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Triathlon Glossary

Aerobars: These special handlebars extend out from your bike and give you a place to rest your elbows. They offer a more aerodynamic, tucked position than can help you achieve faster bike times.

Age-grouper: Amateur athletes are called age-group athletes, competing with others in 5-year age and gender groups. Race age is determined by one’s age on Dec. 31 of the race year.

Bodymark: Race number on arm and age on calf with temporary tattoo or black marker.

Brick: Combination workouts that include two disciplines back to back with minimal or no interruption, such as a bike followed by a run.

Clydesdale/Athena: Race categories for men over 220 pounds and women over 165 pounds.

Cooldown: Physical activity done after a workout or competition to loosen muscles and circulate blood through the muscles.

Cross-train: To engage in various sports or exercises especially for well-rounded health and muscular development.

DNS/DNF: Did Not Start and Did Not Finish.

Drafting: Swimming behind a slightly faster person can save your energy, and is allowed. But drafting on the bike course — where you closely follow another athlete to reduce wind resistance — is only allowed in draft-legal races. In non-drafting races, participants must keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between themselves and the cyclist in front of them. If you move into the drafting zone, a rectangular area surrounding each bicycle, you must pass within 15 seconds.

FTHR: Functional Threshold Heart Rate is the heart rate you can sustain for a one hour race effort. We use this heart rate as a physiological marker, from which to work out certain heart rate zones with definite training purposes.

FTP: FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power, which is commonly defined as the highest average power you can sustain on the bicycle for an hour, measured in watts. FTP is often used to determine training zones when using a power meter and to measure improvement.

Mount line: You can’t get on your bike until you cross this line.

Multisport: A sport consisting of more than one discipline, including triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, off-road triathlon and winter triathlon.

PR/PB: Personal record and personal best. Good for you!

Racking your bike: Placing your bike in the transition area on provided racks.

Sighting: Follow the swim course by lifting your eyes out of the water every stroke or two to see where you are in relation to the course buoys.

Speed laces: Elastic/bungee laces for your running shoes to save time tying them.

Swim waves: Based on gender, age and/or speed, you’ll start the swim with a subset of people, with your own starting horn. This is to space out athletes on the course.

Timing chip: You’ll wear a chip, attached to an ankle strap, through the whole race to track your time.

Transition (T1 + T2): Areas where your bike and gear are stored throughout the race. You’ll have an assigned spot. After each leg of the race, athletes return to transition to swap equipment before heading back onto the race course.

Trisuit: These are shorts and a top, or a one-piece style, that you wear through the entire race.

TT bike/tri bike: Special road bikes made for triathlon racing, with flat handlebars and a set of aerobars.

Warm-up: To engage in activity before a race or workout. Warming up has a wide range of physiological and psychological benefits.

Wetsuit: A close-fitting suit made of rubber and worn by swimmers when they are in cold water to keep their bodies warm. Wetsuits also make you more buoyant and faster. Find wetsuit temperature rules here.

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