Blue triathlon bike with Triathlon Transition equipment placed on a blanket under the bike

Conquer Triathlon Transition Fear (Part 2): Know how to set up your race area

Welcome back to this 3-part series designed to help you conquer your triathlon transition. If you’re like me, pictures speak 1000 words. You can tell me all day long how to set-up my race transition, but seeing is understanding.

So, today’s post will be just that- mostly pictures,with a few tips.

Getting Started

The first thing to do is:

  • Print off the Triathlon Transition Checklist, so you can follow along
  • If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series yet, consider reading that first
  • Pull all the items on the checklist, if you have yet, before trying to set up your transition

With that, as promised, we are simply diving into triathlon transition set up pictures.

At Home

Once you sort your overflowing piles on your couch into race leg piles, your equipment may look a bit like the following:

Swim Equipment

Bike Equipment

Nutrition and Fluid/Electrolyte Supplies

Run Equipment

Pre and post race clothes

The Triathlon Transition Set-up at the Race

To set up your race area: when you get into transition, rack your bike, place your towel under the bike, and set up your equipment. Keep in mind, as other athletes grab their bikes off the racks, they won’t exactly be careful to not topple the careful piles on your side. Things may get stepped on, knocked over, broken, or lost. For this reason, some use a transition bag, stuffed with all their equipment.

I still use a towel. I don’t like digging through the bag. I protect delicate items- like my helmet that I don’t want cracked- by placing them in a safe place. My helmet (as seen below) will be hung on the aerobars. I place my sunglasses inside the helmet, covered by my gloves. My race belt (with attached number) is tucked inside my run shoes. I huddle most of the gear close to my bike– the least likely place someone else will be stepping.

Note- the shoes have socks in them, already rolled down, making it easy for me to shove my feet inside them when a bit sweaty. (I don’t run with socks, but this was a great tip given out at a tri camp).

Since my actual race pictures are temporarily missing, I racked my bike in the garage just to demo my set-up. The pictures should work just as well.

Full bike set-up before the swim:

Note: Helmet hanging with sunglasses, all bottles loaded with nutrition/fluids/electrolytes, my wetsuit ready to put on, Body Glide just below, with the race swim cap and 2 sets of goggles (pre-sprayed with Spit brand anti-fog). There is a pair of arm warmers tossed in for good measure, in case the morning is chilly. If I decide to use them, I would put them on before the swim, under the wetsuit. All extra tubes and CO2 cartridges are tucked into the underseat bag. My flat repair kit is in the small bag near my aerobars, as are my electrolyte tablets and my Chapstick.

You will note a roll of electrical tape in the bottle holder behind the seat. Always nice to have if things fall apart or break. In my case, those old cycling shoes are threadbare and the tape is often needed.

Triathlon transition set-up with a blue Fuji triathlon bike, and various equipment for the swim, bike, and run legs of a race laid carefully on a towel under the bike, the wetsuit hanging over the bike, and the helmet hanging from the aerobars.

Helmet Close-up: sunglasses, sweatband (my practice), and cycling gloves tucked in. Hanging the helmet keeps it from getting crushed by other athletes as they frantically unrack their bikes.

Close up: note the socks rolled down and in the sneakers, ready to go. Tri race number belt rolled up with race number and tucked into the run shoes. Nutrition pouch loaded to shove into cycling jersey pocket before bike leg.

You’re ready to race!!

Check in next week for Part 3- where we discuss how to practice transition so you won’t be stressed race morning.

If you are looking for a great resource for triathletes (newbies and elites, alike), check out Purple Patch Fitness, with triathlete Pro Matt DIxon for some honest tips and realistic training plans for the full-time working, over scheduled athlete.

Feel free to post questions of comments- let me know if this helped. Do you have a few favorite race transition pictures to share?

Happy Racing!

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