The 2012 swim/bike/run gear I use listSeptember 5, 2012 • By DC Rainmaker
A few weeks ago a reader reminded me that I hadn’t updated my previous gear list in years. And while many of the core foundational items haven’t changed a ton – I figured I’d give the most comprehensive and updated list I could.
I’ve divided it up into the three main sports, plus a random section at the end. Obviously, I don’t use all this gear at the same time. For example, cold-weather swim booties are reserved for those hideous cold weather triathlons. And the same goes for other cold weather gear.
As anyone will tell you – there’s a lot of gear to be had for triathlon, and there’s unfortunately simply no getting around that. I’m typically not one to buy the most expensive piece of fashionable stuff – and brands don’t tend to mean a lot to me. I just buy what works for me. Obviously, none of these brands sponsor me or anything here. It’s just what I use.
Perhaps the easiest category, simply due to the least amount of stuff on ones body. At least most of the time. I start off with the three basics, and then the drill stuff – and then the open water swimming pieces.
Swimsuit: Nike Team Core Jammer: I know, I do dabble in the shorter square leg ones as well, but this is mostly my go-to suit.
Goggles: Speedo Vanquisher: For the most part, it’s whatever I haven’t lost recently. At present, this is what I bought the last time I bought three pairs, down to one left. Goggles are like socks in the dryer around here.
Swim Cap: Random Race Caps – Essentially whatever I pull from the massive Ziploc bag of past race caps
Swim Watch: Garmin Swim – It used to be the Swimsense, but I just find the Garmin Swim display so much cleaner, plus with drill mode, I’m set.
Drills – Pool buoy: Speedo Pull Buoy – Really, it’s a pull buoy, just ensure it’s big enough to fit
Drills – Swimmer Snorkel: FINIS Swimmers Snorkel – This is useful for balance drills primarily, allowing me to focus on position (looking at hands, etc…) without having to come up for air
Drills – Paddles: TYR Mentor Hand Paddles – Various drills
Drills – Fins: TYR Split Fins – Note these are longer fins, primarily used for balance drills and not at all used for extensive propulsion.
Openwater – Wetsuit: Blueseventy Helix – Though, my only complaint is that I don’t like as much the zip-down wetsuits (to close), because I find them a pain to get closed up when solo (compared to traditional zip-up to close)
Openwater – Booties: Blueseventy Swim Socks – For 60*F and below water, I use these booties to keep my toes warm.
Openwater – Swim Cap: Bluesventy Skull cap – Again, for super-cold water (looking at you, Boise 70.3), I use this swim cap – but I cut off the annoying chin strap (most people do)
Openwater – Anti-chaff: BodyGlide – To prevent any wrong rubbing of the wetsuit near my neck. Works well, every triathlete should have it in their swim bag.
Swim bag: Alternates between one of those generic swim bags you get at most WTC races these days, or a duffel bag I got at Target for $8US.
Openwater Swim Watch: Garmin FR910XT – There’s really not a lot of choice in this category.
Invariably, a strictly pool swimmer will say that’s a lot of gear – but if you divide it up (normal, drills, openwater), it’s really not that much stuff…especially compared to cycling.
The bike: Cervelo P3C – This just happened to be the bike that fit me best. I use all the stock components (including wheels). I’m not stuck on the brand, and honestly in the future I may go the Trek Speed Concept route due to sensor integration. But only if they make good, call me back and fix The Girl’s bike so she can ride again.
Power Meter: Quarq Cinqo – I bought both myself one, and The Girl bought one as well. Obviously there are many good PM’s out there, but these were just the units we bought first years ago.
Race Wheels: HED 3’s Tubular– I like that I don’t have to worry about the spokes, especially with all the travelling I do.
Bike Pedals: Shimano PD-6700 Ultegra SPD-SL – I also have a slightly cheaper model as well that I use on a road bike.
Water bottle cages: Elite Custom Race Cages – Honestly, I’ve tried a number of them, and my only goal in life is that they don’t pop bottles, nor snap easily. These ones mostly work.
Rear rack system: Beaker Concepts Hydrotail H.5 – This is to mount said water bottles on, as well as where I place my CO2 Kit
Front hydration system: At present, I’m not using any – and am just doing the bottle thing. On the bike above at top of post, you see the Speedfil – which I found painfully annoying on many levels.
CO2 Kit: This little kit from Performance fits right into my rack system so perfectly you’d thought they were made for each other.
Regular Helmet: Bell Alchera Road Helmet – Probably not the prettiest helmet, but it works.
Aero Helmet: Giro Advantage 2 Helmet – Some of the newer helmets have better ventilation designs – so I probably wouldn’t choose this particular model again.
Bike jerseys: It’s really whatever’s around. No particular brand, plenty from races/events/cities that I select from.
Bike shorts/bib: Louis Garneau Pro Bib Shorts – I love this bib, but I only have one pair. So I also mix in some random bike shorts that I picked up, including the old school Garmin-Chipotle ones with a big chili on the back that says ‘Hot’…on my ass.
Bike Shoes: Shimano SH-TR31 Triathlon Shoes – These have served me well over the years. Not as pretty as new shoes, but, they keep on ticking. I have the slightly older model of this.
Cold Weather Long Sleeve Jersey: Pearl Izumi Long Sleeve Jersey: This is for in-between days.
Cold Weather Bike Top: Gore Men’s Contest SO Jacket – I layer this over a long sleeve bike jersey.
Cold Weather Bike Tights: Gore Bike Wear Vista Tights – These work well, and are windproof and reasonably water-resistant – which is sorta the basic requirement for me.
Bike Case: Aerus Biospeed Bike Case – Here’s a bit more in-detail on the case, and how I use it while travelling.
Bike Trainer: A lot of them: At the house currently I have I think six, if not seven trainers. I use them all. I’ve bought a lot of them (the others are temporary trial units), and the CompuTrainer is the workhouse that ‘always works’, but it’s not my favorite, and not what I’d recommend as of September 2012. If you’re buying a trainer – wait a month for my trainer showdown.
Bike Computer/GPS: A lot of them: Like the trainer, I’m perpetually in review bike with bike computers. Just got another one on my doorstep today actually (crazy, it was couriered to me same-day in a gift bag of sorts). If all of them disappeared, I’d probably just use the Edge 500 or Edge 800. But the Joule GPS is pretty solid too. I connect that to the Bontrager Speed/Cadence sensor for indoor training.
I should mention that I rarely wear arm warmers, and they are just a pair that I picked up at some random demo day somewhere. In my little mind, if it’s cold enough for arm warmers, it’s cold enough for a long sleeve jersey. And vice versa.
Running Shoes: New Balance 817’s – Like most runners, once you’ve found a shoe that works, you don’t change. Ever. I’ve ordered the same shoe for years now, always in two sets.
Running T-Shirt: Whatever technical t-shirt I grab out of the massive drawer of dozens of them. If you don’t have any running t-shirts, you’re not doing enough races. 😉
Running Shorts: Nike Drifit running shorts: I pick these up at the Nike outlet stores when I go, but they last forever. I haven’t bought new pairs in 4-5 years. I’m sure at some point they’ll die…but today is not that point.
Running Socks: Balega – No questions, these socks…forever. So soft, just love them. I’ve never had blisters with them. Ever.
Running Watch: Like the other watches, this is a never ending swinging door of watches to review. In general though, if I’m doing a triathlon race, it’ll be the Garmin FR910XT. But if I’m just running straight-up, probably the Garmin FR610. I connect that to the standard Garmin ANT+ footpod for indoor training. Actually, at the moment, it’s the Timex branded variant of that. Either way – same exact model from the same factory, just different logos. Get whichever is cheapest that day.
Long Run Hydration: CamelBak Fairfax – I use this to hold enough for all but the very hottest and longest training runs (22 miles), and even then – I can usually refill along the way around mile 18 or so.
Place to stick stuff on runs: Spibelt – Most runs, I don’t bother with anything. But for some longer runs, this works as a great place to stick house/car keys, credit cards, or even gels. I’ve tried a few brands, this one just works the best for me.
Cold Weather Running Top: Quarter-Zip North Face fleece (can’t find it anymore). Sometimes I’ll layer it on top of a long-sleeve technical shirt from a running race. In general though, you’re pretty much set for any DC or Paris weather with that combo. You don’t need to bulk up too much as you’ll get warm pretty easily. Here’s a post on all my cold weather running thoughts.
Cold Weather Running Tights: Sugoi Midzero tights – These are my favorite. I’ve only got one pair, and use them religiously in cold weather (below about 42*F).
Cold Weather Running Gloves: $1.00 race expo gloves – That’s it. It’s easy. I almost never throw them away, I feel guilty. So I use a few rotating pairs, all from expos – some even free! I’ve got a pair of no-brand mittens that I toss on if the weather is super-cold, but like running tops in cold weather, you’d be surprised what your body is fine with once it’s up to speed. All you folks in Minnesota though shouldn’t adhere to this section. Just go to the Artic section of REI instead.
Ice Running: Yaktrax – There’s no better way to run on compact snow and ice. Deeper snow though, not as useful/necessary.
Here’s a few random things that didn’t fit above.
Bike/Run Nutrition: PowerBar Energy Blasts – Right now, I’m loving these little blobs (seen above). I could eat these all day and night (ok, I have once had them for breakfast just cause). But, I’m kinda finicky when it comes to nutrition. I move around a lot as my body tends to get sick of things easily, especially on race day. Btw, I like the Strawberry & Raspberry ones, The Girl likes Cola. I tolerate Lemon.
Training/Racing Camera: Panasonic Lumix TS3 – I use this for taking all of the swim/bike/run photos you see here showing day to day training. I almost never stop to take a photo, so everything is taken…well…on the run. It’s waterproof and can go down fairly deep depth wise. It’s what I used during Alcatraz. For all my other photography stuffs, see my photography page.
Training/Racing Video Camera: GoPro HD Hero 2 – I’ve got this and the original, both are awesome. I’ve also got a Contour, which is fine, but nowhere near as flexible as the GoPro system. Again, the GoPro just works when and where I need it.
Weight Scale: Withings WiFi Scale – Another one that just works. It’s that simple. You step on it, it wirelessly uploads via WiFi, and you’re done. No advanced/complex thinking/setup required.
Race belt: FuelBelt GelReady Race Belt – For races, to put your number on for the bike and run. It also holds gels, though, not as well as I’d like. Better just as a race belt for the number than a storage platform.
Triathlon suit: Desoto and Orca: I have two, a blue one-piece from Orca, and a second red one-piece from DeSoto. Unfortunately, the exact model names have rubbed well off though. I like them both. My only recommendation on tri suits is ensure it has at least one, if not three back/side pockets. Absolutely critical.
Transition Bag: Extreme Terra Bag (no longer made/available) – I use that bag occasionally for transitions, but as more and more races go towards ‘clean transition areas’, I’ve simply moved to a generic REI backpack. As long as it has places to clip stuff on the sides, you can carry a lot with a little creativity.
That’s it…which, seems like a lot of stuff I suppose (and it’s taken me nearly 2 hours to write it all out – the flight from Paris to Oslo – a bit longer than I anticipated). But, if you look at other triathletes lists out on the interwebs – they’re pretty similar. After all, you’re doing three full sports – with different training and racing requirements for each one.
And again – I use a lot of things for testing and product reviews, but the above is a list of things that I’ve bought (every one of them) and use day to day. In general, I’m a creature of comfort – if it works for me, I’m sticking with it. It doesn’t mean there aren’t other solutions that aren’t just as good (or even better) – it’s just what works for me.
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