Let's talk about racing transitions... Each transition is unique to each individual. For some, the use of platform pedals with running shoes feels safer and towel to dry off before riding off on the bike course is a must. Other athletes are using a "clipless" pedal system and prefer to not dry off, and just ride off wet. Some may have special needs such as orthotics, prescription glasses etc. or adhere to a strict philosophy: "I absolutely must have this on before I leave the transition area". The one overriding dilemma of everyone's transition boils down to one simple dilemma: Comfort vs. Speed

Here are the basics for most any triathlete:

The Set Up:
• Arrive early!
• Rack bike - Most racks will accommodate a "Seat" racked position
• Layout of your transition area first - stuff on the same side as your front wheel
• Items need to all within easy reach - ready to be "don" without adjustment
• Bike in proper gear
• Secure shoes on bike or not?
• Mental and physical preparations-know your way in and out - walk the route!

Have Wet suit off your arms and down to your waist before you get to your bike
• "Fold not roll" wetsuit - Three steps: down to waist, below knees then step off of ankles
• Take two seconds to put wet suit out of the way (up on rack?)
• Put your helmet on and SNAP THE CHIP STRAP!
• Put shoes on
• Use seat carry method to walk or run your bike to the Mount Line

Advanced Time Savers:
Shoes preset on pedals, then feet in shoes while on the bike
• NO socks on bike (no cleaning necessary & stiff shoes less likely to rub a blister)
• Do you really need: Wading pool to dip feet in, towel to dry off, gloves, bike shorts, dry shirt, etc.
• Master the rolling or "flying" mount!

Know where the dismount line is
• Know how to get from the bike entrance to your rack
• Hang bike by break levers
• Remove helmet
• Put shoes on
• Know where the run exit is
• Run out in a controlled manner

Big Time Savers:
Remove your feet while still on the bike and dismount bare footed
• Master the rolling dismount!

Overriding "Rules"
• Nothing new on Race Day: its not a time for experimentation; use what your know worked in training.
• Practice: Don't expect to blaze through a transition if you haven't run through it a few times
• Answers from an official: Ask a qualified official about entrances, exits and transition rules
• Check the Margins: There are often more advantageous locations if racks are not assigned.

On Sunday, June 21st LA Tri Club with Jamie Silber and the TriAthletix coaches will be hosting a Transition Clinic to go over the basics as well as some tips-and-tricks for those who want to further hone your speed in transition. For more info, visit the LATC RSVP/Polls (members only) or TriAthletix.com (non-members).

Good luck in all your 2009 races!