As I talk to people about my Ironman training experience I get lots of questions about various pieces of equipment. I figured I’d write it all down in one place so there’s a quick reference. This will also do double-duty as my packing list for Tahoe. :-) Note: I am not sponsored by anyone, other than the great 20% discount that Sports Basement gives to TNT participants, and the TNT discount on a CycleOps fluid spin trainer. The rest of these products are things I have found to work through trial and error, or work well enough.
There are three sports so I’ll go sport by sort and then add a common section afterwards:
Wetsuit: BlueSeventy Reaction full wetsuit. I like it because it fits really well and it’s very thick, which mean it’s very buoyant. In a perfect world I would also own the sleeveless version so I could pick based on the water temperature for the day. I can really only have one so this is the one I have.
Booties: Blue Seventy swim socks. If the temp is low enough where these are legal on race day, I will wear them. I like to keep my feet warm so they’re not frozen when I get on the bike. Also, these are great for reducing the “squee” factor when walking into/out of natural bodies of water with less-than-perfect bottoms. I hate squishing through mud, especially if I can’t see it. I hate kicking through eel grass, especially if I can’t see it. Aquatic Park in San Francisco, I’m looking at you…
Goggles: AquaSphere Kayenne regular fit. These are nothing special. They work pretty good and don’t cost much. They fit my face well and aren’t uncomfortable. Only downside: The lenses are slightly curved which means the view underwater isn’t that clear. Oh well.
Swimsuit: Some random pair of mid-length Speedos. Details not important. As long as they’re spandex (not baggy or loose) it probably doesn’t matter what kind I use. They’re covered up by the wetsuit anyway. As long as they stay put when the wetsuit comes off I’m happy!
Ear Plugs: I wear some neoprene earplugs whenever I swim because I got tired of getting water in my ears. I think it also helps deal with the shock of cold lake/ocean water adn helps with equilibrium issues. The only downside is I can’t hear very much at all when I swim. That means coaches really have to yell at me on the pool deck.
There is by far the most equipment needed for the bike. There’s a ton of stuff!
Trek Madone 4.5 triple with a mix of Shimano 105 and Tiagra components. Get the triple – seriously. A compact double is nicer than the old way but nothing beats a triple for spinning up hills. It also comes with a 12-30 cassette which I thought was overkill with the triple, but is just right for the hills getting up to Skyline, Brockway Summit, etc. I can’t put out the power I used to, so I got the triple.
Carbon clip-on aero bars: Profile T3+ I wish I had Shimano DI-2 so I could have bar-end shifters and shift from the aero position, but Oh Well.
Speedplay pedals – I use the stainless spindle X/2, because paying $140 to save 50 grams with the Titanium spindle just doesn’t make sense to me.
Sidi Genius 5 Carbon Mellinium shoes – Ask a cyclist or motorcyclist if they like their Italian leather Sidi shoes and I bet they’ll say Yes.
Chain catcher – I’ve dropped my chain off the lowest chainring a couple times before and it sucks, epecially on a carbon bike. (As the chain teans into the carbon finish around the bottom bracket.) No longer!
X-lab third waterbottle holder behind the seat. Because I drink a lot of fluids and need to be more self-sufficient on training rides. I probably won’t use this on race day but it’ll still be attached, just in case.
Bento box for extra food
Specialized seat purchased separately, because they support different pelvis widths well.
bike computer mount home-made from PVC pipe and electrical tape
PowerTap wheel – 32 spoke aluminum rear wheel with PowerTap Pro hub. (hub was recently discontinued but is one level below the G3 model) Somehow I managed to break a spoke last month on this wheel, despite it being built like a tank.
Michelin Pro 4 Service Course 25 mm tires
Camelback Podium waterbottles – they don’t leak as much.
CO2 cartridge and mini inflator
super-micro pump, just in case.
generic tubes – I’ll probably carry some extra of these, just in case.
Park tire patch – just in case
Asics GT-21X0 shoes – They work for me so I’m not going to mess with what works. I heard they recently discontinued these but I have a few more new pairs in the closet. I’m good for at least a year or more.
Nathan Elite 2V Plus double-bottle hydration belt – Yes, this may look like serious overkill. This things has a ton of storage for long self-supported runs. It has tons of elastic cords to store clothing, two pouches to store energy drink powders, gel packets, etc. The key on race day is to not fill it too full. There are aid stations every mile or two so there’s no need to carry too much liquid at any point. As I type this I’m thinking I might even want to downsize to a smaller belt. Trip to Sports Basement anyone?
Nite Ize SpotLit red LED light – I have two of these hanging on the back of my running belt, sort of like tail lights.
Petzl e-Lite super-micro headlamp – It’s going to be very dark on the running trail when I’m out there so a headlamp is a must. (It even says so in the rules) I plan to just hold this instead of actually putting it on my head because I don’t like the pressure of the headband. But this thing puts out a ton of light in a super-small package. Sounds too good to be true, eh?
Garmin 910XT GPS watch – I have a love-hate relationship with this watch. I love that it does everything for all three sports, including pool and open water swims, power meter support, etc. I hate that it transfers via ANT+ because it often refuses to work, and I’ve been bit by the long-standing bug where Garmins write corrupted files when memory fills up. It also occasionally mis-counts laps in the pool but it’s not that big a deal.
Rudy Project Rydon glasses with PolarRX photochromic lenses. If money is no object, or if you’ve got Flexible Spending Account dollars left to spend at the end of the year, these are the bomb. I like them because the temples are fully adjustable, the nose pads are fully adjustable, and there are about 50 different lenses to choose from. I got the ones that are virtually clear at night and the darken in the sun. I use them for both biking and running. Get them through your eye doctor (with prescription lenses) and they’re covered by vision insurance.
Gu gel packets – I’ve been a fan of Gu for years.
PowerBar chews – I like the raspberry ones but they are not very temperature stable, so I had half a case of them melt in my car.
Fluid energy drink. The brand is called “Fluid”, which is hard to google for.