Last week I talked about my favorite swim gear for triathlon training, and now it’s time to move on to the second leg: Cycling!
It’s arguably the most expensive discipline, but that does NOT mean you have to empty your bank account in order to be competitive.
Again, I’ve broken it down into ‘essentials’ and ‘extras’ according to what I personally use, but you can stay as conservative or get as crazy as you’d like!
– Bike: Duh. But while the whole ‘two wheels’ part is non-negotiable, the price you pay can vary greatly. I did my first few sprint-distance races on an older Cannondale commuter bike I bought off of Craigslist, for example, before moving up to my current Giant Avail Composite 3 (aka “Winnie”).
– Pedals: I also biked my sprint tris in running shoes (shhh!), but figured it was about time to get serious — and get clipped in — for longer distances. Enter the easy-in, easy-out Shimano Click’r pedals, which are technically more for mountain biking than road, but they still count. It’s all about baby steps!
– Shoes: Since I invested in my bike this season, I decided not to go all out on the footwear. Sure, a fancy carbon-fiber sole is stiffer and gives better transfer of power, but my standard Shimano cycling shoes do the trick just fine for now.
– Helmet: Eventually, I’d also like to upgrade my helmet to make sure my noggin’s better protected from concussions, but right now I have a basic Giro helmet that’s worked well for the past few years.
– Tools: While technically not essential to the actual riding part, having some tools to to a quick tire change will definitely help get you back up and running in the event of a flat. I have a spare tube, tire levers, bike-specific multi-tool wrench, CO2 cartridges and an inflator or pump. You can cobble this all together or buy the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle here.
– Kit: The more I ride, the more I appreciate a really good race kit. Case in point: Coeur Sports’ tri tank and tri shorts, which have a women’s-specific fit, plus other extras like anti-friction seams, antimicrobial fabric, seam-free chamois, plenty of pockets and more…all in super-flattering, fun designs.
– Accessories: This is mostly based on personal preference — and how fancy you want to get — but I have two favorites here: Tifosi eyewear and Ibex arm warmers to keep the sun (and bugs) out of your eyes and to take the edge off when it’s chilly out, respectively.
– Nutrition: I’m still practicing that whole multitasking (eating and drinking while riding) thing on the bike, but what’s been working well during brick workouts is Osmo Active Hydration and Bonk Breaker Energy Bars, so I’m planning on sticking with the same during Sunday’s race, as well.