FAQ

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General and Entry Topics

Accommodation, Arrival and Spectators

Pre Event and Registration Topics

  • Will you be sending me my race numbers and timing chip in the post?

    No. You must come in person to register and collect your race numbers and timing chip. Registration takes place in the event venue in Hyde Park just north of the Serpentine Lake. You can register on Saturday, May 30, between 07:00 and 18:00 or if racing on Sunday, you can register on Sunday, May 31, between 05:30 and 17:00. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID for registration.

  • When will I know my start time and race number?

    Nearer the event we will email you to tell you your start time and race number.

  • How are the starts organised? Are they based on the expected finish times?

    For safety, there will be several wave starts for each distance. Each start is made up of mixed age, mixed ability and mixed gender. This way we get a good spread throughout the course at all times.

  • What do I need to bring with me to register?

    You will need photo ID (eg a passport or photo driving licence) and you should know your race number. We will email you to let you know your race number and start time before the event. There will also be lists up at registration so that you can find your race number if you forget it. Anyone under 17 will need to bring a letter of parental consent to be given in at registration.

  • If I am racing on Sunday, can I register and rack my bike on Saturday?

    You can register on Saturday, but you can only rack your bike on the day of your race and at a specific time according to your wave start. This will all be explained in our Competitor Information Guide which will be available nearer the event.

  • Will we receive full instructions before the event?

    Yes. We will be producing a comprehensive Competitor Information Guide which will be emailed to you and available on our website nearer the event.

Equipment and Clothing Topics

  • What equipment will I need for this event?

    The only equipment provided are a swim cap and race numbers. You will need to provide everything else which will include (but not be limited to):

    • swimming costume or trisuit which you can wear for the whole event
    • wetsuit for the swim if required
    • swimming goggles
    • a triathlon bicycle - this could be a mountain bike but a road bike is better for road based triathlons
    • a cycle helmet
    • bike shoes
    • any other clothing required for the bike, such as a jacket or gloves
    • a bike bottle filled with water or an energy drink
    • sunglasses if required
    • a cap for the run if required
    • a number belt if required (most event organisers will provide safety pins)
    • running shoes
  • What is the difference between a trisuit and a wetsuit?

    A trisuit is made from Lycra and worn as regular racing kit throughout the triathlon. You can swim in it, cycle in it and run in it. A wetsuit is made of neoprene fabric and is a protective layer worn only for the swim to keep you warm in cold water. You should wear your trisuit for the whole race and, more importantly, wear it underneath your wetsuit - which you ONLY wear for the swim.

  • Can I hire a wetsuit for the event?

    Yes. We can recommend a hire company if you need to hire a wetsuit. This must be arranged in advance of the event day. Email Help Desk at helpdesk@lagardere-unlimited.com for more information.

  • What type of bike can I use for this event?

    The event is run under British Triathlon rules and the permitted cycling equipment is explained in Section 11 of the rulebook available from this link: http://www.britishtriathlon.org/britain/documents/about/2013_btf_rulebook_revisions.pdf

  • Do I need to use my own bike?

    If you have your own bike, then yes you should use it. We do not provide a bike for you to use.

  • Can I hire a bike for the event?

    Yes. We can recommend a hire company if you need to hire a bike. This must be arranged in advance of the event day. Email Help Desk at helpdesk@lagardere-unlimited.com for more information.

  • Do I need cleats/clipless pedals for the cycle?

    No, you don’t have to have cleats/clipless pedals.

  • Do I need to wear a cycle helmet?

    Yes. You must wear a cycle helmet for the whole of the cycle section of the event. Your cycle helmet must be on your head and fastened whenever you are in contact with your bike. So don’t take the bike off the rack until your helmet is on and done up, and don’t unfasten your helmet until your bike is back on the rack after your cycle section.

  • What should I wear for the whole event; do you recommend any clothing /gear for all three stages?

    Most people wear a trisuit for the whole event. You can swim in it (under a wetsuit if one is worn), then cycle and run in it. But any clothing is acceptable so long as you are suitably clothed at all stages of the event including in transition! Your upper body must be fully clothed during the bike and the run.

  • How many race numbers will you provide and what are they for?

    We provide one bib number to be worn on your body for the bike and the run. It is preferable to use a race number belt which you will provide yourself and you can attach your number to that. Then you can wear the number on your back for the cycle and spin the belt around for the run so the number shows on your front. Then you can wear as many tops as you like without affecting the race number. You don’t wear the race number for the swim. We also provide numbered stickers for your bike and cycle helmet. There will be three stickers for the front and both sides of the cycle helmet. There will be one long, double number to be attached like a flag around the seat post of your bike. You will also receive a numbered security wristband which you must wear throughout the event. All the numbers will match.

  • What do I do with my timing chip?

    You will be provided with a timing chip and Velcro strap at registration. This must be worn around your left ankle throughout the event. Your split times will be recorded providing your timing chip is on your ankle. It will not work if worn anywhere else. Your timing chip will be collected at the end of the run.

Rules and Regulations Topics

  • Are there any particular rules that must be followed for this event?

    Yes. The event is run under British Triathlon rules which can be found here http://www.britishtriathlon.org/britain/documents/about/2013_btf_rulebook_revisions.pdf

    Do try to read through at your leisure well before the event.

  • What are the most important rules that must be followed?

    Some of the most important rules relate to the cycle section and transition. For example:

    • Your cycle helmet must be on your head and fastened whenever you are in contact with your bike. So don’t take the bike off the rack until your helmet is on and done up, and don’t unfasten your helmet until your bike is back on the rack after your cycle section.
    • You must rack your bike in the correct allotted space in transition.
    • You must not mark your position in the transition in any way.
    • You must not use headphones or a mobile phone either in transition or at any time during the race.
    • You cannot receive any outside assistance during the race, for example your friend cannot offer you a drink on the run course (only our volunteers can offer you drinks from our drinks stations) nor can anyone help you change a flat tyre on the bike section.
    • No drafting on the bike course - which means not cycling too close to the bike in front.
    • Your race number should be worn on your back for the cycle and on your front for the run. This is most easily achieved using a number belt, which you have to provide yourself.
    • There are lots more important rules not mentioned here, so do read the rulebook.
  • Can I wear headphones during the bike and the run?

    No definitely not! You cannot use anything that will impede your hearing during the race. This includes, but is not limited to, headphones and mobile phones.

Race Day Topics

  • Can you explain how the event will work from start to end?

    Here is a summary of what to expect on your race day:

    • Allow a couple of hours before your race start time in order to arrive at the venue, register, rack your bike and prepare for the race.
    • Register in the registration area and collect your race numbers, timing chip etc. You will need to bring photo ID with you to prove who you are when you register.
    • Put your race numbers on your bike and helmet. Get yourself ready to race and any clothing not required can be packed into the bag we provide (write your race number on it) and left in the secure bag drop area until you have finished your race.
    • Then you take your bike, bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, sunglasses etc into the transition area which will be your space for the duration of the race. You will return here after the swim to collect your bike and you will bring your bike back here after your cycle where it remains until after your run. This is a high security area.
    • Remember to place your timing chip securely around your ankle where it will remain for the duration of the race.
    • Once your bike and race kit are in transition, you will go to the swim start about 20mins before your start time. There will be a short race briefing here before you enter the water. You will start from a deep water start - you do not dive in.
    • After your swim, you will run back to transition to collect your bike etc. You can leave your wetsuit here where your bike is racked.
    • After your cycle, you return your bike to the same spot in transition and then commence the run.
    • After you have finished the race, collected your medal etc etc, you will then walk back to transition to collect your bike and all your race equipment.
  • What do I do with all my personal belongings while I am racing?

    There will be a secure bag drop area for valuables and things not needed during the race, whilst the rest of the race gear, including the bike, is placed inside the secure transition area for the duration of the event. We will provide you with a gym bag to be used for your personal belongings to be left in the secure bag drop area. You will write your race number on this bag to identify it as yours. Only items which will fit inside this gym bag should be left in the baggage area.

  • Where do I change my clothes between the swim and the bike?

    There are no changing facilities in transition. It is expected that you will complete the whole event in whatever you wear to swim in. The wetsuit, if worn, should be removed and left next to the rack for the bike and run sections. Nudity is not allowed at any time, so you can add clothing to the top of your swim gear, but not remove your swim gear completely before you dress for the bike and run. You must wear a swimsuit under your wetsuit (if used). A trisuit is perfect as you can swim, cycle and run in it without the need to change clothes in transition. Your upper body must be fully clothed during the bike and the run.

  • Will there be feed stations, medical and mechanical support on the course?

    On the swim course, there will be safety kayaks and safety boats to support the swimmers. On the bike course, there will be medical support at strategic points around the course. There will be no mechanical support on the bike course for the Open races and no drinks stations. Make sure your bike is in a roadworthy condition for the event and you will have to fix your own flat tyres if necessary. Carry your own fluids on the bike. On the run course, there will be drinks stations as well as medical support.

Transition Area Topics

  • What is the transition area and how secure is it while I am racing?

    The transition area is a high security, fenced off area, which only competitors and race officials can access. This is where the competitor comes from the swim to collect the bike and then returns to leave it again for the run. Each competitor has their own space in the transition area according to their race start. They can leave whatever gear they need for the race in this area by their bike. Any other belongings, not required during the race, can be left in our baggage drop area, which is also secure.

  • Can I mark my position in the transition area so I can easily find my bike after the swim?

    No you cannot mark your position in transition in any way. If you do try to mark your position, any distinguishing marks will be removed by the race officials while you are swimming. You should try to orientate yourself in transition by checking anything fixed such as row numbers and trees etc near to your racking position.

  • What will I need to gain access to the transition area?

    You will need to show your security wristband each time you enter and exit the transition. You will not be allowed access to the transition area without your security wristband. You can come and go in the transition area once your bike is racked, provided you are wearing your security wristband.

  • How do I know which way to go; where to exit transition on my bike and to exit transition on my run?

    Allow plenty of time when you first rack your bike to check out the ‘swim in’ area, the ‘bike out’ area, the ‘bike in’ area, and the ‘run out’ area. Make sure you understand the way the flows work in transition.

  • Can you give me any tips to speed up my transition times?

    You should have all your race kit out ready in the order you will put it on. Lay it out by your bike. Have your cycle helmet ready on your handlebars with the straps straight and undone. Remember that race belts save time as well as elastic laces and lace locks. Fix your body race number to your race belt before you go off to do your swim. If you wear the right triathlon clothing you will certainly speed up your race times. Understand the flows in transition and know exactly where the bike out point is and the run out point. This will save you time in transition. Remember where your racking position is by locating fixed points in transition near your bike such as row numbers and trees etc.

  • What happens when I take my bike out of the transition area after my race?

    Your security wristband will be cut off your wrist as you exit transition with your bike. The security team will check that the race number on your bike matches the race number on your wristband as you leave the area.

Swimming Topics

  • Is the water in the Serpentine safe to swim in?

    Yes. We carry out many scientific water quality tests throughout the year to monitor the water quality of the Serpentine. Swimming will only be allowed if the water passes the water quality tests.

  • What safety measures are in place during the swim?

    We use a very experienced Swim Safety team who provide a number of safety kayaks and rescue power boats throughout the swim course. Should you get into difficulty in the swim, lie on your back and raise one arm; a kayak will then escort you to safety. If you wear a wetsuit, the buoyancy will help too, so don’t panic.

  • Do I have to wear a wetsuit for the swim?

    Wetsuits are only compulsory if the water temperature is less than 14 degrees C one hour before the start of the race. Wetsuits are most likely to be OPTIONAL, unless the water temperature is higher than 22 degrees C, in which case wetsuits would be banned. But again this is highly unlikely.

    We would strongly recommend you do wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is between 14 and 22 degrees. We won’t know the official water temperature until one hour before the race start. We can recommend a hire company if you need to hire a wetsuit, but this must be arranged well in advance of the event.

    The expected water temperature in the Serpentine on May 30 and 31, 2015, is between 13 and 15 degrees C. The Technical Delegate can impose the wearing of neoprene suits during particularly adverse weather conditions.

    If you use your own wetsuit, write your name inside for identification in case of a mix up in transition. All wetsuits look the same!

  • What is the likely water temperature in the Serpentine for the event?

    The water temperature is likely to be somewhere between 13 and 15 degrees C. But we won’t know the official water temperature until one hour before the race start.

  • Do I need to wear a swim cap?

    Yes. You will be issued with a coloured swim cap in your race pack at registration. Everyone must wear a swim cap for safety reasons. A swimmer is easier to see in the water if they’re wearing a swim cap. All athletes who start in the same wave will have the same colour cap on. But there will be more than one wave with the same coloured swim cap, so check your start time and don’t just go by the colour of the swim caps entering the water. It may not be your wave start!

  • Do I need to wear goggles in the swim?

    Any open water swimming really does require goggles. Open water swimming also benefits from goggles with lenses suitable for outdoors. These are slightly different colours to those you would normally use in a swimming pool where the water is clear and the lights are bright. Most open water swimmers would use a lightly tinted or persimmon coloured lens, which will make everything look clearer and crisper, especially if the weather is not too bright! Prescription goggles are also acceptable.

  • Is the swim a dive start?

    No. All of the Open events are deep water starts. When you enter the water you will hold onto the edge of the pontoon and only let go to start the competition once the start signal has been given.

  • Can I use any stroke during the swim?

    Backstroke is not allowed as this can easily be confused with the distress signal and you cannot easily see where you are going. We recommend that you try to swim front crawl but breaststroke is also permitted.

Cycling Topics

Running Topics

  • Is the run course hilly or flat?

    The run course is mainly flat but with some technical turns.

  • Will there be a water station on the run course?

    Yes there will be water stations on the run course. Our volunteers will be manning the water stations and will ensure that you receive a drink should you need one on the run. There will also be a water station after you cross the finish line.

  • Should I wear specific running trainers?

    Yes - it will make your race experience more enjoyable. Your trainers should be properly fitted and should be comfortable for running. You could use elastic laces which will help save a lot of time in transition. Whatever you do, do not wear brand new trainers on race day!

  • Where do I wear my body race number on the run section?

    Your body race number should be worn on your front during the run section. The easiest way to achieve this is by wearing the race number on a number belt and ensuring the number is displayed on your front during the run section. You will need to provide your own number belt.

  • Where do I collect my race medal?

    You will receive your medal in the finishing area after you cross the finish line.

Post-Race Topics