Transition area equipment placement.
Every year I go to races, sometimes to spectate, but mostly to race. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of gear people bring into transition with them. So with the upcoming tri season just around the corner, I thought it fitting to go over, especially for the newbies, and refresh your memory of transition area etiquette . Ironically enough, it was just brought to my attention that a new rule from USAT spells out exactly where we can put our gear in transition. ( We'll go over that in a minute)
When packing your gear for race morning and your transition area, remember this one little phrase, " less is more". The less equipment you have to deal with in the morning, the less you have to worry about lugging in and then OUT again, tripping over it in transition and most of all, not upsetting your T-area neighbors. Ever get to a race and the person next to you has brought everything but the kitchen sink? Extra clothing for a costume change, milk crates, beach towels etc. "Back in the day", it was popular to bring buckets and fill them with water so that you can wash your feet in transition if they get sandy from the beach. REALLY? A bucket of water? I can only imagine what the T1 times were for these people!! There's no award for cleanest feet! Bad enough the bare necessities for a race are cumbersome enough, which by the way, if you haven't invested in a transition bag, I highly recommend it. You truly could fit the kitchen sink in one!
Barring any iffy weather where you may need some extra rain gear, here's a brief list of race day/transition area essentials:
water bottles /nutrition which should already be on your bike
socks** my theory is unless it's a 1/2 IM or longer you don't need 'em!
watch/Garmin/HR monitor which will be on your person.
When setting up your transition area the new rule is as follows:
7.2. Placement of Equipment.
All participants shall place equipment only in the properly designated and individually assigned bicycle corral and shall at all time keep their equipment confined to such properly designated areas. Any violation of this section shall result in a variable time penalty.
Basically you will have the space where your wheel is touching the ground to the bar where your bike is racked. It may not seem like a lot of space, but trust me, you will be thankful when your not tripping over someone eles's stuff trying to get your bike out. I will usually bring a towel the size of a hand towel to "map" out my space. All your gear should fit neatly into an area of that size. If you've got your transition bag, make sure all straps are tucked in so as not to trip over them and keep it at the end of your stuff or if you can give it to someone to hold for you even better. If it happens to be a rainy morning I like to use grocery bags for my bike shoes and a separate one for my running gear. They are going to get wet anyway but the less saturated they are when you put them on the more comfortable you will be.
So when preparing your gear for your next race think: " what is it that I really need" and go from there.
Good luck and most of all HAVE FUN!!!!