Setting Up Your Triathlon Transition Area

Setting up a transition area can be very stressful for participants. In addition to race day nerves, a fenced-in area packed with carbo-loaded participants can be an overwhelming and chaotic experience. Consisting of a combination of three disciplines (swim, bike, run), triathletes must be ready to quickly transition from one event to the next during a race. Proper set-up of your belongings is key to a simple and fast transition.

Use the following as a guideline on how to set-up your transition area for the Iron Girl Triathlon. Once you have practiced setting up your transition area, perform several‘‘mock’’ transitions prior to the race.

Know exactly what items you will use for swim to bike (T1) and bike to run (T2). Also,know the precise order in which you will use everything. Cycling shoes, sunglasses, helmet, bike and GO!

Transition Photo

Before the race, mentally rehearse your game plan for a quick and smooth transition. By race day, you will have already uncovered any possible problems and you will know exactly what works for you.

Use the items in bold as a checklist for what to pack in your transition bag.

Day Before Race:

1) Rack your bike -- It is highly recommended that your rack your bike before the race. Please check your participant guide prior to the race, as some Iron Girl events require it. Security will be on staff to protect your bike overnight. 

2) Find your number in the transition area. Standing behind your bike, lift the back part of your bike off the ground and place the front part of your bike seat over the bike rack.

  • Be sure to check your front and back brake pads to prevent rubbing on your wheel during the race.
  • Make sure your bike is in a comfortable gear. Small chain ring, as opposed to big chain ring, is a lot easier to pedal after getting out of transition area.
  • Remove your bike bag (w/ spare tube and CO2), computer, and anything valuable from your bike. Remember to bring items on race day morning
  • Check tires for any cuts or holes.

Race Morning:

1. Place your ankle strap (w/ timing tag attached) on your ankle.

2. Place your filled water bottles on your bike.

3. Place your bike bag on your bike.

4. If removed, place your bike computer on your bike. Reset your computer to zero.

5. Check your tires for air. Re-check your brake pads. Bike techs will be available with any last-minute air pressure/technical concerns. However, it is recommended that you bring your own bike pump on race day morning.

6. Use a bath towel or folded beach towel (preferably light weight and small) and claim your territory next to the back wheel of your bike. This is your area to be used during the race. Remember, you have your spot but other Iron Girls need a space as well. Your towel should hold only the belongings you plan on using during the race. Keep all other pre and post-race items outside of the transition area.

7. Clip-pedals: If you plan on using clip-pedals, place your cycling shoes on the front of the towel and open the straps/buckles, so that they are loose enough to easily slide your foot in. If you use cycling socks, place a sock on the top of each shoe. *If you plan on keeping your cycling shoes on the pedals, clip them to the pedals on race morning.

8. No clip-pedals: If you do not have clip-pedals, place your running shoes(that you use for riding your bike) on the front of the towel. Keep the shoe laces loose enough to easily slide your foot in. If you plan on using socks, place a sock on the top of each shoe.

9. Place your helmet on the towel either next to or in front of your cycling shoes. Be sure the straps are unbuckled and the helmet will easily fit on your head. Your helmet should be upside down, with the front of the helmet (helmet number from race bag) closest to your feet.

10. Open your sunglasses and place the lenses in the inside of the helmet with the sides of the glasses pointing up. Be sure your glasses are open, so that you can grab the outside of the sunglasses and quickly put them on your face.

11. Next to your cycling shoes or next to your helmet, place your running shoes. If you plan on using lace locks, keep your shoe loose enough to easily slide-in your foot. If you do not have lace locks, untie your shoes and keep them loose enough to easily slide your foot in.

12. If you plan on using running socks, place your running socks over your running shoes.

13. If you plan on wearing a hat/visor, place your visor on the very top of the towel, in front of your running shoes. Be sure the hat/visor is already adjusted to fit your head.

14. If you did not use sunglasses during the bike but plan on using them for the run, place your sunglasses on your hat/visor. Open your sunglasses and place the lenses on the hat/visor with the sides of the glasses pointing up.

15. If you plan on using a race belt, unfasten your race belt (w/ race bib attached) and place the belt next to your running shoes. If you do not plan on using a race belt, safety pin your race bib to your running singlet.

16. If you plan on using a cycling or running singlet/top during the race, place any additional clothing items in a free space on the outside of your towel. Separate cycling and running clothing if needed.

17. If you have any additional nutrition items (gels, water) or miscellaneous items (inhaler,Vaseline, sun block) keep those items on the back of the towel (away from your feet).

Enjoy your Iron Girl race day experience by having a stress-free and safe race. Remember,you are participating in a triathlon to swim, bike and run. The fewer items you bring in to the transition area, the less time you will spend transitioning. Good luck!