So it’s the end of the year and I am looking at going after some different goals next year. Marathons and ultras, mostly. Maybe an offroad tri if I can find one (you would think with as many trails as we have in Missouri there would be AT LEAST one…).
But since it’s the end of the year I have kind of been taking inventory of my gear. We all know you can never really have enough stuff and most of us are at least closet gadget freaks, if not full blown hoarders (you know who you are…). I have desperately tried to stay pretty minimal on the gear, which, in focusing on triathlons, is REALLY hard to do. The lure of 3 different wetsuits and a cockpit full of electronics strapped on a $10,000 bike is seductive and I did fall into that at first. But no. Now I am perfectly happy with my bike, wetsuit and other gear so unless it breaks, I’m using it.
Unfortunately, my other gear is fraying around the edges a bit. Not shoes, of course, those are perishable items with a known life expectancy. It’s the other stuff that is starting to die. I should really record purchase dates and set them up with an aging summary (no, I’m not anal or anything…) so that I know when to start expecting a breakdown. This would be things like helmets, sunglasses and goggles, GPS, etc.
Some things, however, need no aging summary. They announce their age… um… fragrantly.
That’s a kind way of saying all my clothing, most of which is 5 years old or more, STINKS! When I take off my shorts or shirts now they just walk over to the corner and whimper to get into the washing machine. And if I don’t wash them immediately or, even worse, forget them in the car or backpack… the results are, well, eye watering. Now I know this happens with everybody, but when some of your shorts/tights/gloves, etc. are approaching 10 years old, the time between “mountain fresh” and “bog of eternal stench” is greatly reduced.
So I’ve been digging and researching potential purchases for next year.
On the clothing side, I need to replace most of my shorts and shirts. I can get through the rest of the winter with the tights I have but they are falling apart by degrees as well. Because of my build (read: legs like a mountain troll and a dwarf had a love child) I may have my wife custom make me a pair or two just so I don’t end up with 6 inches of fabric bunched around my ankles at the end of each run. I have always liked Asics and New Balance running clothes and will probably stick with those shorts. My socks of choice are and have always been SmartWool. My shoes used to be New Balance but I have fallen in love with clown shoes from Altra (ugly… but comfy and stable). Save for a good distance shirt with a pocket (Hoka makes some nice ones) and a singlet or two for hot weather (still too fat to go shirtless), I will probably just stick with race shirts. If I’m gonna spend $$ on a shirt, I might as well get a race to go along with it… I have a decent hydration pack and two handhelds for really long stuff.
Where I’m going to have to lay out some cash this year is in 3 pieces of gear. A good, bright, long lasting headlamp, a new GPS with a battery that lasts longer than 6 hours, and a good rain jacket. After MINUTES of exhaustive research, here is what I want:
- Headlamp- Petzl NAO. $160 but worth it. Bright as a Night Sun spotlight, 20 hour battery (in reactive mode), USB rechargable and has a top strap to keep the damn thing from sliding down over my eyes suddenly as I bounce down a trail. Yes, that happens now with my old Princeton Tec… A LOT.
- GPS- Garmin 920XT. $450. Hands down, the right one for me. 18+ hour battery, still waterproof for the occasional triathlon, and more features than I can even begin to describe. I know Suunto and some others have long lasting batteries, but I need one watch for all of my
obsessionsendurance sports. The Garmin is the only one that does it all.
- Rain Jacket- Patagonia Houdini. $100(ish) This mostly comes on the recommendations of others. Whenever anybody asks about rain wear, this jacket always gets rave reviews. Most of the time, unless it is below 50 degrees, I just run. No jacket. But some races (especially longer ones) require some sort of rain jacket and this one is supposed to be light weight and packable. Unfortunately, nobody local carries it.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. As are links to cheap stuff or coupons. I’m one of those odd males of the species that like to shop… 🙂