I didn’t used to think of myself as a triathlon gear geek. But, one look around my house and my garage will quickly call that assumption into question.
When I first started in triathlon, I had just the basics: a used bike that was 2 sizes too big for me, $20 bike shorts (ouch!), a grocery bag for my transition bag, and I was just learning about the value of some type of butt butter. I had no idea was Zipp was, nor did I own a single pair of compression socks.
How on earth did I ever finish those triathlons? 😉
Now, I have a list of gear that I’ve become reliant on. Does that mean I can’t live without it? Of course not. The only thing I need to live is food and water, right?
But, if you are asking me about my favorite gear, my must-have list, here it is.
I Got That Power
My #1 most important piece of training equipment is very likely my power meter.
I have two – a Power Tap Pro in my training wheel, and the recently acquired (thanks to John who treated me!) Power Tap G3 in my Zipp 808 racing wheels. While the race wheel is a nice-to-have, the power meter – no matter how basic – is a must have for me.
Since I first started training with power, I have become a stronger and more disciplined cyclist. I don’t come to cycling naturally, and it’s taken me a lot longer than I might like to become proficient at it. But, the big jump came when I got the power meter. It also helps to have a smart coach who has made me wise in the ways of power. Vince is a total #dataslut.
Power isn’t the only thing that matters, of course, but it’s become a key element in my training and racing.
Something to Watch Over Me
I thought my Garmin 310xt was great, but it wasn’t “must have.” Then, I got the 910xt. It quickly found it’s place on this must-have list.
I wasn’t planning on making the upgrade, because my old 310 watch was working just fine. But then, I cracked the screen. I didn’t fix it right way, and I got caught in a hellacious downpour while on my bike. The watch filled with water, and was unreliable.
What’s a tri gear geek to do?
While the 910xt works similarly for the bike and run, I find the improvements for the swim particularly helpful for both pool and open water swimming. Here you will find a useful review of the watch’s capabilities from D.C. Rainmaker.
I also like the watch’s smaller profile. It doesn’t sit quite so high on your wrist, and the band is decidedly sturdier than the 310.
Riding to Nowhere
While it isn’t the most fun piece of equipment, the bike trainer is without question a must-have piece of equipment. I have a CompuTrainer, and it’s a key piece in my arsenal. I was lucky enough to win a CompuTrainer in 2011 (my story is here), and I’ve been a lover of it ever since.
While a CompuTrainer is not necessarily a “must-have” piece of gear, I firmly believe an indoor trainer or rollers of some sort is every triathlete’s must-have gear. It doesn’t have to be top of the line, it just has to be.
Rooby-Roo! (in the Scooby Doo Voice)
I have found a new joy for cycling thanks to my lovely Rooby-Roo, my first-ever tri-bike. She’s a CD0.1 Quintana Roo, and rides like a rocket. I’m more comfortable on my tri-bike than I ever was on my road bike. I can sit in aero for hours, which is good, because, you know, that’s what you do in an Ironman.
Even though I’ve had the bike since October, I still get a thrill every time I look at her. We are still in the honeymoon stage for sure. Ah, young lovers.
It Likes Big Butts
When I got Rooby, she came with an Adamo ISM saddle. I didn’t realize how much I was going to LOVE LOVE LOVE this saddle. Before Adamo, I suffered from road sores and chafing so badly that I called my posterior region the war zone.
No, I’m not kidding.
Once I got the Adamo ISM saddle, and transitioned into using it, the war ended and I am enjoying rump peace, which is slightly less significant than world peace.
Dressing Up For A Day On the Town
I am a SOAS Team Ambassador, but that’s not why I’m telling you SOAS is must-have gear for me. I applied to be on #TeamSOAS precisely because this gear was already on my must-have list.
Why? Here’s a snippet of what I wrote in my application. This will give you the picture.
First, I dislike tri shorts that sit on my waist, and prefer them to fit a little lower on my hips. After hours in the saddle, shorts that cut into my belly suck. Shorts that sit on my hips feel soooo much better. SOAS = win.
Second, I love, love, love the pockets in the tri shorts. They are perfect for gels, gel trash, etc. And, the pockets in the shirt are roomy enough to fit whatever I need to get in there. SOAS is thinking about a girl who needs to travel with some baggage.
Third, color, baby! My family really loves how easy it is to spot me in my bright pink kit. And, I love the way the color is bright and encouraging—especially during those tough moments.
Fourth, great material. I’m into my second season with the peacock kit, and it holds up to regular washing and the wear and tear of training and racing. Gold star, SOAS.
Fifth, the chamois is the bomb. My tushie <3’s SOAS.
I have quite a bit of gear that could go on the honorable mention list, but these are my favorite things. Could I live without them? I guess… But I don’t want to!
I should emphasize, this is my list. If I were writing a more general list about what I think most triathletes should have, this would be a different entry. Perhaps that will have to come another day.
Do you have a must-have gear list? What’s on it?