Friday, April 27, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new.

My race season is just about to start, so I thought I'd share what changes I've made to my whole Triathlon setup for this year.  These changes have precipitated from two big changes/milestones.  The first is that 2011 was a break year for me.  A year off gives you time to break the emotional connection you have to your training/racing setup and courage to start fresh.  The second is that I'm entering my first year of the 35-39 age bracket.  I'm going to race against a whole new field, a far more competitive one, and any hope of sandbagging disappeared when I started to look at finish times for that bracket.  Being almost 35 also means I'm old enough that I'm going to be a little more susceptible to injury, but also that I can afford to mitigate the possibility of injury by buying a bit more speed., who doesn't like new toys.

Here's the list and each item's benefit thus far...   note, these benefits are independent from what I've gaining by being well coached and increasing my training volume.


  • Orca race suit to Sugoi for racing/biking/training.  I'm excited to have my first apparel sponsor ever, Sugoi Performance Apparel.  For those who know the brand, you'll know it's extremely well constructed, designed for real athletes, and very sleek and stylish.  Their Tri race suit is the best fitting, most comfortable sports garment I've put on my body ever.
  • Compressport compression products are now my staple.  They're well priced and work as advertised.  My 34 yr old legs and arms recover like they were 10 yrs younger.  I'm in this stuff nearly every day, so I'm coming from a position of experience.
  • Oakley Zero to Oakley Jawbone.  I wanted the option to change lenses and not buy new glasses.  I made this before getting back to training, so not sure if this counts  ;-)

  • Blackburn stationary trainer and CycleOps Powertap Elite+ traded in for CycleOps Powerbeam.  I made this change to get the most of my indoor sessions, of which there are many.  I train around my son's schedule on weekends, so even if the weather is nice I'm putting in time in the garage.  I attribute much of a nearly 35% increase in my bike strength since December to using this device for training.
  • Cervelo P2 has been traded in for a Trek Speed Concept 9.8.  The intended ride was a Cervelo P5 but that's their fault, not mine.  This bike is second hand from pro Rachel McBride who rode it last year to an 11th place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  It is constructed and imbued with speed.
  • Shimano Dura-Ace has been traded for SRAM Rival.  It came with the bike.
  • Giro Adavantage race helmet traded for Bell Javelin.  A race helmet should be changed every 3 to 4 years for safety reasons.  The Bell fits well for my aggressive position on the bike.
  • Profile Design Aerodrink has been traded for X-Lab Torpedo Mount.  I made this change after realizing I want to take on liquid on the bike, then dispose of the bottle.  Plus, it seems to reduce the air pocket created by the aero position.
  • Look Keo Classic traded for Look Keo Blade Carbon.  The person who bought my bike wanted the pedals, as it completes the look of the bike.  Since I'm on a top of the line bike I thought I'd better have the pedals that matched.
  • Polar CS600 traded for Garmin Edge 500.  Polar has just stopped being innovative, compatible, and easy to use.  My Garmin is solid and sends the data I want where I want it to go:  everywhere.
  • Traditional chainrings traded for Rotor Q-Rings.  I admit I was skeptical to try asymmetrical chainrings.  But when I tried them for the first time, I felt like I was on a gyroscope...  they self propel, it seems.
  • Northwave shoes for Sidi T3.6s.  I've been riding Sidi shoes for a year on my road and CX setup.  Their fit is just so lux that I had to make it happen for Tri.  It will be a shame to pee in those on race day, though.  ;-)
  • Orca Sonar wetsuit to Orca Alpha.  The swim leg has been a challenge for me in the past, despite doing well in training.  Thanks to Speed Theory Vancouver for helping me out and getting me into a faster suit.
  • Finis Swim Metronome.  My stroke rate can be dialled in and examined to see it's affect on overall speed.  This has helped me really develop a rhythm that lets me swim easy.  Great product and the single biggest contributor to my swim improvement.
  • Garmin 910xt.  Swim data.  Booya.
  • Sugoi run stuff.  Try it and tell me I'm not right.
  • Traded Newton runners for New Balance.  Don't get me wrong...  I love the feeling of the Newtons.  But I've been getting chronic calf issues for a few years now, especially on training blocks that had a lot of speed work.  My coach suggested I try something different.  I chose the New Balance 890v2 shoes as they are very light and don't have an overly aggressive heal to toe drop (8mm vs. 4mm with the Newtons).  My body is still adapting, but I've had zero issues with my calves.
Last but not least, I'm trading up my Tumblr account for a Blogger one, as you can see from this post.

I doubt I'll make such an extensive change until I'm in the 40-44 age bracket. I don't think I can afford to unless I luck out with getting great deals and support like I got this year.