Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Transition Zone Set-up

T-Zone at Chicago ITU Age Group Races

Transitions can be a daunting part of triathlon.  In a sprint especially, the T-Zone is usually a blur of adrenaline, gear flying everywhere, and water dripping all over the place. Having everything you need, in an order that works for you, can help to calm things down and to make sure you don't forget something... like your race bib!  Here is what works for me:

  • Finding a spot in the T-Zone (if they don't have assigned spots) that has a unique marker.  In Magog, I chose row "H" for Hunter and I picked a spot next to the "H" marker.
  • Using a colorful towel to mark my spot and to keep everything organized. My towel has the Little Mermaid on it.
  • Bike shoes open (if you do a flying mount, then obviously this doesn't apply) and ready to slip on my feet. I put baby powder inside too to help dry my feet. These go in the front.
  • Helmet flipped upside down, with straps out, ready to put on.
  • Sunglasses open and ready to put on, inside my helmet.
  • Race bib attached to my race belt.  Unhooked and ready to put on.  Visible so it is the first thing I see, so I don't forget it.
  • Running shoes with bungee laces, already tightened. Baby powder inside and body glide along the spots that usually result in blisters (like the heel).
  • Multisport watch turned on and reset.
  • Running hat next to my running shoes.
  • One water bottle of cold water, one water bottle of Gatorade, and one that is a mixture (on my bike). Remember, I do sprints so don't have to worry about nutrition.
  • Bike in appropriate gears (check out the bike out and make sure it isn't uphill for example) and tires pumped.
  • Bike computer reset and ready to hit start (if you use one).

My other tips for smooth transitions:
  • Watch YouTube videos of transitions and T-Zone setup.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  Run through the steps that you would go through in an actual race.
  • If possible, find a triathlon clinic in your area to attend.  I went to one at the very beginning of my triathlon career and it made a huge difference.
  • Know the rules!  For example, you must have your helmet on and clasped before you are allowed to touch your bike.
  • Slow down a bit if you need to and always grab a sip of water in T-Zone - it takes seconds, but it will benefit you hugely on hot days!
  • Figure out what works for you :)

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