"Enjoying your first triathlon"
by Coach Katherine
have spent weeks or months training, and now it’s time to enjoy your
first triathlon. Follow these simple rules and hints – and remember
to have fun!
If the event offers race packet pick-up the day before, take
advantage of this. There are generally fewer lines and more time to
get your questions answered. In your race packet, there will be
several sets of your race number that go on the front of your shirt,
on the top tube or seat post of your bike, and on the front of your
helmet. There may also be a timing chip that goes around your
ankle. Feel free to ask the race personnel if you have any
questions where or how to attach your numbers.
On race morning, come dressed for the race, since there may not be
facilities for changing. Remember that you cannot be completely
undressed in the transition area before or during the race. It is
best to wear one outfit for the swim, bike, and run. You can wear
this underneath your wetsuit, if you are using one. A good example
of a race day outfit would be tri shorts (or bike shorts), a singlet
(or snug fitting wicking t shirt) and a sports bra (for women).
Some people choose to swim in a swim suit, then add layers for the
bike and run. Either way, practice beforehand to make sure that
your race day outfit is comfortable.
Arrive early, ideally when the transition area opens. Pick up your
race packet if you haven’t already and head to body marking where
volunteers will mark your arms and legs with your race number.
Next, you can head into the transition area to set up your gear.
The bike racks will generally be designated with a range of race
numbers posted on signs, and you can place your bike anywhere on the
appropriate rack. Use either your handlebars or the front of your
seat to rack your bike. Occasionally, there are specifically
assigned spots for each race number.
To set up your gear, lay a small towel down next to your bike and
place all your bike equipment (helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes,
socks, gloves) nearest you and your run equipment (run shoes, hat or
visor) towards the back of the towel. Be sure to leave room to dry
off your feet after the swim. Keep all your gear contained on your
towel – do not allow it to spill out between the racks. Check that
all of your numbers are securely attached, that your bike tires are
properly inflated, and that you have your water bottles and your
tire changing tools. Once you are satisfied that your transition
area is set, do a short warm up. Stay in the area of the start,
since there are often important announcements about the race.
During the race, there are some important rules to know. For the
swim portion, there will be lifeguards out in the water on
surfboards or kayaks. You are allowed to stop and rest with them as
long as they do not move you forward in any way. During the bike
portion, you must have your helmet on and clipped before you take
your bike off the rack, and you must leave it on and clipped until
your bike is re-racked. Failure to follow this rule can lead to
disqualification. At most races, you may not ride out of or into
the transition area – you will have to walk or run with your bike
until you get to the mount/dismount zone.
When you are out on the course, keep three bike lengths between you
and the rider in front of you. Ride single file on the right side
of the road, and do not cross the middle yellow line. If you wish
to pass, you must do so on the left (loudly say “passing on your
left”), and you have 15 seconds to complete the pass. Be sure to
carry tire changing tools and know how to use them, since no outside
assistance is permitted during the race. And remember that the use
of headphones is strictly prohibited for the bike and the run.
This article should help you understand the basic rules of
triathlon. For a complete list of triathlon rules, see the USA
Triathlon website at
ontri.com - triathlon training for the rest of us