Equipment

Rules 1. Know the rules – check the race site for course specific regulations. Also see cable tv set top box and the International Triathlon Union www.triathlon.org (ITU) for official triathlon sport rules and regulations.  ITU Competition Rules 2. Spirit of the sport: Safety and fairness first. Treat other competitors, officials, volunteers and spectators with respect and courtesy. 3. Equipment: Be sure your equipment is tuned and safety checked before you start the race. Check the race rules regarding equipment restrictions eg number of spokes, race wheels, clipless pedals. Shirts or tanks must always be worn. The race number must always be visible. 4. Swim: Any stroke, even doggy paddle, can be used BUT no running along the shallow end. You can stand in the water, if you need a rest. Bathing cap must be worn and usually is marked. No kicking or grabbing other swimmers. Wet suit can be worn depending on race regulations and the temperature. Goggles and nose clips are ok but fins and paddles are not. Always go around the outside of the buoy unless otherwise instructed. 5. Bike: Usually any two wheel road bike is ok as long as the brakes are functional. Mountain bikes and hybrid bikes are also usually permitted. Check to see what pedals are allowed – some types of  clipless pedals are not permitted. Baskets are not allowed in kids races!  Before the race, note the marked mount and dismount zone. Bike helmet must be worn at all times while riding and must not be cracked. The helmet must be clipped on before handling the bike. Never cross over into the oncoming lane/path/road. Never block another cyclist. Check to see if drafting is permitted. 6. Run: Any pace is permitted but no crawling. No pacer bunnies nor pets. Check to see if runner strollers are permitted. 7. Transitions: No spectators or pets in the transition zone. Pick up your bike from the stands and walk it to the mount zone. Return your bike to the exact location where you picked it up. Usually 1.5 feet are allocated for hanging your bike. 8. Do: Arrive and set up early, check race start and age category start time. Tune up your bike before the race. Keep your transition area tidy and tucked away. Be familiar with the race course before you start. Clip on your helmet BEFORE you handle your bike. Must take your best forehead thermometer for kids fever 9. Don’t: No headsets, ipods, bringing your comfy chair or fan club into the transition zone, hang your bike or equipment in your neighbours transition space. No glass containers in the racing area. Don’t deviate from the marked race course. Don’t warm up or cool down in the race track/path while the race is still going on. 10. Unwritten rules: Have fun and treat your fellow racers as your friends. Always pass on the left and give a head’s up. If a racer is down, ask if they need you to call for help. Volunteers and race officials can issue warnings and/or disqualify racers for non-compliance.
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  Here are some changes regarding equipment from the Ontario Association of Triathletes. Kids of Steel Rule changes 2008 After much consultation with the coaching committee, race directors and many parents the following changes have been approved by the OAT board and will be implemented in Ontario for the 2008 race season. Equipment: 1.Pedals: a.Cages will not be allowed at any age b.Clipless pedals will be allowed at any age provided the following conditions are met: i.      Only SPD’s will be allowed ii.      Must be double sided  (mountain bike pedals) iii.      Cleats must be recessed in the tread to allow the athlete to walk without slipping 2.Spokes: Minimum number is now 16 3.Wheels a.Wheels: Adopt UCI rules for mass start races with the further restriction of a                                               maximum rim depth of 60mm (Zipp 404’s are 58mm).

Choosing a Bike for your Child.

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The most important factor when choosing a bike for your child should be safety.  The first thing you should focus on is getting the proper fit. A rule of thumb would be to have your child to stand over the cross bar with flat feet and make sure they have room between their crotch and the top tube of the bicycle.  If the crossbar of the bike hits their crotch, it could be dangerous in case of an accident or loss of control, as the crotch will hit the bar before his or her feet touch the ground. A good way to size your kid for a bicycle would be to take your child to a bicycle shop to be fitted.  Bikes have many adjustments that can be done to make the bike fit properly and safely.

Reach is the next thing to look for. If the bicycle is too long, a few dangers may arise.  The child may need to reach too far to grasp the handlebars, causing them to lose control, as he/she may not be able to steer the bike properly.  The child may not be able to grab the brakes with enough force to stop the bike.  In addition, it would make longer rides uncomfortable. Also a bike that is too small can have the same affect.

Seat height should be adjusted depending on rider skill.  Beginners would have their seat lower to feel safer which builds rider confidence quicker.  Once the child is more confident, slowly raise the seat up to where the leg has a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke without rocking of the hip. The next important thing will be to choose the right bike for the type of riding your child will be doing.  This would depend on their age, as some bikes are not available for some children. A triathlon or road bike would be hard to find for a child under 8 years old, but certain parts could be changed to suit the style of riding. Remember it’s not about you it’s about your child. Riding should be fun and not scary. Always make sure the bike is well tuned and safe too ride. Thanks for being involved in such a fun sport.

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As a kinesiologist, orthotic technician, and massage therapist, I have been assessing athletes of all ages for over 12 years. Shoes for young runners are the most important part of their equipment. This article will explain: why shoes are so important, things to look for to prevent injuries, where to find good shoes, and the importance of lacing shoes properly.

WHY ARE SHOES SO IMPORTANT  ? Obviously, the shoe is the first thing in contact with the ground when we take a running stride. Ideally, the heel strikes the ground first, then it is a gradual transfer of force from the rear foot –mid stance-forefoot. Ultimately, the last part of the stride comes from the forefoot where we develop explosive force to propel us into the next stride. (see fig.1) Therefore the heel counter (back of shoe, just above sole) needs to help support and hold the heel straight during heel striking ground phase. In young/developing athletes, this stability is crucial. Growth plates in the legs can be negatively affected if the heel repeatedly strikes the ground in an unstable position. The shoe also provides us with cushioning when the foot strikes the ground. This is important for all runners but young runners, whose feet are developing, want to avoid bone irritation and contusion as this can permanently affect proper structural development of the feet and knees. In young athletes, injuries are less common than in older athletes. Furthermore, if an injury occurs to a young athlete, recovery tends to be a lot quicker. With consideration to young runners, the key is prevention of imbalances that cause problems later on. For instance, young runners should have a professional (i.e. kinesiologist) watch them run to ensure their body is moving properly ( called a gait analysis) and that there are no early warning signs which could cause problems down the road.(see fig #2 for example)  The kinesiologist would then make stretching/strengthening recommendations as well as provide the proper shoe for the athlete. WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SHOE When looking for shoes for young runners, there are a few important considerations. Firstly, the most expensive shoe (or nicest color, or most popular, etc.) isn’t necessarily the best. For runners, the heel counter (back of shoe just above the sole) needs to be strong. To test the heel counter, take the rear of the shoe in your hand between the thumb and index finger, then squeeze. There should be very little, if any, movement. A strong heel counter will hold the runner in a neutral position and the shoe will also last longer. Another good test for shoes is to look for forefoot flexibility. A more flexible forefoot in a shoe ensures that the runners’ foot and lower leg do not get overworked trying to bend the shoe during every stride. To test for forefoot flexibility, hold the shoe with one hand on the front and the other on the back. Push your hands together and the shoe should bend quite easily in the forefoot of the shoe. Most shoes designed for running will have a flexible forefoot but stay away from cross trainers, walking shoes, and skateboard shoes… they are not designed for running. Once these two criteria have been met, the choice of shoe should then depend on comfort. The shoe should feel comfortable on the feet while you have the athlete jog around the store. Lastly, shoes that lace up, rather than velcro, are recommended. Laced shoes stay tight for the entire run and offer uniform support across the top of the shoe. If shoe lace tying is a problem, I recommend elastic triathlon laces as the best alternative. After all, speedy transitions may make the difference in the outcome of the race. WHERE TO FIND GOOD SHOES Now that we are finding out what characteristics to look for in children’s running shoes, we need to know where to find them. Unfortunately, they aren’t easy to find. Several local running stores do not stock kids’ sizes in running shoes. For the best selection and knowledgeable fitting staff, I would recommend visiting Running Free in Markham (708 Denison, Markham Ontario, 905 477-7871 or email john@runningfree.com )…. It’s worth the drive to Markham ! ‘SHOE SWAP’ Lastly, I have a few suggestions to keep your children in good running shoes without spending a lot of money. I encourage organizers to set up a “shoe swap”. As children’s feet grow so rapidly, they will outgrow their running shoes before they are worn out. Try setting a couple of dates aside during the season where people can bring their shoes to an event and swap for the right size and support. It is a great way to save shoe money and also get to know other families in triathlon circles. I hope this is helpful information for all of you. Enjoy your events this summer and happy training. Dan Aldworth B. Sc. (Kin.), C.O.T., R.M.T., can be contacted at Hands In Motion Massage Therapy and Sports Injury Clinic  123 King St. E. Bowmanville, Ont.    

Swim Swim caps are not mandatory for our pool swim. Googles are strongly suggested.