Fast transitions

At worst fast transitions can shave minutes of your total race time. At best they can be the difference between winning and losing.

Fast transitions are a combination of developing skills, practising those skills and thorough preparation – both in advance and on race day itself.

T1 – Swim to Bike

Developing key skills

Advance Preparation

Race Specific Preparation


T2 : Bike to run.

Developing Skills:

Advance Preparation

Race Specific Preparation



Mounting and dismounting quickly

The quickest way of mounting is a cyclo-cross style running jump straight onto the saddle. The best way to practise this is in running shoes, starting slowly and then building up speed.

An alternative method that we derived for Heather can only done with elastic bands and involves holding the shoes horizontal with the cranks vertical. You can then place one foot on top of the shoe on the lower pedal and scoot to mount

The quickest way to dismount is to lift one leg over the back of the saddle while still on the move and coast to the dismount standing on the opposite pedal. To reduce the risk of stumbling bring the free leg between the other one and the bike before stepping onto the ground. (If you try this with your feet still in your shoes, and your shoes clipped to your pedals, you are likely to end up with cuts and grazes)


Every professional triathlete racks racks his bike with his shoes clipped to the pedals and puts his feet into them after mounting.

If you put your shoes on while standing still in the transition area you travel zero distance towards the finish line in the time that it takes to put them on. If you put your shoes on while moving you are at least killing two birds with one stone. It obviously also makes some sense to put them on at speed. I.e. accelerate away from transition and build up speed before putting your feet in instead of wobbling along very slowly trying to get them in before turning the pedals.

There are some drawbacks with having your shoes clipped to the pedals. The most serious is that unless the pedals stay horizontal one of your shoes will hit the ground. This can result in the shoe coming off. The solution is to use elastic (cut an elastic band) to tie the shoes into a horizontal position. Most triathlon shoes have a finger loop at the heel which makes tying them to the frame easy. If the elastic doesn’t snap when you start pedalling it doesn’t matter – you can easily reach down and snap it by hand. (I've read pieces which suggest tying the elastic to one of the gear mechanisms or a quick release lever. This seems a bit silly to me as a sharp pull on one of those could have very undesirable consequences)

Another drawback is the potential for the straps to get tangled. The pictures above show how to prevent this by 'doing the straps up losely'. You could also put a safety pin though the end of the strap if there is any chance that it might slip through the buckle.

Practise taking your feet in and out of your shoes while riding.



An Amateur practises something until he gets it right, a Professional practises until he can’t get it wrong.



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