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In transition May 18, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling, Running.
Tags: , ,

Saturday’s forecast was cloudy and rainy, but my disposition was sunny, even at 6:15 in the morning when my carpool buddy picked me up.  After all, it was transition clinic day!

I don’t know why I was so excited about the transition clinic, but I was.  There was something about learning how to get from swim to bike to run that really made this whole triathlon journey seem REAL.  And, it was only natural that after spending oodles of training time on the actual sports, we would need to know how NOT to ambush our finishing times by botching or stressing out over transitions.

We met in an office parking lot and hung our bikes on makeshift racks like so:

Bike on rack









Yes, that is my beast of a bike.  I’m surprised the whole rack didn’t tumble down under its weight.

Then, we listened to our coaches talk for a bit about how to set up our transition mats (or towels, in my case).  Basically, they advised us to think ahead of time about the order in which we need things, and then to organize the items accordingly.  The reason?  Your brain turns to oatmeal on race day, and you want to use it as little as possible.  Here’s my setup:

Transition towel









The socks are folded halfway, since that makes them easier to put on wet feet.  The sunglasses (which I didn’t end up needing, as it was really overcast) are in the helmet so they go on my head first and wind up under the straps.  The bike shoes are unstrapped, the running shoes are untied, and the race belt and Garmin are unbuckled.  I put a protein bar and a Gatorade out there just in case, not sure if I would need either.

We started, barefoot (as if we were coming out of the water), about 10-20 yards from the transition area.  When the coaches said go, we ran to the racks, put on all of our cycling gear, and walked/ran our bikes over to the mount line (if you get on your bike before the mount line, or if you cross the mount line without your helmet properly fastened, there are penalties and disqualifications).  Then it was off to the races!  We did three loops around the office park (about 1.3 miles per loop), which was pretty easy compared to the long and hilly courses we’ve been riding most weekends.  Well, let me rephrase–it was easy AT THE TIME.

After we finished the bike loops, we came back into the parking lot and had to dismount before entering the transition area.  Then we had to re-rack our bikes, take off the cycling gear, put on the running gear, and then head out for the on-foot part of the brick (one loop around the complex).  My legs felt the usual amount of pain from going directly from bike to run, but as I sprinted to the mock finish line, I was really feeling good about things.

That is, until the coach looked at me and said, “What are you waiting for?  Do it again!”

All total, I did THREE rounds of bike/run loops (with transitions, of course).  The first one was pretty easy, the second one was MISERABLE, and the third one probably would have beaten me into submission had it not been for a teammate pushing me to finish with gusto.  Total mileage was 15.6 (11.7 on the bike and 3.9 on the run), which is less than most of our Saturday training sessions, but the back-and-forth motions really put a hurtin’ on my body.

The pain was worth it, though, because now I feel even more prepared for race day (the first of which, in case you were curious, is a mere 42 days away).  Woo hoo!



1. Kristin - May 19, 2009

Wow, sounds like you got some great transition practice! Have you considered getting Yankz (or similar)? It really helps to not have to tie your shoes.

2. bettyjoan - May 19, 2009

I’ve tried Yankz, but I dunno, I just didn’t like them. They made my shoes feel really tight in certain areas, and it was quite distracting. It is possible that I had them on incorrectly, but I think for now I’ll stick with regular old laces.

3. Kristin - May 20, 2009

Sounds like a plan! No need to force something that doesn’t work for you.

4. mellowblonde - May 29, 2009

I keep an extra water bottle at my towel. Sometimes, I get sand/mud/dirt on my feet during my run from the water to the bike. I use the water bottle to spray my feet. I’m not sure if it hurts my time, but it helps to not have sand in my socks for the next two portions of the race!

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