Evans Cycles
Evans Cycles

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The London triathlon is taking place on September 22nd and 23rd and it’s the capital city event which draws in thousands of competitors every year. The high profile tri attracts loads of beginners, as well as more experienced racers wanting to make the most of their peak fitness as the season draws to a close.
 
If you’re dipping your toes in and this is your first triathlon, then rest assured you’ve taken a well-trodden road. Triathlon is the country’s fastest growing sport, and despite its tough reputation, it’s an easy one to get into.
 
Mixing up swimming, biking and running provides a great combination because you will be exercising different muscles, which ensures plenty of time to rest the others, and you don’t have to be a pro at any of them to get involved.
 
When it comes to kit, though there is a lot of specialist kit out there, you might be surprised how little you actually need. We lead you through your event and give you a few pointers on what you will need, and what’s just nice to have…
 
There are a number of options here. You can wear a swimming costume or shorts (under your wetsuit if you're in open water) then pull on shorts and a jersey when you get to your bike. If you go for this, we’ve got plenty of choices - just make sure you go for something that you’re comfortable in and that won’t flap around on the bike or run.
Alternatively, you can wear a Tri suit. This you will wear under your wetsuit (or on its own for a pool based swm). Then, once you ditch the wetsuit in transition you keep it on for the bike and run. The material is quick drying, so it won’t be long on the bike before you’re dry, and if you’re excited enough you will hardly notice the dampening effects of the swim when you first set off on your bike. We’ve got a great variety from Louis Garneau, Orca, 2XU, Zone3 and Pearl Izumi.
Top Tip: On the bike and run you may be given a number to wear, usually on your front and back. You can safety pin this to your top if you're pulling one on in transition, but if you are wearing a tri suit and don't want to stop to attach the number, you can use a race belt which you leave with your helmet and bike and put around your waist when you get there.
 
If you’re swimming in open water, unless the water temperature is over 22 degrees celcius (which is unlikely), you will need a wetsuit. Triathlon wetsuits are made of thin neoprene, and arms and legs are often designed to be easy to slip off. These start from about £200, but we do have some on offer at the moment and there are deals to be found.
It is really important that you try a wetsuit on before you buy it. Too tight, and it will restrict your movements, too loose, and you risk a water leak. You can order any of our suits into store to try on, and help will be in hand to make sure you get it right. The added bonus is that the neoprene will increase your buoyancy, helping you to float and therefore making you faster, as well as keeping you warm.
Top Tip: Unzip the wetsuit as soon as you can after you exit the water. Pull off the sleeves and roll it down to your waist as you run to transition. When you find your bike, the rest of the suit should come off easily. If you struggle at all, keep calm and relax, it will make the job easier.
 
You're in good hands when it comes to choosing the right bike with us. This is the place you can really splash out, but of course, you don’t need to, and a lot of people take part in their first triathlons on mountain, hybrid or road bikes. As you become more experienced, you might want to clip on tri-bars to a road bike. Tri bars will make you more aerodynamic, and if you’re a bit more competitive, you could go for a Triathlon specific bike that will get you in a low, aerodynamic position.
A road bike is the preferable option for your first tri – it will be lighter than a mountain or hybrid, and more suited to the road, and you may find the handling a little easier than a Tri-bike, which could take a bit of practice.
Top Tip: You will probably put your bike in a numbered bay in transition, though at some events slots are first come, first served. Take some time to look around you when you rack your bike before the event, and plan your route from the ‘swim in’ entrance– you don’t want to have to search for your wheels when you exit the swim.
 
Plenty of people try their first triathlon riding in trainers, which they keep on for the run. This limits the number of changes and doesn’t involve too much extra investment. If you’re riding with feet clipped in, you can use your normal cycling shoes; simply have them ready and waiting in transition.
With a bit of practice, you can also learn to mount your bike on the run, and fasten the shoes on the move. This is called a flying mount, and we suggest you practice before the event – but if you’re well seasoned and feeling ready, triathlon shoes are the best option, with their quick velcro fastenings and pull up heels.
It is (nearly) always compulsory that you wear a helmet. You can use your normal cycling helmet, as long as it complies to British safety laws. If you’re more serious about knocking off seconds, an aerodyniamic helmet could be the way to go. This will be shaped to help air flow over the body, and we’ve got some great options from tri specialists Louis Garneau.
Top Tip: When you set your bike up in transition, take time to lay your helmet, glasses and race belt out so that you can grab them easily when you get to your wheels. You can put baby powder in your shoes to make sure your feet slip in easily.
 
We admit, we’re not running specialists. Make sure you have some trainers that work with you, and don’t try new ones on race day. Some triathletes use speed laces, so their shoes are quick and easy to slip on in transition, and we have got a range of these. You might also need a race belt, to attach your competitor number to.
We do advise you practice running after your bike ride before the event. For the first few minutes, your legs might feel a little wobbly, and you might feel like you’re going very slowly. Rest assured, just keep moving, and this will all fade away, and your legs are probably moving a lot quicker than they feel under all the excitement.
 
 
This story was last updated on 26/03/2014

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