Sponsors: Woodcock Cycle, Felt Bicycles, Rudy Project, Biknd
When I started to write my blog post about gear, I quickly realized that the bike needed it’s own entry! Here is the inside on what bikes & gear I raced with this past season (click here for my post on swim/run gear):
Coming from aerial skiing where all you needed was skis & boots; diving into triathlon, I realized how much more gear there is and how many endless little decisions there are to make… What pedals do I need? What are the aerobars made of? Which hydration system will integrate well? SO FREAKIN’ OVERWHELMING! How do you balance cost with performance… trying to sift through endless reviews… each training buddy swears by the set-up that works for them. What do I really need? What is just hype?
This is where I need to endlessly thank Woodcock Cycle, right here in little ol’ Winnipeg, for always helping me out. Like I’ve said before, I just like to put my head down and do the work; Woodcock has been a great sponsor not only to educate me & make sure I’m set-up on the right gear to give me that extra edge but to then answer my million questions on how to do everything from use a CO2 cartridge to plug-in my di2 charger (and not even making me feel stupid for asking such silly questions)! Another reason to #shoplocal! Don’t expect anything too technical as I’d rather be out using the equipment then understanding how exactly it works but here’s what I liked/disliked with my gear this year.
Bike: Felt IA10 – XS frame/Di2
I had wanted a FELT bike since I saw Mirinda Carfrae ride one in KONA and now to watch Daniela Ryf win on a FELT again this year, you know their bikes are top of the line! I started racing on this bike mid-season last year but after doing my whole build on it this winter, it really feels like my own now. This bike is fast! All of my training route personal records have been done on this bike as well as my PB 70.3 bike split. I’m kinda an outlier here but I have good hamstring flexibility and compared to my old bike this frame allows me to get lower, still be comfy and maintain my power numbers even in the aerobars. The only thing I feel this bike has working against it is that it’s pretty heavy but hey, for time trialling the aero dynamics more than make up for it! However, when chasing my husband up hill at the lake, it has me cursing the odd time! I’m planning on racing on this bike again next year, I like how it handles and I like knowing exactly where my bottle and nutrition are without looking so it would be hard to convince me to change. Just gotta spend the time on the trainer this winter and develop MORE POWER!
Wheels: HED Jet race wheels (6 front & 9 rear)
This is my 3rd season racing with these guys. I like ’em, especially when I first put them on after having training wheels on for a while, you feel so fast! I’m still building my confidence with the front one in particular in a crosswind but I have yet to opt NOT to race with them even in Galveston this year with the gusty winds off the Gulf.
Pedals: Garmin Vector2 power pedals
I’ve actually had quite a few people ask me about my power meter choice lately. I originally went with pedals based power because I wanted to be able to change them between my Felt TT and my road bike. The original Vector’s were a complete nightmare and I often had problems getting them to sync especially after travelling to a race. Eventually Garmin upgraded me to the Vector2 model and they have been great! The new pods are a much better design and through all my travels this year I didn’t have any problems with them syncing or calibrating. I do find they read about 10Watts higher than my Tacx Neo but it’s consistent so as long as I’m comparing relative workouts it’s no big deal. Maybe even a little confidence booster? 😛
Helmet: Rudy Project Wing57 with Optical Shield Smoke Lens
The Rudy Project Wing57 was my biggest gear upgrade this season. I have a small head (haha laugh now) and I really like how snug this one fits. In addition to being far more aerodynamic, I was surprised how much I liked my ears being covered… you know… if you don’t hear the wind, it’s not there right? I also raced once this year in really cold temperature and I liked that there is a piece that pops in to cover the front air vents, it definitely made a difference in keeping the heat in. That said I was worried in hot races it might be too hot to be so enclosed but I didn’t find it hot at all. I raced without the front vent cover in +30C weather and it was cool enough for me! Plus the visor makes you look bad ass and therefore feel bad ass which obviously will make you race like a bad ass 😉
Saddle: Specialized Power
Oh picking a saddle, still a love hate here… The power is much better than the saddle I had before but early in the season I had been getting a twinge in my left hip after long rides especially when I was spending majority of the ride in my aeros. I realized I was sitting crooked on my seat and when I consciously corrected that the hip pain was gone immediately. I also found it was chaffing a bit on the inside my leg when I spent a long time in the aeros. I didn’t want to change anything so close to the race season since it was still the most comfortable seat I’ve had thus far I just left it. Recently, Woodcock remeasured me with the saddle pressure mapping “thing-a-ma-jig” (see I told you, I just like to ride the damn bike, I don’t pretend to be an expert in bike fitting) and we discovered that I need a wider seat so that I would be better supported. I have been riding with it now for 3 weeks so far and it seems much better but my rides have been fairly short so time will tell as I get back into full volume.
Shoes: Giro Women’s Facet Tri
How I picked these:
1. They were the right size
2. They were pink
Easiest decision ever! When I had my bike fit, we added insoles that were more rigid and they are supposed to transfer the power better from my foot to the pedals but all I know if they feel comfortable so I’ll take their word on the rest!
Hydration: Xlab Torpedo System 50+, Xlab Turbo Wing with Gorilla Cages
Holy! Gorilla cages are expensive! Can you believe I spent roughly $75.00 on a bottle cage? But seriously after having to turn around after every set of train tracks because I double ejected my bottles, I was desperate and they have lived up to their great reviews. I opted for the most compact version of a horizontal front bottle set-up, it stays in place way better than the profile design vertical bottle I used to use. All their stuff is certainly a pretty penny but I got my set-up dialled and not having to fight with my bottles is certainly one less thing to frustrate ya when in the middle of a race!
I don’t use my 910 anywhere but on my bike now, I really would like a Garmin Edge but this one works so unless Santa surprises me I will use it again next year!
Travel bag: Biknd Helium
Okay this was probably the single thing this year that reduced my anxiety of travelling. After my seatstay was cracked in customs on the way to Kona last year, I reached out to Woodcock to see what bag they would recommend. Ohh MMM GEE! The Biknd Helium is like the Rolls-Royce of bike bags. Having four wheels, instead of just two on the back… ahhh so much easier to navigate airports!
On top of it being much easier to manuever, it’s much lighter than the Thule hard cover box I had; yet in comparison to some of the soft shell bags on the market, it is still super durable. The fork attaches right in to the base of the box. I just loosen my handle bars and fold them sideways (perk of having a small bike). All my extra bike related gear (shoes, hydration, helmet, etc) all fit around the frame. It even comes with a cover for the chain and crank set. Once everything is zipped up then you just inflate the bag with this nifty little pump it comes with. You end up with a fairly rigid bag but I could still keep light enough to make the 50lb weight limit! Even with 2 sets of wheels! FTW! Ya you read that right, it has room for TWO sets of wheels, so I can take my HED race wheels, as well as, my shallower training wheels incase it ends up being a super strong cross wind, etc… or just to breathe easy knowing I have a back up 😉