Transition Area Etiquette

author : Team BT
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Triathlon transition areas are a place to be careful and follow the rules, both written and unwritten.

Face it, almost everyone in the transition area before a race is nervous. Even veteran triathletes often like to do things in a certain order, and lay out their gear in a certain way. If you want to avoid conflict and have a good race day, follow these quick tips:

  1. Don't touch anyone else's stuff. Even if you can't fit your bike on the rack, and it's a numbered rack and you have to put your bike there, make sure to ask A LOT to find the person whose stuff needs moved over. If you ask everyone around in a loud voice, and you have no other choice, try to shift the other person's gear as little as possible, and make sure nothing falls or spills. It's very easy to accidentally knock someone's helmet off their aerobars, or their sunglasses from their perch. Keep a close eye on what you are doing and if you mess up something, put it back. Then wait around and try to find the owner to let them know, so they can make additional adjustments. Triathletes are nice and friendly, but the limitations of friendliness can be reached in a hurry when you can't find your sunglasses in T1.

  2. Take up as little space as possible. Each racer has less space than they would like. There's no need to tick off others by taking up more than your fair share.

  3. Integrate your brightly colored homing signal into your gear. Rather than tying balloons that might get in the way of other racers, try using a garishly colored towel under your shoes, or a unique, bright water bottle to make it easy to find your spot when running through transition.

  4. Make use of the fence. Post-swim wetsuits are heavy and big. They are the largest thing you take off during the race. If there is a fence around transition, consider hanging your wetsuit over the fence instead of throwing it on the ground and risking having it kicked around or covering someone else's gear.

  5. Before the race, take your extra stuff back to your vehicle. You may the following items on your list of things to have in transition: Extra water, sunscreen, bike pump, gym bag, etc. Most of these items will not be used once the race start. So pump up your tires, slather yourself in sunscreen, and fill your bottles. Then put unneeded items in your bag and put it back in your car, or at least set it outside the fenced transition area so it's not in the way.

  6. Pay attention to race officials' rules about bike racks. In some races, it will be clear. In others, you need to be paying attention or ask around: in many races, officials like to see the bikes racked alternately in opposing directions. So if the bike next to yours has handlebars facing out, yours need to face it. In theory, this creates more space for gear.

  7. Be kind and remember each racer is different. Some people may be very nervous. Some may have very expensive items they feel protective of. Some people are shorter and have bikes where the front wheel doesn't touch the ground when hung from the saddle. That means their bike is more unstable and prone to move around and bump things more easily. Keep in mind that everyone wants to have a good race and not miss their goal because of slipping on a T-shirt in transition, or losing their sunglasses.


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date: May 31, 2017

Team BT