The transition is sometimes called the fourth sport in triathlon. Since the clock doesn't stop when we switch from swim to bike or bike to run, we need to make these stops as smooth and efficient as possible. There are many ways to do this, and everyone will have their own individual style, but I will walk you through some basics that will help shave some time off your transition. Wouldn't it be nice to shave two minutes off your race time without expending any additional energy?
Here are some tips for T1
1) Know which side you will be entering from the swim and place your stuff there so you don't have to run around your bike.
2) Have your wetsuit half-way off while you run from the swim.
3) Have your bike gear in front, as you will access this first.
4) If possible hang your bike from the seat pointing out so you won't have to wheel it around. Some like to hang their bike by the brakes, but that means backing the bike out. Some taller bikes won't fit underneath the pole but can hang by the back of the seat. Learn what works best for your bike.
5) Have your sunglasses open and ready to put on
6) Open the straps on your helmet so you can just set it on your head and buckle the chin straps.
7) Roll your socks - if you choose to wear socks on the bike, have them half-way rolled so they slide on easier.
8) Clip your shoes into your pedals. This is a skill that takes some practice, but if I can put my feet into my shoes while I ride, at least I'm moving on the course. And it is often easier to run barefoot than in cleats.
Practice your transition as often as possible. Just like any other sport, it gets easier with more practice and we improve our efficiency and proficiency. You will also learn what works best for you.
Be sure to come back next week when we go over ways to save time in T2.
Coach Nicole is the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. If you have any questions or comments regarding these tips, please visit my website at http://neoendurancesports.com.