Race your best
SET UP PROPERLY
Secure any spare kit to your bike – and you have checked that the valve on your spare inner tube fits the wheels, right? If you haven’t got dedicated holders, duct-tape gels and bars to the frame. Put your helmet on the handlebars on the side you’ll arrive at after the swim, and make sure your sunglasses are clean if you like to wear them. If you’re really going for it, use a front-mounting bottle for water, and pack the minimum - extra can affect your bike’s handling.
GET UP TO SPEED
“Leave your bike in a gear that makes it easy to get away,” says Rooke. “Do not put the chain in a low gear because it will take longer to get up to race speed. Let your legs get up to speed, then switch up to a gear that allows you to race hard without blowing up too early – you should have practised this in brick sessions.” Wait until you’ve settled before you hydrate, and use aid stations to sit up in the saddle: it’ll recruit different muscles, which prevents discomfort.
SPIN IT OUT
“Just before you finish the bike stage, increase your gearing to make it easier to spin your legs out, so when you run it feels easier,” says Rooke. “This stops the legs feeling heavier after pushing hard for a length of time.” Increase your cadence (pedalling rate) with 500m to go and loosen the strap on your shoes in the final 100, but don’t unclip your helmet until you’ve racked your bike. Take a few deep breaths as you hit the run.