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Best Transition Area Tips for Your Next Tri

Worrying about transitions is a thing of the past. We want you to feel prepared when taking on JGT, so keep reading for the best transition area tips for your next tri!

One of the first steps of any tri you participate in is setting up your tri gear in the designated transition area. If you are new to triathlons, the best advice for tackling transitions is to arrive at the race site as early as possible. Use this time to prepare your gear exactly how you want it during the race, and acquaint yourself with the transition area. You’ll find this will also ease your nerves as you become more familiar with the race site, as well as getting to know some of the triathletes in the process! Keep reading to check out the best transition area tips that are sure to make your tri the best it can be.

Questions about what to expect during transition of your upcoming tri? We've covered the best transition area tips you need to know before race day!

1.)  Rack your bike

Everyone will have an assigned rack for your bike in the transition area according to age group. The way you rack your bike while setting up has a big impact on how quickly you can get in and out of transition. Place your bike on the rack by either hanging the handlebars over the rack for security or place the bottom of your seat on the transition rack. Do whichever way works best for you to know your bike won’t fall or get damaged when in the transition area. Most importantly, remember where you racked your bike for quickest access. Pro tip: We have a first come first serve basis when it comes to where you place your bike on your assigned rack, show up early to opt for a spot near the end on the racks. 

2.)  Make sure your bike is in an easy gear

Tips for racking your bike for transition

Make sure your bike is in easy gear when walking out of the transition area!

Easily forgotten, but possibly one of the best transition area tips out there! When you grab your bike to walk out of transition, you want your bike to be in an easy gear for when you hop on. Whatever speed bike you have, set the gear to the easiest or ‘lowest’ setting before the race. This will help you get going on your bike without difficulty. The lower the gear, the easier it is to pedal. You don’t want to have your bike on the max gear after completing a 600-meter swim. Once you feel comfortable on your bike, change your gear to whatever you feel most comfortable with for the rest of the ride. 

3.)  Place your helmet on in the proper direction

When you lay your transition gear out before the race begins, you want to do so in a certain way. Think about what you will be putting on or taking off first, and lay your items out according to the order you will use them. Pro tip: Lay your helmet top down with the front end facing toward you. Along with being a time-saver, this will ensure you don’t accidentally end up riding through Jack’s Generic Tri with your helmet backward. 

Take it from us, these are the best basic tips for a trouble-free transition. After you feel like you have set up your gear in the transition area in a way that works best for you, grab your goggles and head to the water! For more Jack’s Generic Tri transition area tips, click here to read more!

 

Tips to Get Your Best Race Photos During Jack’s Generic Tri

Get race-photos you can’t wait to show off with this list of tips for how to look your best in race photos

We all want great shots of ourselves during the race to look back at and cherish later on, but we all know flattering race photos can be tricky. I, personally, find it challenging to get a good photo of myself regardless of what I’m doing, so you can bet a Facebook-worthy action-shot is even more of a challenge. However, with this list of tips and some self-awareness, you’ll be prepared to look your best in your Jack’s Generic Tri race photos. After the race, don’t forget to tag us @JacksGenericTri

Swim Portion

1. Think about your form

Lookin' cool finishing up the JGT swim portion!

Lookin’ cool running out of the JGT swim portion, heading into T1!

The photos that are captured in the water are obviously not going to show a whole lot of your face. What the photo will capture is your form in the water. If you know photographs are being taken, attempt to tighten up your form. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how awesome a mid-swim photo of yourself can be!

2. Be ready to Smile

As you are walking/running out of the water, you can count on one of our amazing photographers to be there to capture the moment. Pro tip: smile BIG! We love seeing our participants having a great time moving on to the next portion of the tri, and these are often some of the coolest photos we get from Jack’s Generic Tri!

Bike Portion

Keep your eyes on the road and flash the photographer a smile when you pass them by!

Keep your eyes on the road and flash the photographer a smile when you pass them by!

1. Check your positioning

Bike photos are an awesome chance to get a great close-up race picture. However, no photo is worth losing control of your bike. We know everyone has their favorite riding position to be in when in the saddle. Rather than changing the position you’re comfortable with, simply give the photographer a smile or a thumbs up when you cruise past them! You’ll be very impressed at how they turn out. 

Run Portion

1.Position your bib Before

To make sure your personalized bib can be seen in your race photos, place it in the front-center of your race shirt/suit.  This is also important for the automated photosystems to use this to tag your photos. This way you don’t have to sift through thousands of photos to try and find yourself!

2. Stand Tall

After running for a while, we tend to let our shoulders fall forward. When you see the photographers up ahead, stand up a little taller! No matter how you feel on the inside, this is a sure way to make you look effortless during the run portion. 

3. Increase your stride

Elongate the appearance of your legs by lengthening your stride for a couple of steps! You don’t want to do this for the entire run portion of JGT, but it won’t hurt for a photo or three when you catch a glimpse of the camera (not to mention, you’ll love how long your legs will look in these photos)

Giving the photographer a thumbs up, about to cross the jGT finish line!

Giving the photographer a thumbs up, about to cross the JGT finish line!

4. Relax your face and think positive

We know, easier said than done, but start practicing now on your training runs. Make your cheeks soft and say the word “Money.” Give it a try in the mirror and see for yourself. Hopefully, you’ll already be smiling due to all the fun you’re having at JGT, but when you see a photographer ahead of you relax your face and enjoy yourself, and the pictures are bound to turn out fantastic!

5. Have fun!

Probably the most important piece of advice for your best race photos. If you’re having a good time, it’ll show in the pictures. The photographers are there to capture your accomplishments, so the most important thing to remember is to have fun! You’ll be able to look back at these photos forever, so it’s important to make the most out of your experience.

You can pre-purchase your 2019 Official FinisherPix race photos now at a discounted price.

We hope to see you out there on the racecourse with us on August 25th! If you do decide to join us for Jack’s Generic Tri, use these tips and get ready to see your best race photos ever!

 

6 Skills to Know Before Race Day of Jack’s Generic Tri

Be prepared for anything that comes your way during Jack’s Generic Tri by checking out these 6 skills you need to know before race day!

When it comes to triathlons, there is a lot of information that would be beneficial to know before you get out and tackle your first tri. To help you get prepared for Jack’s Generic Tri, we’ve created a list of 6 basic skills that are sure to help you become a better triathlete in the long-run.

How to Change a Flat

6 skills to know before race day

One last bike safety check before the race kicks off!

Follow these 10 steps to fix a flat, and you’ll be back in the race in no time.

1.) Open quick release on break calipers
2.) Open quick release skewer on wheel & remove wheel
3.) Take one side of tire off the rim with your tire levers
4.) Pull out the punctured tube
5.) Check the inside of tire for road debris and cuts in tire
6.) Make sure the rim strip on wheel rim is in it’s proper place
7.) Insert new inner tube between wheel rim and tire
8.) Put the sidewall of tire back onto the rim
9.) Inflate the tube to recommended pressure
10.) Put the wheel back on the bicycle, insert skewer, and re-clamp break calipers

Although it can be tedious, this is a skill you need to know before race day. We recommend using Genuine Innovations Deluxe Ultra Flate tire kit.

How to Fix a Dropped Chain

Get off the bike and steady it in an upright position against something sturdy. To add slack to the chain, push the rear derailleur toward the pedal (forward or inward), and then use your other hand to free the chain from the chainrings or pedals. Line the chain back up with a chainring and cassette to put the chain back in place. Lastly, lift the rear of your bike a few inches off the ground and give the pedals a few turns to allow the chain to find its gear. This seems insignificant, but it’s an important step to keep your chain from more wear and tear throughout the rest of your ride. 

How to Ride in the Rain

Check the weather on race morning to see if you should be prepared to ride in the rain. Throughout the course, avoid standing water. You never know what could be underneath a puddle, and you don’t want to risk a flat tire in wet conditions. Also, be on the lookout for rainbow-colored oil patches in the road to avoid any possible slipping. Stay within your comfort zone, and avoid braking through the corners to prevent losing control. Last but not least, bring some protection for your eyes! Hopefully, you do this when out for any ride, but you will be glad you did in case you find yourself riding in the rain. 

How to Ride While Taking a Drink

You’re bound to get thirsty during the bike portion, so be prepared to ride with one hand during a race. Practice makes perfect. During your training, practice this by removing one hand at a time to build up your confidence. Start with shorter distances, and before you know it you’ll be a pro at riding with one hand. This skill will allow you to eat, drink and signal to other riders while making your way to the finish line.

 

6 skills to know before race day

Jack’s Generic Tri participant sighting during the swim portion

How to Sight in the Water

To avoid swimming a further distance during your tri, sighting is an important skill you should know before an open-water swim. You need to look where you’re going every few strokes to make sure you are staying in line with the buoys. The best method of sighting is to incorporate glancing forward before you go to take a breath. It is recommended to sight every 2 – 3 strokes, but to find what works best for you, you will just have to practice. Pro tip: Look at the swim course before-hand to see if the course goes clockwise or counter-clockwise, then you’ll know to stay on the right or left side of the buoys. 

How to Look Over Your Shoulder

After you perfect riding with one hand, you’ll be ready to learn how to look over your shoulder during your ride. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings during a ride to keep yourself, and others around you safe. It’s all about shifting your weight correctly and keeping your knees, pelvis, and front-wheel facing forward. We advise performing this drill in a parking lot, or on an empty street to make sure you can still ride straight while turned around.

Once you’ve mastered these 6 skills you should know, there will be nothing in your way on race day as you head for the finish line!

Revealing the 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri Participant Bibs

Get the first look at this year’s JGT bibs designed especially with you in mind!

Get ready to get generic this August 25th and get ready to show off your personalized bib! Customizations are available until July 31st, so don’t wait any longer, and sign up today!

Jack's Generic Tri bibs revealed

First-look at the super sleek 2019 JGT participant bibs!

 

We can’t wait to meet you all on race morning at the start line! In the meantime, keep up the hard work during your JGT training!

You Need This Essential Triathlon Equipment Checklist

Pursue your love of triathlons the right way!

It’s never a good idea to wait until a couple of weeks or days leading up to your next tri to get all your necessary gear together. We’ve created a checklist of the essential triathlon equipment you’ll need to be a pro triathlete in no time.

Bike

Choose the best bike for youSimple enough, but one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. You can’t complete a triathlon without a bike. From tri bikes and road bikes to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and cruisers, we’ve seen just about everything on the JGT course. Whatever kind of bike you have will be just fine for your next tri. Whether you’re currently in the market for one or are looking to improve your current ride, here are some suggestions for your perfect ride.

Pro tip: You can always rent bikes to test it out before you buy.

Helmet

Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will need for a triathlon. A safe tri is a fun tri, so it’s important to make sure you have a helmet that protects you. The fit of your helmet is crucial in the case of an accident. It is also a good idea to make sure you test them out in person to ensure a correct fit before purchasing your helmet.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are a must. It takes time to figure out what will make the run portion the most enjoyable and painless for you. Everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to a running shoe, so make sure you’re choosing the perfect pair of shoes. Hopefully, by now you already have a favorite pair or have a pair on the way, and are ready to take on the JGT run course. Pro tip: It’s a good idea to wear your running shoes to the race, to avoid forgetting them along with all your other essential tri gear.

Swim Goggles

Of course, you need goggles for the swim portion. Open water swimming tends to frighten people, so it will make you feel better to be able to see while completing the swim to see the buoys. Also, depending on the weather race day, choose goggles with the appropriate amount of tint to avoid hindering yourself during the swim portion.

 

Swim Cap

Swim caps are great for eliminating drag and increasing your speed in the water. JGT provides our participants with a bright colored swim cap specific to your age group to keep the groups together and help with the time trial swim start. Per USAT rules, swim caps are required for safety purposes to be able to identify swimmers in the water.

Pro tip: Wear two swim caps on race day with your goggles in between the two. It will prevent any sort of slipping your goggles may encounter.

Swimsuit or Tri Suit

A standard swimsuit can come in a one-piece or two-piece. You will need to come prepared with a pair of cycling shorts after you complete the swim if you opt for the swimsuit. Then there is a tri suit. A tri suit can also be in one or two pieces, but the bottoms resemble cycling shorts. The key difference here from a wetsuit is the pad included for cycling is not nearly as thick. Find what you’re most comfortable in to be ready for your next triathlon. Lastly, if you plan on doing your training in a pool, the chlorine can damage your suit. It’s always a good idea to have one you train in, and one designated for race day.

We advise shopping around before you make your purchase regarding these different pieces of essential triathlon equipment. Everyone has their preferences, so take some time to guarantee you get the equipment best for you and your body.

 

Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Clean Bike

Our guide to a clean bike will have your ride look good as new

Everybody knows that when you go for a ride, your bike is bound to get dirty. Whether it’s grease from your indoor trainer or mud and dirt from your ride on the trails, we know how hard it can be to keep your set of wheels clean with all the craziness of training season. Prolong the life of your bike by giving it the TLC it needs with our 7-step guide to a clean bike. Pro tip: download the PDF below to print out our guide to a clean bike!

Follow these steps

  1. Put a little degreaser on the chain. Not too much, a little goes a long way. Let it sit on the chain for about a minute or two.
  2. Give the chain a light scrubbing and rinse it off with the hose/sprayer.
  3. Prepare the Simple Green solution. We recommend a 3:1 ratio of water to Simple Green.
  4. Take your big brush along with the solution and wash all the major components of the bike (i.e. frame, fork, wheels, cranks, and derailleurs). Save your smaller brushes for tighter areas. To avoid missing any spots, start at the back and make your way to the front of the bike.
  5. Spray your bike down with water completely. Wash your tires while you’re at it. It will give you a chance to inspect for any damages your tires may have.
  6. Let it dry. Either air-dry outside or hand-dry it with a towel.
  7. Once completely dry, you can then lube the chain so it’s ready to go on your next ride.

Go the extra mile and wash the bar tape, saddle, and tires. These parts tend to get forgotten and they can get pretty gross if they stay dirty.

Consistency is key. Using our guide to a clean bike will ultimately improve the way your bike handles, as well as extending the life of your bike. Remember: happy bike = happy life.

By: James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles, an Austin, Texas-based mobile bicycle repair company that comes to you. Balentine began working with bikes in 1990 when he was 12. He began racing mountain bikes in 1991 and BMX in 1992, winning 12 national championships before turning pro in 1999. He has worked with USA Triathlon as a mechanic for Team USA since 2004. Since 2013, Balentine has worked with the US Paratriathlon team and is their sole mechanic.

Transition Details – What You Should Know for a Smooth Race Day

Knowing transition details will make for a smooth race day

The best way to ensure a successful and generic Jack’s Generic Tri is to be prepared. Here are some transition details that will help guarantee a smooth experience the morning of August 25th. Jack’s Generic Tri is located at Walter E Long Park in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. Transition opens bright and early at 5:30 a.m. and closes at 7:00. Don’t forget to grab your goggles and head to the water before the race begins at 7:30.

Body marking

Volunteers will body mark the participant before they enter transition. Body markings are written in marker on arms and legs to identify the participant with their bib number and age.  Arms and quads get marked with the participant’s race number and the right calve gets the age of the participant.  Relays get an “R” for relay in place of age.

Triathletes should have bib information and age (age on Dec. 31st of race year) ready for the volunteer to make the process go faster for everyone.

Bib Numbers

Have bib numbers and wristband ready. Put the bike sticker on the seat post of your bike before you get to transition on race morning.  Put the helmet sticker number on the front of your helmet. You will also need to wear your wristband in order to get into transition.

Racks

Transition will have racks assigned to each age group. It is open racking within your age group. You must be body marked and wearing your athlete wristband before you enter transition. Only participants are allowed in. Friends and family (including children) must wait outside of transition.

City Limit Cycles will be available outside of transition for any last-minute needs. They’ll have bike pumps for airing up your tires. Once transition closes, you will not be allowed back in. Make sure and arrive early.

Pro tip: Remember where your bike is by keeping track of which rack your bike belongs on. This will be predetermined according to age. (?)

There will be designated racks for the participant to put their bike on. It is very beneficial to become familiar with the flow of transition. This means after the swim,  should know where they will be entering transition and where they will be heading out on the bike.  After the bike, they should know where they will exit for the run.

Relay corral

Relay team members will rack together. Team members will wait in the relay pen near the rack. Their team member will return their items to the rack and then meet the next team member in the pen to exchange the chip.

Bike check out

Bikes will not be allowed out of transition until the final cyclist has completed the bike course. It is expected that this will be around 11:00 a.m. Participants will be allowed back into transition after they finish, but bikes may not be removed from the racks.

Location

Know where transition is located by checking out this map on our website!

Bike Tune-Up Advice

Extend the life of your bike with this bike tune-up advice

When does my bicycle need a tune-up? This is a common question. The answer is not cut and dried. Every bicycle is in a state of getting out of tune due to riding, transporting, and/or storing it. All these things wear on your bike in a way that will make the ride less than perfect. This bike tune-up advice below will keep you and your bike happy!

There are a handful of cyclists with mechanical skills that allow them to work on their bikes before and after every ride. For most cyclists, that is not the case. On average, tune-ups are only scheduled once a year. Other cyclists will wait until the bike needs work beyond the standard tune-up. This can lead to more costly repairs involving component replacement.

To be blunt, anyone who truly cares about having a smooth running bicycle should learn some basic bicycle maintenance. This can include derailleur adjustments, eliminating squeaks, and wheel truing.

Bike tune-up frequency

In general, if someone is okay at derailleur adjustments and wheel truing, they can get one professional tune-up per year. This could include a new chain, tires, and handlebar tape. If you service your bike frequently, you will increase the life expectancy of your components. You will be happier and more comfortable with one bike for a longer amount of time.

There are several factors that may cause your bike to need extra attention each year. The first is numerous race wheel swap outs. The second is transporting the bike on a regular basis. The third is racing your bike. Please know that it is okay to swap wheels, travel, and race. But you should also know that there are some issues associated with each.

If you want a very smooth ride without working on the bike yourself, you should schedule tune-ups more frequently. This could be as many as three times per year if you are a high-mileage cyclist.

If you take care of your bike, it will take care of you. If you don’t take care of your bike, call James Balentine with City Limit Cycles!

Cycling Clothes for Colder Weather

The proper cycling clothes can protect you on your winter bike rides

Not wearing enough cycling clothes can keep the body from warming up properly, leaving you with a greater chance of injury and staying cold. Your cycling clothes can also help protect your skin by helping to prevent chafing and irritation. The material helps to limit the loss of body heat by keeping your skin dry.

When cycling in cold weather, it’s usually best to wear layers. Layers will give you the option of taking clothing off if you become too warm, but otherwise keeping you warm enough to stay safe.

Winter cycling clothes checklist:

  • Toe/shoe covers
  • Full-fingered gloves
  • Coolmax undershirt
  • Arm/leg/knee warmers
  • Ear covers or skull cap

These items in combination with your standard cycling shorts, jersey, and socks will keep you happy all winter long. Don’t forget to conduct this pre-ride safety check and follow these group ride guidelines before your next ride.

Two Reasons for Skipping Chains

Learn what causes skipping chains and what you can do about it

There are two main causes for skipping chains. The most common cause is the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain itself. The second most common cause of skipping chains is wearing on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. Read below to see what causes each and how you can prevent chain skipping and extend the life of your bike.

There are several things that can cause the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain.

  • Improper cable tension. When the tension is incorrect the chain does not sit inline with the corresponding cassette cog and it is trying to jump to the next cog.
  • Dirty cable. The dirt prevents the cable from moving like it needs to.
  • Slightly bent hanger for the rear derailleur. Can affect the alignment.

Learn what you can do about skipping chains on your bike.Skipping chains will wear on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. The chain is the most likely to wear out first since it is made entirely of small, moving parts. Those parts tend to wear out faster when they are dirty or ridden dry. Chains on most modern drivetrains usually last anywhere from 1500 to 2000 miles. This can change depending on your riding style and how well you maintain your bike. If you keep your drivetrain clean and you tend to spin at a slightly higher cadence then you will get more mileage out of your chain. Follow these six steps to clean your drivetrain.

When the chain wears, it no longer sits evenly on the cassette cogs and chainrings. As this goes on the chain will eventually start to jump since the chain wears much faster than the cassette and chainrings. If you let your chain go too long it will start to wear down the teeth of the cassette first and then the chainrings. If the chain is replaced before it is too worn the cassette and chainrings will outlast the chain many times over. You’d much rather want to replace your chain than the cassette and chainrings.

Use this bike tool to measure chain wear at home. You can also call James Balentine at City Limit Cycles. He can measure it for you and make any necessary adjustments and/or fixes.