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As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Gear, kit, equipment—whatever you wish to call it—plays an important role in sport. Granted, there are some who pay entirely too much attention to their kit, but to completely gloss over what gear one uses when training and/or racing would be a mistake. So, I thought I would give a rundown of what I used this past weekend at the Gator Bait Triathlon to win my age group. Yes, a 2:30:01 finish for an olympic distance race is nothing to write home about, but, because I occasionally get asked by friends & others what I use or recommend, I will write about it here.

While Speedo definitely has the lion's share of the swim market, I am most keen on Tyr. They make a quality product and have kept a fun edge to their marketing. Further, they are huge sponsors of multisport at every level, especially Ironman.

At present, I use a customized version of their Remix goggles in white & orange, with blue & mirrored blue lenses. From my experience, the blue lenses work well in a wide variety of lighting & water conditions – pool & open water.

For a suit, I opted to use my original tri suit, a one-piece DeSoto. I don't know the exact model of it, but DeSoto's stuff is certainly top-notch in comfort & quality. The suit I wore, for example, is nearly ten years old, and still races as well as the day I bought it.

Cannondale is my bike of choice and not just because my name is literally all over the bike. 

Both their road & TT/tri frames are well-designed, expertly crafted, and near bomb proof. There are many new designs & builds out there, but I am simply not interested. What I have (a 2009 Slice 3 equipped with a mix of Campagnolo Chorus & Centaur components, with Vision aerobars) continues to work well for me, so, even if money were no object, it is doubtful I would switch from what's comfortable & what works. On the bike, however, there are a few contact points that some don't pay much attention to until it matters – and oftentimes it's too late. Those points are saddles & pedals, and I have tried a lot of both. Ask anyone who's known & ridden with me over the years.

For saddles, I have settled on Cobb Cycling. As I mentioned yesterday in my Gator Bait race report, John Cobb did my first serious bike fit way back in 2001, and I have felt I could trust him & his experience. And, because Cobb Cycling offers a 90-day comfort guarantee, there's really little to lose in terms of finding what works. Models I like are the HC170 and the 55 JOF; the latter now calls both my road & tri bikes home.

Look won the bolt pattern war way back in the late 90s & early 2000s, but it's another brand of French pedals I prefer: Time; specifically, their Xpresso 6 road pedal. This pedal provides ease of entry & exit with sufficient float to be comfortable for dozens of miles at time. The Xpresso system is a huge improvement over the previous iClic series in both cleat retention & cleat wear. It fits the 3-bolt pattern found on nearly all road shoes, although it may be special order from most shops.

Shoes used are Nike's T-Speed from way back-a-long-time-ago. They have held up remarkably well over the years and continue to be comfortable, so there's no immediate plan to replace them.

Helmets & Eyewear
While I am a member of their "Bro" program, I can say with certainty that Rudy Project makes the most awesome of eyewear & helmets. Their stuff has protected my noggin & eyeballs continuously since early 2008 and off & on before that. 

My all time favorite sunglasses from them were the Tayo, but, alas, mine died on a ride one day. Since, I have gone through several a lot of different models, recently settling on the Rydon with multilaser blue lenses. Just as with the swim goggles, the blue seems to work well in a variety of lighting conditions. For night riding, though, I use transparent.

For helmets, I train with the Airstorm but race with the long-extinct Syton. Above all, it's comfortable, fitting my oddly-shaped head well but also seems to provide the all-important aero benefits of an aero helmet.

I've been through a lot of running shoes the past ten years, and my favorites tend to be Brooks. Their excellent fit, subsequent comfort, and environmental policies (I still think the Green Silence was their & the best running shoe, ever) keep me coming back to them when it comes time to replace whatever shoe I have recently worn out.

On Saturday, I raced with the original Pure Connect. Training goes between the PureFlow2, Ghost 6, and PureGrit 2 for trail. Occasionally, I will switch in a pair of Newton Gravity2, which are nice, but, again, how Brooks treats its customers & its planet are what keep me coming back. However, because Brooks likes to radically change things from year-to-year (including what works), I may be prone to gravitating more towards something else.

On the nutrition front, my needs are simple:
As with pedals, I use somewhat of an outlier in the field of timing & tracking equipment and that brand is Suunto

It's a Finnish brand (suunto is purportedly Finnish for "direction"), and the models I use (t6d [pictured above] & Ambit, both of which are discontinued & replaced) are both designed & made in Finland. As with my computer & communication devices, Suunto's approach to design & function is similar and, put simply, just works. And it works well. 

True, I would like to replace my Ambit with one of the newer Ambit 2 (having access to multisport mode while racing would be sweet, as would the cadence feature for running), but I'm afraid my budget just doesn't permit it. Besides, when racing at the olympic distance, all I really need is the chronograph – and even that becomes somewhat moot when I've made visual contact with someone. As Tristan & I used to muse, "Target acquired."

That about sums up the gear that I use & what works for me. For you, it could be something entirely different, so find what works for you. After all, it is your race.

Thanks for reading.

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