Transitions are important for ALL triathletes. Whether you are a beginner or an elite, just there to compete or to win, a good transition will help your race run smoothly.
Good Transition Setup:
Check out this photo for a good transition area setup (the key: organization!) and below for more details on transitions.
Note: You can rack your bike by the rear of the saddle or the front. This bike is racked by the rear, but if you rack it at the front, ensure that you can slide your bike under the rack without it getting stuck! And keep your gear bag along the fence of the transition area (or in the appropriate area) and not crowding someone else's bike.
Transition One: Swim to Bike
1. Prior to the race start, walk through the transition area from the swim exit to your bike and then from your bike to the bike exit. Note whether there is a grade at the bike mount line so you know whether your bike should be racked in the big or small ring. Put Vaseline on your ankles and arms to make it easier to get your wetsuit on and off. If you plan to use sunscreen, apply it before the race start (so you don't need to do so in your first transition).
2. When you are about 200m away from the swim finish, start to pick up your kick to increase the blood flow to your legs. This will warm them up for the run or walk to your bike and the following early part of the ride. This is also a time to start visualizing your first transition.
2. Once the water gets shallow enough that you can actually touch it while you are swimming, start doing dolphin dives (jumping up off the bottom of the lake and diving forward), and once the water is about knee deep you can start running towards the exit.
3. Exit the water and lift your goggles up (but leave them on your head ). Unzip your wetsuit (or use a wetsuit stripper if it's going to be a long run to your bike). Take off the upper half of your wetsuit while you make your way to your bike. Once your wetsuit is half off, you can take off your cap and goggles and run/walk with them in your hand towards your bike.
4. When you get to the bike, put down your cap and goggles, take off your wetsuit (stepping out of it if you need to), then put on sunglasses and helmet, then bike shoes (if they aren't clipped into your pedals). Then take your bike by the stem or saddle and walk or run with it towards the mount line. Once PAST the mount line, you can get on your bike. Take your time clipping in, don’t rush! You should be in an easy enough gear so that you aren't grinding right from the start. If it's a muddy transition area, you may want to carry your shoes to the mount line and put them on there.
Transition Two: Bike to Run
1. Race morning, walk from the bike finish or dismount line towards your spot in transition, then from your bike to the run exit. Take note of surrounding landmarks near your spot (or mark it with a bright towel) as running shoes are a bit harder to spot than your bike (as in the first transition). You might want to put baby powder or vaseline in your socks or running shoes to prevent blistering.
2. Unclip (or slip your feet out of your shoes) and slow down a couple hundred meters before the dismount line. Be sure to dismount BEFORE the line.
2. After dismounting, run/walk your bike towards your spot in transition (where your run shoes are). You can rack your bike by the handlebars or the saddle, whatever is easier. Then take off your helmet and bike shoes. Slip on your socks and running shoes (use speed laces for quicker T2, speed laces are elastic laces that expand and retract so you can easily slip your foot into your shoes during your second transition - and don't have to waste any time tying them up!). Apply sunscreen if necessary. Grab your race belt, hat and water bottle/gel flask and head for the run exit. Clip on your race belt while heading to the transition exit and then head out on the run!