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Transition Tips

Tips for faster and calmer transitions.

transition setupBefore the Race

  • Use our Race Day Checklist.
  • Get to the transition area early.
  • Check the pressure in your bike tires before going to transition.
  • Put on sunscreen.
  • Body Lube your neck if you are wearing a wet suit to prevent chafing. Likewise do your arms if you are wearing a sleeveless model.
  • Body Lube other sensitive parts, like nipples and groin, for the bike and run.
  • Don't use Vaseline if you are wearing a wet suit - it's bad for the neoprene. If you don't have Runner's Lube or Body Glide, or something similar, Pam works in a pinch.
  • Bike helmets are often inspected upon entrance to the transition.
  • If provided, have your race numbers on the bike handlebars and bike helmet.
  • Transition may be open only to the participants - make sure you can carry everything in yourself.
  • Many people like to mark their bike location with a balloon or some type of flag. If you don't have one, put your bike next to someone who does. Trees can also serve this purpose, or tie a bandana to the rack.
  • The bike racks can be l-o-n-g. Think about where to set up. Closer to the swim in means the less you have to run from the swim and out on the run, but longer you have to go in and out with your bike. Closer to the bike exit means longer swim in and run out run, but less you have to go with your bike.
  • Setting up near the bike exit will mean a shorter transition time, all things being equal.
  • Put your bike in a low gear.
  • Bring a large beach towel to put down next to your bike. If you have a unique one, it can help you locate your bike - assuming you run down the right rack.
  • On the towel, going from the back of the bike to the front, lay out your bike gear closest to you and the run gear closest to the rack.transition setup 2
  • Open up your bike shoes and running shoes by loosening the straps/laces.
  • IF you are comfortable putting on your bike shoes while riding (and don't wear socks), secure them horizontally on the pedals with rubber bands.
  • Roll down your socks to the ankle - makes them easier to get on.
  • Unbuckle the bike helmet strap, put the straps over the side, and put the helmet on your handlebars (if it will safely stay there). Undo your bike gloves and put in the helmet. Sit your sunglasses, open, on top of the gloves.
  • Open zippers of all clothing.
  • As soon as you have everything set up, walk to the Swim in. Walk back to your bike. Count the racks, aisles, etc. Look for "landmarks" to point you to your rack. Go down your rack to find your bike. Repeat.

Read more: Transition Tips


Transition: the (Oft Overlooked) Fourth Discipline of Triathlon

Many triathletes in their first few years of competition work hard on lowering their finish times, struggling to take a minute or two off the run or perhaps five minutes off the bike. However, often they overlook the place where you can easily take minutes off your race with a little preparation and smart thinking - the transition.

Triathlons have two transitions, both of which are places to pick up time without a lot of extra work. The swim to bike transition is known at T1 and the bike to run transition is T2. Here are some tips to shorten your transitions and improve your finish times.

Read more: Transition: the (Oft Overlooked) Fourth Discipline of Triathlon