Are you still looking for a last minute Holiday gift for that elusive Triathlete in your life? After years of racing I've accumulated a large collection of training and racing gear but I've also figured out what works and what doesn't. I've logged thousands of hours in the field and have put a lot of gear through its paces and for this Holiday season I've compiled a list of gear that no Triathlete should be without.
b. Swim cap: ever wish you had a thermal cap for that early season race but you only think about it on race morning? Once again TYR has an innovative solution. The Warmwear swim cap is silicone coated Lycra that I have used at many races over the last couple of seasons. Their design doesn’t have that irritating chin strap that chokes you while you swim. Avoid the brain freeze, order now before you realize you need it and it’s too late http://www.tyr.com/shop/warmwear-swim-p-233-c-68_77.html
c. Goggles: once again TYR jumps to the top of the list with their Orion swim goggles. The fit is so comfortable even for racers like me who have a small face and it’s amazing how much peripheral vision it enables. Once you swim with these you’ll feel like everything else is like wearing horse blinders. As a note, I like the mirror for swimming outdoors and the amber for indoors but test it out for yourself because everyone will be a little different. All goggles including the Orion can be seen at http://www.tyr.com/shop/orion-mirror-goggles-p-1329-c-68_70.html
a. Bike: with innovative and more aerodynamic bike frames launching each year, like cell phones, you almost feel like your bike is outdated as soon as you walk it out the doors of the bike shop for the first time. Not so with Trek’s Speed Concept. Launched in 2010 it left competitors scrambling to match this feat of engineering awesomeness. If looking for a new ride for next season you would be cheating only yourself if you didn’t at least take a 9-series for a test spin…but be careful, once you ride one, you’ll want one of your own and you’ll have to readjust your bike split goals. The ride of their OLVC red carbon is so smooth and when combined with SRAM Red components you have a force that is unequaled regardless of whether you’re grinding out the hills in Vegas or sailing the flats in Florida. Read more about the Speed Concept at http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/triathlon
b. Race Wheels: Trek / Bontrager recently debuted a new line of Aeolus race wheels with a new rim shape called the D3 (Dual Directional Design). The rim profile reduces drag in both the front, tire-leading side and the rear, rim-leading side allowing for better handling wheels with less aerodynamic drag than wheels with deeper rim profiles. Bontrager tested them against the leading competitors deeper dish wheels and beat them at almost every yaw angle disproving the theory that a deeper rim is innately more aerodynamic. Watch the video at http://www.bontrager.com/features/aeolus
c. Hydration: as unique as nutrition is to each triathlete, hydration systems are often just a unique. I’ve tried numerous different set ups on my bike and it often bugs my husband that I change every season. Something I’m excited about is the new Speedfil A2 system. It can be attached to any standard water bottle and specifically designed to be used with aerobars. The coolest thing is that its design allows for rapid refilling and virtually eliminates any splashing which means my bike doesn’t look like I gave it a Gatorade shower after each ride. One thing that may make it difficult is that each aerobar style varies slightly so they do not include any mounting hardware at this time so you may need to customize it for you set up. If you want to see more visit http://www.invisciddesign.com/A2.htm
a. Shoes: I’m a huge fan of K-Swiss because they fit my feet and allow me to use an arch support without making it feel like I’m running in heels. I tried my first pair last year after racing at IM St. George and was instantly hooked. I currently use their Kwicky Blade-Lite and have been happy with K-Swiss because each year’s new shoe version fits similar to previous versions. I used to get so frustrated with other brands that the fit changed from year-to-year and sent me hunting for a new shoe if I didn’t buy 4-5 pairs at a time. See their entire selection at http://www.kswiss.com/running
a. Compression: I’ve been a long-time believer of the benefits of compression for racing, training and recovery. I list recovery in this category but it just as easily fits in the Bike & Run sections. The leader in compression, CEP, brings 60 years of expertise and a product portfolio that includes everything from calf sleeves, socks, running & cycling shorts and recovery compression tights. With this broad selection you’ll find something for every athlete. See more at http://www.cepcompression.com/
b. Therapy: a critical part of all post-race and post-training recovery is therapy. Trigger Point makes a variety of products for self therapy, physical therapy that is. Those of you in need of mental therapy will need to keep searching. TP offers a starter kit that is ideal for managing minor aches and pains. They also offer videos that show you how to use each of the products. Learn more at http://tptherapy.com/
a. Transition Bag: everyone needs a way to get all your gear from race-to-race but how about take it to the next level and keep it organized and haul it to the transition area in one bag without looking like gold panner headed to the hills. Once again TYR has the most innovative design on the market with their Convoy Transition Backpack that is essentially a full frame mountaineering backpack designed for the serious Triathlete. Smart compartments keep your run gear separate from your swim gear and there’s enough room to store your aero helmet safely. Is there any wonder why Chrissie Wellington signed a life contact with TYR? Go here to order your own http://www.tyr.com/shop/convoy-transition-backpack-p-1201-c-68_83.html
b. Cold Weather: Bontrager introduced a new Thermal Windblock Jacket that is the smartest cycling-specific design and warmest materials I’ve found. This jacket is perfect for cold weather riding without adding bulk. See this jacket at http://bontrager.com/model/09217 or you can go to George’s Cycles on Fairview to try one on and take it home the same day.
c. Race kit: there’s nothing out there that compares to TYR’s Carbon and Competitor Collections. This tops and bottoms are a testament to “You get what you pay for” because they are worth every penny. The pad in the shorts are my favorite of all cycling shorts I’ve worn over the last decade. If you have a favorite color that you like to wear on race day, forget about it. There aren’t dozens of color schemes to choose from but then, are you there to look pretty on race day or kick some butt and be comfortable the entire race? Pick your colors here http://www.tyr.com/shop/triathlon-carbon-collection-c-1_19_239.html and then brag about your race results here http://www.facebook.com/
6. Nutrition: this is a difficult Christmas gift to pick out if you don’t already know what you’re athlete uses. Nutrition is unique to each individual and all products do not work for everyone. After years of struggling to find something I could use and not have GI issues I finally found VESPA. I prefer to use the concentrate so I can mix it for each race or long workout. There is too much with this product to capture all of it in this small space but if you would like to know more please feel free to contact me to visit http://www.vespapower.com/
7. Stocking Stuffers:
b. Lip balm
c. Body glide
d. Ear plugs
e. Shot Bloks
g. Massage gift certificates
h. Cash to help cover race entry fees or travel expenses
i. Endless Pool – Ha! Not really a stocking stuffer but I’d love for Santa to leave one in mine. I just wanted to see how many people would read the entire post.
I have a million other ideas but time and space is limited but feel free to contact me if you need any other ideas.
Happy Holidays. See you on the course!