#4 Invest in a Few (Relatively) Cheap Time Saving Items
Aero helmets, carbon fiber bike frames and race wheels are great examples of "free speed." Unfortunately, and ironically, they come with a hefty price tag. The items listed below may not be as much fun as a new bike, but they are far less expensive and can result in real time savings.
Wetsuit lube: To remove a wetsuit easily, some sort of non-petroleum based lube is mandatory. There are a number of products on the market (Bodyglide, Triglide, Aquaphore) though I've always been partial to good ol' fashioned Pam. It's cost effective AND you're one step closer to being ready for the post race BBQ. You may want to steer clear of the garlic flavor for social reasons, though.
Bento box/fuel belt/gu flask: Especially for longer races, bento boxes or other food storage solutions are handy in that they make it easy to carry your sports nutrition and other items that you may otherwise spend time stuffing into your jersey pockets post swim.
Tri-specific bike shoes: While similar in functionality once on the bike, tri-specific shoes are often much easier to take on and off quickly.
Quick laces: Lace Locks or elastic laces are a no-brainer to expedite T2. Manual dexterity is often compromised when racing because a lot of blood is being shunted to the lower extremities. If you've ever tried tying shoes with thick ski gloves on, you have an idea of the sensation. Lace Locks or elastic laces are inexpensive and can be found at most running or triathlon specialty stores.
Feeling like a superhero?
Once you've streamlined and practiced the basic tactics, take your transitions up a notch by starting and finishing the bike with your shoes clipped into your pedals. After you cross the mount line, hop on your bike, and pedal with your feet on top of your shoes. Once you've picked up speed, slip your feet in and fasten.
Similarly, rather than unclipping before the dismount line when entering T2, use the last few hundred meters to unfasten the Velcro and slide your feet out. Continue pedaling on top of your shoes until the dismount line.
Note: consider these only if you feel confident in your bike handling skills. And, be sure to practice before race day.
With just a little planning, strategizing, and, yes, practice, you'll be flying through transitions faster than a speeding bullet. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Search for your next triathlon.