I can’t say it enough. Practise, practise, practise. I never take my bike shoes of my bike so that each time I go for a ride, I have to practise putting my feet in quickly. Same at the end of each rides, I practise take them out quickly.
Doing this over time as made me good at it and it has made the difference between a win and a second at many occasions. It is not recommend to walk on your cleats anyway, so here is an another excuse to do it. We practise this heaps before and during the tri season. We usually pick Geelong West Velodrome or the Belmont Crit track.
We are privileged to have superb infrastructures for triathlon in Geelong, so if you are a local, no excuses, use them! Geelong West Velodrome is a favourite of mine and it has short grass & flat section to run on off the bike and it allows you to warm up and warm down running barefoot but mainly, it allows you to practise your superman mount without hurting yourself too much.
My crew of 2012 can still tell you how I missed my seat doing a superman demo and I shaved my ass on my tyre and my foot on the asphalt. Ben Webster loves to tell that story 🙂
Here is the last session we did. 5 sets of 2.2kms bike at max (5 laps) followed by 400m run on grass at sprint tri pace and 400m easy jog recovery barefoot on the grass too. Use those mini duathlon as race practise and use race gear when possible. Set yourself up like if it was a race. Put a towel down, your visor and running shoes with elastic shoe laces and lace clips. If you are a group, do them in a handicapped format to add more fun and competition into the equation.
Try and catch each other and make each one a race to win. From my point of view, nothing is better than watching your squad blowing each other to bits at training.
So start with a superman jump. This technique uses a bit of running speed to jump on your bike to land on the seat with the top of your hamstring near your glute. Pick a side to jump on, that is an individual choice, no rules here. Now, the most important point is to disregard putting your first foot in the bike shoe until you have reached your race speed.
Then put one foot in, go back to race speed, now do up the strap(s) and repeat with the other foot. At the end of your ride, don’t get caught worrying about your shoes too early. Race til 250mt to go, then slow down to take your feet out, throw your leg around and land right before the line with some good momentum.
I always remember one of my tri idols, Peter Robertson (Robbo) landing off his bike first doing at least 25km/h per hour. He sprinted through transition, got a gap and never got caught on the run! Now is the time to practise your bike/run transition. You must use a land mark to find your bike, so look at your row first but also remember a sign, a tree, a flag so it is easier to find your bike.
Then, stick out a bright towel onto the run way to your bike so that it is easier to find your running shoes. To get in your shoes easier, some like talcum powder but I prefer a bit of Vaseline on the edge of my shoes. Remember to practise this first. Never try new things on race day. Next blog will be on swim to bike transition.