Thursday, May 15, 2008

Smart Shopper

Triathlon is an expensive sport; we buy lots of things. Here are some of the best and worst purchases I have made over the years, from all price ranges:

5 Best Purchases

1. Yankz Laces
I couldn't understand these things at all when I first saw them but they are amazing. My shoes fit the exact same way every time; I never worry if I maybe tied them too tight or too loose.

2. Nip Guards
Yes, you can use Body Glide or Vaseline or Band Aids or electrical tape. But nothing makes my nippies feel more safe and secure than these little octagonal pasties.

3. iPod Shuffle
It has its own built in clip so I don't worry about needing a carrying case or an arm band. It's small and light enough to clip on to my hat. It's the perfect running companion.

4. Bike Fit
Who knew that riding a bike isn't supposed to hurt? Well, at least not your spine. The farther you ride the more important the geometry of your bike becomes and getting a good fit makes a world of difference.

5. Aerobars
Yes, you have less wind resistance and your body is placed in a more efficient cycling position. But there's also a big psychological advantage to aerobars. Sometimes when I drop into position, it's like I'm adding NOS: I have this mental feeling of "OK, now I'm getting serious about the ride".

Five Worst Purchases

1. Support Braces
When I first started running, I had some problems with my knees and wore knee supports. And I think they helped. But as I started getting other injuries I bought ankle straps and shin stretchers and all sorts of stretchy-bandage things which didn't do a gosh-durn thing.

2. Joe Friel's Triathlete's Bible
WHAT?! How dare I say this was a bad purchase! This is a fantastic book for serious triathletes who take their races seriously. I take my races seriously, but I am not a serious triathlete. I started reading to set up an Ironman program and all it did was freak me out and make me feel like I was a wimp because I wasn't going in to test my lactate threshold every 2 weeks.

3. Ironman Passport Club
Last year I paid a fee to get an extra chance at the Kona lottery. Dumb. While the lottery is a great idea, it's fixed. Maybe not 100%, but let's face it: the single mother of 4 in Omaha who just survived breast cancer is going to get in long before a 40-year old single guy in Los Angeles.

4. L.A. Tri Club Membership
I'm sure L.A. Tri is a fantastic group. But after I did my first triathlon I went crazy and started getting all the magazines and buying hats and joining L.A. Tri. I never did a single event with them. Why not? Because everything I needed I already had with my existing Tri club. (awwwww, shucks.)

5. Masters Swim Program
Many people get great results from swim clubs, but it just didn't work for me. The pools were literally slimy. The coaches would call out drills "OK, 4 laps of the backstroke" and I'd say "I don't know the backstroke". And they'd say "well, just try anyway or swim normally." Not exactly helpful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree w/ you about the "Triathlete's Bible" - All the info in that book and more exists for free on the web. It was a big waste of money to get that book. It's printed on thick cheap pulpy paper to make it look like it has more pages than it does.

Aerobars: Love them. More than just for the aero quality, they give me a position that lets me relax my upper body which allows me to stave off fatigue for longer. I find the aero position really really comfortable. Like leaning on a bar at my favorite watering hole.

LA Tri Club: As much as they may be great individuals, I can't stand those smug uniformed jackasses screaming at each other during races. "Way to go LA Tri club!" They make themselves into a clique and I couldn't have more contempt for them and their stupid red white and blue jerseys that infect every decent training venue in LA.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Mister P. said...

I'm sure MY tri-team is sometimes viewed as a clique. But then again, when we go to races we cheer for everybody: we'll applaud Warner Bros or Pasadena Tri or LA Tri... basically if we can read the team on the jersey, we'll call them out. So OK, we're better.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I would say HRM is important. As well as a few of my technical shirts. Especially the ones with long sleeves and back pockets.

Another good purchase i have made is the camel pack. I use it for running and for snowboarding.

I am with you about the yankz laces. They are great and I never worry about them.

7:58 PM  

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