09 June 2010

Marking Your Transition Location

How should you "mark" your transition area? Most triathlons have one transition area where you have all your stuff for the bike and run. In a point-to-point race you'll have a bike transition in one place and a run transition in another. Some people have difficulty remembering where their stuff is, especially in the heat of race. Having 2 transition areas makes it even more difficult to remember. There are a number of strategies for remembering and finding your things. In general, you can use landmarks and fixed positions in the area and you can make personal marks of various kinds to help you out.
Personal Marks that you bring with you such as sidewalk chalk, ribbons, and your


Fixed "Markings":
  1. Landmarks: Use trees, posts, portapotties, tents, and other geographical features that are in a fixed location for the entire race. Positives:  they don't move and won't be taken down or rearranged by  officials or other athletes. Negatives: good visual landmarks might not be readily available near your transition rack.
  2. Signage: Numbered racks, age groupings, wave numbers, posted signs. Positives: they're relatively fixed, so they tend to be pretty reliable. Negs: there may be the same signs in more than one place, such as when an age group or wave has multiple racks.
Personal Markings:
  1. Sidewalk Chalk. Pos: easily recognizable, can't be moved or cut off. Negs: does not work on all surfaces (e.g. dirt, grass, gravel).
  2. Baby powder for dirt or grass areas.
  3. Ribbons, Leis, Bike Tape, etc. Pos: easy to spot because it's on a visible place on the rack. Negs: can be confused with other ribbons if the color is too "common" (e.g. red).
  4. Colorful handlebar tape attached to your helmet might catch your eye.
  5. Your gear (brightly colored towels, transistion pack). Pos: you're used to seeing it, you bring it with you. and you have to use it anyway. Negs: can be moved about by others (infrequently). If your stuff doesn't stand out, it won't be much help.
  6. Balloons. Pos: very noticable. Negs: a nuisance to other athletes, physically hazardous if there's a breeze, could be cut by an official or another athlete, and is a USAT rule violation.
There are a number of strategies you can use to make locating your transition spot successful.
  1. Walk the route you will take from the "swim in" to your transition. Do this a number of times, making note of potential landmarks and signage you can use. If there are a number of racks in your wave/age group, note which rack is yours within your group.
  2. If you are concerned about remembering your location, use a Sharpie marker to write it on your forearm. For example 5W/2nd/Left might mean your rack is part of wave #5 and is the 2nd 1 on the left. Or count all racks from the "swim in" and write 21 L for 21st rack on the left, for example. If this is a point-to-point triathlon and there are 2 transitions, write T1 and your rack location and T2 and your rack location.
  3. If possible, choose your spot in the rack near the very end. You'll be able to spot your gear more easily and it is less likely to be moved by other athletes as they try to jam their stuff into a space in the rack.
  4. Arrive early so you have your choice of spots, and landmarks.
  5. Walk the route you will take from your spot to the "bike out" so you know where to get out of transition.
  6. Walk the route you will take from the "bike in" to you transition spot so you'll know where to rack your bike.
  7. Walk the route you'll take from your spot to the "run out".
  8. Do NOT remember your spot based on where the bright red cervelo is racked. I may not be there when you get to your rack!
Other transition tips:
  1. Depending on the course, bring a pair of old socks to wear between the T1 and the swim start. It may be cold in the morning or the surface you have to walk on may be uncomfortable.
  2. Leave your bike set up in a small gear so that you can jump on and begin pedaling right away. If it's in a high gear and there's a hill coming out of transition, you may end up walking/running it. Not a good way to start.
  3. Consider covering your items with plastic if it's the type of race where you set your stuff out the afternoon or night before. If it's damp or rainy overnight, you'll be a happy camper with dry shoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment