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Two weeks ago week I outlined every piece of gear that I regularly use in my day to day training or racing. Not the stuff that I review for products, but rather, the goods that I always turn back to once the product review goods go back.
Back by popular demand, today The Girl has updated her previous list as well. There’s a few minor areas of overlap between hers and mine, but it’s not quite as similar as you’d think. Plus, her answers are probably funnier than mine. From here on out, it’s all in her own words, enjoy!
Hello! I hope you enjoy my banter below about the different products I use. You might be disappointed to read I am not so tech-enthused as Ray. I like to use what works, what’s simple, and hopefully looks half decent! I haven’t held back on my list, everything from hair products, bras, and Garmin preferences. Just keep reading. Thanks for supporting the site and any questions you might have please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments section and I’ll get back to you soon!
Swimsuit:TYR Sport Women’s Reversible Solid Diamondback Swim Suit: Unlike Ray I do not dabble in other swim suits. This is the suit for me, it’s a great quality suit, true to fit and the elastics don’t breakdown after a season of chlorinated pools! Goggles:Blue Seventy Nero Race Goggles: As of lately, swimming hasn’t been a big priority here in Paris – unless you count my brain swimming in lots and lots of wine! However, when I do find myself swimming, these are the goggles for me. I really like this brand, and to be really honest it’s a way for me to differentiate my gear from Ray’s. You might remember a long ago the Turf Wars post Ray wrote; well the man still likes to think our gear is interchangeable and it drives me bananas. While this still doesn’t deter him from taking my stuff, it just allows me to re-locate it again. (Note: The photo above has a different pair on me, as it’s what ended up in the bag on vacation with my special vacation-only swim cap.) Swim Cap: Random Race Caps – I have never purchased a swim cap. I borrowed my first one from Ray after having swam for a month without one. Then after a few races they naturally accumulate. Swim Watch:Freestyle Women’s Shark – You must understand I’m not as tech savvy as Ray. More so, I just don’t have the interest that he (and likely you) have in all of these gizmos. Don’t everybody scream, but this is my favorite watch ever. Unless I am testing something else for Ray this is what is on my wrist (in the pool). It does not have any download features or lap saving history. And to the frustration of Ray and Coach, during a time-trial set, I will pause on every two flip turns, squint at the tiny screen to verify my split before pushing off… losing valuable seconds each time. Shampoo & Conditioner: I’m still using this stuff! Ultra Swim Shampoo & Ultra Swim Conditioner This is mostly for the ladies. We know what the chlorine does to your hair, and usually being super rushed to get out of the pool in the early hours and off to work, we don’t always take good care. Here’s a tip from my hair stylist (who despises my swim hobby), just take a quarter sized glob of conditioner and rub it into the ends of your hair before twisting it back up into your cap. The rest of your hair will still get some conditioner love because the water that gets trapped in the cap spreads it out, and your hair gets a mini conditioning treatment while you workout! Voilà. Drills – Pull Buoy:FINIS Foam Pull Buoy– Since I do not have as much “body” to float, I found that the speedo pull buoy that Ray and my coach use was a little over kill for me, so I scaled down to this “Junior” pull buoy and love it. 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 Women’s Helix – I LOVE this wetsuit, and I absolutely hate wearing wetsuits. AND opposite to Ray’s zipper preference I like the “Zip-Down” to get it closed and the “Zip UP” to get it off. I don’t find it too hard to convince someone at a race to help me zip closed my wetsuit if I need it, and most importantly in race situations it takes less that a second to rip that cord up which ensures your wetsuit is all of the way open and ready for the “Strippers!” Openwater – Booties:Blueseventy Swim Socks – At this point in my life if that water is that cold, I’m realistically not getting in. BUT, in the past, I used these booties to keep my toes warm, and they were a big help getting me onto the podium! Openwater – Swim Cap:Bluesventy Skull cap – Again, for super-cold water (Mr. Boise 70.3), I use this swim cap – and like Ray I also cut off the annoying chin strap (as most people do). Openwater – Anti-chaff: I don’t seem to have the chafing issues others have with neck rub in my wetsuit. Maybe I’m just not doing it right? But if I needed anything for chafing I’m a Glide girl. Swim bag: I’m still rocking my gear bag that was given as part of the race swag at the St. John’s Triathlon (up in my hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada). Openwater Swim Watch: I used to just use my old trusty pool watch from earlier in the post, but now that my new Garmin FR620 favorite is much sleeker than previous watches, I’ll be just as likely to toss that on. While I am married to the king of sports techno, I don’t like having multiple gadgets. Yes, I know it’s a running watch. Yes, it annoys Ray too.
The bike:Trek Speed Concept WSD 7.0 We had a small issue with this bike, whereby the frame cracked instead of the quick replacement piece of the derailleur. This was a $2700 problem rendering my bike a unicycle. To be fair that was 3 years ago, Trek eventually replaced my frame, and they very well may have fixed the design since. Other than that, this bike is specially designed for the ladies, and came in a size XS for me! I love love love the bike and the fit. Power Meter:Quarq Cinqo – I bought this a few years ago because Ray and my coach told me to. I’m sure there are more up to date devices at the moment, but as you’ve already realized I don’t get super into the technologies of these devices. All I care about is Quarq has provided outstanding customer service and this power meter is reliable! I’m happy, don’t fix what’s not broken! Race Wheels:Zipp Wheel 404’s– I bought these from a pro a few years ago, so mine are a different color than the ones in the link. Since my bike is set for 650 wheels rather than the “average person’s” 700 size wheels, they are a hard find but usually discounted when you do! I love them. Bike Pedals:Shimano PD-6700 Ultegra SPD-SL – These are excellent. Rear rack system: XLAB – This thing is glorious. No issues with this system from mounting it to racing with it. Front hydration system:Profile Design Aero Bottle– This link is slightly different than the one I use. I bought mine before “insulated” bottles were available for this system; mine is just a hard plastic, otherwise the same. I really like this system, very straightforward and very easy to refill on the fly at a bottle station during a race. I like to stay in aero position all day long, so having the straw right there is perfect. CO2 Kit:This little kit from Performance fits right into my bike rack system as well, just like it does in Ray’s rack. Regular Helmet: Giro Atmos – I truly hate most helmet designs. Maybe I have a weird head shape, but they ALL give me headaches (no I’m not wearing a size too small). The Atmos + sandpaper customization has been tolerable. Aero Helmet:Giro Advantage 2 Helmet – If I didn’t look like a fool, I would be doing all training rides in this helmet… fits my head the best = less headaches. Bike jerseys:Louis Garneau Women’s Jersey – I am a creature of habit and really only wear 2-3 different ones. My main go-to is this one because it is so thin and breathable. I’m sure it’s about time for a new one… but since I no longer have a bike, my jerseys are the least of my problems! Bike shorts/bib:Sugoi Women’s RPM short – all I can say is these shorts changed my world. (These are not my triathlon racing shorts, just long ride, everyday training shorts. They are amazing). Bike Shoes:Shimano SH-WT52 Triathlon Shoes – Triathlon can get overwhelming with prices of equipment, etc. But I purchased these shoes in 2008, so many years later with no sign of needing new ones it turned out to be a pretty good investment! Love them. Cold Weather Long Sleeve Jersey: Under Armor thermal or Sugoi MidZero Arm Warmers – I don’t have an extensive bike jersey selection, I’d rather spend my money otherwise. Instead I layer a thermal shirt or arm warmers under a short sleeve jersey; these can then be used for running as well. If it’s super cold I go with the jacket below (or ride on my trainer). Cold Weather Bike Top:Gore Cycling Tech Jacket – This is one item I have actually updated. I love the quality and durability of Gore brand, and while it looks a little pricey now, you won’t need to buy new ones… like ever. Cold Weather Bike Tights:Gore Bike Wear Women’s Sportive Tight – These are great. Keep me warm and dry. Beware there is no chamois, so you need to layer bike shorts underneath. Bike Case:Aerus Biospeed Bike Case – Here’s a bit more in-detail on the case, and how we both use it while travelling. Bike Trainer: This is an interesting one. Total disclaimer, I am spoiled and have never had to buy a trainer (well, since being married to Ray). I usually use whatever trainer that is currently occupying the space in front of the TV. If I could ever tell Ray what to do (and he complied) I think my preference is the Wahoo one, simply for quietness, certainly not out of functionality. I hate having to take off that back wheel. Bike Computer/GPS:Edge 500 This is a Ray hand-me-down from many years ago and I am a loyal gadget owner. It works. I know how to work it. It talks to all of the other equipment I need it to. I don’t want to figure out a new bike computer while in areo position. UNLESS… Garmin finally takes the long time hint and sends me a one-off crazy neon colored or all white Edge 500, then I would change device (color), but still it should be an Edge 500. Just because Ray doesn’t accept free things from companies, I still don’t understand why I have to be left out this whole time?!?!
Running Shoes:Asic Women’s Gel DS Trainer – Every runner has super different needs for running shoes, so I would suggest getting a good shoe fitting by a trusted running store or your physical therapist. I switched to the Gel DS Trainer from the Kayano’s because it’s a much lighter shoe that still provides good support. I have tendinitis in one foot from an old dislocated metatarsal and the DS-Trainer has alleviated the flare-ups. Fits my foot so well I have zero hesitation taking a pair straight from the box and out on an 18mile run… it has happened! Running Shorts:New Balance Minimus Split Shorts – I cannot tell you how much I love these things! #Winner. Race Singlet: For the life of me I cannot find the Nike dry fit singlet that I like to race in. Otherwise I am slowly becoming an Oiselle convert. This company is made of female runners making good products for female runners. Here’s my new fav from them. Sports Bra:Champion Seamless Cami – I know, too much info for the guys. But girls are always fussing over sports bras, and a good 30 second jog on the spot in a dressing room is not the same as a 10 miler in a sports bra. Furthermore, sports bras are by no means one style fits all. So, I’ll put it out there I don’t need a lot happening in the support area, I just want support, breathable fabric, and non-chafing. There is zero need for me to spend $45-$60 on a terrible Nike bra when these Champion brand ones are amazing! I have about 6 of them… maybe 8. Running Socks:Feetures Light Cushion No-Show – I cannot run with anything other than these socks. They are fitted to your arch, cushion where you need it and not where you don’t. They are advertised as men’s but they are unisex. I have tried to talk Ray out of the Balega socks for a while, I get blisters from those socks because they aren’t fitted and allow your foot to slide around, creating blisters (for me) on high intensity long workouts. I only wear the Balega’s around the house now for comfy socks. Running Watch:Garmin FR620 LOVE. I never in a million years thought I would trade from my Garmin 310XT, in fact I believe my exact quote from my last product list said “You will have to pry it from my cold lifeless fingers before you could make me use a different running watch.”…. and yet, Garmin has outdone themselves. And you know how much I don’t like change 🙂 Running Anti-Chafing Product:Skin Strong Silk or Glide . I love the Skin Strong product, but it’s a pain to travel with since it’s a liquid and Ray doesn’t let me check baggage when traveling, and thus I always have a random stick of body glide hanging around. I actually met the makers of Skin Strong at Interbike several years ago and they gave me a sample bottle. I’ve used it ever since as it does not wear off on long runs, and I d0 prefer it to Body Glide. At first I was afraid it might be greasy but it wasn’t at all and didn’t leave any residue on your shorts/clothes. Super convenient to spray on, and if you’re buddy asks for a bit it isn’t as gross as sharing your body stick… think about it. Long Run Hydration:CamelBak Women’s 50 oz. – This has been great, the women’s fit is snug and doesn’t bounce around or rub your armpits. It holds enough water for all but the very hottest and longest training runs. For me, 50 oz is a lot to drink. Plus the little pocket on the bottom is positioned that you can reach back and jimmy it open to sneak out another gel without having to break your pace. Place to stick stuff on runs:Spibelt – I introduced Ray to this specific belt and we both really like it. Because of the material it’s made of it can stretch & form to fit random shaped objects and still doesn’t bounce around. I mentally can’t handle something bouncing against my back throughout a run and this belt doesn’t do that. Hair Bands: Lishy Bands – As you might have read above, my bike helmets give me headaches, so I’m not a huge fan of putting unnecessary things around my head. But these headbands are great! The inside of the band is a velvet type material so it naturally stays in place without having to be too tight via elastic. The designer is always changing up the materials for new trends. My hands down favorite is the “Black, non-slip Sparkle”. It does the job, I think it is really cute, and is tame all at the same time! She’s on Etsy, check her out. Cold Weather Running Top:Gore Women’s Running Vest & Nike Dryfit Long Sleeve – I am more of a ‘layer the crap out of what I have’, rather than ‘buying a running specific jacket’ person. Ray will sometimes count the layers to tease me. This Running vest, however, was a great addition 2 years ago and has been really durable and comfortable! I wear a lot of cold weather gear on top, the legs can handle the cold but I have a hard time if my chest and back get too cold. I will even wear the vest with a Dryfit tee just to keep my back warm, but arms cool. Cold Weather Running Tights:Sugoi Women’s Midzero tights – I have a handful of tights that I have tested out. These are hands down the best for the cold nights! (I also wear these skiing since they are fleecy on the inside and do not have a zipper around your ankle). Cold Weather Running Gloves: I’m probably going to embarrass my mom here. But I make her go to the dollar store in St. John’s, Newfoundland because we discovered years ago that they have hands down the best fleece mittens! She sends me a new pair or two each year for my Christmas stocking! I don’t like gloves, I like mittens, and the Dollar-Tree hasn’t let me down yet! (These also double as my biking gloves. The double layered fleece is also somehow windproof. Sorta a necessity in Newfoundland!) Ice Running: Yaktrax – We have had some very entertaining runs with these. Washington D.C’s 2010 Snowzilla had nothing on Yaktraks. We ran the entire week outside on the abandoned roads!
Bike/Run Nutrition:GU Energy Gels – We have used a lot of different products over the last few years, and this is my current go to. I will admit that the EFS Liquid Shot was the best nutrition I have used to date, but I have a seriously wacky stomach and I had taken in so much of this stuff in a two year period that it now immediately sets off a gag reflex. I cannot get it down, I wish I could, but there is such a thing of having too much of a good thing. GU gels are my next preference because they are a known good; I know how my body will react and they do the job. Ray is currently loving these guys: PowerBar Energy Blasts and I have had them a few times before some intensity workouts, they haven’t caused any problems, but I’m going to have to wait on that opinion until we start getting up into the 15+ mile workouts. Btw, I like the Cola and Lemon, Ray eats the Strawberry Banana & Raspberry. Weight Scale:Withings WiFi Scale – I use this because Ray put it in the bathroom. It is not complicated, I step on it and it tells me my weight and how many cupcakes I’ve been eating lately. Personally I don’t have a lot of weight related goals that I track so I don’t bother with the uploading things aspect of it. Race belt:Zoot Race Belt – I have this in black. It’s easy to attach your race number, and super easy to don during transition madness. No complaints. Triathlon suit: Zoot 4” Tri short,& 2XU Women’s Tri Top – You could not force me to wear a onesie. Maybe I just don’t have enough confidence in what I would look like in a full spandex suit, but I have always been a fan of the feel of a tri top and shorts combo. These tri shorts are awesome, I can’t say anymore than that. The 2XU Tri top has gone the distance! It has a built in sports bra and has two small pockets on back for nutrition. Perfect. Transition Bag: I like to keep it really simple on race day, I don’t like to carry around more than I absolutely need. Therefore I actually use the Blue Seventy mesh bag that came with my wetsuit. It fits everything that I need and “if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t ship”!
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.