Tri Talk Tuesday – Transition

These Tuesdays, they sneak right up on me. Once again I’m linked up with the fabulous You Signed Up For What and The Cupcake Triathlete to get our tri chatter on!


We’ve now moved through the swim, the bike, and the run. Time to talk about that fourth, elusive, and sometimes scary yet overlooked discipline of triathlon- TRANSITION

This is the part of the race where you move from one sport to the next, because, let’s face it, you’ve thought about the fact that you’re going to be wet from swimming as you attempt to prep yourself to bike, right? So, here’s a little help to guide you through what is a sometimes confusing part of triathlon.

1. Plan Ahead and Be Prepared
Pack you bag. Then unpack it, go through it, and pack it again. Triathlon has a lot of stuff involved, especially as you get more hooked into the sport. Make sure you have everything you need for your race and then some. Here’s an excellent checklist you can use to help you know exactly what you should pack. 

Look at all that stuff! Don’t forget your helmet. But then don’t forget to take it off before you head out for your run (oops).



2. Location
Where your bike ends up racked in transition is something to consider. Some races, like Iron Girl, have the bike rack rows numbered based on bib numbers and you can rack anywhere on that designated rack. Other races like the Musselman have predeteremined spots for every athlete. If you’re in the first situation, consider yourself lucky. You can pick where ever you’d so fancy to set up shop. I like to be at the end of a rack or next to the crossbars between racks so I have something to look for other than just my bike in the see of other bikes. Some people will also suggest having something like a bright colored towel or even a small balloon attached to the rack to try and find your bike quicker. This year I’ve added a retina searing hot pink bento box to my muted green bike in hopes of having the pop of color to look for. Also, make sure you count the row both from the swim in entrance and the bike in entrance so you know both how to find your bike after the swim and how to find your area sans bike to rerack it after the bike leg. Nothing is worse than being lost in transition unable to find where your stuff is. 

3. And Speaking of Location…
Show up early and get set up. Regardless of whether you rack your bike the night before, have predetermined spots, whatever; give yourself time to set up, walk around and map out your routes in and out of transition so you don’t get lost, and to stake your space claim. You only get a very small strip of space under or next to your own tire to consolidate your things. Your space to set everything up will be about the size of a hand towel. Take up more space and run the risk of pissing off the people around you. And they won’t have any qualms about kicking your stuff if it ends up in their space and slows them down. And if you show up late and have less space than you need or like, most people aren’t going to be very inclined to move over to accommodate you. 

See those big purple flags behind me? Those will tell you where the swim in/out, bike in/out, and run out are. Know where they are so you not only know where your going, but where your bike is racked in conjunction to them. It’s a big help, I promise!

4. Practice Makes Perfect
You really should practice your transitions (says the girl who doesn’t). Practising transition means not forgetting to take your helmet off or remembering to put your race bib on before dashing out of T2. Your time spent in transition is added to your swim, bike, and run splits and counts as part of your overall race time. Knowing what you’re doing in transition means you function smoothly and quickly and cut down that time that counts against you. 

Next week’s theme is what to wear (or not to wear)! So get your tri kit on and get ready for it! Also, if you plan to link up please be sure you’re participating in the theme of the week


What’s you transition tip you’d like to share?
Ever had a hilarious mishap in transition?


Do you talk triathlon on your blog? Link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles on Tuesdays for Tri Talk! We’ll discover a new theme each week and talk about triathlon training, tips, and general chatter. Be sure to link to your specific post and not a general link to your blog so that your post can be found in the linkup archives. Links not triathlon-related will be deleted.


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10 Thoughts on “Tri Talk Tuesday – Transition

  1. Great tips! Don’t worry I never practice my transitions before the race. But then again by now I should have it down. One thing I always do it roll up my towel on the bottom part and use that section to wipe off my feet after the swim.

  2. Oh, transition – will I ever get you below 2 minutes?!! My biggest tip is just to relax! Especially for your first few races – you’re probably not looking at a podium finish so take your time and makes sure that you are prepared. Also, make sure to have an extra small hand towel with you – perfect for wiping rocks/sand off your feet after the swim. Super annoying going through your entire bike with little pebbles rolling around! 🙂

    • I also need to wipe my feet off. I hate sticking dirty wet feet into shoes. And since I’m not winning I’m not really too concerned about the 20 seconds it costs me.

  3. Thanks for these tips! I am totally going to practice this year since I want to get smoother at it.

  4. I’m a big fan of the Iron Girl setup. That was actually my first triathlon up in Syracuse. I Like to set my transition area on the far end, where it’s easier to find, you normally have more room, and no one bothers you.

    • I always set up at the very far end too. I like to be close to the bike out end of their transition. And I agree, more people tend to glom around the swim in/bike in. Nice to have space to spread out a bit.

  5. What is it like getting onto a bike in a wet tri kit and with wet hair? It seems like it could be cold… I am definitely going to practice my transitions!

    • Your hair will only be a bit damp, not totally wet persay. And you’ll stick a helmet on, so you’ll seriously never notice your hair. And in the time it takes you to run from the water and get out of T1 you’ll be half dry already. The wind dries you fast once you get moving on the bike. If it’s chilly you can pull a jacket or arm warmers on. My chilliest tri it was only in the 50’s and overcast and I rode in just a tri kit and was fine.

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