A triathlete must work on technique, training, even throw nutrition into the mix. But if you want to become a serious "age grouper," you need to gear up with the latest equipment.
Zenith wet suit
Twenty years ago, most triathletes would rather be cold than put on a cumbersome wet suit. Times have changed. Credit California surfers for first forcing industry bigwigs to develop flexible neoprene skins that actually allow arm movement.
The standard construction method of using glued large panels of variable thicknesses of neoprene — commonly used for surfing wet suits — resulted in a triathlon wet suit that substituted flexibility for buoyancy.
The new Zenith wet suit from Zoot combines the best of both worlds. Built from the inside out, the Zenith has both 2mm flexibility, 5mm flotation and strategically placed 3mm balance panels for a wet suit that combines a high-performance fit, great range of motion and 5mm buoyancy.
Triathlon world champions Samantha McGlone and Mirinda Carfrae will be wearing the Zenith wet suit at this weekend's St. Anthony's Triathlon.
Price: $600. zootsports.com
Ordu triathlon bike
Built by Orbea, which has been manufacturing top-quality bicycles in the Basque region of Spain for nearly a century, this speedster could give a triathlete an added 1 mph on the road course.
The Ordu model, which means "time" in Basque, could take minutes off your PR (personal record). The frame is M30S High-MOD F1 Carbon — light, stiff, comfortable and very aerodynamic.
"This bike is geared for the serious triathlete who has been in the sport for a few seasons and now thinks that it will be a lifelong pursuit," said Matt Moss of Florida Bicycle Sports on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. "This is not entry level. But you don't have to be a pro triathlete to enjoy a high-quality bike."
Price: $7,000. orbea-usa.com
To find Zoot products locally, visit Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park. The Orbea line of bicycles is carried by Florida Bicycle Sports in St. Petersburg.
Zoot Sports has come out with a line of triathlon-specific shoes guaranteed to shave seconds off your time.
The tri-geeks at this California company interviewed competitors across the country and discovered that racers wanted three things in a triathlon shoe:
Speed: A shoe must be easy to put on in order to get in and out of the transition area as quickly as possible.
Sockless wear: Putting socks on takes too much time.
No water retention: Traditional running shoes can gain an additional 30 percent of their weight in sweat during a race.
Zoot introduced the new line of footwear at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in October.
Price: $130. zootsports.com