Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gearing Up- Getting Outfitted For Triathlon

Once I made the decision to jump into the world of Triathlons, a co-worker joked that I better start saving up because of all the $$ I was about to spend. At the time, I thought ‘just how hard can it be…a bike, a bathing suit, and some sneakers?’ I already had 2 out of those 3 things. It wouldn’t be too much of a financial commitment, would it? All my TRI expenses would have to be documented so I could prove to myself I didn’t spend that much…or my co-worker and I could have another laugh at my expense! My one plan for buying all my gear is to get a little each week to spread out the hit. Here is a breakdown of my equipment.
The biggest immediate need I had was getting a road bike.  My reliable mountain bike (that I had gotten free back in the day!) just wouldn’t cut it for racing. My first email was to my oldest friend, who is also an Ironman! It turns out that his bike and most high-end race bikes are in the $3k-$10k price range.  That will not quite work for a school teacher’s budget so plan B is to ask around for a used one. After a couple of weeks it turns out that another teacher has a nice Cannondale that they bought and used for only a couple of months. They are willing to let me use it with an option to buy it if I choose to.  Not only is it a great bike, it also greatly improved my split times on my training course!
Racing bike: check! Next up is outfitting the bike. Bike computer-$30. Couple of weeks later: clip pedals and bike shoes- $200. Cycling gloves-$35. Clothing- after cycling for a month in my baggy basketball shorts, I decide it’s time to take the big step of buying some cycling apparel. This is a big step for me. These skin-tight outfits would not have gone over too well back in the old neighborhood where I grew upJ I guess I’ve matured a little since then and I decide to make the leap. I buy 3 outfits on eBay for about $100 and I’m now on my way to at least looking like I’m serious about this.  That week at my weekly adult hockey league game, my buddies quickly lob good-natured digs about my cycling gear and jokingly say that they won’t be seen with me in those outfits!
Swimming: Early in the spring I priced out some wetsuits at a little more than $200. This will have to wait a while. I buy a swimming cap and goggles for about $30 total. Next up is a swimming jammer for $65. By the end of the summer, I signed up for my first swimming training. It is an open-water swimming clinic for beginners. A 2.5 hour clinic that will review the basics of the swim…just what I need! The instructor reminds everyone to bring their wetsuits. There will be no more avoiding it-I need to make the purchase! The night before the clinic, I don’t have the time to make the drive to the surf shop 1 hour away at the beach so I head to Sports Authority. I find a 3/2 BodyGlove swimsuit and it’s only $120. I was willing to spend $200 so I’m very happy with the price. Maybe they are priced lower at the end of the summer? Maybe I just don’t know what I’m buying? Who knows?  All that matters is that I finally have a swimsuit!
Elastic laces, a TRI belt for race number, Body Glide all add up to about $25. For these items I recommend buying online. Personally, online transactions save me time so I have more training time and more time to change diapers at home!
The next expense is the race registration fee. For $90 I sign up and buy and 1-day membership to USAT membership.
At this point, the only thing left on my list is a newer helmet to replace the 10 year old one I have. I read on some TRI site that helmets expire and you could be barred from using an out-of-date one. My local cycle-shop owner says that this rarely happens but I still don’t want to risk it. I’ll probably splurge for a $50 helmet soon.
By the end of the summer, I have now been training for about 4 months. I feel that I have just about all the gear and equipment I will need. I may not fly around my training courses, but I will at least look half-decent working out now. Time to focus on the training!!!


  1. It's no joke. Triathlon stuff adds up fast! I am doing the same thing you are and buying it in stages. Doesn't feel so bad that way. Have you heard of www.theclymb.com? I just bought a new triathlon outfit for $50 total... as you now know that is a steal. Check it out. And good luck!

    1. Thanks for the lead, i will check it out!

  2. My biggest tip, your right, you "really" dont need alot, at least up front, I suggest to race first and make sure you love the sport before splurging on all the gear. Also keep an eye out for winter sales in cold climate locations, there isnt a demand for gear when its snowing outside, that is the best time to find gear on the cheap.

  3. Thanks for the advice. At this point, i plan on holding back on any more purchases for at least a season or two unleash i desperatly need something or find a deal i can't refuse.