The transition from bike to run is probably the simplest of the two but it is still very rare to see triathletes performing it as efficiently as they might and most novice and age-group athletes could shave many seconds off their finish time by following the guidelines below. These are by no means exhaustive and most experienced multisport athletes will have a trick or two to add!
Of course practice makes perfect and you should rehearse the bike to run transition frequently as part of your training and race preparation , but let’s start by looking at what you should do on race day itself .
1. Ride it if you can (but more likely you will just be able to jog ) the last 400m of the bike course.
2. Make sure you know exactly where the dismount line is but also, just as importantly, pick the point at which you will start taking your feet out of your bike shoes. The distance you need decreases with experience but 200m should be plenty.
3. Ascertain the fastest routes to your racking point and from there to the run exit from transition. Jog through it at least twice.
SETTING UP IN TRANSITION
1. Place your trainers in a position where they will not be moved or knocked by other competitors or yourself during T1 or T2
2. Make sure the elastic laces are not too tight for an easy foot entry and not so loose as to affect your running .
3. Pull the tongue up. Put talcum powder in the shoes and Vaseline on the inside of the heels to facilitate quick foot entry,
4. Position the trainers heel towards you and slightly apart so you don’t knock the other as you put the first one on.
5. Decide exactly how you are going to rack your bike and practise it. What is quicker ? Saddle first or sing the bars? Make sure you know of any specific race rules about this . Racking wrongly can result in a penalty.
6. Carefully position any other items you may want…gels, cap etc. and sunglasses if you are that way inclined!
THE TRANSITION ITSELF
Thinking about the transition starts in the last kilometre of the bike section when you should change gear to activate your muscles slightly differently and you may wish to give your calves and thighs a rub , particularly if the cycling has been very strenuous and the course has been hilly.
Look out for your pre-determined marker then take a quick glance left and right to be aware of other riders. Undo the Velcro on your weaker-side foot (if you have one). If you have the skill and flexibility hold the toe of the shoe and place your foot on top of the shoe. If that is hard for you let the shoe flip back to the horizontal, then put your foot on top.
Repeat the process for your other foot. Brake smoothly but as late as possible . From this point on keep your eyes looking forward towards the dismount line at all times. Carefully swing your leg over the saddle and when you are about 7 or 8 metres away bring the leg you have swung over through on the inside , between the other leg and the bike. Just BEFORE the line land on the foot you have brought through and go straight into a running motion.
MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT BRAKE ONCE YOU ARE OFF THE BIKE!
Depending on your preference and the surface and the number of other athletes or hazards around, hold your bike by the saddle or stem and run as upright and smoothly as you can on the fastest route to your racking point. In your head picture yourself racking the bike. Try to slow your thoughts down !
Rack the bike, put your feet into the trainers and unbuckle your helmet as you start to run off, making sure you leave it in the allocated area and have picked up everything you need.
As you steam out of the Transition Area by the fastest route, turn and smile at the riders who were ahead of you and are still clunking along in their bike shoes or wrestling with their laces. Now run!