If you’re preparing to take on the Ironman these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips might help.
These suggestions for the first time Ironman or perhaps those who have had a few attempts at it, but ran into a few problems in transition one.
These are just a few things I learned over the years as an age-group athlete through trial and error and hopefully they provide you with some insight that might be helpful.
(1)DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR BIKE IS?
It’s surprising how many people get out of the water, pick up their swim/bike transition bag, go into the change tent and then become disorientated and have trouble finding their bike. This is probably the simplest of the 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips to rectify. It just take a bit of pre-race planning.
In some races there can be two thousand(or more) bikes in the transition area and if you don’t take the time to pick out some landmarks or at least count the rows so you know which way to head once you leave the change tent, you could find yourself looking all over for your bike.
Every row of triathlon bikes looks about the same.
It’s not so much a time wasting issue as it is getting yourself all worked up over something that should never have happened in the first place. All these small issues will increase your heart-rate and in the process burn off energy you will need.
Rows of triathlon bikes pretty much all look the same.
Long before the swim begins when you are wandering around killing time, look for a landmark that will lead you to your bike row. It can be a tree, a post, or anything at all that stands out.
If there are no landmarks, go to the change tent and look for the exit that you will be coming out of once you change after the swim. It doesn’t matter if your bike is to the left or to the right, count the first row you see as one, and then count all the way down to the row your bike is in. That’s the only number you have to remember.
Normally each row is numbered…..but the problem is that in the highly charged atmosphere you can expect to find yourself in, the numbers just don’t register, because the number of your row might be 400 to 550 and the next row might be 550 to 700.
It’s far easier to count the rows beforehand and know if you are in row 11, or 15, or 29.
If you plan on just grabbing your transition bag and going straight to your bike, be sure to find out(ask a volunteer)where exactly you pick up your bag and where do you exit the bag pick-up? In that case the first row you see when you exit the bag pick-up area will be row one.
Count from that first row down to your bike row.
It may seem like a small thing, but the more smoothly you can make your transitions the less stress you will have to deal with. This in turn prevents your heart-rate from ramping up needlessly.
(2)WHEN SHOULD YOU PUT ON YOUR BIKE SHOES?
There are many trains of thought about this.
First of all, I don’t think it’s a great idea to set your bike shoes down beside your bike in the transition area.
I also don’t think it’s a great idea to lock your bike shoes into the pedals and mount your bike and try and get your feet into the shoes on the move.
There is a ton of activity in the bike zone as hundreds and hundreds of triathletes make the transition to their bikes.
Gear you have neatly placed by your bike before the swim can end up anywhere. I once found one of my cycling shoes in the next row. It had somehow gotten kicked between the bikes into the next row.
The best place to keep your cycling shoes is in your swim/bike transition bag. At least that way you know where they are.
You can either put your cycling shoes on in the change tent or at your bike.
Personally, after trying both methods I found it made more sense to carry my shoes to my bike and then put them on. It’s far easier to run in bare feet or in socks than it is in clunky bike shoes. This is especially true if you have a lot of ground to cover between the time you put on your shoes and get to your bike.
If you put them on at your bike at least you should be fairly close to the bike exit and won’t have to cover ground in them for very far. Just be sure to quickly run your hand along the bottom of your feet before you put your shoes on.
This will remove any dirt or especially small pebbles you may have picked up on your socks or bare feet if you cycle without socks.
I avoided attaching my shoes to the pedals beforehand because it’s just to difficult to get your feet into them when the pressure is on and everyone is weaving all over the place trying to get their bikes moving.
This might be the method of choice for the pros but they really don’t have the same congestion at the bike start as you will find in an Ironman Triathlon.
Also, seconds matter to them, but to age-group triathletes who are just trying to make it to the finish line…..not so much.
(3)BE SURE YOUR BIKE IS SET IN EASIEST GEAR RACE MORNING
Before the swim start on race morning ensure that you put your bike in the easiest gear.
It’s amazing how many triathletes get this wrong. It’s something very simple to do, but often gets overlooked.
It’s unfortunate because it sure can get your Ironman Triathlon bike leg off to a much smoother start and hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips will help you achieve that.
It gets very hectic in those first few dozen meters out of the transition area where everyone is trying to get on their bikes.
The best way to set up your gears before the race begins is the small chain-ring in the front and the biggest gear in the rear cluster.
For one thing, there’s a good chance you will still be a bit disorientated from the swim. Plus everyone is in a hurry and the adrenaline is flowing.
The majority of triathlon bike crashes take place in the first 50 meters of the bike course.
Most Ironman bike accidents happen in the first 50 meters of the race.
Triathletes are struggling to snap into their pedals with no forward momentum because they have their bike in a really big gear and just can’t get it moving. what usually happens is they try and stand up on the pedals to get themselves moving forward. They lose control and often just fall over or run into other bikes and they both fall over.
Besides road rash and a dose of embarrassment this can cause other problems. Your water bottles could go flying, your brake pads could be knocked out of place, or your chain could even come off.
Your heart rate will also ramp up from the stress and right away you will be losing energy you can’t afford to lose.
Any number of things can happen when your bike hits the ground or runs into another bike.
However, if you’re in a really easy gear all you have to do is get one foot locked in swing the other leg over and rest it on top of the pedal and begin pedaling your way out of the traffic. Once you get yourself clear you can lock in the other foot.
Once the second foot is locked in and you have some speed you can begin shifting into bigger gears.
It’s so much easier to maneuver once you get some some forward momentum and being in your easiest gear. Hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon bike transition tips will help get your bike leg off in a safe and relaxing manner.
Hopefully these 3 Ironman Triathlon Bike Transition Tips will help you out in your next race.
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