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It’s that time of year again – the “Swim/Bike/Run Gear I use List!”. Well, ok, it was that time of year like 8 months ago, but life got in the way. Thankfully, enough of you kept reminding me each week that eventually I couldn’t hit the snooze button any longer.
Like previous years, most of the items haven’t changed or shifted a ton. But, I went through and updated everything that has been tweaked. I suppose I’m kinda simple when it comes to most of my gear.
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 that I’ve succeeded in avoiding in the past year or two.
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. None of these brands sponsor me or anything here. It’s just what I’ve bought myself and use day to day.
Perhaps the easiest category, simply due to the least amount of stuff on one’s 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. Pool Swim Watch:Garmin Fenix3– From a slimness standpoint I still prefer the Garmin Swim, but for simplicity in sync via my phone/WiFi, I’ve been using the Fenix3 most of the time. Drills – Pool buoy:Speedo Pull Buoy – Really, it’s a pull buoy, just ensure it’s big enough to fit. Drills – Swimmer Snorkel:FINIS Swimmer’s 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. Openwater – Visibility Buoy:Safer Swimmer – When swimming in openwater by myself, I use this to be seen by boats and the like, for example, during these swims. I take this all around the world with me on virtually all my openwater swims. Swim bag: Just one of those generic purse-string type swim bags you get at most races these days. Openwater Swim Watch:Garmin Fenix3 – There’s really only a handful of options here, but I’ve mostly been using the Fenix3 lately. I’ll sometimes use the FR920XT, really just depends on what I have in my bag.
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. Plus, swimming in the overcrowded pools of Paris, I rarely do drills anymore with pool toys, just no way to have any real technical work there.
Triathlon Bike:Cervelo P3C – This just happened to be the bike that fit me best. I use all the stock components, minus adding Shimano Di2 shifting last summer (purely for product testing/compatibility – I wouldn’t otherwise bother). Road Bike #1: Giant Defy Advanced – Ok, this category grew a bit this year, mostly because I’ve been testing so many power meters it was getting tough to keep swapping them around. Also, I really wouldn’t over-think either of my road bike choices. Seriously, I walked into a local bike shop at 6PM in Vegas the night before Interbike and this was the bike that fit my requirements for what I needed that week. I got a good deal on it, and kept it. Do enjoy it though. Road Bike #2:Trek 1.2 – This was very similar to the other road bike. I got a sweet deal from a local bike shop on it, as I needed a road bike for various products that weren’t tri-bike friendly. I ride this bike somewhat rarely, especially now with the other road bike. The Commuter Bike:Trek Belleville: Here’s the whole backstory on that bicycle. Though, I could also probably put the Paris Velib bike in this category too, I ride that more often actually. Power Meter:Garmin Vector pedals & PowerTap G3: I actually own a lot of power meters, but these are the two that are on my bike pretty much all the time (I have two sets of each). But I also have a Quarq Riken and Stages too. Ultimately, I’ve got a lot of power meters – so this category is somewhat dictated by what product I need on my bike to compliment whatever I’m actually testing (as a baseline/comparison). Race Wheels:PowerTap G3 Carbon 46mm Wheelset: I’ve been riding variants of these for a while. I also still own a pair of HED 3’s Tubular. And, should I veer back to long-course racing, I suspect the HED’s would have better aerodynamics, but for the shorter-course stuff, I’m more than happy with the integrated PowerTap wheelset. Bike Pedals:Garmin Vector Pedals – Though, if testing something else I’ll just use generic/cheap pedals. 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 (for my triathlon bike primarily). Rear rack system:Beaker Concepts Hydrotail H.5 – This is to mount said water bottle cages 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. 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: Giro Aeon (Matte Black)– Nice and light, love it. Though I know there are far lighter ones, I’m simple and this 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 from them. 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. Last month I also picked up a Pearl Izumi Elite Bib that I’m already loving as well. Bike Shoes #1: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 these. Bike Shoes #2:Louis Garneau Men’s Tri X-Speed Triathlon Cycling Shoes – I recently got these back in April during one of my trips to the US. The store had them on sale and thus far I quite like them. 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. Unfortunately, the Biospeed model isn’t made anymore, but, a new case that appears to be exactly the same is now out (links in that post). Bike Trainer:Wahoo Fitness KICKR: This is the trainer that I’d ride if it were my choice anyway. Currently The Girl has pushed forward an “Occupy KICKR” movement that has left me back on the CompuTrainer. Though, that’s also in part because the CompuTrainer gives me a bit more flexibility when doing power meter testing (since I don’t have to remove the back wheel, allowing me to keep the PowerTap on there too). If you’re buying a trainer, look at my 2014-2015 trainer recommendations guide. Bike Computer/GPS:Garmin Edge 810/Edge 1000: Most of the time I’m using the Edge 810, but I occasionally use the Edge 1000. Though, I deeply love the massive sensor pool on the Edge 1000 due to all the products I’m swapping around and testing. I seriously wish that concept would be available on the Edge 510/810 (like it is on the FR920XT). Or, I just wish I could get a nice small Edge 500-sized unit that supported all of the advanced aspects that the Edge 1000 does…minus maps. Speed/Cadence Sensor:Wahoo BlueSCv2– This quick-release version pops on and off the bike in two seconds, making it awesome for moving between bikes should you need to. Plus, it does dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. I also use both the Garmin magnetless ones too on my road bikes, because they’re simple to attach. Heart Rate Strap: Scosche Rhythm+ Optical HR band – Love love love this strap. It’s what I use when I’m not stuck using something else for product testing. Plus, it’s dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, so works with anything. Garmin Mount:Barfly TT mount – for my triathlon bike. I love that I can swap between the Forerunner’s and the Edge units without a screwdriver. Oh, and I use a heck of a lot of the standard rubber band mounts from Garmin for all the other bikes.
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:Asics Gel-DS Trainer 19: I switched this up again this year from the 17 to the 19, just a minor change over the previous version. 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 Dri-FIT 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:Garmin Fenix3: I had been using the FR620 for a long while, but I find I use the Fenix3 more and more and I haven’t used the FR620 since last fall sometime as a result. For the activities that I do, I’m pretty happy with the tracks/accuracy I get. When indoors I connect it to a standard Garmin ANT+ footpod for accurate pace/distance (currently I have the Suunto ANT+ pod, but any of them will do, whatever is cheapest that day). Long Run Hydration:CamelBak Marathoner – I switched this up this year because I wanted more pockets to carry gear on my long runs. I use this to hold all that and enough water 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 random runs while travelling, 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, albeit not much of that in Paris (I did use them about three times last year though). Deeper snow though, not as useful/necessary.
Bike/Run Nutrition:PowerBar Energy Blasts – I continue to import into France these little things for my nutrition. I was thinking last night that I like that if I don’t finish a packet I just wrap it up and save it for later 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 DMC-TS25 – I use this for taking many 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. For all my other photography stuffs, see my photography page. I recently replaced my older camera of sibling-like model back in December after I think about 5-6 years of use. So the lineup is a trooper! Training/Racing Video Camera:GoPro Hero4 Silver – I had been mixing and matching between the Hero4 Black and the Garmin VIRB, but at this point I’ve settled on the Hero4 Silver as the camera I use most often and take with me most often on trips. I like the balance between battery life, the back screen/display, and the ability to go to 2.7K when I want to. Plus, it’s tiny and there’s a ton of mounts that I can easily use with it. GoPro Gear I Use:3-Way Grip/Arm/Pole – Flippin’ love this thing. It acts as part-selfie-stick, part tripod/stand. Super flexible. Virtually all of the shots you see me take lower on the bike are from this. It’s just so versatile though with the way it morphs into different positions/functions. GoPro Gear I Use: Feiyu Tech G4 Gimbal – I recently started using this about a month ago as it allows me to get beautifully smooth shots (videos) while running and cycling (and any other sport). It now goes on all my trips with me. GoPro Gear I Use:K-Edge Mounts – I think I’ve bought 6-8 of these mounts by now, which are used on all my bikes for any action camera I use. They’re rock-solid and don’t budge (critical for smooth video on a bike). All Other Photography Gear: Be sure to check out my full photography page, which lists all the cameras I use when I’m not swim/bike/running. Weight Scale:Withings WiFi Scale and FitBit Aria Scale – I use both, it just depends which bathroom I’m in. 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: I’ve simply moved to a generic REI backpack, especially with many triathlons having ‘clean’ transition areas these days anyway (i.e. point to point races). As long as it has places to clip stuff on the sides, you can carry a lot with a little creativity.
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Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 3rd, 2016 @ 6:07 am
As you’ve seen, not a lot of changes years past. The items that changed in 2015 were (appropriately enough) the GPS devices, and then my shoes. Plus a bike. Little items here and there. I tend to be a person that sticks with what works rather than re-invent the wheel.
Obviously that’s a lot of gear, but that’s primarily because you’re training and racing in three different sports. Actually, it’s sorta like 4-5 sports, with openwater swimming and pool swimming both having different requirements (i.e. wetsuits), plus you have specific gear you’d use in triathlon that you don’t use in road cycling (i.e. bike rear cage/hydration systems).
It should be noted that none of the stuff seen above is stuff that I’m trying out for reviews. Every single item above I’ve bought and use in my normal day to day training. Obviously, you see me use gear outside of that in testing – but this is what’s left after you peel the testing and reviewing away.
As always, if you utilize any of the Amazon or Clever Training links – magic happens and you support the blog (and with Clever Training you get 10% off your order with coupon code DCR10BTF, and free US shipping for orders over $75US). Your support is always appreciated around these parts.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. – Stay tuned for sometime soon when The Girl will update her list as well. (Update: Posted here!)
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.