Some time ago, I realized something very important. But that was late at night, and by the next morning I had forgotten what it was and have never quite been able to recapture it.
If at some point it comes back to me, though, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Meanwhile, however, I have recently realized something that’s not important at all, which I will now share with you, in italics and on a line of its own, to lend it gravitas (also, I just used the word “gravitas” to lend this upcoming realization even more of this now thrice-mentioned gravitas):
The nerdliness of a sport is exactly the same as the quantity and complexity of gear required.
I mean, consider running (no, I’m not telling you to actually consider going running; I’m asking you to contemplate — in a purely passive sense — what the sport of running entails), which requires nothing more than a change of clothing: Shorts, socks, shoes (increasingly seen as optional), maybe a shirt. You don’t have to go anywhere to do it.
It’s the simplest sport you could possibly have.
Sure, some runners try to geek it up by putting nuance into what their shoes ought to be like, what kind of tracking device they should have, and the pros and cons of various visors, but you can tell their hearts aren’t really in it.
Due to this simplicity, nobody gives runners any grief for being a runner. It’s absolutely non-risky.
On the other end of the spectrum is triathaleticism, which is the act of accumulating and transporting as much junk as is humanly possible from one place to another in order to use all of that equipment to do three races — races that really have nothing to do with one another — end to end.
I have, somehow, managed to get roped into these triathaletic events from time to time. Notably, The Hammer and I will be participating in one — The St. George Half Ironman — this Saturday.
We will be driving my truck there. Because we will need it to hold all the gear required to do a triathalong.
I’m not kidding. The gear requirements of a triathalong are so complex — so convoluted — that about a month ago I started having anxiety about all the stuff I was going to need to remember, and have since been keeping a checklist, adding to it as I go. Here, for your entertainment, is that checklist as it stands at this moment (note that it’s not even a simple checklist; it’s divided into key locations, times, and checkpoints). Please note that this list is entirely real and not made up or exaggerated in any way whatsoever.
Half Ironman Equipment Checklist
Prior to event
- Leave jewelry (wedding rings, earrings) at home
- bring morning-of duffel bags
- one-piece outfits
- warm clothes to wear on bus
- warm socks to wear
Bring on morning of
- neoprene caps
- colored cap
- towel for stuff to sit on
- towel to dry off with
- arm warmers
- Headband (Lisa)
- bike shoes
- body glide
- plastic bags to make it easier to put wetsuits on
- food (lisa)
- 2 waffles
- water bottle
- 6 gels
- 2 waffles
food for both while standing around
- bagels w cream cheese
Swim to Bike Transition
- bentos box (Lisa)
- 2 gels
- 3 pkg chews
gps: garmin edge 500 chain lube + rag
Bike to Run Transition
- Race belts
- 4 Gels (elden)
- 2 Gels (Lisa)
- 2 Waffles (elden)
- 2 Waffles (lisa)
- Garmin 10
- Stuff for hanging around finish area after race
- Action Wipes
Please note that all of this is in service to a one-day race. No, not even a one-day race, really. Half a day.
Furthermore, we’ll spend the whole day before the race getting all that gear to the appropriate places for the race. And going to pre-race meetings. And getting our bodies marked.
It’s ridiculous. Truly purely utterly ridiculous
Here’s the thing, though. I’m outrageously excited for this race. Which, I suppose, says something about me and my outsized love of nerdly athletic gear.
Hey, let me tell you about some stuff that I love. Even if you’re not a triathalete (I am getting so sick of my spell checker trying to get me to misspell triathalete!), I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some things in here you might like.
I Love Ultegra Di2, and I Love My Shiv
[Full Disclosure: Shimano hooked me up with a discount on the Ultegra Di2]
Last year I used my superpower — the ability to ask for things — on Specialized to excellent effect; they sent me a Shiv, their no-holds-barred, no-stupid-UCI-rules-observed time trial / tri bike.
I fell in love with it, and had some great results on it as part of the Team Fatty (The Swimmer, me, and The Hammer) relay team, both at the Utah Half iron-distance race and at the Leadman Tri in Bend, OR.
Here’s how the bike looked when I first got it:
And here’s how it looks now:
Notice any differences? Here, maybe this will help:
Yup. It’s all electrifical. Specifically, I’ve upgraded the shifting to Shimano Ultegra Di2. Which I absolutely love. For obvious reasons, and some that maybe wouldn’t be as obvious.
For one thing, I love the no-fuss, no-stretchy cables reliability of Di2. I’ve been riding my Orbea Orca with Di2 for four solid seasons, during which I’ve had to have it serviced exactly zero times. (Well, that’s not exactly true — I took it into Racer’s once during this four years and said, “Would you look this over and make sure everything’s good? I feel bad about never needing to bring this bike in.” He returned it later that week saying, “Everything’s great.”)
Shimano Di2 is just incredibly reliable and precise and perfect.
For another thing, I love how easy it is to shift. It’s as simple and effortless — literally — as pressing a button. And when shifting is that easy, you shift a lot more often, so you stay at your right pedaling effort a lot more consistently.
The shifting is instant. It’s precise — no mis-shifts — and it sounds awesome in all its R2D2ness.
I’m also loving the fact that I can shift whether my hands are on the aero bars or on the brake levers.
Finally, I love how affordable the Ultegra Di2 is. While Shimano helped me out on these components, I bought The Hammer’s Shiv (yes, I loved my Shiv so much I got The Hammer one so we could TT together) with Ultegra Di2. Expect more stories about our racing these bikes later this year.
The fact is, there’s nothing I don’t love about this setup. Between the Shiv, the Ultegra Di2 and the fact that I am currently lighter than I have ever been since high school (and am roughly thrice as strong), I expect to have a very good day — at least on the bike — this Saturday.
I Love Gu Recovery Brew
[Full Disclosure: Gu is sponsoring The Hammer and me at this half-Ironman by providing entry to the event as well as Gu products to train with.]
Have I mentioned anything about working hard to lose weight recently? I have? Oh, well then have I mentioned anything about not wanting to be skinny but unable to race?
Yeah, that’s been important to me too.
So in addition to eating light to drop the pounds and using carbs when training long, I’ve been using Gu Recovery Brew – Chocolate Smoothie flavor after big efforts. It’s got a ton of protein, which is a big part of my plan to drop fat, not muscle. It’s also got amino acids and antioxidants, along with carbs.
But you know what I think really makes it work? The fact that it tastes freaking awesome. I mix and drink this after big rides (or, to my dismay, after big rides and big runs) and I feel good…not like I need to go ambush the fridge and eat everything in the pantry.
I Love My Altra Running Shoes
Here’s an amazing factoid: last week I did a ten mile run with The Hammer. And while this may not sound quite as impressive when I reveal that she had a friend run ten miles with her first, then — after wearing this friend out — had me run the second half of her twenty-mile run with her, the fact remains: I did a solid ten mile run. Here, check out the Strava:
The thing is, though, I’m doing OK, run-wise. Not that I’m fast. I’ll never be fast. But I’m not in pain, either right after the run or during it. My joints are OK.
I speculate there are a number of contributing reasons for this:
- I am lighter. 150 pounds is a lot easier on the joints than 170.
- I started easier. By running a couple miles a couple times per week with Brice at the beginning of the year and building slowly from there, I’m not injuring myself.
- My shoes.
So sure, The Hammer will still put a ton of time into me during the final leg of the race this weekend, but I think there’s a chance that it’ll be closer to ten minutes than the originally-projected twenty-six.
At least that’s my hope.
And In Conclusion
Wow, this post is getting long, and I haven’t even covered my wetsuit. Or my super high-tech one-piece tri suit. Or my special laces that make it so I don’t have to tie my shoes, thus saving a valuable nine seconds in the transition area. Or my special belt that lets me put on my race number in the run transition very quickly. Or the socks which I have — after much agonizing and conversing with former professional triathalonetes — decided to wear.
Really, it’s just kind of sad that my gear obsessing is limited to three sports. What the world needs needs is a dodecathlon.
Hey, I’d sign up. Apparently.