Mastering the Triathlon T1: Part 3 – Ride On

You’ve gone from water to land quickly and effortlessly, stripped off your wetsuit and located your bike. If all has gone as planned, you’re reoriented and gaining physical and mental momentum.

It’s time for a smooth mount and start for the longest leg of your triathlon. There are three key points to consider in this execution:

1. Get an Efficient Mount

Once you’ve donned your helmet and glasses, you can’t mount your bike immediately. Unless being penalized serves as motivation. Instead, you’ll need to move from the transition to the mounting area pushing your bike in a methodical, but brisk, pace.

Your best position likely depends on whether you’re right- or left-handed. But positioning one hand on the bike seat or handlebars and leaving the other hand free seems to work best for most.

In his article, “Triathlon Training Basics,” Dirk Bockel offers great tactical advice, “Once you reach the mount line, don’t necessarily jump on your bike right away. This area is usually congested and oftentimes you have an opportunity to pass several people simply by running a bit farther into the free space where you can hop on your bike with ease while you’re still moving.”

2. Don’t Rush the Start

Once on your bike, there are a few more things to consider. Remember, the key to every phase of triathlon is balance, consistency and patience. The urge to take off as fast as you can and make up time is as great now as it is at the beginning of the swim. Resist it.

TriDot Co-Founder and 4-time IRONMAN Jeff Booher advises, “Based on your training, you should know exactly what effort level you should target for the first portion of your bike. It’s a lower target than for the remainder of the bike leg and is based on your performance level. Stick to your target watts or heart rate despite how good you may feel. Going too hard at the start of the bike is the number one place athletes blow it on race day. They spend too much energy here and never recover.” 

3. Adjust, Monitor and Fuel

The final step of T1 is to settle into your bike and wrap up all the loose-ends you may have from the chaotic transition. If you pre-tied your shoes to your bike pedals, this is the time to work your feet into your shoes and secure them. This is also an excellent time to monitor your heart rate, check your pace and split times, assess your mental condition and grab a bit of nutrition or water. 

Congratulations! You’ve completed T1, successfully transitioning from water to land both physically and mentally. Now you’re in for a long ride and it’s time to settle in, concentrate and build that momentum.

Sources:

“Triathlon Training Basics” http://triathlon.competitor.com/2015/04/training/transition-talk-with-dirk-bockel_54903

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