Friday, April 26, 2013

Triathlon : 10 Transition Tips

Transition is the stickiest point in any triathlon race. Newbies usually congregate at this area to get some "mojo" and to mingle around before and after race. Some use Transition during race as a place to rest. However, many forgot that the time in Transition is accounted for in the total race time. Over the years, I've taken transition a tad too easy, choosing to "take my time" instead of a "quick in-quick out" approach.

Many of us practices the swim, the bike and the run for hours and for many thousand kilometers - but i would say not many actually thought about the transition process. Myself personally, I've spent anything between 4-minutes to 40minutes (perhaps more during one of my Ironman race) and it severely added to the overall time. Not that the time matters as I am not a podium finisher anyway...however, as a "benchmark" of self improvement, I've taken it upon myself to at least try to be "fast" in transition.

Here is How
1. Have a plan. Yes. As basic as that. Take all your gears out and lay it on the ground. See what you need after the swim (for biking) and what you need later (for running). Organise. Know what you need and arrange them.

2. KISS. Keep It Simple, Silly. Many triathletes are so bogged down with high-tech gears and race items that they tend to overload the whole transition basket with everything short of their home kitchen sink. For bike, you need your helmet, sunglasses, shoes, race number and gloves. You do not need your camera (roll eyes, guilty as charged) or your MP3 player (dangerous for biking league as you will not hear oncoming bikers or traffic). KISS.

3. Shoe On Pedal. Takes a lot of practice and precisely why many did not practice and fumble...and have a (dis)graceful fall trying to mount and fall off the bike. Shoe on pedal requires a lot of practice and knowledge of positioning the shoe, mounting and dismounting. I will write a full article on this. Do remind me. However, for Xterra, I will not be wearing any clipless and hence, will not require this step. I will run in the same shoe as my biking - time saving.

4. Attached Items On Your Bike. All lose items such as spare tubes, pumps, skewers, nutrition etc should be attached to the bike. In transition, you will NOT have the time or you WILL miss something out and may jeopardise your whole race. I am leaving my fuel in a bag on the top tube. My pumps is attached next to my bottle cage and my spare tubes and skewer (to remove tire) is in the pouch under my seat.

5. Run With Your Bike. If you are unlucky, the distance between you and the area out of transition will be far. Save time by running with your bike. Always run on the left hand side of the bike, away where the chain is. Hold the saddle with your right hand or hold the handlebar stem to control the bike. Practice. Practice. Practice. It is not a nice sight if you trip over your own bike and break your jaw.

6. One Outfit For Race. Unless you are racing in cold condition and wet suit is needed, wear the same outfit for your swim, bike and run. If the race is long like Ironman distance, you have the luxury of changing if you want to (as there will be a tent for transition, saving everyone sights of you going naked, if wanted). By wearing one outfit, you sort out all issues of taking out and wearing things back - and by the way, once your body is damp or wet, the tight spandex is a pain to put on.

7. Remember Your Bike Location. Race morning, it is important to know where your bike is. Count isle and have a visual picture in your head where you should be heading after your swim and after your bike. Don't put your bike on another person's rack and never ever remove anything that is not yours. I am yet to see anyone coming with a balloon to mark their transition for better visual guidance.

8. Speed Lacing and Baby Powder. Can't afford a speed lace? Make one. Also, baby powder is the most underrated items. If you place them in your shoe, it will be easy-in even without socks...and the powder will absorb sweat! For Xterra, not an issue for me.

9. Grab and Go. When transitioning from T2, learn to just grab whatever your need after you placed your bike and go. Wear the cap and race number as you run out of transition. Learn to refuel while on the run. You save time that way. For Xterra, I will be wearing the same shoe for bike and, I've eliminated the need to sit down and change my shoe.

That is all the tips I can share for transition in triathlon. Yes, I promised you 10. But 9 would be awesome anyway - and 10 always sound better than "9 Transition Tips".

Good Luck!


  1. Hi Stupe..thanx for the tips ,man..Macho sounds like ready to beat himself,eh?..;P

    1. Stay calm and enjoy the race. YOu will do better that way. :D)

  2. Good luck for xterra. It sounds like a super event looking at the trail ride and run!!

    Chee H.

  3. Hide your source, u'll be