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Triathlon Flying Mount

How to Do a Flying Mount Mount in a Triathlon

The first time you watched the bike mount line at a triathlon – the place where the athletes get on their bicycles after completing the swimming portion of the race – you were probably struck by the variety of techniques athletes used and the wide variety of success and coordination on display. The technique that provides both the most impressive show of speed, grace, and skill is the same technique that gives the spectators the most entertaining show of awkward failure and crashes. That is, of course, the “flying mount.”

If done correctly, the flying mount can save precious time in addition to impressing the spectators. You are moving forward during the time you are putting on your shoes, rather than standing or sitting stationary in transition. Since your shoes will already be attached to the pedals, you do not waste any time clipping in. Also, running barefoot through transition is often quite a bit faster than running in cycling shoes. To avoid becoming a comedic amusement at the mount line though, you must understand the options you have in choosing what kind of flying mount you want to do, if any, and practice, practice, practice – BEFORE race day.

There are several variations on the flying mount. The video at the end shows three of the most common in detail and how to set up for them.

For ALL mounts:

  • Know how you want your shoes and pedals arranged ahead of time.
  • Use rubber bands to make sure your shoes and pedals stay where they are supposed to be, to keep the shoes in a horizontal position to make it easy to put your foot into them, and to keep them from smashing onto the ground and possibly falling off before you even get to the mount line.
  • You can use a little chamois cream or body glide on the tongue and heel of the shoe and on your foot (applied before the swim) to help keep your damp, sticky foot from adhering to the material of the shoe. Alternatively, you can put socks on in T1, which also helps with this problem.

The Full Flying Mount

This technique is the fastest, which is why it is the method of choice for Olympic athletes. It is also the most intimidating to try – but it CAN be done in relative slow motion to great effect. To set it up, pre-attach your shoes to the pedals. The crank arms should be parallel to the ground, with the right shoe in the forward position and the left shoe in the rear. While not required, I do recommend using rubber bands to hold the shoes in place, in a horizontal position, by attaching one end of each rubber band to some portion of the heel of the shoe and the other end to a convenient part of the bike. Your bike is ready to go! Now, positioned to the left of your bike, running or walking, after you cross the mount line shift your hands to the handle bars (if they are not already there). As you step on your left foot, lift your right leg over the saddle and let your weight come down onto the saddle, positioned roughly how you want to be seated on it. You may find that keeping the saddle shifted slightly to the right is more comfortable because it allows you to land partially on your leg rather than just on your, er, nether regions. This can be done at walking speed and still be a very successful and fast mount. You do not have to emulate an Olympic medalist doing it at a full sprint! As you push off of your left foot to mount the bike, this is your last chance to give yourself a little propulsion to keep the bike moving forward.

Once on the saddle, put your toes into your right shoe and start working your foot into the shoe. You can use your toes to help “crawl” forward into the shoe. Even before that foot is totally into the shoe, you can begin putting your left foot in and start pedaling, even as you are working your feet all the way into the shoes. Once in, tighten the shoe and you’re off! In the case of the VeloVetta Monarch shoe, all you need to do is reach down and close the lever on the heel and the shoe will immediately tighten to the setting you have pre-selected.

The Step-On Mount

This technique works best with shoes that have a loop on the heel to grab, as most triathlon cycling shoes do. Set up your left shoe in the forward position, right in the rear – opposite from the “full” mount. After passing the mount line, most people come to a complete stop with this mount. Then place your left foot on top of the left shoe and stand onto it. This will move the crank down as you put your weight on it, giving you forward propulsion. Lift your right leg over, sit on the saddle and place your right foot on top of the right shoe and begin pedaling. Once you are in a safe, flat straight stretch of road, reach down and grab the heel loop of one shoe and put your foot in. Repeat with the other foot. Pedal in between as necessary. Once your feet are in, close the shoes and you are good to go!

The Right Foot In Mount

In this one, set up your shoes the same as for the "full” mount. After passing the mount line, stop and throw your right leg over the bike and put it into the right shoe. You may have to reach down and hold the shoe to get your foot in. Then push off. If you want, you can put your left foot onto the left shoe and pedal up to speed before putting your left foot in, or you can just put it in right away.

Pick the mount that works for you. I encourage you to try them all before deciding. Once you have settled on one, practice! Start slow and as you gain comfort you can speed things up a little. Eventually it will become muscle memory and you can put on an impressive show for the spectators while shaving valuable time off your transitions and bike split.

Check out each of these mounts in the video below.

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