There is no shortage of awesome gadgets in the triathlon world. Having the right gear makes racing and training that much more enjoyable. Having good running shoes and a kit that doesn’t chafe is a given. Here I have a list of my favorite things beyond the basics to get my swim, bike, and run on.
A good pair of goggles goes a long way. I joined the swim team when I was eight years old and stuck with it all the way through high school. Nothing is worse than a bad pair of goggles in the pool, except a bad pair of goggles in open water.
TYR Special Ops Goggles
Open water swimming has different demands than lap swimming in the pool. Pick a pair of googles that are triathlon specific. They tend to be a little larger, and less likely to get knocked off in the frenzy that is the swim start. I also recommend getting a pair that has some UV protection. Swim starts tend to be right at dawn so there is a decent chance you will be swimming into the sun at some point. I have gone through several different pairs of tri specific goggles and the TYR Special Ops stands out above the pack. Beyond the basics mentioned above, these goggles bring extra awesome to the table with their completely customizable design. You can choose a custom color for each piece of these goggles; I went with bright fun colors that would stand out in a sea of black wet suits.
This is the longest leg of any race, and where you spend the most time. The longer the race distance the more important comfort in the saddle becomes.
Selle Italia Flite Saddle
If you are going to upgrade one element on your bike this is it. Forget switching out components for carbon that will only save you a few grams. If your bum isn’t happy on the ride, you won’t be either. Most bikes come with low end seats that aren’t made to fit anyone well. And for the ladies out there, unless you are buying a female specific bike, that stock saddle is not made for your lady parts. Finding the perfect saddle takes trial and error. The Addamo saddle is one of the top selling saddles, with its duel nose designed to take pressure off your delicate areas; many athletes find success with this saddle. For me this saddle is too wide and left my hip flexors tied up in knots. It took me 4 years to find a saddle I was comfortable riding in and I am never going back. While the price tag on the Selle Italia Flite isn’t cheap it has been worth every penny.
Compared to the first two legs run gear is pretty basic. The one extra piece of gear I have found to make a big difference in my enjoyment on the run is a good pair of sunglasses. While you may take after Pro Jesse Thomas and race in some rad aviators, I prefer my sunglasses a little more sport specific.
Project Rudy GENETYK Sunglasses
On the run you need a pair of sunglasses that aren’t going to fog up or slip off as a result of your hard efforts. The Project Rudy GENETYK sunglasses deliver on both these fronts. I have been racing in these glasses for four years and they don’t show any sign of wearing. They are also incredibly comfortable, you hardly feel like you are wearing sunglasses. Beyond being a high quality product the lenses on these sunglasses are photochromic, a big plus when racing in the northwest. These lenses flawlessly transition from clear to a dark tint which is extremely useful in a long race where weather conditions could change several times.
This list would not be complete without my go to transition item.
Xterra Transition Bag
There are a lot of ways to get your gear in and out of transition. I have seen everything from standard duffle bags to Home Depot buckets. I myself used a standard gym bag for a couple of years before I discovered this bag. Several features of this bag make it far more suitable for rolling in and out of transition. One of the most basic is that it is a backpack style so I can easily through it on my back and ride my bike to and from the race. This is really useful with some races having parking several miles from the transition zone. This bag also has a separate dry compartment for your wetsuit after it’s full of lake water, as well as several pockets for your sunglasses, gels and gadgets.
We all have our go to items that make training and racing a little more fun, what gear gets you going?
*Disclaimer: I am sponsored by Project Rudy and Xterra, however all opinions included in this post are my own*