I’m new to this Tri thing so how does it work?
99.9% of triathlons are Swim, Bike & Run.
The swim will be hectic at the start so if you are not a good swimmer, start a bit further to the back of the pack. As there is no black line to follow, you need to look up or sight occasionally to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Every 8-12 strokes is usually sufficient. Sometimes the water will be a bit choppy, making the turning buoys a little hard to see, so try to spot something, such as a land mark in the distance that is in the general direction of where you are heading, to help guide your way.
As you are finishing the swim, make sure you swim until your hands hit the bottom on the sand. This is much easier than trying to stand too early and run in the deep water tiring your legs, raising your heart rate even higher and wasting precious energy.
Running into the transition area (T1), you will be approaching your bike that is usually mounted on a bike rack. A good idea is to remember which row or position your bike is in so you can easily identify your own. Some people write the lane number on top of their hand or have a personal item near their bike to help them remember so they can find it quickly.
Usually you will have your helmet facing upside down, with your sunglasses and race number belt inside, laying on top of your handle bars. Place these items on in an order that is comfortable for you (usually race belt, sunnies, then helmet).
You must have your helmet strapped on before you dismount your bike off the rack. This is a compulsory rule in all triathlon races.
In regards to your bike shoes, some have them already attached to the pedals and some don’t. By having the bike shoes already attached, it is a lot faster to mount your bike and be on your way to the bike leg. Running in your bike shoes can be dangerous at times especially if you’re running on wet concrete. Do whatever works and feels comfortable for you, just make sure you practice whatever technique you choose before your race.
Remember you can’t ride in the transition area, as you will be disqualified so always push your bike until you reach the mounting line. The position of this will be just after exiting the bike compound and will have been explained in the pre race briefing.
As you leave the transition area you are now on your way into the bike leg. This is usually pretty straight-forward.
A few things to remember are some personal safety points as follows;
As you are approaching the bike finish, change into a lower gear to spin a bit faster to get your legs ready for running a few hundred metres before you dismount. You have two options on what to do with your bike shoes, unbuckle them as you approach the dismount line and ride with your feet on top of the shoes or simply leave them on and run in them again. Remember to dismount at or before the line.
Rack your bike then remove your helmet immediately, you don’t want to start running and find you left your helmet on (don’t laugh, this actually does happen). The quickest way to get your running shoes on is to have elastic laces and Vaseline/Bodyglide applied to the inside of the heel and tongue. Slip your feet in, put your hat on if you are wearing one (advised to if it is sunny) and off you go.
The first part of the run will feel a bit weird so take quicker, shorter strides for the first couple of minutes while your body gets used to the running action.
Hydrate – we can’t stress this enough, when you are on the bike make sure you have some fluid in your bidon and stop for a drink at every drink station on the run.
This is the most important. For one you’ll be glad when you cross that finish line and you can then cheer on your other fellow competitors. Remember to have lots of fun and enjoy the experience with your family and friends. Triathlon is a great sport and is well and truly here to stay in Hong Kong.
Good luck, and if you have any questions just ask, we are a very friendly club and everyone will be more than happy to help. If you are unsure on any of the techniques mentioned, one of our committee members Mike Maiers will be more than happy to give you a crash course before one of our training races that are scheduled in the events calendar.
“That’s how we roll”