Here are a few tips to help you get on your bike and out of T1 faster.
The less stuff available to you in your transition zone, the faster you will leave. Think ahead and put out only the essentials. For example, are you really going to apply sunscreen? And leave your number belt on under your wetsuit so you don’t have to fuss with it during your transitions. Tape your gels on your top tube. Of course, if your triathlon is short, you need less food and fewer clothes than a long triathlon, so make sure you streamline your transition area.
You probably already leave your shoes clipped into your pedals for a fast T1 transition. But the backs of your shoes hit the ground, even thought they are clipped in, while you are running through T1 with your bike. What a drag…every time the shoe hits, the bike is harder to steer. The best solution to this problem is to rubberband the loop on the back of your shoes to the bike.
While you are running in the transition zone with your bike, you want to move as effortlessly as possible. You don’t want to be hunched over, hanging on to your handlebars while you run. Instead, run upright, grab the back of your saddle with your right hand, and push and steer without touching the handlebars. This method takes a little bit of practice, so make sure to go over it a few times before you try it in a race.
Perfect your mount. Remember to first cross the mount line, and then hop on your bike. Easier said than done, right?
Easy, right? It takes some practice. Tip: Watch a cyclocross DVD and see how the pros do it. If you live nearby, Coach Dan has some, or check out ProCyclocross.Com.
Pedal at least 100m before you try to put your feet in the pedals (of course, when there is a hill immediately after T1, you will have to modify your transition!). You don’t want to swerve as you try to put your feet in the pedals. Pedal with your feet on top of your shoes, and then slip one foot in after the other – not both at once. Don’t forget to reach down and break the rubber bands if they don’t break on their own.