Most triathletes spend so much time trying to shave seconds off their swim, bike, and run times, and they pay very little regard to the valuable time they can save in the transition area simply by practicing what they do. It may sound silly, even dorky, but not nearly as silly as most people look on race day, when they don’t practice their transitions.
Simulate what you will do in T1 including removal of your wetsuit, putting on your shoes and helmet, and mounting your bike to the point where you are clipped in. Simulate T2 including dismounting your bike, running with your bike barefoot (or in your bike shoes if you do that), removing your helmet, and changing into run shoes.
Finally, before your race starts, remember where your bike is racked and which way is out! Watch any triathlon and you will find some people who actually do not know.
For a half, unless you are at the very top of the pointy end, don’t leave them clipped into your bike. I cant tell you how many times I have had one shoe fall off and have to pick it up and then put it on…or one time I accidentally put the wrong shoe on the wrong side! Also, if you wear socks, then your socks get all dirty or feet have a higher chance of having a pebble on them which will cost you more time than you think because you are thinking about that pebble rather than hammering. Don’t be afraid to wear thin socks…it only takes 5 seconds more, and you can make up for that with the increased comfort on the bike and run when you do not get blisters or hot spots. For sprints, all bets are off. Cut away until there is nothing left to cut.
Great advice from Emilio! Another thing: remember to SIT DOWN when changing shoes—don’t try hopping around on one foot as you struggle to put on your running/ cycling shoes. Seems like it would take longer but it’s much more efficient to sit. You will find that smoother is faster. Also with a 1/4 to half mile remaining in bike, back off from “hammer” mode and shift to a lower gear (easier spinning) and semi remove your shoes so you can still pedal, but will slip out easily in transition. The lower gear will better ready your legs for the higher cadence demanded by running and will help flush lactic acid/ rest your legs a bit before the run. Enjoy your race!
Hi Emilio, thanks for the tip!
I’ve recently completed my first sprint and two olympics. Will attempt a half next month at Donner lake. In my previous races I put my bike shoes on in the transition areas and then clipped on to the bike after mounting. However, in the spirit of shortening transition times, I’m tempted to have my shoes clipped prior to mounting. Any thoughts?