London Triathlon

Hi All

This is my first post on here, so apologies if I get the etiquette wrong. Anyway, I signed up for Virgin London Triathlon (Olympic Distance) last year, on a bit of a whim, I've been training hard, apart from running as I have an achilles injury (I'll just suck it up and get on with it on the day - not that my physio would agree with this approach). This being my first significant triathalon I have a few questions you might be able to help with.

1) I find it difficult, bordering on impossible, to get my wet suit on without someone to do the zip up for me - is the bike area in transition the best place to put wet suit on before the swim and will others be around and willing to help with the zip bit.

2) How strict are drafting rules likely to be enforced for a competitor who is obviously a beginner, I'm not looking to gain an unfair advantage, but the rules (7 * 3m box around each rider) look fairly strict and I'm concerned that with 400-500 people commencing cycle within about 10 minutes of each other a certain amount of inadvertent drafting is inevitable.

3) With the DLR banning cycles for the day (& me not being able to get a car to event), I was planning on getting train to Greenwich (as I come into Waterloo) & then walking through Greenwich tunnel and cycling to Excel from there - does this seem sensible, I don't know London that well so any better idea's much appreciated

4) I've done quite a bit of swimming in pool, including in my wet suit, but can't get to an open swimming venue, how much different is too a pool - obviously don't get a push off every 25 metres, but I've been trying to avoid a big push at each length in the pool anyway - a time comparison would be very helpful

5) How does transition work, do I have a box (do they supply the box?) of cycling and running kit (ie cycling shoes, gloves, running shoes etc) beside my bike in transition.  When I get out water I understand I take my wet suit off straight away & put it in the bag they give me, do I take this to the box (?) beside my bike and leave it there

6) Is my bike spot in transition preallocated according to my race no. or is it first come first servced?

7) Any other advice would be much appreciated

Thanks all


  • Hi Matt,

    1) So do I. Someone will help on the day though.

    2) Keep your distance from the bike in front unless overtaking and you'll be fine. Mass starts are inevitably a bit crowded on the bike at first so everyone will be in the same boat until the field starts to thin out.

    3) Not sure about that one. Hopefully a local will answer it.

    4) I would seriously try to get to an OW venue at least once. My first tri was my first OW swim, and I nearly DNF'd because of a bit of a panic.My oly time and pool time for 1500m are almost identical.

    5) Tale a bag if you're cycling to the event otherwise you're going ti have all sorts of fun balancing a box on the bars. Lay your kit out next to your bike and make sure you don't encroach onto the areas either side of you.

    6) Every tri I've ever done has been pre-allocated space so I guess that London will be the same.

    7) Enjoy it. Good luck.

  • hi Matt

    1. someone will help if you ask nicely and you may have to reciprocate

    2. simply - don't draft.  if you're spotted you risk a penalty, get caught twice and you get a DQ.  draftbusters don't know you're a beginner!  as NV says, you will get some inadvertent drafting early on but try to avoid.

    3.  foot tunnel is one idea.  Woolwich ferry is another and lands you closer to Excel.

    4. try to get an OW swim in if you can.  and watch out for the mass swim start aka the washing machine, so expect to get kicked and punched. if worried by this start at the side or back to avoid the worst.

    5. don't use a box, they are unwieldy (and NOT provided). a rucsack/sport bag you can throw on your bag is much easier to manage especially of you have to cycle there.  take the bag with wetsuit to your racking spot.

    6. London tri uses numbered racking so find your number and rack there.  don't obstruct others even though t will be crammed.

    7. enjoy

  • Ive done it the last 2 years...

    1) Each wave is marshalled in a pen, there will be loads of folk there to help, you will no doubt be asked to help someone yourself.

    2) The bike tends to be a bit strung out but as the roads are closed you should have plenty of room to pass/be passed.

    3) No idea, I've always driven.

    4) OW experience would be good but if you are worried hang back and stick tight to the buoys all the way round. Its not choppy. they will bring you out to the start 5 mins before the hooter goes, so be prepared to tread water for that length of time.

    5) As you exit the water youu will be given a bin bag and you have to get out of your suit and bag it before the will let you into T1. the floor is VERY slippy so watch you footing, especially if you are going to have cleats on. I never use a box, I just have a towel down with my shoes talced.

    6) I dont remember the racking being numbered, but its HUGE so try and remember where you have put your stuff!

    7) On the bike leg remember the roads are closed so you dont have to follow the white lines (e.g. round roundabouts!) I always see loads of folk add a good distance to their bike leg by religiously staying in lane! And enjoy, its one of the best events I've done, nothing like cycling full pelt into those tunnels!

  • IIRC - the DLR does let you bring bikes on it for the London least it has for the last three years anyway.

  • Guys


    Thank you all, really good advice which will certainly help eliminate some of the 'what happens when' stuff on the day and allow me to focus on performing at my best - which might be tail-end-charlie!

    I shall try and make it for an open water swim before the big day




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