Give it a Tri! | Part 4 - The Transition

Camelback Coaching Transition Area Transition Area

The transition area is where you will move from one sport to another, and where you will stage your equipment.

The Transition Area

A unique aspect of the sport of triathlon is the transition from one sport to another. Race organizers provide a transition area to facilitate this. Rows of metal racks provide parking for bikes and a place to stage your equipment for each discipline.  Most athletes bring a transition towel—a small beach towel suffices—to claim a space of their own next to their bike to place equipment for the bike and run.

When athletes arrive at an event, the transition area is usually the first stop to deposit all equipment needed for the day.  “Body markers,” race volunteers armed with thick black markers, commonly roam the transition entrance and scrawl race numbers on the legs and/or arms of participants.

Timing Chips

Timing chips are commonly used in triathlons, as they are in running events. These are worn around the ankle, usually secured with a Velcro strap. Athletes receive their timing chips when they check in for the race or a distribution point for timing chips might be found near the transition area on race morning.

Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson is the co-owner and head swim coach of Camelback Coaching, a full-service triathlon coaching company located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Anne swam competitively, including collegiately at the US Naval Academy, before diving into the sport of triathlon. She has competed in triathlons for over twenty-five years and coached full time for ten. For more information, please visit