Tag: Equipment (page 1 of 2)

Triathlete’s Gift Guide 2017

Gifts under $25! Gifts under $50! Stocking Stuffers!

This time of year there are so many gift guides out there for anyone and everyone. For any budget and every budget. Last year I did a full on gift guide with my recommendations on gear for your triathlete. This year, I’ve got a bit different take on the gift guide with a few specific recommendations thrown in.

(As a side note, if you are doing your Christmas shopping online, I’d love for you to use my Amazon link to support the site. It doesn’t cost you anything and it helps me keep going with my multisport pursuits!)

What not to get your triathlete

Let’s start here: what not to get. Triathletes are a peculiar bunch. We get finicky with the smallest of things. Whenever something is messed up we obsess over it. When there is new gear released we compare it to what we already have.

We also know what we want. We have our favorites and it takes moving a mountain to get us to try something different (or maybe just a horrible race… then we try EVERYTHING different!) With this in mind, don’t get your triathlete anything without researching what they have already and what they want/need. You don’t have to straight up ask them what they want, but a little peak in the closet, at race photos, etc. and a simple google search can go a long way.

For more on this subject (and a good laugh) check out this article by pro triathlete Jesse Thomas. (And this other one too)

What to get your triathlete

Here is the part you came here for: What to get your triathlete. After reading the above, probably the best thing to get them is a gift card so they can buy something themselves! Start with an online triathlon shop like Trisports. Then maybe their local bike shop. Also, Amazon has everything.

The next best thing is something to help their training. An indoor bike trainer like the Tacx Vortex, Flux, or Neo trainers. These are all smart trainers that can control power output for more structured training. If that’s a little too much for your budget, the Travel Trac is the best non-smart trainer out there! Throw in a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to TrainerRoad and your triathlete will be a happy camper!

Consumables are also always a great bet. Obviously this would include their sports nutrition and supplements like gels, bars, hydration, recovery drinks etc., but I would also throw running shoes in there (make sure you get the brand and model the use!) and bike tires and tubes. These things are all going to need purchased anyway so it saves them from buying them laterso they have more money to spend on the shiny new aero items they’ve had their eye on.

Lastly, if you want to go big, I suggest you hit up the latest gadgets. Triathletes are almost always data nerds. If they don’t have the latest bike computer or GPS watch (like the Garmin 935) that’s always a great buy. A power meter is always welcomed as well! Just make sure to get one that is compatible with their bike. An easy way around this is a pedal based power meter like the Garmin Vector 3 or PowerTap P1.

Stocking Stuffers for your triathlete

The last thing to think about it stoking stuffers. I’ll do a whole other post on this next week, so for now I’d tell you to look for some great socks, those consumables we talked about, or even some small tools to keep their equipment going!

Happy shopping everyone!

And don’t forget to use my Amazon link to support the site!

If you like what you’re reading, you can sign up to get all my posts in you inbox as soon as they are posted! I only post once or twice a week and I promise not to spam you! Plus, you’ll get access you my free 5k Beginners Training plan AND my Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training plan!

Trisports.com Closing

**An updated article on the future of Trisports was posted on 10/14/17. You can find that here**

In the fast paced word of online information, this would be considered “old news,” but I wanted my readers to be aware of the changes in the Triathlon world that recently happened. Trisports.com, founded and run by Seton and Debbie Claggett, recently announced that they were closing tiger doors due to the final ruling on a lawsuit surrounding their bankruptcy from 2013.

On the one hand, I am sad to see a great company company close. On the other hand, I even more sad for the great people that made Trisports who it was. If you have spent any amount of time around here you know that I was sponsored by Trisports these last two seasons. The people were great to work with and an awesome support for my tri naming and racing. I also had a wonderful time writing articles for their Trisports University. If you haven’t check out that page, do it now before it goes away. (I have high hopes that at least TSU will continue even if their retail store does not)

So what does the future hold for Trisports? Continue reading

Review- Profile Design 1/Fifty Wheelset

Faster. That’s the adjective that every endurance athlete is working towards. We want to go faster, so we train harder, eat smarter, and buy that fancy new gadget that promises a few seconds here and a couple minutes there. For a triathlete, that focus usually comes on the bike. It is simply the easiest place you can “buy speed.” So we look for the best way to spend our limited resources to get the biggest bang for our bucks. One of the most popular ways to get those precious few seconds back is with a set of aero wheels. And with these new wheels from Profile Design, we can save a few bucks, and still get that aero benefit we are looking for!

What are they?
The new 1/Fifty wheels from Profile Design are a lower cost option to their higher end TwentyFour series wheels. As the name suggests, they are 50mm deep carbon clinchers that put them right in that range of all around wheelsets. They are not super deep to only be used for time trials or triathlons, and they are not shallow to mainly be used for climbing or training. That 40-60mm range is really a Sweet spot for rim depth.

What’s the difference between these and the TwentyFour series?
Like I said before, these are the “budget alternative to the TwentyFour series.” Where a full set of 58/TwentyFours will set you back $1398, the 1/Fifty’s will only cost you $999. Look for them on sale and you can even snag them for $750! Obviously, my first question in seeing that price difference was “what am I giving up to save that $400?”

There is not a ton of information out there, but through some of my own digging, and then my observations actually being able to ride both sets of wheels I was able to find some minor differences. The first is that Profile Design says they are us using the same rim shape they used on the TwentyFour series which was validated using CFD. What they don’t say is that they validated this rim shape at the 50mm depth. That means this is still a fast shape, just maybe not perfectly optimized for the 50mm vs the 38, 58, and 78mm depth.

The only other major difference I found was that PD also went with round spokes on these versus bladed spokes on the TwentyFour series. This doesn’t seem like a hunger deal, but from wind tunnel test I have heard from the likes of Flo and others, bladed spokes make a big difference. I’m not sure what kind of hit aerodynamically that would be in this case, but I know it’s there.

The final difference is the culmination of a bunch of little things. Both sets come with brake pads, rim tape, skewers, etc. but the overall presentation in the packaging is lower with the 1/Fifty wheels. Obviously, they were thinking about cutting cost wherever the could. I also noticed slight differences in a few other accessories like the skewers. I couldn’t really tell if there was a performance difference between the two, so I reached out to customer service and here is what they said:

“You pay a little more for the twenty four series wheels and that is one of the items that are upgrade from the 1/fifty version. Both skewers sets will do the same job, the twenty four series are just a little bit lighter and slimmer design.”

So there you have it. In my mind it is really like the difference between opening up a brand new iPhone or other Apple device versus pretty much any other electronic. Those of you who have gotten a new iDevice know what I’m talking about. It’s that attention to every last detail and the whole experience that is extra nice. Once you get out and start using it, all of that fancy packaging is gone, so you don’t really care. But first impressions mean a lot.

How do you like them?
The 1/Fifty’s are not bad wheels. Obviously I like the TwentyFour s better, but I hope that would be the case for spending $500 extra. Profile Design touts their number one selling feature to be their best in class braking performance compared to other carbon wheels, and the 1/Fifty’s line right up with the others from Profile Design. I felt a slight drop in performance compared to aluminum wheels, but nothing I noticed too much. These wheels did great in any weather I threw at them.

As far as ride quality goes, I noticed an immediate improvement over my stock wheels, and I know it was worth the upgrade. I could hold my speed longer and I even felt a little smoother ride. I am aware that all of this is totally subjective, but I was pleased all around.

I did have one issue with these wheels. When I installed them, I went for a trainer ride to make sure everything was adjusted properly before heading out to the open road. I immediately head a popping noise coming from the rear wheel accompanied by a jump in the drivetrain. I narrowed down the possible culprits when I realized the rear derailed was not jumping, and the chain wasn’t skipping. It was like the whole drivetrain came loose for a second and then caught itself. That’s the only way I can describe it. My thought was that the hub was defective.

I sent in a request for warranty service and the great people at Profile Design took care of me. They sent me a prepaid shipping label to send the wheels back to them and they sent me a new set the day after they received my old ones. Since I had to ship them across the country both ways it took about 2 weeks to get my new wheels, but in the end it worked out. Obviously I would have wished the first set had been good to start with, but I’m happy with the great customer service and the end result is that I’ve got new wheels on my bike!

I found out after the fact that this was in fact a manufacturing defect. Trisports, where I bought my wheels, sent me an email warning me of the issue and gave me a contact directly at PD. Since I already had the issue resolved I didn’t need all of that. Talking to my editor for Trisports University she told me I was probably “the point of the spear” in finding the defect. It’s nice to be a help… but I’m also glad I didn’t crash on the wheels! As far as I can tell, the wheels on sale now are defect free!

Would you recommend them?
That’s a tough question. It really depends on your finances. If you can snag these for $750 like I saw around Christmas sales, go for it! These are a great buy at that price. If you are paying full price, my main question is if you can afford to squeeze out that extra $400. If yes, then the 58/TwentyFour or 58/78 TwentyFour wheels are within reach. If you are the type that is going to kick yourself knowing you are not on the fastest wheels around, you need to make the jump up. If you are the type of person who is all about the budget, go for the 1/Fifty’s

At the end of the day, if you get these wheels (without a defective hub lol) you will be happy for a good product that is a definite upgrade from your stock training wheels.

(Disclaimer: yes, I purchased these wheels myself. I got them from Trisports.com over the Christmas season while they were on sale. With Trisports going out of business they are listed as “out of stock” and I doubt they will get them back in. You can check Amazon and use the links on this page to support the site!)

3 Things to do for a “B” Race

We are all too familiar with our “A” race of the season. Be it that first Ironman, the National Championships, or even Worlds. for some, their “A” race may just be that first Tri, or that local race everyone loves. Whatever it is for you, it’s the big priority of the season. A person can only have a few of these each year. I would even put the number at a max of 2. But some of us want to race more than that. That is where “B” and “C” races come into play. They are the lower priority races you do just for experience or for fun.

“C” races are treated like a workout… nothin special… just go out and race and have fun while getting some good training. But what about “B” races? You don’t want to taper for them… but they are a little more important than your local sprint done on a whim that weekend. Here are 3 things you can do for that upcoming “B” race! Continue reading

Review- Balega socks

Socks… not something many triathletes spend time thinking about unless it’s under the topic of transition time. Usually the thought is either to wear socks or not to wear socks, and not usually which socks to wear. As must long distance runner know, and triathletes making the jump to long distance find out quickly, your socks matter. That thin layer of fabric separating your shoes and your feet can make or break a long run.

That is where Balega steps in. I’ve been running in these socks since Balega sent me a couple pairs to try out 2 months ago, and honestly… I haven’t even noticed them. And that’s a good thing. A good pair of socks need to disappear when you put them on. And that’s what these socks do! Continue reading

Winter Running Basics

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere, and that means one of two things: either you are out running in less than ideal conditions, or your are on a treadmill. (or not at all… but that would be 3 things). Most of us don’t like treadmills, and since there is not the plethora of apps to make it as enjoyable as indoor cycling (although Zwift is changing that!!!) most of us are more inclined to brave the elements for our runs than we are for our bike rides. So here is my beginner’s guide to winter running! Continue reading

What did you get for Christmas?

That’s right… the question you always get as you return to work after the Christmas Vacation. What did you get?

Well, my stocking was very much triathlon focused this year… probably because that’s what I put on my list 🙂 That, and my wife just gets me 🙂 So here’s what I got:

  • Honey Stinger Bars– still getting into the Honey Stinger World, and so far I really like these!
  • Skratch Labs Hydration– The best… period. Got some apples and cinnamon for those cold rides, and some individual servings of various flavors.
  • X-lab Torpedo Kompact– A new BTA system for my bike. I’m still trying to figure it all out since my bars are non-standard (read: old). I think I can make it work, and I like the computer mount on top
  • Trigger Point Massage Ball– Recovery is key!
  • Body Glide– no comment needed
  • TrainerRoad Subscription– I’m excited to get back on TR for the winter this year
  • A few other non-triathlon things… like socks… Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without new socks 🙂

So what did you get? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter! If you’re looking to spend the Christmas money you got… check out my Christmas Gift Guide and trisports.com! (I’ve got discount codes if you want them!)

2017 Sponsor: Trisports

I am very blessed to have a great sponsor staying on board for 2017, and that is Trisports!

About Trisports

For those of you who haven’t heard my talk about Trisports before, they are a multisport store based out of Tuscon, Arizona with a massive online presence. They have everything you need for swimming, biking, and running as well as triathlon specifics.

Trisports is also every active in their community. They sponsor a local tri team, sponsor local triathlons, man aid stations at Ironman Arizona and the Ironman World Championships in Kona. The also work with local charities that help get kids out and active in cycling and triathlon.

Why I like Trisports

One of the things I love about their webstore is the fact that things are laid out very well so that you can find what you are looking for with no hassle whatsoever. They also have great sales all the time and they stay on top of all the latest and greatest gear the industry has to offer!

They also have always been very helpful with customer service and making sure things are all set for you. If you need some help with an order or have special requests, give the customer service line a rin and they will hook you up! They are a great group of people to work with at all levels in the organization.

Support My Triathlon Endeavors

New this year as part of the Trisports Ambassador team is a revamp of their ambassador program! I have been on this for a week or so now and it has been great. Now there is just one link to take you to the Trisports website and your orders help support my training, racing, and writing! Check out Trisports from my link and shop til you drop. Also, I still have 20% off codes, so let me know if you want one through the contact me page or on Twitter!

What’s a KiloJoule

Following on the heels of the post “What’s a Watt?” I wanted to jump off that and get a little more info out there on one of the things you can do with a power meter. A lot of people, (especially in the off season) focus on losing weight and getting a better body composition. To accurately count calories, you need an accurate count of calories burned. Any GPS will give you a number of calories burned for a given workout, but sometimes that is a bit of an arbitrary number. This is where a power meter comes into play!

Continue reading

What’s a Watt?

Triathletes like to throw fancy terms around a lot. Watts, Normalized Power, TSS, Bonk, Threshold, HRV, FTP, Aero, Friction, to name a few. I think we all have a general idea of what these terms mean, but… what do they REALLY mean?

Today I thought I’d tackle the magical unit of measure known as a watt and a few of the important terms that surround it.

So, what is a watt?

Continue reading

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