Welcome to the dark side.

The first question asked when someone signs up for their first race is, What do I need to race?

Triathlon has a lot of gear. Some of it is a must and to be honest a lot of it is for comfort or to sustain the athlete for longer races. Everyone is a little different so here’s my take on the subject.

Here is the bare minimum you must have.

  • You  – You’re the #1 piece of equipment you need. Take good care of it because if it’s broken you wont be racing.
  • Swim suit – You have to swim in something. It’s generally at most races frowned upon to swim in your birthday suit.
  • Shoes – ideally a good pair of running shoes but anything you can run it will do.
  • Bike – Mountain bike, Road bike, Tri bike even BMX they will all work. You just need to be able to ride it safely.
  • Helmet – Safety first. Without this you’re not racing.
  • Bike shoes – This depends on your bike type. Typically only if you need to clip tot he peddles.
  • Water bottle – For you bike if possible but for a short race on a day that’s not to hot you can get away with drinking in transition. The run should have at least one water stop. If your racing in the Texas heat you will also need a bike cage to hold your water bottle while you ride. Hydration should always be taken serious.
transition setup from one of my fist races

That’s it if you don’t mind racing in a swim suit. So here are some additional comfort items I would recommend.

  • Sandals – for pre race walking. The cheaper the better because they might get lost while your racing.
  • Shirt – Give your skin a little protection. Also some races it’s a requirement to wear a top during the race of you can get a DQ.
  • Goggles – Keeps the water out of your eyes. Pools can have a lot of chemicals that irritate and open water is often not the clearest. I recommend a good inexpensive pair.
  • Socks – Protect your feet from blisters. especially if you’re not used to a hard effort without them.
  • Visor – keeps the sun and sweat off
  • Sun glasses – Comfort and it also makes your race photos look cooler. This is because no one can see the crazy eyes you have while racing.
  • Sun Screen – Protect your skin. This is part of the #1 piece of equipment.

You notice there is no listing of fancy electronics, sensors, watches, etc… That’s the basics for racing 3 sports for a super sprint or sprint distance triathlon.

What was your first race?

Mine was the Tri Color Super Sprint. 200 meter swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run. I think I truly had the minimum for that one.