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How To Triathlon Relay

There are not too much differences in the logistics of a triathlon relay (I'm referring here to a relay where there's a swimmer, cyclist and runner; not the type where each member completes an entire triathlon) compared to a triathlon completed as an individual. Most of the rules are the same. What's nice is you can wear what's optimal for each sport as opposed to a triathlon racesuit.

The main difference is the exchange. The official rules require a touch of the incoming competitor to the next in a defined exchange zone (usually close to your allocated bike rack) but some races may also require an exchange of a timing chip and band. Check your individual event on this.

Team Santa Cruz Endurance make a chip exchange at the 2010 Santa Cruz Triathlon

If you're required to exchange a timing chip, you have two choices:

  1. The swimmer does it. PRO: the cyclist can hang on to their bike and go as soon as the swimmer attaches the band to the cyclists ankle. CON: You're relying on a smashed swimmers fine motor skills to take the band off and attach it to you at a tightness that's satisfactory to the cyclist.

  2. The cyclist does it. PRO: the cyclist will probably do a better job getting the band off the swimmer whose facilities might be compromised by fatigue and onto themselves. CON: the cyclist will have to keep their bike racked or have someone hold it for them (the runner?) while the make the band exchange.

In T2 the runner should just do the exchange. The cyclist will be off the bike and just stick their leg out for the runner to take care of business.

The only other challenge for a relay is timing your warm up (ie. figuring out when the swimmer or cyclist is due to be back). You don't want to be late for their arrival!

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