Our top tips for the Discovery World Triathlon and Duathlon – Cape Town…

IMG-20150425-WA0062Our coaches have sat down and tried to think of all the top tips to help you have the best race you can have this weekend at the Discovery World Triathlon and Discovery Duathlon – CAPE TOWN. Grab a cuppa and go through the tips below, they can be invaluable and help you have your best race yet!

For all the official routes, schedules, rules and guides please visit the http://capetown.triathlon.org/



Aim to be at T2 at least 1.5 hours before your race start – ideally 2 hours




1. Get to the Green Point Athletics Stadium and find the transition entrance (you might have to leave your bike outside in a dedicated holding pin) –
2. Find and walk to your rack – marshals will be there to help – racks are usually in ranges of your race number or age groups – there will be signs on the racks
3. If race numbers are on the racks find yours – otherwise rack anywhere on the rack – if you get there early and can rack anywhere on the rack, rack nearest to where you enter after the bike – you want to run the shortest possible distance with your bike.
4. Put your shoes – running cap – gels ready – if you have laces make sure they are untied or ready to get your feet in quickly.
5. If you don’t have cleats and are using your running shoes in the cycle, keep them on and only leave your cap, gels etc
6. Look up and find a static land mark – you will be in the stadium so look out for columns, signs etc which you can use to find your spot – make sure you count racks from where you come in from the cycle or use markers to find your rack.
7. Once everything is set out walk to where you will enter with your bike in the race
8. Look out for where the dismount line is – Visualise getting off your bike before the line – easy way to remember when to get on or off your bike is that you are never allowed on your bike in the transition area
9. Visualise coming in with your bike, literally walk to your rack finding it using your markers
10. Visualise racking your bike – helmet off – cleats off – shoes on – cap on – turn your race belt around number to the front
11. Visualise running out and walk the route out to the run exit


1. MAKE SURE YOUR BIKE IS IN AN EASY GEAR before you go into transition 1 – don’t fall in this trap where you jump on your bike, cleat in and then realise it’s in the heaviest gear. It’s downhill from T2 down to T1 so don’t think it’s in an easy gear when you are heading downhill. Test this before the race so you know what an easy gear on a flat road is.
2. Helmet must be on YOUR HEAD – to be able to enter transition
3. Make sure your bike’s drop bars ends (handle ends on the curved bit of the bars) have the plugs – marshals will prevent people entering transitions if their bikes don’t have these plugs/covers. It’s a race rule!!!!
4. Enter transition and find your place to rack your bike – same as transition 2 – racks should be allocated to ranges of race numbers example 1-100 or age groups.
5. If you can rack anywhere on your race number/age group rack and get there early try and rack closest to the bike exit – you want to run the shortest distance possible with your bike.
6. Rack your bike with your seat hanging on the rack – handlebars to the front
7. If it’s not windy, put your helmet on your handlebars – straps out
8. Put your race belt over your helmet – you will put this on 1st
9. Put your sunglass in your helmet upside down – put this on after you put your race belt on
10. Make sure you have a towel NEXT TO your gear if you are planning on drying yourself off before putting on socks/arm warmers/jackets etc. If you have the gear on top of your towel and plan on drying yourself off then you will obviously throw everything off before you can use the towel.
11. Set your cleats out – or running shoes if you don’t cycle with cleats
12. Look up and around you and find a marker – a tree – a statue – buildings edge – you will use it to locate your gear when you come out of the water.
13. Walk to the swim exit and look back at your marker
14. Visualise coming out of the water – putting goggles on your head – leave your cap on- pull your wetsuit arms out – looking up for your marker
15. Walk to your bike using your marker – ACTUALLY WALK THE ROUTE
16. Visualise getting to your bike take your goggles and cap off throw it in the bag
17. Visualise taking your wetsuit off – throw it in the bag – make sure its in – mark your wetsuit so that if for whatever reason the wetsuit falls out they will know it’s yours (you might put it in carefully only to be kicked over by the person next to you after you are long gone)
18. Visualise putting your race belt on – number to the back
19. Visualise putting your helmet on – fastened
20. Visualise putting your shoes on
21. Visualise taking your bike off the rack
22. Actually walk without your bike to the bike exit – look out for the mounting line and visualise jumping on your bike after the mounting line – DO NOT GET ON YOUR BIKE IN TRANSITION – Walk or run BESIDE it
23. Double check that your wheels are pumped up, chain is on, and do your M-check and make sure you have your water bottle on your bike. If you got a puncture cycling down from the stadium to the Waterfront you will only realise it coming out of the water unless you do this check.

1. Once you are done in transitions – it’s time to suit up
2. Get into your wetsuit – up to your waist
3. Grab your goggles and cap
4. Check that you have your racing chip on your left leg
5. Head out of transition to where you can see the water, closer to the start or stay near other Embarkies and the holding pen for the swim start.




1. Have a sports drink or water bottle with you – you need to hydrate the hour leading up to the race and your mouth WILL be very dry – try not to drink normal water – drink something with electrolytes, carbs, etc
2. Have an extra pair of shoes or flipflops to walk around in – you will have to hand this to someone just before you head into the holding pen.
3. Find a spot where you can see the swim course
4. Calm your breathing down – mental strength counts at this point
5. Talk yourself calm by using your mantras – I have got this – I did the hard work – I am used to cold water swimming – I am going to enjoy this and be as calm as I was in the Mock Tri and just go out and have fun – I love this challenge – I have done this lots of times right next door in the canals
6. Visualise the swim start – use YOUR mantra – I have been in swim start scenarios in my training – Visualise getting into the water – it’s cold but you know your body will acclimatise quickly because you have done cold water training – slow your breathing
7. Visualise how people next to you are saying its freezing – there will be people around you freaking out because of the cold – ignore them – and laugh to yourself, because you have done this cold water thing before – you’ve got this and expected it. They haven’t experienced this so don’t allow their negative energy to influence your calm positive energy.
8. Visualise the swim start and how calm you are
9. Visualise how the starting gun goes and how calm you keep yourself – finding your stroke and rhythm – just like every other Canal swim day
10. Visualise how it’s a little frantic around you because of the race – but how you are focussed on what you do – your stroke – your technique – NOT WHATS HAPPENING AROUND YOU – ITS ALL ABOUT YOU
11. Visualise how if you aren’t the fastest swimmer you will be on the side or back waiting for the rest to go and then calmly go for it
12. Close your eyes – breath in and out 3 times slowing your breathing down – reminding yourself of all the open water swimming you have done


IMG-20140428-WA0004YOU ARE READY TO RACE!!!!!!!!!!

Look up – listen to the music – enjoy the atmosphere – find other Embarkers – nerves & excitement at this stage IS NORMAL- even the pro’s have nervous excitement. Embrace it – know that everyone around you feels the same – love the nerves and adrenaline – it will all disappear when the gun goes and you get going
If your feel yourself getting overwhelmed use your mantras –
I have got this –
I am just going out and pretend it’s a normal Canal swim and a Sat brick session –
I worked hard to be ready –
I am ready for this –
I can do all the distances –
I have done this a couple of weeks ago in the Moc tri – even cycling uphill and running up hill –
I am going to smash this!!!
The swim will be over before you know it – it flies by
In the cycle and run – keep positive REMEMBER THE MENTAL STRENGTH SNIPPET ABOUT NOT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO ASK “why am I doing this ” – the moment you do you should stop yourself and use a mantra to stay positive, look around and embrace where you are – what you are achieving – the fun of seeing all your hard work over the last 15 weeks coming together.
Wait for your wave group to be called and enter the swimming holding pen – repeat the above mantras keeping yourself calm
My favourite thing to do to distract myself at this point is look at how the others around you are stressing – it’s an incredible way to completely distract yourself and works very well. Try it.
IMG-20160130-WA0010CYCLE TIPS

1. Drafting is legal – if you are comfortable to draft behind people and have practised it in training then DRAFT – if a group passes you, try and jump on the back – you might spend a little energy to jump onto them but will save 30-40% from that moment onwards
2. If you don’t have a watch that can show distance – stick tape on your handle bar matching the number of laps you have to cycle – pull one off every time you pass the stadium or McDonalds
3. Gels – if you are used to taking gels – stick it on your bike cross bar with the tip stuck down – this allows you to pull the gel of whilst cycling – keep hold of the empty gel packet
4. The cycle is flat – so push hard – you are used to training on hills so your legs can push hard on the flat course
5. Watch out for potholes on the section from the Helen Suzman and Beach Road intersection to the Swimming pool and back.
6. If you get a puncture, stay calm, get off the road, don’t go into a negative head space, calmly repair/replace the tube, make sure everything is perfect and REMEMBER to check the tire for nails/glass etc before you put the new tube in. Once done check your tire, tube, wheel clips are tight, wheel aren’t sticking to the brakes BEFORE you get back on. DO NOT RUSH THIS AS YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES which will cause other problems or more punctures.
7. Technically spectators are not allowed to help you. So try and avoid this if possible.
8. For the last 1km of the cycle – put it in an easy gear and spin spin spin – this forces lactic acid out ( which will slow you down)and increases blood flow which will help with dead/lead legs ( a little!!!!!)

20150719_101223_resizedRUNNING TIPS

1. Remember to grab your gel/gels when you leave your rack
2. There will be water points on the run – HYDRATE
3. If you don’t have a watch that can measure distance – use loose hanging elastic bands matching the number of laps you have to do – pull one off every time you have done a lap – be careful of thinking you will remember how many laps you have done – your memory can be surprisingly weak during a triathlon – NO ONE WILL TELL YOU HOW MANY LAPS YOU HAVE DONE – ITS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY – don’t ask other people, they won’t know
4. Remember your legs will feel like lead for the 1st bit of running – that’s normal – everyone else feels it – power through it and allow your legs to come back – then go for it
5. Always look out for other Emmarkers & high 5 each other – I always shout stuff to the other Embarkies like “looking strong” or “smashing it” or “go STeve” – even if they look like they are dying – 3 things happens – you distract yourself, are in a positive mind set and you might just give them the boost they need
6. Remember the run will probably be where you really need to tap that mental strength and mantras – do not allow yourself to say “I am struggling” or “this is so hard” any negativity will make the run a lot harder – NEGATIVITY WILL NOT CHANGE HOW YOU FEEL – IF ANYTHING IT WILL MAKE IT HARDER – stay positive – smile even if you feel like crying – say to yourself “I am loving this”
7. Going through a tough time or minutes in the run is normal – keep going – push through it – the up is just around the corner (figuratively speaking )
8. If you absolutely have to walk – then walk a little bit but get a marker – say the next lamp post – and say to yourself if you get to it you will run again – AND THEN DO IT
9. Just know that to start running after walking will become harder and harder every time – rather shuffle or slow down your running
10. People will pass you on the run – remember you have no idea in which group they started or on which lap they are on – or if they are some SA champ that started after you did – so shout some encouragement – don’t feel negative because others are passing you.

1. If you are putting on any of these in T1 – make sure you dry yourself off 1st. It’s nearly impossible to get them on whilst your hands/feet/arms/back are still wet and cold. Make sure your towel is next to, NOT UNDER, your gear in T1 if you plan on doing this.
2. If you really want to smash the race – don’t bother with any of the above. Losing 3-5 minutes in transition is very hard to get back on the bike or run. This can literally be the difference between a podium or not.
3. But if you would rather be comfortable then do it.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – DON’T DO ANYTHING NEW – STICK WITH HOW YOU DID IT IN THE TRAINING – if you haven’t been running a 10km without socks – race day is not the time to try it. Don’t try new gels or shoes or goggles. Using old equipment is better because you know it’s flaws.


1. Not having your helmet on your head and fastened before you touch your bike in transition 1
2. Taking your helmet off in Transition 2 before your bike is on the rack
3. Cycling in any transition area
4. Littering
5. Cutting any corners (swim/cycle/run)
6. Not obeying a marshals instructions – if a marshal gives you an instruction – DO IT – don’t argue or talk back – do what they say and move on. This is not football – we don’t chirp or talk back to the marshals – if anything thank them for volunteering so that we can race – and thank them for helping you learn and remember the rules
7. Any un-sportsman’s like behaviour – be nice – everyone around you are struggling – do not grab or hit or scratch people on purpose in the swim – the rules are you aren’t allowed to touch people in the swim (difficult in the swim starts but still). Get away from people if they keep on bothering you in the swim. By all means if someone is doing something dangerous in the cycle, scream and warn them ARGUS style (for those that haven’t done the Argus when someone passes you they will usually shout “passing right” to warn you to keep your line) OR BE VERY VOCAL about what you or they are doing. Don’t feel offended it’s not personal.
8. Not doing the required laps for each leg


1. Swim – avoid the crowds around the buoys – take the long route around them which might be much faster as you avoid the congestion and can swim freely. Unless you are a super-fast swimmer then take the shortest route possible.
2. If you aren’t confident in the water hang back and let the group go – also stick to the sides – outside of the 1st buoy is the best as people will naturally head inwards to the buoy so if you are on the outside you control when you are heading inwards.
3. Be careful coming out of the water and onto the ramp and around corners – take it slow – don’t slip – your feet are wet – rushing here won’t save you much time and can cause serious injuries. WATCH LAST YEARS T1 for the male pro’s if you want to see what happens if you rush the corners from the swim to T1.
4. T1 and T2 is HIGH accident zones – be very careful and look out for other contestants – especially when you are ready to un-rack your bike and walk/run to the exit.
5. Watch out for other contestants running past you in transition with their bikes.
6. Keep your line in the cycle – never swerve unless it will save you from crashing – keep movements slow and predictable – warn people behind you if you are planning to do something like over taking
7. Expect people ahead of you to do stupid things – if you expect it you will always be prepared
8. Always look where you are stepping in the run – you will be tired and if you lose concentration you could end up on the deck – there are random paving bricks sticking out on the run route – look out for them.
IMG-20150425-WA0073When you come down the finishing straight SMILE – you are a triathlete – irrespective of how you feel – YOU MADE IT – and at least you will look good on your photos.
3) NEVER EVER TRY ANYTHING NEW IN THE RACE – NO NEW GEAR OR GELS OR DRINKS OR SOCKS – NOTHING NEW – stick with what you know and what your body has become used to in training.

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