I’ve been running only for years now, and am looking to moveinto tri’s now. I’ve been reading up,but still have questions. I don’t knowwhat gear is nice to have, or must have (wetsuits, bike suits, runninggear????). how exactly do the transitionareas work – I leave my bike and gear at the first transition, but do I leaveall my running gear at that transition, and take it with me to the next one, ordo put my running gear at the second transition and pick it up there when I leavemy bike and running gear? And then atthe end of the race do I go back to the two transition areas and pick my stuffup, or is it all moved to the finish line to get picked up there? If anyone has advice ad info for atri-newbie, I would appreciate it!!
First off, welcome to triathlons!
Some (most, I would guess) triathlons use one transition area, where you would have all your gear. Some use two transition areas. You will need to look at the specifc event you are doing to know the answer.
Regarding how a transition area works, I would really give two suggestions: One - go watch a triathlon. You will gain valuable insight into what happens. And, you will get a feel for an event. Two - there are many videos on Youtube. These are incredibly valuable.
Now, onto the gear question. You've asked the $1Million question. What is nice to have and what is must have. In its most basic form, I would say must have is clothes (including shoes) and a bike and helmet. Next on the list of "probably want to have" would be swim goggles, wetsuit (depending on where and when), some bike clothes and bike shoes, sunglasses, hat or visor and body glide/lubricant (for private areas and legs). "Nice to haves" would be heart rate monitor/watch, bike computer, tire changing kit. There's many, many more "Nice to haves" I haven't mentioned, not sure there is enough room to write them all down.
My suggestion would be to start with the Must Have and Probably Want to Have list, then figure out what else you want to spend money on as you start training. Read alot, attend seminars, join a triathlon club or team, and again, got to a triathlon. Most athletes will be more than happy to talk to you as they have time. You can spend as much money as you have or as little as you want. But, remember, the fancy gear won't get you to the finish line. The most important gear is an well trained engine; YOU.
Congrats on moving to tris!
From my experience every small triathlon (and many larger ones) is going to have one transition area for the whole race. You set out your biking and running stuff in one transition. I set a smaller towel on the ground below the rack where your bike will hang by the seat. The towel will serve to be 'your space' in the transition area. On the towel I set out the things that I will need for each portion of the race, putting my bike stuff together in one area and my running stuff in another. I place my helmet on the bike handlebars with my glasses. The more advanced guys will already have their shoes clicked into their bikes, but that isn't necessary for now.
So you have your stuff set out. The transition area will usually close down 15 minutes or so before the race begins. At this point you will want to head down to the swim area. The race will start. You will swim the distance, and then jog back into the transition area and find your stuff. If you are wearing a wetsuit you will take it off, take off your swim cap and goggles and drop them in 'your area' in the transition area. You will then put on your biking stuff and jog with your bike out of the transition area and mount your bike at the line and go biking. When you come back in from the bike, there will be a dismount line where you have to get off your bike and will jog your bike back to 'your area' and will re-rack your bike above your towel. From there, take off the helmet and anything you wont need for the run and put it down on your towel. Then you will slip on your running shoes, grab your number (if you didn't have it on for the bike) and jog back out of the transition area to start your run. The finish line will be close to the transition area and once you finish, grab some food and cool down you can head back into the transition area to pick up your stuff.
There are really only a few needs for a first triathlon, but you will find the more you do, the more your want list will grow (in length and cost!) If you think you will stick with it, I would buy at least a decent pair of tri shirts and have top you can race in comfortable. The wetsuit is optional in many areas, but if you live in a colder climate it is a must. It might be worth renting for your first time, or you can often find deals on tri wetsuts if you look a little. For your first tri you can use anything for a bike. I've seen everything from knobby tires mt bikes to $12K tri bikes. I personally still ride my carbon fiber road bike over buying a tri bike. A bike helmet will be a must, as well as I think glasses are also. For the run you will need a decent pair of shoes, likely what you have been running in for training. Other than that, just go out and have fun with your race!
Welcome to tris! Ackmann and Wint covered transitions pretty well. I'll add a bit on split transitions where swim-to-bike (T1) and bike-to-run (T2) are in different locations.I have been in several races where this is the case (Vineman in Santa Rosa, Ca is the biggest I've been in). Sometimes the swim location just doesn't translate into a good finish area for all legs of a triathlon. What happens in these races is that you have to set up two transition areas, either the night before or early in the morning of the race. Since you are showing up at the start with your swim and bike gear, it is your run stuff that gets put wherever T2 is located. VIneman sets up T2 the day before and has security at night. Even at T1 you have to be aware of what you bring. After exiting the swim you will put your wetsuit (if used) and any gear you want to save into a bag provided by the race with your race number on it. Volunteers will pick up the gear bags and transport to the finish area for you to pick up at the end of the race. My wife once had a slow swim and her gear was loaded into the truck so she had to wait about 20 minutes while they found her bag. Her bike was still there and there were other swimmers still in the water, so it was hard to imagine what they were thinking.
I urge newbies to go watch a race or better yet, volunteer, to get a better understanding of how a triathlon works.
Have fun and good luck.
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