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Gadgets and Gizmos: the Joy of Triathlon Toys

18 May 2016
by Michael Warshauer

by Michael Warshauer

Before I got in to triathlon, I was a “Peachtree Road race” runner: a month before the Peachtree race I would try to run a little more than usual, and hope to finish in under an hour. But I had a law partner who was doing Ironman races as a Clydesdale. On a jog after a day in court, he said: “Michael, you ought to take up triathlons, you’d love it.” I responded: “No way I’m going to train that hard and besides I don’t really enjoy biking, or swimming, and I’m not much of a runner.” He said, “Michael, you’re a product liability lawyer and you’ll really get into all the gadgets and technology.”

Then one of my neighbors asked me to join him to do the Lake Lanier Sprint.  I pulled out my road bike that I’d never really used and proceeded to ride around the neighborhood; I swam a few hundred yards at the lake; and I tried to increase my running. I finished the race right in the middle of my age group and I was smitten. Before I knew it, I was reading, and buying gadgets and gizmos to help with my training, and racing. Here are a few of my favorites toys in no particular order:

Garmin 920 XT: This is maybe my third and best running watch. It tracks open water swimming, connects to satellites quickly, records bike and power data, does all the usual things like heart rate and pace, and automatically loads up to Training Peaks when it gets near my cell phone.

Orbea Ordu: I was an early adopter of the previous Ordu. It’s like night and day how much better a bike this second one is. Now, the first bike was a good bike that was perfectly fitted by Matt at Podium Multisport. I liked it. However, it was squirrelly (trying to ride hands-free would have been suicide) and the rear brake was little more than ornamental. I had to hope and pray that the front brake would stop me as the rear brake was worthless. This new one from Podium Multisport is a work of art. It comes apart easier, it’s equipped with everything I need, (although I did add my Adamo Attack seat), and the brakes work great. It is so stable I can ride it on rollers.

Swim Buoy: While I’m not a great swimmer, I do enjoy long open water swims. When I’m at the lake, I’m concerned about boats. When I’m at the ocean, I’m concerned about the long walk back without sunglasses, cell phone, water, etc. The swim buoy, also available at Podium, solves these problems. I am visible to boats, and I have flip-flops so I can walk back home. It’s a perfect gadget that improves safety and convenience.

Fuel Belt: I like the convenience of being able to carry four bottles and have my hands free. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is so much nicer running with both hands free than carrying a bottle.

Power Meter: I mostly train alone. Thus, there is no one to push me. Having a power meter gives me feedback as to how hard I’m working when I am on the trainer, when I’m out on the Silver Comet, and during races. My first was a used Power Tap in the hub of a Zipp 404 from eBay. Next, a Stages from Podium. My new bike has a Pioneer that generates all kinds of data that I haven’t quite figured out how to use – but I will.

My collection of gadgets is endless. It’s part of what makes the sport fun.  But no matter how much stuff I buy, I can’t buy speed or heart and it really does come down to what I can do.  

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