Transition Areas Make Me Feel Like I’m In Middle School

Let’s be honest, sometimes the sport of triathlon can be pretty intimidating. Despite having a bunch of triathlons under my belt, walking into the transition area on race day makes me feel like I’m in Middle School all over again. And for the record, I didn’t sit at the popular kid’s table in the lunch room. The cool kids all have pointy helmets and bikes like this:

Transition Areas Make Me Feel Like I'm In Middle School |

If you look closely, you’ll see that their bike shoes are already cliped into the pedals. I mean, I still sit down in transition to put my sneakers on. In some races, you’ll have an assigned transition spot, while in other races, you can pick your own spot.

I prefer when they assign spots because when I have to pick my own spot, it reminds me of choosing a locker or picking a seat in math class and having to anticipate where the cool kids will want to sit so I don’t accidentally take their spot and get a dirty look. There are also a lot of cliques in the transition area. It seems like everyone knows each other. I kinda feel like this:


The transition area also makes me feel self-conscious. Not only am I willingly walking around in spandex, but I’m not wearing any makeup and my age is written on my leg. I’m constantly thinking, “I hope no one sees my butt jiggle” or “Are they judging me because I don’t have a pointy helmet?” or “Crap, I hope no one noticed my swim cap fling off my head when I was trying to put it on”.

And then I start to laugh as I walk to pick up my swim cap and I make a joke to the girl next to me about how I bet the elite triathletes can’t fling their swim caps as far as I can and she laughs and we become instant friends.

Transition Areas Make Me Feel Like I'm In Middle School |

So, yes. The transition area makes me feel like I’m in Middle School all over again, but I don’t let that stop me from doing triathlons, and you shouldn’t either.

Middle School doesn’t last forever and you won’t be a beginner triathlete forever. Triathlons are SO MUCH FUN, and even though there are a lot of things that still scare me and make me feel like a loser, I become more and more confident and comfortable each race–and you will too.

So if  you’re too intimidated to do a triathlon or if transition areas make you feel like you’re in Middle School too, come sit at our table and set up your transition spot next to us. We’re the ones who still have a hard time putting on our swim caps.

To help you feel confident for your first triathlon, check out our 12 Week Training Plan and get ready to ROCK your race!

Free Beginner Triathlon Training Plan -



  1. Tri Gear online
    Tri Gear online03-19-2014

    Nice Post Jess, I’d say most beginners feel this way and some still do even after a number of races…

    I remember my first transition. I had a series of bags – recyclable shopping bags to be exact – jammed with everything I thought I could possibly need for the race. I had no clue what to do so just watched what others were doing. I had a bright blue scuba diving wetsuit so sort of stood out a bit in the crowd, but it was a great experience. There wasn’t really a good source online at the time to tell you what you were supposed to do. I borrowed a bike from a friend who had a spare. It had shimano pedals, tri bars the lot. I didn’t have proper bike shoes at the time so cycled in my runners – not the best idea I have ever had but finished all the same. The point you make about it getting easier is true but even today I still get a bit nervous when I walk into the transition area.



    • Jess Anderson
      Jess Anderson03-19-2014

      Thanks for your comment Gaz! I love to hear stories of people’s first triathlons… I don’t think any of us know what we’re doing! It’s fun to look back and see how much we’ve improved, but at the time, it’s scary! And while it does get easier, I agree with you, I still get nervous too.

      p.s. I think you should win an award for riding a bike with shimano pedals with sneakers! I’m impressed!