point at the end of your rail. Make sure it’s something fixed, a tree, or the edge of a building, a bit like sighting in the swim as mentioned in last week’s blog. I’ve been known to carefully line my rail up with a bin only to find out it’s been moved by a marshal…

Plan your route

Once your transition space is set up, it’s a good time to get comfortable in your wet suit so put it on and find somebody to help do it up. Remember your goggles and hat for the swim start.

I mentioned above the various signs for the entrances and exits into transition. I find it useful to walk through transition and identify my routes for each discipline. Doing this in your wet suit will make it more comfortable, although it can get quite hot; it’s a chance to relax and get ready for the event.

A few rules

There are some key transition rules, mainly for the safety of others:

Make sure your helmet is on and done up when moving your bike. This includes when you return with the bike. Keep your helmet done up until you put your bike back on the rack.

Riding isn’t allowed in transition. You must push your bike until you get to a specific point. This is called the “mount line”. This line is also used as a “dismount line” when you come back from your bike. Marshals will help remind you.

Above all, enjoy

Overall there’s a lot of activity in transition and it’s an exciting place to be when an event is taking place. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, and be supportive of others too – cheering and encouragement is called for.

Most importantly, remember to stick to your goal and what you want to achieve and you’ll have a great time. Look out for next week’s blog where I’ll talk about the cycle.

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