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12 Tips for Top Transitions

12 Tips for Top Transitions

For the seasoned Adventurethon Competitor, you will likely know the basics included in this article but it never hurts to have a brush up reminder.
Transitions in Adventurethon are often overlooked but are an area where you can cut off minutes (or add to them) without breaking a sweat! It’s all about planning and rehearsal. Taking off paddling gear and putting on different clothing for running, or changing your shoes from bike to run, may seem so simple as to be trivial…but you can be sure that it is an entirely different matter during the heat of a race when your heart-rate is pounding and adrenaline is pumping through your body! Being prepared and organized in the transition zone can be the leading factor to whether or not you win, beat your friend, or improve your time. And let’s face it, it doesn’t cost your body more energy on the day to be organised.

  1. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – where you set up is important. Are you planning on a quick exit? Count the racks – how far in are you? What are you near? Make note of where your station is on the rack and use something familiar or that stands out to help you find your gear amongst the rush. It happens more often than you would think; people forgetting where their station is and run through row after row looking for their bike and gear.
  2. Be Organized. Arrange your transition area in preparation of each leg. Lay out a towel next to your bike with all the gear you’ll need for the entire race on it. Have separate sections of the towel for each leg of the race, with your biking gear in front. A small box/esky/cooler bag with your hydration for subsequent legs could be useful. Place an extra water bottle or tub of water here to rinse the dirt and grit off your feet after you paddle so you don’t get blisters on the bike or run. Keep clutter to a minimum as it can confuse and slow you down. It’s a good idea to set up your socks inside your sneakers, your shirt on top of your bike seat for easy access and your bike gloves {if using} on your handle bars. Set up your helmet upside down and unbuckled on top of your handlebars and open your sunglasses inside your helmet. Unzip all of your clothes and untie your sneakers (or invest in a pair of stretchy laces) so they’re easy to put on. If you’re not using clip in bike shoes, then you’re in luck! You won’t have to worry about changing your shoes twice!
  3. Consider the race and transition location – Where will transition be, where do you enter and exit, what type of terrain will you be running or riding on to? Magnetic Island Adventurethon transition is set up on the jetty, making space minimal, but also creating a 200m sand section to start with. Do you run with your bike shoes on or do you put them on after the sand??
  4. Double Check your gear. Make sure that your tyres are fully inflated and that your water bottles are full. Make sure your bike is in a low gear so it’s easy to pedal as you start out especially if the terrain just out of transition isn’t concrete path. Your water bottles and small air pump should be attached to your bike or put into a small backpack ahead of time. Check to see that you have your bike tools, bandages and spare tube in your bike bag or in a cycle top and ensure that it is zipped closed. Make sure your number is already pinned on shirts, pfds and cable tied to bike well before the race is due to start (often best to do the day before)
  5. Paddle run paddle transitions with shoes (Ultra Specific)– Some athletes will choose to paddle in an old pair of shoes to avoid having to waste time after finishing their paddle leg. This can be faster however please practice this before trying it on race day as having the sole of a shoe actually changes the set up needed on a surfski and can affect your stability if you are not used to the change. Our recommendation for ultras is to use an older pair of shoes or shoes with great drainage ability  
  6. Multi-task and Grab And Go After the kayak leg, rinse your feet (in bucket of water), step on your extra towel to dry your feet off and put on your socks, sneakers, shirt, shorts, and helmet in the transition area, then grab your energy bar or gel and take a few bites as you’re running (careful not to choke!). Make sure you have a designated spot to put whatever you take off and be careful not to cover anything you might need for the rest of the race (ie: don’t put your pfd on top of your sneakers)
  7. Helmet Clip your helmet on before taking your bike off the rack. When you’re nearing the end of the bike route, put your bike in a low gear- this will help get your legs ready to run. Make sure you have practiced grabbing your water bottle and taking a sip while riding. This seems simple, but it can be tricky, especially if you’re riding fast. Drink while the terrain is flat and straight to avoid being distracted and potentially falling off your bike. Also, take your helmet off last, after you put your bike back on the rack.
  8. Tri pants—not having to change pants between paddle, bike and run is a major advantage and special garments have been made to allow a bit of padding on the bike seat but not be too bulky on the run. The great thing about the tri pants is they also lessen chaffing effects and are a great material for paddling in the surfski as they allow a little bit of movement which some people prefer to easily re mount a ski
  9. A Smile And A Friendly Attitude Goes A Long Way Make conversation in the transition area! Many people (including you) might be stressed and anxious before the start of the race and so having a conversation may help you (and them) forget about your pre-race jitters. Also, if you forgot something like your bike pump or sunscreen, a good neighbor might be willing to share his or her supplies with you.
  10. Attach Nutrition/gels To Your Bike/kayak You’ll save yourself a lot of time by attaching gels etc to your bike. A lot of athletes are also transitioning to having liquid nutrition via hyrdration packs through each leg of the race, reducing wasted time in transition stopping to eat. Use some masking/electrical tape and tape your protein bars, gels in easy-to-reach places on the bike and kayak. Have your water bottles in the holders as well. You can also get a Bicycle Seat Pack to carry your extra tubes and CO2 cartridge.
  11. Practice As with anything, getting faster comes down to practice. Practice taking off your pfd and running up the sand or running with your bike. Practice organizing your area so that you find a set up that works best for you. On race day, do a warm up run from the kayak exit to your transition area to the bike entrance and so on. By rehearsing the route to and from your transition area, you can be confident that you will find your gear quicker and easier.
  12. Have Fun It may seem like this is a lot to think about, but with a little practice, you will become comfortable and find a transition strategy and set up that works best for you. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have a flawless transition. Have fun and go with the flow!  If the race doesn’t go exactly like you practiced, it’s ok! Just keep going, give yourself some slack, have fun and don’t forget to SMILE!

Check out the EQUIPMENT LIST on the website to find out what things you will need to take with you.

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