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People understand swimming. People understand cycling. People understand running. So, anyone who has watched Sesame Street knows that people also understand transitions. The problem with that reasoning is that it is wrong. While newcomers to triathlon can grasp the workings of each individual sport, transitions remain the most vexing part of this trifecta.

Very simply put, transitions are the spaces between each of the sports of triathlon. There is the first transition between swimming and biking known as T1. And there is the second transition between biking and running known as T2.

Transition Area

Every triathlon needs a transition area. That's the home base, of sorts, where athletes keep their gear for each leg of the event. Some races assign space in transition based on age, gender, both or bib number. Race directors at other events take a more general admission approach, leaving you wild-eyed triathletes to cordone off your spot.

For the pros or some of the more competitive folks around here (ahem, Mom), the glory of race victory or the agony of defeat can come about in transtiion. For most of us age groupers, though, transitions are memory exercises. We need to remember to grab everything needed for that particular leg before heading back out on the course. Leaving something behind can ruin a race. But that's why we're here - to keep you on the straight-and-narrow path.

Transition Set-up
Setting up your transition area should be intuitive - based on the order in which you'll need your stuff. First off, rack your bike. You can do this by the rear of your saddle, the nose of your saddle or even your handlebars. Event directors like when you alternate bikes, facing one bike toward the left of the rack and the other toward the right. This helps keep your neighbor from grinding your stuff into the ground. It's a good idea to make sure your bike is in the gear you want it for the start and that your tires are fully inflated.

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