A-Z of Triathlon

A-Z of Triathlon


Aerobars - using aero or tri bars that allow you to be in a more aerodynamic position on the bike.

Aid Station - Designated areas on the cycle and run course to provide participants with extra hydration, electrolytes and medical assistance if needed. Please make note of these prior to starting your event. 

Athlete Check In - Each event athletes will need to check in or register down on event site. This involved marking your name off, collecting your swim cap and timing chip.

Aquathlon - an event involving a swim and run. 


Bag Drop - Bag drop is an area for you to put your belongings in that you will need for after your race, many events have option but do check beforehand.

Bidon -  Another term for a water bottle, specifically used on a bike. 

Bidon Cage:  A device used to fix a water bottle to a bike.

Bike Check In - All bikes need to be placed into transition prior to race start.  Positions on bike racks in bigger races are usually allocated according to your race number.

Blue Card - When shown a blue card by an official you have been issued a time penalty of up to 5 minutes depending on the distance of the race.  You must stop at the next penalty box to serve your time penalty or you may be disqualified.

Bonk - Another term for hitting the wall, when an athlete runs out of energy and it is very difficult to carry on.

Brick session - Training session combining 2 sports together.  Most commonly bike/run sessions


Clothing - All participants are required to cover their torso on the cycle and run course of the event. This is to protect the safety of the participant. 

Cross triathlon - off-road triathlon discipline that typically takes place over a 1 kilometre (km) swim, 20 to 30km mountain bike and 6 to 10km trail run.

CO2 Cannister - used with a fitment to put air into a tyre in seconds saving precious time should you get a flat tyre.


Deep Water Start - The race starting with all participants in the water rather than starting on land and running into the water. 

Dismount Line - When coming into transition from the ride leg, you must dismount off your bike before the dismount line. This line is usually (but not always) the same as the mounting line. It will be clearly marked and technical officials will be present. 

DNF - Does not finish. For some reason the participant has been pulled from the event and unable to complete the course. 

DNS -  Did Not Start.  Registered but didn't start the race.

DQ - Disqualified. The participant has breached the Race Competition Rules and the technical officials have deemed this to be a mjor violation warranting a disqualification from the event. This can occuring during or after the completion of the event. 

Drafting - Drafting is the process of sitting on your opponents back wheel while cycling. This is prohibited in triathlons unless specifically stated. The minimum distance you must be from the cyclist in front of you is 7m but it can change depending on the race distance.

Duathlon - event involving a bike and run leg.  Some events are run, bike, run.


Enticer - Race distance shorter than sprint distance.  Usually 300m swim, 10km cycle and 3 km run but may vary depending on the event.

Elites - Term used to refer to high performing athletes.  May be professional, junior or open athletes.

Ergo Training - Training session involving putting your bike on a stationary trainer.


First Aid - All sanctioned Triathlon WA events are required to have a first aid officer present. If at any point of the race you feel you need medical assistance, signal to a Technical Official and they can notify the medical personnel. 

Flat Tyre - If during the race you encounter a puncture or a flat tyre it is your responsibility to either repair or change it. If you are unable to do this you will need to either pull out from the event or you can run your bike back to transition to complete the race. If the race provides a bike mechanic, they will be able to assist you on course. 


Garmin -  Brand of timing device commonly used by triathletes.  Could be watch or bike computer.

Gels -  Highly concentrated source of carbohydrates (65–70% or 65–75 g/100 ml) in a form (honey consistency) that is easily consumed and quickly digested.


Hand Cycle - Type of bike used by para triathletes for the cycle leg.

Helmet - You must use a helmet on the bike course.  You must do up your helmet before you move your bike to go on the bike course and when you return you must rack your bike before you remove your helmet.

Hydrate - Making sure you consume enough fluids when racing or training to work at your best.  Dehydration can cause a significant effect on performance.


Interval training - Training involving alternating periods of high and low intensity.

Iron Distance Triathlon - Any triathlon with a swim over 2000m, cycle over 90km and run over 21km.

Ironman - Iron distance event run by Ironman.  Distances are 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.

Ironman 70.3 - Long distance triathlon run by Ironman.  Involves 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run.  70.3 refers to the total distance in miles cover during the event.

ITU - International Triathlon Union is the international governing body for the multi-sport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and other nonstandard variations.


Juniors -  Athletes under the age of 20.  An athlete’s age is determined as at 31 December of the season. For example, for season 2019/20, the age is at 31 December 2019.


Kilometres - You'll cover many of these during training.

Kona - The home of Ironman triathlon.  The first Ironman triathlon was held in Kona (Hawaii) and it is now the home of the World Championships every year.


Laces - Elastic shoe laces and or toggles on your laces are usually used in competition to facilitate faster transitions onto the run course. 

Long Course -  A long course triathlon usually consisting of a swim between 1500m-1900m, cycle between 40km-90km and run 10km-21km.  Distances may vary depending on the event.


Mount Line - When exiting the transition area, you must run your bike out and can only hop on your bike after crossing over the mounting line. This will be clearly marked and have technical officials present to remind you. The mount and dismount lines are usually in the same space. 


Novice (Triathlon) -  A person who is just starting out in the sport or doesn't have the time to train heavily.


On Course - Any action or decision that occurs during the field of play. 

Outside Assistance - When competing, you are not allowed to accept any assistance, food, drink or clothing from anyone except technical officials or race personnel. If you feel you may need something e.g. medication, extra food etc. please have it on your, in transition or speak with a technical official. 

Olympic Distance - Also known as standard distance, the distance of races used in the Olympic Triathlon of 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.


Penalty Box - if you are caught violating a rule you may be instructed to serve your time penalty in the designated area on course, this area is the penalty box. 

Personal Music Devices (iPod, MP3 players, Portable Speakers, phones) - these are prohibited in all triathlon events. If you are found to be wearing a personal music device while racing it will be removed and you may receive a penalty, this is a safety issue.


Qualifying Events - There are a number of qualifying events if you wish to represent your country at the World Championships.  There are qualifying events in duathlon, aquathlon, sprint, standard, long course and cross tri.  For more information click here.


Race Belt - Elastic belt that you can attach your race number to that you can put on after your swim.

Race Briefing - Prior to the commencement of the event, the race director will gather all participants together and inform them about the course and update them on any safety concerns. 

Racking Bike - In transition there are bike racks for your bike to hang off while you are racing. Flat Bar bikes (mountain bikes) are racked by the front of the seat, all other bikes (road bikes, TT) are racked by the brake levers. If you have trouble racking your bike in transition asked one of the technical officials for assistance. 


Splits - Your total race time broken down into the different legs, including transition time.

Sprint Triathlon - Any race with a maximum swim of 750m, cycle between 10km-20km, and run between 2km-5km.  One of the cycle or run legs may be up to 10% above these limits.

Standard Distance triathlon - Any race where the swim is between 750m-1500m, the cycle is between 20km-40km and run is between 5km-10km.  One of the cycle or run legs may be up to 10% above these limits.

Swim caps - Most events will provide a swim cap in your race pack. It is a safety requirement that you wear this during the swim portion of the event.


Technical Official - Technical Officials (TO) are required to ensure the safety of all participants and the smooth running of the event. If at any point you are unclear of the rules or need assistance during the event, signal to a TO and they will be able to assist you. 

Teams Event - Many events offer the course to be done as a teams events where a different person does a different leg of the triathlon. These events are a fantastic introduction to the sport and opportunity for people to participate in longer distance "marquee" events. 

Timing Chips - Most events will provide you with a timing chip. This is to be worn on your left ankle and will need to be returned at the conclusion of your event unless otherwise stated.

Transition - The Transition area is where you switch between the different legs.  You rack your bike there and lay out all your equipment  for the bike and run sections.  T1 - Swim to bike; T2 Bike to run

Trystars - Australian triathlon program/races for children aged 7-13.

Turbo Trainer - A bike accessory that attaches to the rear wheel of the bike and creates resistance allowing for stationary cycling.


Ultraman -  An extreme endurance triathlon involving a 10km swim, a 421km cross-country bike ride, and a 84km ultra-marathon run conducted over 3 days. The World Championships are held in Kona each year. 


VO2 Max - Maximum rate at which the body can use oxygen effectively.  Used as a measure of a persons aerobic capacity.


Water Safety - All sanctioned Triathlon WA events are required to have water safety during the swim course of the event. These personnel are there to assist you if you need and to ensure the safety of all competitors. 

Waves - Starting groups are called waves. These are usually divided up into age groups. 

Wetsuit -  Most events in Western Australia are wetsuit optional - this means that you can choose whether you want to wear a wetsuit during the swim leg. Please note that the wetsuit must not exceed thickness of 5mm. 


Xterra - Global triathlon series that has at least one race in each continent, involving open water swimming, off road cycling and running.


Yellow card - If an official shows you a yellow card you have received a Stop & Go Penalty.  You must obey the instructions of the officials who will either tell you to stop there or at the next penalty box.


Zipp - A brand of cycling wheels including deep rim and disk wheels

Zoot - A triathlon clothing company