Friday, June 24, 2011

The 2011 Gear Guide

Kovas may not believe this, but I actually do like gear.  And as I've gotten more involved and a little better at the sport, my gear has evolved too.  But as you know, replacing and/or upgrading is expensive.  So I always ask the question "Will I really use it?"  If the answer is an honest yes, then I'll go ahead and make the purchase.  I'd like to think that this self diagnostic keeps me on the less severe side of the otherwise neurotic and/or impulsive behavior that quickly takes hold when I see some piece of equipment that I like.

Do I always get it right?  Not a chance.  As a righty, I've definitely purchased a fair share of "left handed wonder tools" that now either sit in the garage or barely managed to sell on eBay.  But as my performance has improved, I think my gear choices have improved too.

Here's some of the stuff coming with me to San Diego:

ORCA EQUIP WETSUIT

I started my triathlon career in a 2XU sleeveless wetsuit.  I originally went sleeveless because I had absolutely no open water swimming experience and had read tons of horror stories about how people would put on a wetsuit and completely freak out the minute they hit the water because it felt like they couldn't move their limbs or breath due to the tightness of the suit.  I hoped that a wetsuit sans sleeves would only be half as bad.  Though I've gone on to have plenty of trouble swimming, I never have had any trouble with a wetsuit.


I wore the 2XU for my first two seasons.  But towards the end of last fall, a funny thing happened - my arms started to get really cold on swims.  I've always been a wimp when it came to cold water, but suddenly even 65 degrees was unbearable in the sleeveless.

So earlier this year I bought an Orca Equip full-sleeve suit.  I also tried on suits from Tyr and Blue Seventy but this one fit the best.  And it's been keeping me nice and toasty in the water since March.  San Diego will be the second race in which I've used it.

Other swimming gear:  Tyr Tracer swim goggles.

SPECIALIZED TRANSITION

The Bianchi is no doubt jealous, but I am loving the Specialized right now.  As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I've recently replaced the saddle with a Fizik Arione Tri 2 and the aerobars with Vision's Trimax model.

When I bought the bike, it came with a Shimano 105 gruppo.  As it stands now, I'm running a Dura-Ace/105 mix.  The rear derailleur, cassette and bar end shifters are Dura-Ace, the front derailleur and crankset are 105, and the brakes are still whatever came with the bike.  My wheels are Mavic Carbone SL and the tires are Vittoria Rubino Pros.

After some consultation with Jeff from Dangle The Carrot, I'm going to go with a Speedfil hydration system this weekend.  At first I was concerned that even though I wanted to start test racing the set-up I'll be using in Santa Cruz, using the Speedfil on what amounts to be an 18 mile bike ride would make me guilty of some pretty severe douchbaggery.  But Jeff came back by saying that under the circumstances, testing trumped all and that I was bound to "see guys with 6 GU's duct taped to their frames and carrying 3 bottles of water/nutrition so the Speedfil won't even register on the poser scale."

He's probably right.

Other bike gear:  Giro aero helmet, Louis Garneau triathlon cycling shoes.

ZOOT ENDURANCE TRI SUIT

This suit was one of those deals that was too good to pass up.  I got it on a promotion and it's about as simple as triathlon suits come.  For starters it's mostly one solid color, and I don't mind the black accents around the leg grippers.  Most suits out there have multiple colored panels that I'm just not a big fan of.  Secondly, it's designed specifically for short course races so there are no extra pockets that I've found are usually the first place a suit starts to wear out.  It's just a really simple suit that fits well.

I'm still debating whether or not to run sockless in my Zoot 2.0 racing flats or take the extra minute to put on socks and run in my Newton Distances.  The Zoots make for a very fast T2 but the Newtons are just more comfortable.  I'll decide soon.

Other running gear:  Home made Andreas Raelert style headband, Oakley Jawbone sunglasses.

14 comments:

Johann said...

Some great gear you have. Here in South Africa that would be very expensive with the South African rand at about 7 to the dollar. My Nike Pegasus road shoes cost R1100 to give you an idea.

Kovas said...

The truth comes out, a gear whore just like the rest of us. That is some nice quality gear though. Looking forward to the left-handed gear post!

Kat said...

As a lefty, I take exception to that remark.

Not really.

Nice gear!

Jason said...

Can we get a picture of you in the Raelert headband? We know what Jeff looks like in his.

XLMIC said...

Cool stuff!

Have fun :)

ajh said...

So much of what you write is Greek to me. I bought new gel gloves today because my palms have been hurting. That was my big purchase. I am working up the nerve to go clipless but waiting for now.

Mike said...

Two words. Bike envy....

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Dude the transition looks ready to rock n' roll! Even with the douchey-looking speedfil (-:

Have fun at the race and rock the headband with attitude!

Megan said...

I just got a one piece tri suit and although I feel a little funny in it, it was really comfortable in today's race.

Chris K said...

You obviously know my position on what shoes you should wear. Keep an eye out on my post today regarding your upcoming race.

valen said...

gear whore... LOL

Cory Reese said...

Mercy - that bike is beautiful! I'm jealous.

Emz said...

gear whore.

loved that.

NattyBumpo said...

Have you thought about professional counseling? There are a lot of good psychologists that might be able to help you work through this issue.

You Tri-people are nuttier than fruitcake. Good thing I like fruitcake.

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