Laying Out A Transition Area
properly and effectively lay our your triathlon transition area.
Michael Pate of
I can be most anywhere
- whether it is a concert, campaign rally or a retail store, and people will
walk up to me and ask me questions about something. It has almost become a
joke among some of my closest friends because the people asking me the
questions sometimes know more about what is going on than I do. It comes
as no surprise that when I am at triathlons, people come up and ask
questions and many of them have to do with laying out a transition area.
Over the last ten triathlon experiences I have had, I have found what works
for me and it seems to be working for others.
I have a sports bag that I use
to pack my gear into the triathlon venue. It is large enough that I can
carry in everything that I need and also will hold a small collapsible ice
chest for my hydration. For the peace of mind, I lay out my transition area
on my bed the night before to double check and make sure that I have
everything. Once Iím satisfied that I have everything I need, I pack the
When arriving in the
transition area on race day, I first look to see if there are assigned bike
racks. If there are, I try to be there early enough that I can get on one
of the outside ends of the bike racks. I do this because it gives me more
space for my transition area and makes it easier to find my bike in a large
race. Check with your individual triathlon and make sure of any local
rules for the transition area. Some triathlons, donít allow you to
leave a bag or an ice chest in the transition area and there could possibly
be other rules that you might have to abide by. The following set up is
what I do and falls within the rules of all the triathlons that I have
I first rack and secure my
bike - seems simple, but if you listen closely at most any triathlon,
you will hear the sound of a bike crashing against the ground. Every bike is
a little different, so that means it can be secured in different ways.
Remember that other competitors will be racking their bikes and it can cause
the rack to shift or move. If your bike falls, this could possibly cause a
multitude of things to happen, such as a brake caliper shifting over and
touching the side of your rim. If not noticed, that slight rubbing on the
rim can cause you to have a slower bike segment.
After my bike is secure, I
place a full-sized bath towel on the ground beside my bike. The towel
will run parallel to my bike. I first take out my race belt with my race
number for the run and place my running shoes on top of my race number.
This serves to keep my race number from blowing away. Some competitors will
safety pin their race number on their shirt, but I find that if it starts
flapping on the bike it is very irritating to me, so I choose to use a race
belt. Race belts can be purchased for about three dollars from most stores
that carry tri gear. If I am facing my towel, my race belt and shoes will
be at the top of my towel. I always make sure that the tongue of my shoes
and laces are open to create as little of a problem as possible problem
getting on my shoes in Transition Two.
I next place my bike shoes
on the towel directly behind my running shoes. I loosen up the straps
and make sure they are open and ready for me to place my feet in them. Most
of the time, I donít wear socks with my shoes on the bike or the run. In
the past, I have always put them on before I go out on the bike, but that is
just a personal preference.
I leave the portion of the
towel to the rear of my bike open to stand on. The reason that I do this is
because as you exit the swim and come into the transition area, you will
have dirt, sand, grass and small rocks on your feet. The towel will help in
getting your feet wiped off. I also place a water bottle near this area so
that I can wash away any debris that I pick up.
After I initially locate
everything, I make sure I know where all my hydration is located for the
race. If it is going to be a particularly hot day, I will bury my
running cap in the bottom of my ice chest so it will be nice and cold and
give me some assistance in bringing my core temperature down.
I place my helmet on my aero
bars and put my shades inside. This serves to remind me to put my helmet
on before I leave the transition area. I also place my shirt on top of
my bike seat, so it is just within my reach.
After I am set, I run through
everything mentally to double-check and make sure that I havenít
forgotten anything. I then place my hydration on my bike.
Some other things to remember
If there is one thing that
I can suggest to you, itís to lay out your transition area before you go to
your first race. Go through the Transition One and Transition Two and
see if you have any problems. You will most likely uncover any problems
then and that is a lot better than on race day. Find what works for you and
fine tune it to your specific needs. Along with these tips and other
information you find here at Beginner Triathlete, you can enter your first
triathlon with confidence.
Think big, believe big,
act big, and the results will be big. -Anonymous
©2003 When Big Boys Tri