Some Common Triathlon LINGO...

Some Common Triathlon LINGO...

The sport of triathlon is made up of many different sports that each have their own "lingo". There are certain terms that triathletes use that may sound weird and you will be "lost". Below are listed words and definitions that all triathletes should know.

Bike Shoes
This term is self-explanatory. These are shoes that are worn on the bike. They have a stiff sole so that with each pedal stroke there is no power lost on any part of the pedal stroke. A good shoe usually will not bend, is light and has a cleat on the bottom to attach to the pedal. Bike shoes allow a rider to pull during the whole pedal stroke. For triathlons a shoe with velcro is best. Velcro can make putting on the shoes much easier and faster.
Brick Workout
A type of workout that triathletes do to simulate race conditions. Most triathlons are in the order Swim, bike, run. When triathletes switch from bike to run, their legs feel weird. A brick workout lets the racer practice the unusual feeling, so it feels more comfortable during a race.
Body marking
Because there is a swim involved, paper numbers cannot be used to mark the athletes. So each triathlete's race number is written on arms and legs. This lets officials mark down numbers as triathletes exit this water. This helps them to keep track that everyone exited the swim, also helps to identify triathletes throughout the entire race.
Buoy
This is usually a bright orange ball that is used to mark the swim course. Swims are usually swam in either the ocean or a lake, so they will use one to three buoys to mark the route so swimmers know where to go.
Cap
The latex swim cap that is given to each triathlete as they enter a race. A different colored cap will represent each age-group.
Clipless Pedals
A type of bike pedal that bike shoes attach to. There is a cleat that attaches to the bottom of a bike shoe(with screws). The shoe will then "clip in"to the pedal. This will allow pulling up on the pedal, during the pedal stroke. They will make a bike rider more efficient with each pedal stroke.
Criterium
Usually used during the bike portion of a triathlon. The term describes a set course that is usually a mile or so in length. The racers will ride around the course a certain number of times. This type of race course is usually used in pro races only. The small course is best for a small field, otherwise there is too much congestion.
Drafting
A race tactic that involves on athlete positioning themself directly behind another athlete either in the run, bike or swim to reduce wind and drag. Is illegal during the bike portion of a triathlon. A penalty will be given to athletes that are drafting. Depending upon the race, a penalty can be either a time penalty or even disqualification.
Energybar
A snack that is usually made up with either high protein or carbohydrates. Triathletes use these during racing and training for easy "food on the go." They are wrapped like a candybar and are easy to eat and carry.
Entry Fee
The amount of money a triathlete pays to enter a race. Can range anywhere from $5 to over $150. On an average the price is usually $35. The cost includes race insurance, a T-shirt, goodies in a bag and post race food. Depending on the race these things included can differ.
Expo
An area where local sponsors and product sponsors have boohts set-up. This allows the public to see what products the supporting companies offer and allows for information distribution. Many times there are information booths set-up and product sample booths. Usually, large races have huge expos because sponsors figure athletes will get a live glance of the product.
Goggles
A piece of equipment that is placed over a swimmer's eyes. Most swimmers use them in triathlons, especially in salty water swims. Want to make sure they are tight, so if you happen to get kicked in the swim they will stay on. It is good to get darked colored goggles because there is often a glare on the water in the morning, so the dark colored goggles make it easier to see.
Helmet
A mandatory piece of equipment for all triathletes. There is not a race in the country that will alow a triathlete to race without a bike helmet. If a crash occurs, a helmet can save a life. The helmet must be buckled before exiting the transition area.
IRONMAN
The most well-known triathlon distance. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. The distance is referred to as "long distance". The IRONMAN triathlon started in kona, Hawaii, back in 1978. The event is done every year. In the 1990's IRONMAN does not just refer to the race in Hawaii, but is used when talking about the distance.
ITU
Stands for the International Triathlon Union, which is the international governing body of the sport. They coordinate all the national organizations and run the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS every year. They are also responsible for getting the sport into the 2000 Olympics. They are the "international voice"of the sport.
Number Belt
An elastic strap that is placed around the waist usually on the run. The belt allows paper numbers to be pinned on so that they can be visible during the run. This saves times over putting on a T-shirt or shorts.
Olympic Distance Triathlon
Consists of a .9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run. Probably the most common distance of triathlon offered. The Olympics will be this distnce.
pack
Refers to a group of people who are either running, biking or swimming together. Drafting is usually taking place, so it is something to be avoided during the bike.
Pre-registration
A time to pick up race information before the actual race day. It usually occurs the day before the event. At really big races, pre-registration could be over a period of a couple of days leading up to the event. It is best to pick-up race information ahead of time, because race morning is chaos. There is only so much you can accomplish in the morning of the race. It is nice to get this out of the way.
Racing Flats
An extremely light pair of running shoes. Makes legs feel "lighter" when running with tired legs after the bike. They usually do not have much cushioning or support as compared to training shoes. Should be worn for race purposes only.
Sprint distance
A race that consists of a .5 mile swim, 15 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run race distances. A good distance for beginners to start out with.
Transition
The part of the race where the athlete changes shoes or equipment to move onto the next part of a race. There are two in every triathlon. They are from swim to bike and bike to run.
Transition Area
The place set marked off for transitions to take place. All the equipment the athlete will use in the race is placed in this area. The bike is parked at a rack with the racer's number. Bikes, helmets and shoes are place here for the so transitions can take place quickly and orderly.
Triathlon
A sport that consists of three sports, most commonly swim, bike, run.
USA TRIATHLON
The United States triathlon national governing body. They set the status quo, and regulate on how people qualify for the national championships and communicate with the ITU. They are the "voice of triathlon"in the US.
Wave
Based on your age. It is the time you will start the swim. Age-groups are sent off at intervals to ease congestion in the water and on the bike course. The time is then subtracted from a racer's finishing time.
Wetsuit
Worn during the swim to keep swimmers warm. Water must be 78 degrees or below, in order for racers to be allowed to wear wetsuits. They also help make a swimmer more buoyant. This will let slower swimmers swim faster, because they are better positioned on top of the water. Weaker swimmers like wetsuits, while stronger swimmers hate them.

Back to the Transition Area