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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 3 years ago. Thankfully as part of The Girl’s new duties, she prodded me enough to get my list done, and tomorrow you’ll see her list. Yup, a daily-double. Actually, that’s just a back to back header. Who knows.
It’s funny, in many ways the core of my training stuff hasn’t changed a ton. The tech has, and even the bike, but there’s also a lot that hasn’t. I still use the same winter cycling/running gear, and the same swimsuits. And lots of other things like that.
While there’s a lot of gear here (because I’m covering three sports), I think you’ll find I’m actually pretty simple when it comes to most of my gear (tech goodies aside).
I’ve divided it up into the three main sports (swim/bike/run), 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 half-decade. This year I only did warm-weather triathlons (in Australia).
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 Victory Jammer: I know, I do dabble in the shorter square leg ones as well, but this is mostly my go-to suit – which is basically the same as it’s been for years. 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 Fenix 5 Plus: I still have a soft spot for the thin Garmin Swim back in the day that didn’t need the battery charged, but these days I just want everything in one place – and my Fenix 5 Plus has become that place. I’ve had some accuracy issues with this earlier in the summer, but hoping to see if those are addressed this week swimming in warmer weather. Openwater – Wetsuit:Currently Broke-Ass: Why is this broke? Well, because I severely tore my previous Blueseventy Helix and I haven’t gotten around to getting a replacement one yet. I managed to get away with doing all warm-water swims this year between being in Australia the first portion and now Europe for the summer. 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. 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.
Invariably, a strictly pool swimmer will say that’s a lot of gear – but if you divide it up (normal vs openwater), it’s really not that much stuff…especially compared to cycling.
Note, for this year I’ve just gone with my core bikes. I’ve got a few other road bikes around, but I rarely use them these days. You can look at my past ‘Gear I Use’ posts for details on those two.
Road Bike:Canyon Ultimate CF SL – I built this last winter and absolutely love it. It’s as much my main bike these days as my core test platform for new cycling gadgets. It was built with testing devices in mind (hence why I skipped aero handlebars, due to complexities with mounts). It’s working great for me as my workhorse, and I could easily see buying another Canyon down the road (mainly because they’re so darn cheap here in Europe). 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 (purely for product testing/compatibility – I wouldn’t otherwise bother). The Commuter Bike:Trek Belleville: Here’s the whole backstory on that bicycle. Though, in reality I also ride the new cargo bike just as much as this bike..if not probably more. The Cargo Bike:Urban Arrow: This is how I get all my goods back and forth to the office, as well as get the kiddos (and The Girl) around town. Also, random visitors get stuck in it too. We couldn’t live in Amsterdam without a cargo bike (since we have no car here). Power Meter: Everything? Seriously, I’m not sure what I call ‘my’ power meter anymore. On my main road bike, the three units you’ll usually find on are the Quarq DZero, Garmin Vector 3, and PowerTap G3. Also as of late, the Stages LR. I’m happy to call any one of them ‘my preferred power meter’. I suppose if I were to give one my defacto usage edge, it’s the Vector 3 pedals, since that’s what I travel with. 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, though I think they’re still in a friend’s cave in Paris. Bike Pedals:Garmin Vector 3 Pedals – Though, if testing something else I’ll use whatever Look-Keo compatible pedals are around. 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. I’m good with these. 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: Coros Linx Helmet: This has music built-in, but frankly I rarely use the music/mic portions. Instead, I just like that it’s orange at this point and looks aero-ish. Cars easily see me, so safety wins here. Aero Helmet:Giro Advantage 2 Helmet – I haven’t bought a new aero helmet in a long time, as most of the European races I’ve done have been draft-legal and Olympic distance, so they’re less of a concern here. Bike jerseys:DC Rainmaker kit by Pedal Mafia: Duh!!! I’ve got both the red and blue variants of course, and use them quite a bit. When not using either of these two I’m using another kit from Pedal Mafia (Cobbled Classic is the name). And failing that, just random bike jerseys I’ve got around that I’ve bought here and there. Bike shorts/bib: DC Rainmaker kit by Pedal Mafia: Duh Part II! Same as the previous item Cycling Shoes:Louis Garneau Men’s Tri X-Speed Triathlon Cycling Shoes I’ve actually used these a few years now, though roughly end up going through a pair every 12-18 months. Cold Weather Bike Coat:Gore Men’s Contest SO Jacket – I layer this over a long sleeve bike jersey. Seriously, I still own this – like 8 years later or something. On one hand I probably do need a new coat. On the other hand, it works just fine. 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). I still use this case at least a few times or more a year. My guess is my case has about 150,000-250,000 miles on it by now. No issues. Bike Trainer:Tacx Neo Smart Trainer – Admittedly it’s been a number of months since I was able to consistently ride the Neo, since I’ve been on a flood of new trainer tests right now. But for me the Neo has a heavy ‘just works’ factor from an accuracy standpoint (there’s no calibration). Also, I kinda like the rumble that it creates replicating cobblestones and such. If you’re looking at buying a new trainer, expect my guide out in a couple weeks. Hoping to get a few more trainers in before it goes live (notably the Kinetic R1, Tacx Flux S and maybe the Flux 2, plus a re-look at the JetBlack). Bike Computer/GPS:Garmin Edge 1030: Obviously, I’m almost always riding with 3-4 head units for power meter data gathering, but, on the rare occasions I’m not – I tend to gravitate to the Edge 1030. Another way to tell which unit I prefer is that I usually put it out on my out-front mount (there are occasional exceptions to this, but that’s usually my tell). Speed Sensor:Wahoo SPEED: I don’t use a combo speed/cadence sensor anymore, and frankly I rarely use this speed sensor. But you will find it on my bikes for various test purposes. I prefer it over the Garmin variant simply because it has dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, whereas the Garmin variant doesn’t. Heart Rate Strap: Wahoo TICKR-X/TICKR: I tend to use this the most when I’m not testing something else. I really like the Scosche sensors, and use them a bunch too – but I’m also sometimes a bit overwhelmed with all the things I have to charge for each ride/run these days, and sometimes just going with a simple coin-cell battery chest strap is my preference. Note that I don’t really differentiate in my use between the TICKR-X and TICKR, I never use the ‘X’ features. I have a few of both, usually 1-2 at each home and studio and just grab whatever is hanging on the towel rack. Bike Computer Mount: Barfly 4 Prime Out-Front Mount: I like this one, it’s metal and has tons of options for swapping to different bike computer types if I need to (such as to Wahoo or what-not). The GoPro mount aspect is functional and the whole thing is solid. But again, it’s just what’s been on my bike the longest lately, I’m also totally good with the K-Edge variants, and in fact, usually ride a K-Edge under-saddle mount for my GoPro.
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 22: I switched this up again this year from the 19 to the 22, just a minor change over the previous versions I’ve used. 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 mostly wear these first, but I’ve got plenty of pairs of shorts that I use. Running Socks:Balega Hidden Comfort – No questions, these socks…forever. So soft, just love them. I’ve never had blisters with them. Ever. Running Watch:Garmin Fenix 5 Plus: Same as for swimming. Ultimately, finally having Spotify on this is what made me switch this past summer. That along with the maps that I occasionally use. I like the ‘middle’ version (not the S or X), as it seems to work best for me size-wise. Long Run Hydration:CamelBak Marathoner – I still use this in the summer or on hikes. I also use it sometimes on runs to hold more GPS watches. 🙂 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: I don’t have a specific top I use, rather, I tend to layer bits and pieces together. 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 Arctic 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 Amsterdam most of the time. Though, I deeply regretted not taking them to Canada last week. Note that for deeper snow though, they aren’t as useful/necessary.
The Random Category:
Here’s a few random things that didn’t fit above into a specific category.
Bike/Run Nutrition: I know a bunch of folks will ask about this, but I don’t really have any specific go-to right now. Since I’m not training for iron-distance races at the moment, I can kinda get away with not having to be super consistent on this front. Most rides/runs under a couple hours I’m just doing water and whatever random granola thing I find in a kitchen drawer somewhere. Daily Action Cam:GoPro Hero 7 Black: It was the Hero 6 Black before the Hero 7 came out, but since having that for a bit now – the quality is worth the jump. GoPro Accessories I use:Complete list here: It’s basically all the accessories I use daily. Preferred Drone: DJI Mavic Air: While the new DJI Mavic 2 is great and all, I prefer the ability to use just my phone to control the Mavic Air when I’m travelling or just stuffed in the back of my jersey pocket for a quick pic. 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. 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: 2XU: I got it down in Australia before a race there, but since I’m travelling at the moment I don’t quite have access to it. And it’s at this juncture that I realized I never quite published my Fremantle triathlon race report from then. Hmm… 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.
For long-term readers, you’ll notice that I don’t tend to change the apparel side very much. Most of that stays pretty much the same for years. Things like shoes only change a tiny bit between available variants of the same model. Same goes for other non-tech categories. I tend to be a person that sticks with what works rather than re-invent the wheel.
Whereas on the tech side I tend to stay with the most recent. Obviously, this site sorta drives that a bit.
Obviously there’s a lot of gear there, but that’s primarily because you’re training for 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 (like triathlon suits).
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.
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Thanks for reading!
P.S. – The Girl’s list is slated to automatically post tomorrow as well. We’re on top of it this week!
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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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.