in Cycling

Tri Bike Shop Talk

All the gear. So much gear. So many decisions to be made just for 1 of 3 sports. Thankfully, I’m a bike person, married to an ex-bike mechanic, so I at least have some knowledge around the subject. Even still, after I ordered a new crankset, chain, cassette and bottom bracket I was nervous I got the wrong parts. Because there are so many sizes. And styles. And who knows if anything matches, especially when your bike is 6 years old. I don’t even have disc brakes or bb30 or di2 or whatever the hotness is.

Yesterday I upgraded my road bike to a standard crankset—53×39 instead of 50×34—for more zoom zoom on time trials. It’s no 55, but it is a road bike, and I find it tough to buy a chainring just for a few races. It would also mean changing out that brand new cassette I just bought (as I don’t think my rear derailleur could handle that large a range).

I used the clip-on aero bars when I first tried triathlon and for a few stage race TTs, back when I did that sort of thing. But I’m going Eddy Merckx-style this time. I’m unconvinced that clip on bars do much; they add weight, they give you zero access to shifting or braking, and given road bike geometry, I think I’m better off in the drops. Or maybe I’ll just do this for 55 miles:

Precarious balancing aero position

You may be thinking to yourself, But Kristin, get a TT bike! Okay, first of all I discovered that bike manufacturers are now calling them “triathlon bikes” which I find odd, since they’re used for all kinds of time trials (maybe triathletes only google for “triathlon bike” so the SEO guy told them to rename them). Also, they are so ugly.

This looks like a Hawaiian sunset paining threw up on a bike

This looks like a Hawaiian sunset painting threw up on a flattened bike

They’re just so goofy looking! I suppose I’ll get over it. Not really sure if my wallet will though, I’d have to thin out the stable before making room for another.

In addition to the new drive train, I got new road shoes (as I had been rocking a cheap pair since 2007 or 2008), a new helmet (I ended up getting another mountain bike helmet, mostly because it had a cool fade, that kind of looks like a sunrise now that I think about it…), and most importantly, I bought a new saddle. Specialized makes a new “power” saddle that seems like a weird cross between a normal saddle and a TT saddle; it’s basically a road saddle with a huge cut out and a tiny, tiny nose, meant for aggressive riding (aka being in the drops at all times). Puuuurfect. And I have confirmed, it’s very, very comfortable.

When it comes to endurance racing, I tend to go with comfort over performance, to a degree. If the performance difference is small, I go with the comfort option; in the end, I think comfort effects performance more then a few grams may. If you can’t get comfortable, you can’t perform. Which is why I’m nervous about wearing a tri kit. Those chamois! Feels like someone just sewed an extra layer of lycra in there.

Side note: triathletes don’t call their onesies skin suits, they call them one pieces; I guess a skin suit is a swimming thing. Anyway.

I just pray my new power saddle will hold up when there’s not much between me and it. If not I will have to take drastic measures; maybe I’ll just stuff an extra chamois down my shorts and pull it out before the run. What could possibly go wrong?