FAQ

See the course info page for answers to all of the basic questions about the event (who, what, where, when, how, why, etc.).

Below you’ll find a collection of tips to help you as a participant, spectator, volunteer, or parent. Participants are strongly encouraged to read through the FAQ! If you have other questions not answered here or on the home page, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!


Registration Questions

NOTE FOR 2017: Packet pickup times and locations indicated here were for 2016 and could change for 2017. Check back here as we get closer to the event date for updated information.

Question: When does online registration close?

Online registration closes on the Wed before race day at 11:59pm PDT. If you missed it, see next question!

Question: Will there be race-day registration?

Yes, but there are likely to be a limited number of slots available. You can register at packet pickup on the Saturday before race day (strongly recommended) or the the registration table on race day. We will start accepting walk-in registrations on race day at 8:30 am. Heat assignments for walk-in registrants will be based on available space.

Question: When will I get my registration materials?

Registration packets can be picked up on Saturday the day before race day at Roadrunner Sports between 12 noon and 4pm. This is strongly recommended as it will ease congestion at the registration table on race day.

Race day packet pickup will be available for pre-registered athletes at the registration table starting at 6:45am. Everyone will be asked to sign a physical waiver, which will be available at packet pickup on Saturday as well as on Sunday. If you need race-day packet pick up, proceed to the waiver signing table to do that before going to the registration table.

 


Swim Questions

Question: How should we enter and exit the Aquatic Center to access the pool?

Everyone must enter the pool through the front doors of the Aquatic Center. Proceed to the outdoor pool by walking through the main Aquatic Center hallway. The indoor pool will be designated for warming up. Unlike previous years, there will NOT be a warm up lane in the outdoor pool — all lanes of the outdoor pool will be designated for competition.

Plan to arrive at the outdoor pool on the Western deck (by the diving boards) no later than 5 minutes before  your heat is slated to start (there will be an announcer in the indoor pool regarding upcoming heats). Lanes are available on a first come, first served basis (no lane assignments). You are free to do some warm-up laps in your lane of the outdoor pool until your heat starts. All swimmers will start in the water pushing off the wall — no dive starts.

Upon completing the swim, athletes will exit the pool deck by proceeding up the right side ramp through the gate leading to the basketball court area. There will be a timing mat at the gate over which you must cross in order for your swim time to be recorded. Follow the signs and cones leading you to the transition area. You may walk, jog, or run safely as you see fit.

Do not enter the pool from the outer gate by the basketball court because it will mess up the chip timing system!

Question: What if I can’t finish the swim in the 15 minutes allotted for each swim heat?

There’s no penalty for not completing the swim distance. If you haven’t completed the swim within the alotted time, you’ll simply be asked to exit the pool and proceed to your bike. A volunteer will tap you at the East wall of the pool to let you know it’s time to exit.

You’ll actually have closer to ~14 minutes to swim since we need time to prep for the next heat. The vast majority of people will complete the swim well within that time.

Question: Will someone be there to count my swim laps?

Volunteers will be available for lap counting, but there are no guarantees every swimmer will have an assigned lap counter. Therefore, be prepared to count your own laps — that’s 17 lengths (25 yds) of the pool, or 8.5 down-and-backs (50 yds) for a total of 425 yds (approx. 400m).To keep track of your swim laps, here are some tips:

  • Break up the swim into 100 yard increments.
  • Every 4 lengths, think “100”, “200”, “300”, “400”.
  • Do something special every 4th length such as sight on the diving board, build your pace, or switch your swim stroke.
  • Note the clock time that your heat started on the digital clock at the pool and then estimate what your clock time will be at the half-way point (~200 yds) and finish.
    • It’s useful to know your expected time per 100 yds.

Question: Are we allowed to bring anything into the pool area – towel, flipflops, etc?

Only bring to the pool what you plan to swim with (suit, cap, goggles, ear plugs, nose plug). Keep anything else that you’re not swimming with in the transition area. It’s a very short distance from pool to transition with a smooth concrete or grass surface, so no need for shoes/flip flops. If you need a towel, best to leave it in your transition area and dry off when you get there.

You must bring all your swim gear back to the transition area (don’t leave your goggles, cap etc. at the pool deck unless you want to make a donation to lost & found).

Question: Can I stop and hold onto the wall during the swim?

Yes. Feel free to stop and rest during the swim as much as you need to while remaining in your lane. There’s no penalty for not completing the distance. You will be asked to exit the pool if you haven’t finished in approximately 14 minutes. If you need medical assistance at any time, raise your hand and catch the attention of a volunteer.

If you need help exiting the pool, you may obtain assistance from a volunteer, or you may proceed along the wall to either the stairs at the shallow end of the pool or to an exit ladder in the deep end. Be careful to not bump into any swimmers when crossing lanes to get to an exit.

Also note that you are permitted to push off the wall at each turn. This means 17 pushes for the full distance (425y ~400m). Take advantage of that!

Question: Can I wear a snorkel during the swim portion of the AlbanyTri? What about other swimming devices?

Snorkels are permitted at the AlbanyTri, since the USAT rulebook does not specifically ban them. Generally, snorkels are rarely seen in triathlons. Other organizations or races do ban them. See this article for a good run-down.

Kickboards and pullbuoys are also permitted — if you feel you need them during the swim (though using them will lower your triathlete cred 😉 ). These are available in the equipment area near the entrance to the outdoor pool. Use the pool’s ample supply rather than bringing your own. If you do use a kickboard or pullbuoy, you must return it to the supply bin at the end of your swim.

No flippers, paddles, rubber duckies or other devices are permitted during the swim (though feel free to train with them to your heart’s content!).

Wetsuits are permitted at the AlbanyTri because the water temp is below 84°F (the outdoor pool is ~80°F). However, unless you have a circulation problem or just want to practice swimming with one, wearing a wetsuit is discouraged as you may overheat (especially if it’s a warm day). Also, a wetsuit will slow down your transition to the bike — which is more of a factor for a super sprint.


Bike Questions

Question: Should I ride on the right or left or middle of the street?

Bike on the RIGHT. Pass on the LEFT. Stay as far right as practical and pass another cyclist only on the left. Use your voice and/or a bell to make others aware of your presence when passing.

No drafting. Do not ride immediately behind another cyclist in their draft zone. Official USAT rules are to keep a minimum of three bike lengths behind the rider in front of you and three feet from a rider to the side of you. When passing, you have 15 seconds to pass through that zone.

Watch for spectators. Memorial Park will remain open to the public during this event, so be on the lookout for wayward bystanders, spectators, park goers, dogs, toddlers, and runners who may enter the street without looking.

Be careful near the mount/dismount zones. Watch for bikers entering and exiting the course near the mount and dismount zones (near the entrance to the pool). Continuing cyclists keep to the left and when finishing your final (11th) lap, slow way down and move to the right side of the road when approaching the dismount zone.

Question: Any tips for counting my laps on the bike course?

The bike course involves eleven (11) complete laps in a clockwise direction circling the block around the Aquatic Center, High School, and Memorial Park. One of the most challenging parts of the AlbanyTri course is keeping track of your laps on the bike, as there are no lap counters or chip timing mats on the street. You are responsible for keeping track of your bike lap count (scout’s honor). Surprisingly, this simple task can be quite mentally taxing as fatigue sets in during the heat of competition, so be attentive and stay focussed on your lap count.

Here are a few suggestions to help you accurately count your laps:

  • Yell out the number of your current lap as you round every corner of the square route.
    • This serves as a repeated, audible reminder to yourself.
    • Pro tip: Count your bike lap number in a different language to make it more interesting!
  • Before the race, place eleven post-it flags on your bike frame (one for each lap).
    • Pull a tab as you complete each lap.
    • Don’t litter! Put the spent the stickers on in a pocket or in/on your bike shorts.
    • Pull tabs might be available at the registration table on race day. Get them while supplies last (or bring your own).
  • If you’re wearing a watch, time yourself for your first lap and use that to estimate your total time.
  • If you have a GPS device on your bike or watch, use that to track your distance traveled (should be close to 6.2 miles or 10km).
  • If you have a cycle computer on your bike, remember to set the mileage to zero while you are  setting up in the transition area.  Each lap is approximately 0.56 miles.

Question: Do I get a bike or bring my own?

Definitely bring your own bike, take it out on some test rides before the event, and have a knowledgeable person inspect it to ensure it’s good to go on race day!

Bike mechanics will be available in the transition area on race day to help with last minute minor repairs and adjustments if you need help.

Question: Will my bike be safe sitting there in the transition area?

Yes. No need to bring a bike lock, but you can if you want for use after the race. We will have burly volunteers whose sole job is to verify that only registered athletes are in the transition areas. At check-in you will receive two (2) wrist bands marked with your race number and heat number. Put one of these on your wrist (right arm) and the other on the top tube of your bike. At the end of the race when leaving with your bike, the security volunteers will check that your wrist band matches your bike band, so nobody leaves with the wrong bike!


Run Questions

Question: Can I run in the street?

For most of the course, stay on the sidewalk or grass just inside the street to avoid colliding with bikers. Along Carmel Ave. and Thousand Oaks, where the sidewalk is either non-existent or very rough, you are permitted to run in the street near the edge of the road. Cones and barriers will be set up to separate runners from bikers in the street, but stay heads-up alert for oncoming cyclists if you choose to run in the street on those sections of the course.

Also avoid running through the middle of Memorial park itself since the park is open to the general public during the race.

See the course maps.

Question: Will anyone be counting my running laps?

No. As on the bike course, you must count your own laps. Yelling out your current lap number on the corners will help you keep track. Many runners have missed a lap on the run, disqualifying themselves from a podium spot.

The run course consists of 4 laps around the park, school, Aquatic center, running in a counter-clockwise direction around the park (opposite from the cycling direction).-

The 4th and final lap of the run is a partial lap since you will turn left from Thousand Oaks down the alleyway in between the Albany HS gym and baseball field and head into the finish shoot. Look for a volunteer and sign/arrow directing runners toward the finish area.


Transition Area

Question: Where will the transition area(s) be located?

Individual competitors and relay teams will use portable bike racks which will be set up on the grass along the South wall of the tennis courts.

Question: Will the transition area be the same for T1 and T2?

Yes.  You will enter the transition area at the corner of the grassy area closest to the pool and tennis courts.   Note that the bike out / bike in portal will be separate from the outbound runners’ portal and each will require passing over chip readers.  Be careful to stay well away them while you are not engaged in racing so your chip will not be read inadvertently.  Lingo note: T1=swim-to-bike transition; T2=bike-to-run transition.

Question: How much room does each person get in the transition area? Does everything have to be stored on the bike or in a bag, or can it be spread out?

You’ll get about the space of a yoga mat underneath/around your racked bike. Keep everything compactly within that area, like this. Only the items that are required for the swim, bike, and run should be readily accessible. Everything else should be packed away. A small-to-medium backpack for extra gear is recommended.

Question: Will there be assigned spots per participant in the transition area?

There will be no assigned spots per participant in the transition area, but there will be a designated areas for relay teams and individual participants. We are exploring the idea of having designated bike racks based on swim heat. Check back as the race date approaches for updates.

Space in the transition area is on a first-come first-served basis. Arrive earlier to ensure you get a decent spot.

Question: How should I rack my bike?

Individual athletes and relay teams will use bike racks consisting of a long horizontal bar about 4.5 feet off the ground. Hang the front of your bike seat on the horizontal bar, with adjacent bikes racked on alternating sides of the bar as shown here. There should be space for ~8 bikes per rack if things are arranged efficiently. Try to be space-efficient there as well!

Super youth will use the blue bike racks located in front of the Aquatic Center.

Question: Should I wear my swim suit on the bike and run or should I change clothes?

Standard practice for experienced triathletes is to stay in your swim suit for the bike and run. This is because transitioning between legs of the race is part of your overall time. So if you’re the competitive type, you’ll want to minimize that time. If you are more interested in comfort rather than speed, changing clothes is perfectly fine. However, note that nudity is not allowed in the transition area! Use the changing rooms in the Aquatic Center if you need to strip down. Thanks!

Depending on your needs, a standard, non-bikini-style lycra swim suit should work fine. You can find specially made triathlon suits by visiting some of our sponsors such as Transports (on Solano Ave in Albany) or Sports Basement (on Milvia in Berkeley). If you tell them you’re doing the Albany Tri, they may give you a discount!

Regardless of what you choose to do clothing-wise, it’s a good idea to practice in the exact attire you plan to wear on race day to minimize wardrobe-related surprises!


Relay Teams

Question: What types of relay teams are there?

A relay team consists of 2 or 3 members, where a different person completes the different legs of the race (or one person of a 2-member team does any two of the legs).

There are two types of relay teams: (1) Adult/mixed and (2) youth. The adult/mixed team has at least one participant that is 18 years of age or older. All participants on the youth teams must be under 18 years of age. Registration of youth teams requires a parent or guardian, acting as team captain, to complete the registration form. This is just for registration purposes — the parent/guardian won’t be listed as an event participant.

Names, ages, t-shirt size, and contact email for each team member completing the swim, bike, and run portions of the triathlon are entered on the registration form.

See the next item about relay team member hand-off logistics during the event.

Question: How does the transitioning between relay team members work during the race?

The relay team members must transfer the timing chip from person to person using the following strategy:

    • The swimmer starts out with the timing chip strapped to their ankle (right or left is ok) and completes the swim portion with the strap on.
    • For the swim-to-bike transition:
      • The cyclist will be waiting in the transition area next to the bike.
      • When the swimmer completes the swim and arrives at the transition area, the swimmer removes the timing chip velcro strap from their own ankle and attaches it to the ankle of the cyclist (right or left side is ok).
      • The cyclist then embarks on the bike course.
    • For the bike-to-run transition:
      • The runner will be waiting in the transition area where the bike is to be parked.
      • After completing the bike course, the cyclist returns to their transition area space whereupon the runner removes the timing chip from the cyclist’s ankle and transfers it to his/her own ankle.
      • The runner then embarks on the run

Thus, for a three-member relay team, the cyclist will never need to touch the timing chip. For a two-member relay team, one person will perform both the swimmer+cyclist duties or cyclist+runner duties. Be sure to attach the chip to the ANKLE — it must be near the ground in order to trip the detector!


General Questions

Question: When do I go where? How does this triathlon work?

Here’s a basic description:

  • On Saturday before race day, pick up your race packet at the designated venue (to be determined). This contains your timing chip, bib number, t-shirt and other race materials. On race day, bring your race packet with you to the event!
  • When you get to the venue, find an open place on a bike rack in the transition area to rack your bike.
  • Go to the registration table. There you can pick up your race packet if you didn’t get it on Saturday at packet pickup.
  • Put your timing chip securely on your ankle (right or left side is ok) – do this early so you don’t forget! Don’t attach it to your wrist or elsewhere on your body because it must be near the ground in order to trip the detector.
  • Get body marked near the transition area entrance.
  • Head back to where you racked your bike in the transition area and arrange all the gear you need for the swim, bike, & run in a compact area underneath it (a towel or yoga mat for arranging your stuff is useful here).
  • Head over to the indoor pool to warm up at least 10 minutes before your heat starts. Feel free to do some jogging warm ups in the park or biking warm ups outside the bike course.
  • The clock for your race time starts when your heat starts in the pool and ends when you complete the run. You’ll have your own half-lane to swim in (stay on your side — no circle swimming).
  • After you finish 17 lengths (or 14 minutes transpires, whichever is sooner), you get out of the pool and jog over to the transition area to get your bike, put on your helmet, shoes, sunglasses and any other cycling gear, then walk/jog your bike to the street and start the bike course.
  • You do 11 laps as fast as you can in a clockwise direction, then dismount and walk/jog your bike back to the same place in the transition area where it was originally.
  • Rack your bike, take off your bike helmet & shoes, put on your running shoes, then exit the transition area to start your 4 laps around the park in a CCW direction (opposite to the biking direction).
  • After you finish the run, smile for the cameras, remove your timing chip ankle strap and hand it to a volunteer. Then get some refreshments and keep an eye out for preliminary results to be posted near the basketball courts. Congratulations! 🙂
  • Review this map of the course before race day!

Most folks keep their swim suit on for the whole race so they don’t have to change clothes, which would slow down your overall time (it’s a race!). Be sure to check out the other FAQ items on this page for more details about different parts of the triathlon. You might also want to read up on triathlon basics, such as here or here.

Question: When will I get my race day materials?

All individual entrants and relay team captains, should pick up their race day materials such as timing chip, race number, t-shirt and swag bag at packet pick up on Saturday before race day (location and time to be determined). Packets can also be picked up on race day morning at the registration area, but picking your packet up on Saturday is strongly recommended. All adults: bring a photo ID.

When you arrive on race day, pick a spot in the transition area to park your bike (space is first-come, first-served; relay teams use the same area as individual athletes — team captains: coordinate your location with your team members). Then proceed to the main check-in table if you didn’t pick up you race packet on Saturday.

Once you have your race packet, determine your bib number and head over to get body marked near the entrance to the transition area.

Relay teams: All team members must check-in with team name or captain’s name. All members of a team will share the same race number and timing chip.

Question: When will I know what heat I’m in?

Heat assignments will be sent out Thursday afternoon before race day. These assignments represent our best attempt to group participants together into the same heat based on all of the friends, family, first heat, and club affiliations, as specified by participants on the registration form. We will attempt to accommodate any heat change requests if received before Noon Friday and will send out final heat assignments by end-of-day Friday. On race day, there will be very limited ability to change heats. Please start in your assigned heat. If you start in the wrong heat, you may not receive any race results or be eligible for prizes. If you believe you started in the wrong heat, let us know (at the help desk) as soon as possible after you complete the event so we can adjust your start time.

Question: When should I arrive on race day morning to check in?

The registration area will open at ~6:45am and will be located in front of the Aquatic Center along Portland Ave.

  • If you are in heats 1-3: arrive by 7:00am to check in.
  • If you are in heats 4-6: arrive by 7:30am to check in.
  • If you are in heats 7+: arrive by 8:00am to check in.
  • First time triathletes should arrive a little earlier to allow for more prep time and an easier time finding a spot in the transition area

There will be separate check-in lines for folks in early (1-3) versus later (4+) heats to expedite registration for those starting sooner. Please use the proper queue! Pre-race announcements will be made at 7:40am and repeated at 8:40am.

After checking in, find a volunteer near the entrance to the transition area to get body marked with your race number.

Question: Where should I park? Can I take mass transit?

If you’re a local (Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington), consider biking to the start! This will reduce congestion in the area and reduce our carbon footprint. If you need to motor to the race, the best places to park are along any of the streets that encircle the “feeder streets” around Memorial Park. Here’s a google map.

This would include the follow avenues: Spokane, San Carlos, Washington, Ward, Brighton. Parking on Carmel, Portland, Thousand Oaks, or Key Route is also fine as long as you are at least 2 blocks away from the Park, since those streets will be closed around the Park during the race.

Mass transit (BART) is only doable if you are in a later heat (7+) because the BART trains start operation at 8:00am on Sundays. The Albany Aquatic Center is 0.8 miles from the El Cerrito Plaza BART station. Take the Ohlone Greenway bike path South to Portland Ave.

Question: Are we responsible for counting our own laps on all segments?

We will have lap counters in the pool, but not on the bike or run course. Best advice: be prepared to count your own laps, even in the pool (i.e. practice it before race day!). See the swim and bike sections of this FAQ for some lap-counting tips on the swim and bike courses.

This question really gets to a larger, philosophical area of the sport of triathlon: doing a tri is expected to be very much an individual effort. Under normal circumstances, athletes should not receive ANY outside help apart from volunteers or other race officials. This way, when you complete a triathlon, it is very much your personal accomplishment that you can be proud of — achieved on a level playing field on the same course with all other competitors. Things like asking a spectator for help counting your laps, or asking a buddy (or other competitor) to help you put on your bike shoes or hand you a water bottle are technically disallowed. You can certainly ask a volunteer on the course for help if you need it.

While we strive to conform to USAT regulations as much as possible (such as no drafting on the bike course), the Albany Community Triathlon is, at its heart, geared towards beginners and introducing new athletes to the fun & challenge of the sport. We allow kids to compete alongside their parents, and friends & family members start together in the same swim heat. We won’t disqualify a parent for helping tie their kid’s shoes during T2 for example, but we expect such assistance to be minimal and in the interests of promoting safety only.

Question: What if it rains on race day?

Then we will swim, bike, and run (carefully) in the rain ☺. Unless there is a thunderstorm with lightening or severe flash flooding, the race will not be cancelled in event of rain. Historically, weather conditions have been excellent on race day, with lots of California sun and temperatures in the 60s-70s (F).

Question: Where will the restrooms be? Is there a locker room?

The Aquatic Center has men’s and women’s restrooms which will open at 7am and close at 12:30pm on race day. The Center has small changing areas for men & women and a limited number (~20) of lockers for your use (most athletes will leave all belongings in the transition area which will be secure). If you use the lockers, be sure to retrieve your belongings before 12:30pm when the center closes. Memorial Park has 2-person men’s and women’s restrooms located along Carmel Ave. near the kiddy park area.

Question: Where is a good place for spectators?

Spectators can watch the swim from just outside the North fence surrounding the pool, behind the classrooms. Alternatively, there are a few bleacher seats on the pool deck near the door to the Aquatic Center. Spectators should stay clear of the athletes getting into and out of the pool and should NOT enter the transition area. The gate leading to the basketball courts from the pool must remain clear. It is only to be used for swimmers exiting the pool. Entrance to the pool (for athletes and spectators) is only through the front door of the Aquatic Center.

For watching the bikers and runners, any spot along the course inside Memorial Park is fine except near the bike mount and dismount zones. You can cross the streets to enter the park when its clear of cyclists. Be sure to CHEER LOUDLY and bring your cow bells and conch shells to make extra noise — it really helps the athletes go faster! Parents keep a close eye on toddlers and pets to keep them from running into the street.

Question: Can I connect with AlbanyTri on social media?

Absolutely! We’re @AlbanyTri on Facebook and Twitter. This is a good way to get notified about latest updates and receive other triathlon-related tips. You can also follow our blog on this website for news updates.

Question: Is there an email list for the AlbanyTri?

We have a new announcement email list (as of Summer 2015). All past and current registrants are automatically added to this list. If you’re not on it (and haven’t recently registered for the event), feel free to send a join request.

Question: For which organization does the AlbanyTri raise funds?

The Albany Community Triathlon is a fundraiser for the Albany Athletics Boosters — a 501(c)(3) non-profit raising funds for both high school & middle school athletic programs. In 2016 we raised over $10,000 from registration fees and sponsor donations and hope to continue improving on that each year. Many thanks to all past and current participants and sponsors for contributing to this achievement!

Registration fees are not fully tax-deductible since goods and services were rendered. Stay tuned for information concerning the possibility of partial tax deductibility of registration fees.

Question: Anything else I should know?

Good Luck! Have Fun! Be Safe! 😊


If you have other questions not answered here, shoot an email to AlbanyCommunityTriathlon@gmail.com or post it on our Facebook page or tweet us.


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