Let’s face it, triathlon can be a very expensive sport, forking out hundreds of dollars in race fees, motel rooms, petrol, flights, and of course… tri-gear. So assuming you have been in the sport for a few years and you have managed to get your hands on a race bike, you have the helmet, the cleats, the wetsuit, the running shoes, and the spiffy pair of joggers; you may ask yourself…. Now what?
The next level gear is the stuff dreams are made of, upgrading the basic arsenal to that of the superhero weapons of the future. There are things out there that even Batman himself would be proud of inventing. So let’s just assume that in some parallel universe you have been fortunate enough to accrue $1000 to spend on your Tri-arsenal, here are 5 things that you could purchase to take you to that next level.
1. The watch
This is the mainstay of essential next-level gear. A good watch that measures GPS is the best investment a triathlete can make. With the best watches hovering about the $550-$800 mark you would have money left to spend on something else. When going for the watch, aim for one which does everything. I am talking swimming metrics, riding and running data, as well as HR. Garmin have been creating exceptional devices for well over two decades and seem to have everything right with their Forerunner collection; but there are now other brands pushing hard in he market also. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions.
2. The trainer
An essential bit of gear for those living in extreme weather conditions, or when getting on the road can be simply impossible. A great bike trainer will hover about the $1000 mark, with the high-tech ones running well over that. If you are one of those people who cannot get out on the bike a lot, are time-poor, or simply like watching TV as you work-out then it is hard to go past this investment. Trainers nowadays come with a lot of extra features. You can get ones that have in-built power meters, some that allow you to get out of the saddle and rock around (simulating the movement of the road); and some that even lift your front end up to simulate riding up hill.
3. The power-meter
The must-have gear for those moving from intermediate to advanced in the world of endurance racing. A power-meter is the greatest investment a triathlete can make. When you train at power you are doing so at the EXACT intensity that you should be riding at. You cannot hide from a reading of power like you can with heart-rate. Power meters come in many different forms, and depending on needs you can even get power-meters inbuilt into your bike trainer. However this option limits you to training with power inside only. Power meters can range from $500 to $3000 so you will have to pick your options wisely.
4. The wheels
An obvious one. This one is immediate speed, rather than the training speed of the options above. But let’s face it, unless you come by some miracle, getting an exceptional set of race wheels under $1000 would only come by after some kind of miracle. However, assuming you already have a set of good ones that might have come with the bike… You can go to the dark side. With that I mean, you can become the person that scares the life out of most Tri-newbies in course…. The disc wheel. A disc wheel is designed to be fast when the bike is at a fast speed, and on flat courses. Because of its structure, it can be a disadvantage on hilly courses or technical ones. But on the plains, with little wind, the gentle hum of this brute of carbon fibre will bring back minutes without the need of extra fitness. Expect to pay right on $1000 for this however.
5. The helmet
This really should be top of the list, purely because it is bang-for-Buck the cheapest and easiest way to take time off that upcoming race. An aero helmet ranges in price from $200 – $800 with most hovering around a price in between. This is almost free speed. An aero helmet will take time off your race guaranteed, and it will also add a touch of flair to your cycle leg. Who doesn’t want to look like a F-18 fighter pilot whilst towelling up the muppets in those air-rated shells of old. A solid aero bike helmet is an essential piece of kit, and with the colour choices out there you are sure to find one which matches all the gear you have already spent your hard earn money on.
Article written by David Selwood