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December 2017



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The 'haves and have nots'

The biggest thing that struck me about the triathalon a few weeks ago was the prices.  A water bottle was 16.00 dollars, I paid 6.00 for two at the grocery store this week.  The wetsuits, running gear, special shirts, special watches, special goggles (didn't look different than most but more expensive) special recovery equipment, shoes, etc....  The prices they wanted and what people were paying were astonishing to me.

I did my tri on the cheap.  My bike was refurbished and I bought bike shorts on sale but other than that, I had 2 bike jerseys I had bought on clearance for 10 dollars a number of years ago, a pair of shorts from Walmart and my clearance shoes and my clearance swim suit.  

I was going to go with Gatorade which is far more reasonable than the stuff they were selling but a friend suggested cranberry juice.  I had a cranberry/peach juice I like in the fridge.  It worked great with far less sugars. Studies have confirmed that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink than most of the chemical mixes.

This became more interesting as I looked at a wetsuit so I can really swim through the winter.  It is far colder than San Francisco in most place I find myself.  Training for 10 minutes at a time is really not productive.  

I found a rental wetsuit website that has clearance items for a reasonable price but I didn't see the wetsuit sizing information.  I emailed a prominent wetsuit company to ask about sizing...  They emailed me back but also said that they wouldn't honor a warranty on a used suit...  

Now to be honest I never could rationalize buying a technical suit for swimming either.  The money is too much.  But let's do the math for a wetsuit.  A used wetsuit that I can return within 30 days if it doesn't fit is less than 1/3 the price of a new one with a warranty....  That means if something happens I can buy 2 more and still not spend the money that a new one would cost.

It goes against my nature to even be considering a wetsuit but let's be reasonable about it.  No one is going to donate one for a winter's blogging about how it worked or didn't for my purposes.  I don't intend to use it for more than 4-5 months at a time and certainly not in a 'swim or race' environment.

So do I care about a warranty?  Sorry but the way I do math it is far overrated for my needs as is the price for a new wetsuit.....  So if I do get one, it will be a farmer john's used wetsuit and my wallet will be very happy with that decision.  If I decide to get one......


Sadly as a sweeping generalization, triathlon is full of attention seeking, insecure, obsessive over achievers "look at me", "look at me". - Sadly I fit into that category to some degree.

You don't much need shorts except for a longer than Olympic race. As for wetuits, what pray tell do you imagine might go wrong that would need a warranty? Back in 2004 I bought 6x wetsuits as ex-rentals, 5-went to my club and I kept the other. I was using that wetsuit until this year, it was perfectly adequate. I've no idea where you are swimming now, but I just bought a Zoot sleeveless wetsuit. Very fast, very comfortable, price all in with postage $112.

Let me know if you want details
Some genius came out with an economic impact study that said the average triathlete makes more than $100k a year and loves to spend money on toys. So they jack up the prices on average items made to look tri-specific. They also target the first-timers or inexperienced racers and try to get them a ton of crap they don't need. I'm so tired of being marketed to and told I'm supposed to be rich and spend huge bucks on basic items. And TYR's new Orion goggle is an insult because it's nothing special and I'm not spending $40 to try it out based on principle.

I make all my own nutrition now or use basic things such as clif bars or fig newtons. I get gu for free from my swim coach or I buy it on discount because I do use it swimming.

There are a lot of triathletes that aren't gadget-obsessed, equipment snobs or attention whores. We try to do things on the cheap and have found ways to do it. It's actually not that hard, it just takes creativity and understanding what's important. It's also all about the experience for me, not the stuff. If you look at my transition area compared to many of the noobs, it's practically empty :)