Transition Tips- Stefan Timms

Transition Tricks

By Stefan Timms
1000 competitors.
$600 wet suit.
$30 goggles.
15 kicks to your head.
10 punches to your ribs.
1 personal best swim.
4-minute transition.
Seeing the people 3 minutes behind you leave transition before you do.  Painful.
Transition is one of the most glamorous spots in a triathlon.  It is the place that the fans always watch because it is exciting, fast, and they actually get to see you.  It is with this in mind that you want transition to be graceful and elegant.  No one wants to see someone wildly trying to get out of a wetsuit or searching around frantically for where their bike goes.  Transition should be smooth and quick, a pleasure for the fans to watch.  There are many tips and tricks that people all over the world use, but these are some that have worked for many of my athletes.

Sunglasses on water bottle
Many athletes wear sunglasses while completing the bike and run portion.  This makes sense both from a style and safety perspective.  Hey, you gotta look good!  And the lens provides valuable protection from both the UV rays of the sun and any debris that may launch up from the road.  Most of the people that wear glasses put them on just before they put on their helmet, but if you place an elastic band around your water bottle and place on of the arms of the sunglasses through the hoop.  This will allow you to put your glasses on once you are riding, saving some more time in transition.
Race belt
Using a race belt is a comfortable and practical way of wearing your race number.  In most races you do not need to wear your number until the commencement of the run.  In these cases you can just leave the belt and your race hat on the ground together, and grab them both at the same time as you leave transition and start your run.  After you put on your hat, either slide the fastened belt over your head, or if you want to fasten the belt on the run, do so in front of you and then twist the belt around so that the number is facing forward.

Racking your bike
If at all possible try to rack your bike as close as possible to the bike exit.  You find it much easier to run without your bike than with it in tow.  By being close to the exit, you are able to minimize the distance you are running with a bike in hand. Also, if possible, you should pick a spot on the end of a rack for your transition as that will make it easier to find your bike, and you won’t have to deal with people on both sides of you fighting for space.

Lubrication for your wetsuit
There are many lubricants that you can purchase to help you with removing a wetsuit quickly and easily.  Vaseline is popular, but the petroleum base can sometimes cause early wear in wetsuits.  Pam Non-Stick Spray is an inexpensive and popular choice among the pros, but ChafeEz and Bodyglide are also favorites.  Apply the lubricant to your arms, legs, and neck to help with the slick removal of your wetsuit.

Tucking in the singlet during the swim
If it happens to be non-wetsuit race, then man can tuck their bike/run singlet around their wait, inside their swimsuit.  You will often see the pro men exiting the water at Mach 10, reaching into their swimsuit and pulling their singlet out, sliding their arms through the holes and be finished by the time they reach their bike.  This is something that you should practice during training, but it is a skill that will save you valuable seconds in transition.
Note: You can attach your race number to your singlet so that you don’t have to put on a race belt later.
Transition is about being smooth and relaxed.  To be able to complete efficient transitions you need to practice.  Practice putting on your helmet during commercial breaks.  Every time you go for a ride, practice putting your shoes while you are on your bike.  As you become more comfortable with the procedures of transition, you will begin to put time between you and your competitors.  There is no single thing that will make you 30 seconds faster in transition, but when you do all the little things well, they add up, and make you fast!
Triathlon’s unwritten law is that no matter how fast you go – look good doing it!  Hey, it can be all pain out there on the bike, but when you come in, it’s show time!  Big smile, smooth transition, and a little wave for those adoring fans as you head back out – they always appreciate being noticed!
1000 competitors.
$600 wet suit.
$30 goggles.
15 kicks to your head.
10 punches to your ribs.
1 personal best swim.
4-minute transition.
Seeing the people 3 minutes ahead of you leave transition after you do.  Priceless.



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