Thursday, August 19, 2010

The To-Buy List

Enormously important races double as great excuses to spend copious amounts of money on unnecessary gear. Ask any cyclist worth his salt and he'll say the same thing. Big race coming up? Better get to the bike shop and pick up a new pair of arm warmers, or maybe a carbon-fiber bottle cage! It doesn't really matter if you need them or not. You almost never need anything. Most of the time, in fact, a pre-race shopping spree doesn't even yield a single piece of gear that will actually "make you faster."

At least 95% of the time, however, the mentality is as follows: "I'm going to buy X, Y and Z and then I never need to buy anything ever again. These are the last possible items I will ever need in my life." Seriously, that's how we think. (Of course, it's never true. we can always find something to upgrade.)

It is nearly September, which means only a little more than three months remain until the Big Day. And this particular Big Day being the Biggest Day of my life, it's also turning into the biggest Pre-Race Gear-Up of my life. Ever wonder how a Fred decides what gear to buy? You're about to find out.

Some people have To-Do lists. I have a To-Buy list. Until this blog entry, that list has existed as a little Post-It note stuck to the side of my monitor here at work and it does a good job bullet-pointing the items I've earmarked for inclusion in the "spending spree." True to my statement above, I'm not sure any of them will actually improve my finishing time - but they might make the whole ordeal a bit more comfortable.

Disclaimer: I am incredibly good at developing very small lists that happen to contain solely expensive, gadget-y items, and really not wanting a whole lot outside of those lists. My parents hate this because very few things on these lists of mine actually translate to affordable birthday gift ideas.

Anyway, here's what I have on the docket. Over the next few months, I'm basically going to operate like a one-man stimulus package. Fortunate, once I finally get around to buying all of this crap, I'm going to be SET FOR LIFE.

Sleeveless Wetsuit or Speedsuit
This is a question-mark. There are some changes underway in what the World Triathlon Association deems as "legal" as far as swimwear is concerned. The water in Busselton is going to be fairly warm, so I can get my hands on a legal speed suit (extra-thin wetsuit), I will. If I can't, I may pair down from my current, full-body wetsuit to a sleeveless version. My current suit may actually be too tight around the shoulders - I might actually be faster if I lose the sleeves and don't have to deal with restricted movement.

De Soto tri suit
I haven't actually settled on a specific suit (this one or this one?), but it sounds like these guys make some very good stuff - especially for warm weather (and it's going to be worse than warm in Australia). I have a Pearl Izumi tri suit, but I get the feeling I can do better.

De Soto sun sleeves
I don't know how I'm going to acclimate to Busselton's sun and high 80's, especially after two years in San Francisco's fog and mid-60's, so I think I need to do everything in my power to avoid overheating during my the bike and run legs of this race. These should help. I'm also thinking a pair of 2XU compression calf guards (in white) might be worth a small investment...

Giro sunglasses
My current pair of sunglasses (Oakley M-frames) don't get along very well with my time-trial helmet. The arms are too wide and too long - they scrape the sides and back of the helmet, and when worn together, don't sit right on my head. I've tried on a bunch of different pairs of sport shades and Giro's seem to fit best. I'm leaning toward the Havik 2 (compact), but the Filter is in the mix. Support for multiple lenses is key - I want to get a clear lens to go with the default tinted one for those early/foggy mornings (the latter frame actually ships with two lenses... too bad they don't come in white).

Garmin GPS watch
I've been thinking about selling my bike-mounted Garmin 705 and buying a really nice wrist-mounted version that I can use while running. The 310XT even tracks your speed in the water! (Yes, that's a gimmick.)

Gels, Drink Mixes, Vitamins
This is almost an ongoing thing, but I'm coming due for another round of nutrition products. Right now, I'm using primarily Hammer gels, Accelerade powder mixes and GNC vitamins. I may bite the bullet and move over to the (more expensive) First Endurance line for these few months leading up to the race.

Already purchased:
  1. The bike I'll be riding: a 2009 Cervelo P3.
  2. A Speedfil hydration system. Thanks, Oli, for selling me on that!
Pending purchase(s):
  1. Wheels - Zipp 808's with a power meter. Also, new aerobars.