General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Real first race advice and info? Rss Feed  
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2013-09-16 12:43 PM

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Subject: Real first race advice and info?
Hi all I'm new to the forum and to the sport. I have my first sprint coming up and I'm excited and also nervous. I've read a lot of "Your first tri" tips but I can't seem to find anything on the LOGISTICS of managing my first tri. I have no idea how to manage my bike, how my gear will be stowed (I have a bag but where will it be when I need it and how will I get it there?), the flow of the pre-race morning, or really anything. The actual race isn't bugging me nearly as much as having no idea what to expect on race morning. None of the "top 10" lists of "things I wish I knew" contained any of that info. It was more about how to eat, etc.

If anyone can't point me to a good breakdown or tell me how it is all managed it would help me remove this from my plate and I can start worrying about other things!


2013-09-16 1:05 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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Central Coast, CA
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?

Here is an article I found with a quick search for "setting up triathlon transition" :

There are also a bunch of videos on YouTube.

On race day, get there *early* so you have time to:

1) Park and walk/bike to the transition / race start.

2) Check in

3) Set up your transition area

4) Relax and get ready for your first triathlon!

2013-09-16 1:13 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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Morgan Hill, California
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
I'll second the get there early recommendation. Look around, see what others are doing, but also be aware that some will be doing it in a way you don't necessarily want to replicate. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. Most people will be happy to help. Take some time before race day to lay out how you'd set up transition. Just think about what you'd need to go for a ride, then what you 'd need to go for a run. After that , you might have questions, or some things will be more apparent to you.

Good luck and have fun. Don't worry about making a "mistake," everyone does, and these races are for fun. First races should be about finding out what you don't yet know. Enjoy.
2013-09-16 1:14 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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New user
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
I remember feeling the same way a couple years ago! I'll give you a quick run through of how yesterday's pre-race went for me (while it's still fresh in my head.) It was a very typical sprint triathlon so this would apply to most races.

After parking (about an hour and 15 minutes before the start) I slung my tri backpack on my shoulders and pushed my bike over towards the registration area.
I then picked up my timing chip from the tent. The body markers wrote my numbers on my calves and arm.
I wheeled my bike into transition area. These racks were numbered, so it was easy. Sometimes they are not numbered, and you look for an empty spot. Bikes are always racked in opposite directions. For example, one is racked facing north, the next faces south, the next faces north, etc. This allows ample room for your "transition area-" (your towel, bike shoes, running shoes, etc.)
I set up my transition area next to my bike with the above items, plus a visor. I laid my helmet and sunglasses on my handlebars.
My backpack (which contained extra items such as a poncho, change of clothes, and extra drink) was placed on the far side of transition. Just look for all the duffel bags along the edge!
I then grabbed my goggles and cap and headed to the swim start.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, athletes are almost always happy to help newbies :-) Good luck!
2013-09-16 1:24 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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Jupiter, FL
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
I'll tell you what my routine is and maybe it will help answer your questions. I usually eat about 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal and a banana when I wake up, as well as a cup of coffee. I like to get to the race at least 1 hour before transition closes so I can get body marked and set up my stuff without being too rushed. Once I get body marked, I proceed to rack my bike and set up my area. In my transition area I only have stuff I will need during the race. I keep my bike shoes clipped in, so I have a towel (approx 2'x2') set down with my running shoes in front and my hat and race belt (with race number) behind my shoes. I place my bike helmet on top of my running shoes, with my glasses opened and inside my helmet. I also have a squeeze bottle with water to rinse my feet if necessary after coming off the beach I transport my gear in a backpack and once I'm set up my backpack goes to the end of the rack out of the way. You should not need it again until after the race. I usually have time afterward for the obligatory socializing, after which I head over to the beach to get in a warmup swim. I like to go into the water at the swim out, as well as the swim in so that I can see what kind of bottom it is, ie; where the dropoff is. After that, just gather at the race start and wait. Hope this answers some of your questions.
2013-09-16 1:35 PM
in reply to: MOlsen

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Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
The time before a race always seems to go super duper fast. Try to get to the race site early.

Drive to race in my tri-top/bottoms

Depending on how far the parking is from the race site, and what exatly the race site is (is it a field next to water or a resort), Think about using a porto-potty at the parking if there is one. The line at the transition area will likely be a mile long.

Grab gear from the car and goto check in - get race package that include your race numbers and timing chip and get marked

put bike number on bike and put water bottle on bike

rack bike - can be on the ground to put your wheel in, or something that looks like a garment rack that you use your saddle to 'hang' your bike.

lay out your transition - bring an extra water bottle and wash cloth incase you have a bunch of gunk on your feet and need to rinse/wipe off before putting socks on. I also put my socks in a ziploc to keep them dry and then put washcloth ontop of running shoes to keep them dry

put small number on helmet, and pin race number to my running belt.

put on wetsuit & cap

recheck transition

head to race directors meeting/start

2013-09-16 1:43 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
Is a "real" race somehow different than a "fake" one?

Is there a chance to go see a race before yours? If so, that may answer a lot of your questions. If not.

In transition, you'll need the things for riding and the things for running. For riding, that includes a bicycle, helmet, sunglasses, and possibly bike shoes. Do you have a road bike or a mountain bike? Do you have a water bottle holder on your bike? Do you have a seat bag or some other way to hold a small pump, patch kit, spare tube, tools, etc.? For running, you'll want running shoes and maybe socks. That is really the only stuff you need in transition! Think of your transition area as a space as long as your bike and as wide as your handlebars!

Most races provide racks for the bicycles (since road bikes rarely have kickstands). Depending on the race, the racks may be first-come first-served, or they may have assigned spaces. Either way, you won't have very much extra room, so you really don't want a lot of extra "stuff" in the area!

Now in addition to the stuff you *need* for the ride/run, there is a lot more gear that you might take with you to the race "just in case" or to make the day nicer. A floor pump to air up your tires, extra tubes, tires, bike tools, shoelaces, sunscreen, and extra goggles. I'd also take a complete change of clothes, towel, soap, etc. (Maybe a gallon jug of water to help clean up?) All of this stuff, you'll want to leave in your car rather than drag it into the transition area.

Also keep in mind that the more "stuff" you have in transition, the more likely something gets moved (usually, but not always accidentally). Your fellow competitors are focused on their own race, and may not realize your sunglasses fell off your handlebars when they pulled their bike off the rack or that they snagged your towel and scattered your running shoes (or that they dropped their helmet on top of your shoes).
2013-09-16 2:22 PM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
Wow, thanks for all of the great info everyone! That's exactly what I needed.

Although I'm sure it seems pretty self explanatory I still had visions of a mass of humanity packed together like sardines, all moving in lockstep and here's poor ol uninformed me wearing my bike helmet under my swim cap LOL.

Thanks again! I'm sure I'll be posting after

No chance to see one. Mine is Sunday.
2013-09-16 2:29 PM
in reply to: AZ_Tri

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Jupiter, FL
Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
Originally posted by AZ_Tri

  • .. me wearing my bike helmet under my swim cap LOL.

  • No chance to see one. Mine is Sunday.

    Don't forget to take off the helmet after you rack your bike...seen a woman running with hers still on a couple of races ago!
    2013-09-16 2:56 PM
    in reply to: pholahan

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    Subject: RE: Real first race advice and info?
    That would be classic! I'll be bringing a hat so hopefully I'm with it enough to remove the helmet before putting my hat on.

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