Welcome to the Triathlon 101 page. This page is designated for those first-timers in efforts to help with some basic triathlon starter information. Before starting any physical activity, make sure that you are physically fit to endure the life of endurance racing. Visit your physician just to make sure to are healthy and ready to go!
Proper race nutrition starts with BOOM!
A beginner getting ready for the SWIM? Calm the fears and visit Liquid Lifestyles to help.
Step 1: Get a physical...just for safety's sake!
Step 2: If possible, get involved in a group or club. Local triathlon clubs have outstanding support for both veterans and beginners...take advantage of Northeast Ohio's great multisport clubs!
Step C: Learn how to swim properly. Safety is the number one issue, and it is hard to get to your bike if you can't get out of the water safely. Proper swim technique will promote your confidence and safety, and improve your speed and efficiency...a more efficient swimmer will give you more energy for the bike and run.
Step 4: Get your gear on!!! Triathlon gear can get VERY EXPENSIVE...so make sure this sport is for you before pumping thousands of dollars into your new-found obsession. (By the way...you don't have to spend thousands to get the benefits from triathlon...it's all about better fitness, setting and attaining goals, and getting hooked on a pretty cool health lifestyle! I raced for three years on a $400 Schwinn Touring Bike while using my daughter's "Spice Girls" bike helmet...I was a total BADAS$!!!)
GEAR for the SWIM:
Swim cap...CHAMP Racing will provide for you...yeh boy (or girl)!!! Your registration dollars at work!
Wetsuit. Wetsuits help keep you warm and buoyant. Wetsuits take some practice to get out of, so if you don't have experience trying to get out of your wetsuit, it probably won't behoove you to wear a wetsuit in a short sprint-distance triathlon...unless, of course, the water is really, really, BURRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Water Wings! Just kidding...only the lame race director can wear water wings because he can't swim!!!
GEAR for the BIKE: We suggest Bike Authority Bike Shop!
Bike. The bike is an obvious necessity. You can race with any type of working bike (mountain bike, hybrid, etc), but a thin-wheeled road "race" or touring bike is best. At CHAMP Racing events, you will see mostly "race" bikes, but also some hybrids and mountain bikes as well. Bikes can get very expensive, and if its your first race, you may want to borrow or rent a race bike for the event. It's not a good idea to pump $4000 into a time-trial triathlon bike for your first race and after the race, decide that triathlon is not for you...unless you want to perform a patriotic duty and feel that buying a $4000 bike is going to help the economy! PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, THAT SAFETY IS NUMBER 1 PRIORITY...so make sure whatever bike you choose works properly...brakes, cables, wheels, and tire pressure, etc. It would be a total bummer if you are cruising down a hill and wipe-out because your tire wasn't fastened properly...OUCH! Also, make sure the bike fits properly. Riding a bike that doesn't fit may lead to injury.
Helmet. A-must at all races...wherever you race!
Clothes of some sort. You are not required to look like Lance Armstrong when you race, but wearing some sort of clothing is required as well.
Bike Shoes. You do not have to use bike shoes. There are advantages to having bike shoes attached to your pedals, but it is recommended that you practice clipping in and out of your pedals before racing with clipless bike shoes.
Aerobars. Aerobars are a device that is attached to your handlebars and help provide better aerodynamics and helps your arms and shoulders relax after your swim. The key with aerobars are set-up. If they are not properly set-up, it may throw off your bike power...which may hurt you more than help you. Also, riding a bike in the "aero" positions (leaning on your aerobars) requires PRACTICE!!! Take it slow and practice spinning in the aero position.
GEAR for the RUN: We suggest Fleet Feet Sports!
Shoes. Well, you can run barefoot, I guess, but your season might come to an end due to a heel-bone spur or stress fracture. Not only are shoes important, but shoes that fit properly are more important.
Clothes...again. Sorry for all you nudist-enthusiast...clothes are required.
Sunglasses, Hats, "Witness" headbands, moisture-wicking t's, and "I Love my MAMA tattoos"...etc....all optional.
The Triathlon Process:
Prior to every race, you will check in at the registration table to pick up your gear. In your CHAMP Racing Packet, you will have a bib #, timing chip and strap, swim cap, and some other sponsor literature and goodies. You can wear your bib # throughout the entire race, but the bib # is required only for finishing on the run. The timing chip & strap is wrapped around the ankle for the duration of the race. A CHAMP person-dude will rip it off your ankle at the end of the race in the finish chute.
2. Find a Transition Spot:
There will be a bunch of bike racks in an area called the TRANSITION AREA. This is where you will rack your bike and transition from one sport to the next. Transitioning from the swim to the bike and then from the bike to the run is all part of the race...so try to transition as quickly as possible. Your transition spot should have a towel on the ground with your shoes, bike shoes (if you are using them), helmet, and anything else needed for after the swim. You will return to this spot after each sport of the race.
3. The Swim: Triathlon will always begin with a swim...unless cancelled due to weather. For beginner swimmers...PLEASE BE PREPARED FOR SOME BUMPING AND KICKING AMONGST PARTICIPANTS. It is hard to prepare for swimming around 50+ people, so be ready! Maybe stay to the outside of the swim zone...you may swim a little longer, but you might save yourself from a good kick in chops or an elbow to the temple...or even losing your goggles. Remember, safety is the 1st priority. A collision might be inevitable, but staying to the outside may help a bit.
4. TRANSITIONS: Swim to Bike. You exit the water and run to your transition spot. Remember, this is part of the race and the clock is ticking!!! So hustle-up!!! Wipe down your feet, put on your helmet...then fasten it!...put on your shoes, sunglasses, etc...and then head-out to the bike course. There is NO RIDING your bike in the transition area...you must walk you bike to the "bike mount" area. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR HELMET IS FASTENED PROPERLY AND YOU ARE WALKING THE BIKE THROUGH THE TRANSITION AREA...failure to do so may get you DQ'd from a triathlon...bummer!
5. The Bike: Be careful...safety, safety, safety! Triathlon rules state that you have to have at least 3 bike lengths between you and the person in front of you. If you are passing, you move slightly to the left, make your pass, and then get quickly back to the road side. Riding directly behind another biker is called "drafting"...a no-no in this sport.
6. TRANSITIONS: Bike to Run. After your bike portion is complete, dismount from your bike at the designated "dismount" line. (You probably will have a volunteer yelling at you to "SLOW DOWN!!! DISMOUNT AHEAD!!!") And then again, WALK your bike back to your transition spot. You can take off your helmet, get on your running shoes, and get out to the run course. Your bib # is required at the finish, SO DON'T FORGET YOUR BIB NUMBER!.
7. The Run: Almost home! You can do it, brother (or sister!)
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