By PCG Coach Chris Myers
As summer gets closer, we are starting to enter our primary race season. Many of my athletes are striving to peak to win their “A” race events. For me, I focused on trying to complete something on my bucket list. I wanted to complete my first Xterra Triathlon event.
Where I live in Louisiana, Lincoln Parish Park of Ruston, LA hosts the oldest and longest Xterra event. The long course, affectionately named the Gator Epic, consists of a 1 mile open water swim, 30 mile mountain bike, and 10 miles of trail running. Since I have athletic limitations due to my service in the Army and the Iraq war, I am unable to run. Keeping this in mind, I participated in the Aquabike division.
During the race, I learned a very hard lesson in performing a transition properly. Coming out of the water, I had clocked just less than 28 minutes for the swim. However, my transition took me 10 minutes. I made several mistakes during this time. The first, and most important mistake was clothing. I chose to wear a swimsuit and then change into a cyclist’s bib shorts and jersey. The change took me about 6 minutes when I look at the video my wife took at me. Due to being wet from the swim and sweat, the clothing fibers from the cycling kit kept sticking. This mistake can easily be fixed with using the proper clothing. If I used a proper triathlon singlet, I could have saved myself several precious minutes.
The second mistake I made was not laying my equipment out in an efficient manner. The equipment was organized, but not in order that I planned on using it. If I had organized my equipment better, I could have saved myself about 30 more seconds.
These two mistakes have definitely made me a better multisport athlete. Since this race, I have bought a singlet and practiced my transition. I have incorporated the transition when I do brick workouts. My overall time transition time has decreased significantly. I now feel I have strengthened one of my biggest weak areas of my training.
The biggest thing I want readers to take out of this article is this; the transition is probably the most difficult portion of any multisport event. Plan your transition strategy before the race and practice it. Many novice multisport athletes do not practice this portion of competition until the day of the race. I have learned my lesson of practicing the transition and I hope you have too.