Other than hockey, I can’t think of any other sport that requires so much gear. In order to do a triathlon, you need a swim cap, goggles, a bike, a helmet, cycling shoes, sneakers, water bottles, energy gels, socks and a super cool TwoTri shirt.
When I started training for my first triathlon, I had a pretty minimal pile of gear. Goggles, a bike, a helmet and sneakers. I didn’t have cycling shoes or a race belt. My bike was from Wal-Mart and I wore an old pair of sneakers. The thing is, I was SO happy. As you can can see in this picture, I smiled the whole race.
Fast forward to now and I’ve since upgraded my bike and I have cycling shoes, which I’m proud to say I’ve mastered the art of clipping in and out with confidence! I wear a race belt and have brand name Zoot tri shorts (which I’ve worn now for 3 seasons). I have gone through a dozen pairs of sneakers, but I actually use the same helmet that I wore in my first triathlon!
Remember this post? The one where I talked about comparing your performance and speed with other triathletes? Well, not only is it easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, but it’s even easier to become discontent about your gear… particularly your bike. Especially when these babies are racked right next to yours.
When we wheeled our road bikes into the transition area in Augusta, I instantly wished I had a cooler bike. I mean, I don’t even have aero bars or a special saddle. My helmet is from Target and I don’t have a fancy tri kit listing all of my sponsors on the back. Heck, I don’t even have sponsors.
So, back to my bike.
As I was racking it in my transition spot, I decided to stop wishing I had a nicer bike and start being thankful that I even had a bike in the first place. My bike is a great bike and it’s my favorite color and it has carried me through lots of races. Wishing I had a fancier bike wouldn’t make me ride any faster. I mean, let’s be honest, I’d probably be too scared to use the aero bars anyway.
I think that contentment is key when it comes to doing triathlons. We can wish we had nicer bikes or a pair of those weird new Hoka One One sneakers that everyone is wearing till we’re blue in the face, but I think that discontentment and comparison is what ruins races.
When I did my first triathlon, I was pretty clueless when it came to gear. Call it beginner ignorance, but I was completely unaware that there was even such a thing as disc wheels and carbon fiber. Not once did I compare my gear to anyone else in that race, and to this day, I have never been happier when racing.
Upgrading my gear didn’t make me happy. What makes me happy is putting on that 7 year old helmet (see below) and drinking from a water bottle that I got during my first triathlon and remembering that doing triathlons is not about the gear. It’s about courage and heart and challenging yourself to do something amazing.
I recently listened to a podcast where they were talking about how the smaller, cheaper changes make a bigger difference when it comes to speed. For example, did you know that you can shave off more seconds on your bike time by decreasing your wind resistance by simply shaving your legs?! It’s true. Jesse Thomas proved it.
So while getting bike upgrades and new tri shorts is awesome– I have a lot of triathlon items on my Christmas list– I am also learning to be content with the gear I have, thankful for the body that God gave me and grateful to be able to participate in the best sport in the world.
Are you content with your gear?