Tri-Talk Tuesday: My Burning Transition Questions For Half-Iron Distance Tris

I’m participating in the Tri-Talk Tuesday Linkup hosted by Blisters and Black Toenails, TriGirl Chronicles and You Signed Up for WHAT? They’re talking about transitions this month.

So I’m doing the Barrelman Half-Iron distance triathlon.  I’ve been doing triathlons for 7 years now, but it’s my first half-iron.  For the most part, the only new thing is simply going longer in all three disciplines, but transition is really, really different.  I’m a member of several Facebook groups that revolve around triathlon, and there’s many other ways to access the online triathlon community, but to be honest, this post is a little rushed, so I figured rather than crowdsource and research, then write up my findings here and make an informative post, I’d simply put my questions on this very page, and let it become the forum for discussion… that’s what blogging is all about, right?


  • Should I/Can I change clothes?  In sprint and Olympic distance, my tri kit is on me from when I leave home to when I get home after the race.  Everything has to work in the water, on the bike and while running, every second spent in transition counts.  On the full distance (Iron) scale, you’re not often worrying about the lost minute you spend getting into the most comfortable pair of bike shorts (which would have been terrible in the water, but will literally save your butt on the bike), because being a little more comfortable for several hours in the saddle is worth it.  What about the Half-Iron distance though? Is it worth the time? Is it even plausible or is there no opportunity to do it without being arrested for indecent exposure?
  • Can I use my triathlon bag?  At the Lakeside Tri, I was told by an official that my bag was not allowed in the transition area.  The bag not only carries my gear efficiently, but folds out into a mat and helps me lay out everything I need to race.  In a longer race, I’m only going to need more gels, liquids, gear and accessories, and the need to keep it organized is going to be greater.  I can’t see that happening if stuff is just laying willy-nilly on the ground.  In the Course Details they seem to mention Swim To Bike Gear bags that are provided by the race.  They are numbered and used to transport wetsuits and other swim gear to the finish, so I guess that’s one question answered, but my worries about a chaotic transition area are not allayed.Muskoka5150 001.JPG
  • What kind of problems is having 2 different transition areas going to bring about?  I’ll need to think about items as being ‘only for the run’ or ‘only for the bike’, I can’t take anything for granted!
  • Will I ever spell ‘Transition’ properly the first time? I think I’ve written ‘transistion’ about a dozen times now.

13 Replies to “Tri-Talk Tuesday: My Burning Transition Questions For Half-Iron Distance Tris”

  1. I don't think there is an opportunity to change at Barrelman without being half naked in T1, ha ha. That's weird that the official didn't let you bring your bag into transition. Normally you can but then you have to move it to the edge of transition before the race starts.

  2. Usually there are only changing tents in the full Ironman. I don't even change for that so you can do a 70.3 in your tri suit. If you want to depant for any reason you'll need to find a port-a-potty.

    Shortly after the Boston event races seemed to be all denying the transition bags but now I haven't heard anything recently. They give you bags to separate your stuff but in a 70.3 it's usually all by my bike.

    Two transitions are tricky you really have to think it through what do I need when and you can't reuse something from one to another. So for example I usually keep gum in transition one piece before the bike and one after but with a point to point bike I had to remember to put gum in both places. Actually, I admit I forgot. The Raleigh 70.3 is the only race like that I've done and I'll admit it gave me a headache. But if you have 2 transitions the race team is bringing your gear back from the swim out so you have to put everything into that bag before you get onto the bike.

    Transition is an easy typo word.

  3. Usually there are only changing tents in the full Ironman. I don't even change for that so you can do a 70.3 in your tri suit. If you want to depant for any reason you'll need to find a port-a-potty.

    Shortly after the Boston event races seemed to be all denying the transition bags but now I haven't heard anything recently. They give you bags to separate your stuff but in a 70.3 it's usually all by my bike.

    Two transitions are tricky you really have to think it through what do I need when and you can't reuse something from one to another. So for example I usually keep gum in transition one piece before the bike and one after but with a point to point bike I had to remember to put gum in both places. Actually, I admit I forgot. The Raleigh 70.3 is the only race like that I've done and I'll admit it gave me a headache. But if you have 2 transitions the race team is bringing your gear back from the swim out so you have to put everything into that bag before you get onto the bike.

    Transition is an easy typo word.

  4. I do not change for a 70.3. I just make sure I am comfortable in the tri suit I choose to wear. I may decide to use socks (I don't for Sprints and Olympics). I also had the transition bag issue at Nationals shortly after the Boston bombings but in my local races they haven't made an issue about bringing in the backpack.

  5. I do not change for a 70.3. I just make sure I am comfortable in the tri suit I choose to wear. I may decide to use socks (I don't for Sprints and Olympics). I also had the transition bag issue at Nationals shortly after the Boston bombings but in my local races they haven't made an issue about bringing in the backpack.

  6. I do not change my clothes for a half iron. You'll still be in an open area, not a tent like at a full iron, so unless you feel like flashing the world, you probably want to be in shorts you can do all three legs in. One thing you might try is just pulling on a comfier top in T1, but I'd go ahead and plan to be in the same shorts all day.

    As for your bag, odds are you won't be able to leave it in transition. Many races will allow you to lace your bag along the inside of the transition area fencing so it's just off to the side but still safe and sound in the transition area. You mat want to invest in a colorful towel to lay your stuff out on.

    Good luck!

  7. I do not change my clothes for a half iron. You'll still be in an open area, not a tent like at a full iron, so unless you feel like flashing the world, you probably want to be in shorts you can do all three legs in. One thing you might try is just pulling on a comfier top in T1, but I'd go ahead and plan to be in the same shorts all day.

    As for your bag, odds are you won't be able to leave it in transition. Many races will allow you to lace your bag along the inside of the transition area fencing so it's just off to the side but still safe and sound in the transition area. You mat want to invest in a colorful towel to lay your stuff out on.

    Good luck!

  8. Keep in mind that the Barrelman has 2 different Transition zones! T1 is in Welland and T2 in Niagara Falls. 2 tagged plastic bags with your bib# on it is part of the race kit. Your bag from T1 will be transferred from Welland to Niagara Falls to T2 zone. YOU HAVE TO PACK THE PROVIDED BAG DURING T1. ANYTHING LEFT OUTSIDE THE BAG IN T1 WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED!

    As for clothing: I did the Barrelman last year, I was just fine in my trisuit I wore underneath my wetsuit. The only thing that bothered me was that my arm pits were really sore at the run start (maybe my trisuit was a bit tight around my neck and shoulders). I didn't ride barefoot, I took the time and put socks on (same for running). However there are some changes this year. The T1 area will be moved to the big parking lot by the community centre (where the swim exit was last year)

  9. Keep in mind that the Barrelman has 2 different Transition zones! T1 is in Welland and T2 in Niagara Falls. 2 tagged plastic bags with your bib# on it is part of the race kit. Your bag from T1 will be transferred from Welland to Niagara Falls to T2 zone. YOU HAVE TO PACK THE PROVIDED BAG DURING T1. ANYTHING LEFT OUTSIDE THE BAG IN T1 WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED!

    As for clothing: I did the Barrelman last year, I was just fine in my trisuit I wore underneath my wetsuit. The only thing that bothered me was that my arm pits were really sore at the run start (maybe my trisuit was a bit tight around my neck and shoulders). I didn't ride barefoot, I took the time and put socks on (same for running). However there are some changes this year. The T1 area will be moved to the big parking lot by the community centre (where the swim exit was last year)

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