Susan Williams' Guide to Watching the Triathlon

Susan Williams' Guide to Watching the Triathlon

(Frank Wechsel ITU)
Introducing the Expert

Name: Susan Williams
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Games and Medals: Athens 2004 (Bronze)
Key Quote: “I really enjoy swimming and biking, and running is sometimes fun! So, to put them all together is a really fun and challenging sport. I love that there are three separate sports. There is much more variety in training.”


Bike shoes: Triathletes wear special shoes while on the bike leg that clip directly into the bike pedals. The athlete will get on the bike barefoot, and then put the bike shoes on while riding. The shoes will remain attached to the pedals the entire race. At the end of the bike leg, the athlete will have his or her feet out of the shoes and get off of the bike barefoot to run into the transition area.

Race kit: This is the uniform that the athlete will wear to race; it will be unique to his or her country and also have personal as well as federation sponsors.


Sitting in: On the bike, some athletes just sit behind other cyclists, gaining the draft but not contributing any effort to the overall progress of the pack.

Flying mount: A flying mount is a way to get on the bike where you literally hop off the ground and jump onto your bike seat. It is a very quick way to start the bike and can give an advantage going into the bike leg.

Drafting: A tactic used for both the swim and bike leg, drafting is when one athlete follows directly behind another to gain advantage. The athlete in front will have to work a little harder than the athlete behind to go at the same speed.

Transition: This is where the athletes change sports, from swim to bike and then again from bike to run. It is critical to get through the transition area as fast as possible so as not to be left behind from the lead group.

Break away: A break away is when one or more athletes quickly increase their effort to move ahead of the rest of the field.


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