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Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

“A triathlon bikes for beginners article to guide you on your purchase. Read more now!”

The biggest purchase you’ll make for triathlon is also the one that can make the most difference to your race finish time and, more importantly, your experience.

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bikes for Beginners

Triathlon Bike vs Road Bike
The big question facing every triathlete when choosing a bike is whether to go for a specific triathlon bike or a road bike. As specific tri bikes are hard to find under £1,000 this isn’t an issue for a lot of new triathletes. Just choose a road bike with a low front end that will convert easily to tri bar use, rather than the increasingly popular high-fronted sportive bikes.

Even if you spend more than £1,000, a conventional road bike will be safer and more comfortable when you’re riding with a road club, or if your terrain involves lots of hills or rough roads. There are also far more road bike options than tri or time-trial specific ones. If you tend to do most of your training solo on flatter roads, then getting totally synced with a tri bike’s more radical position will pay dividends when you’re racing. One popular option for triathletes who can afford it is to use two bikes: have a cheap road bike (preferably with mudguards fitted) for most of your training rides, and a triathlon-specific bike to save as an instant boost for pre-event tune-ups and the races themselves.

THE RIGHT FRAME MATERIAL

Aluminium
Aluminium has taken over from steel as the most common bike frame material. It has the advantage of being lightweight and relatively cheap to produce. Over the past few years manufacturers have begun to use ‘hydroforming’ techniques to mould it into ever more elaborate shapes.

Titanium
Titanium can be built into light frames that are super-strong, which can be especially valuable for surviving the perils of travel and the hurly burly of a congested transition area. Brands such as Litespeed and Van Nicolas specialise in titanium and make some beautiful frames – but be warned: they ain’t cheap.

Carbon Fibre
Carbon fibre has become an increasingly popular frame material over recent years on bikes costing more than about £1,200. Its biggest advantages are its light weight and the fact it can be moulded into aerodynamic shapes that are impossible with metal, even with the use of hydroforming technology.

Why Pay More?
The groupset is the core of a bike’s components and normally includes the gears, brakes, cranks, bottom bracket, hubs and headset. The key manufacturers classify these components together in different levels. For example, Shimano’s top-end components are Dura-Ace, then you get Ultegra SL, Ultegra, 105 and so on.
As a rule, the more you spend on a bike, the higher the groupset components. But the differences are usually small. The main benefit is that you’ll get a lighter weight. That’s always worth having, but keep it in perspective as shaving a few grams is nowhere near as important as having an aerodynamic set-up.

Women’s Bikes
It’s a fact men far outnumber women in both triathlon and road bike racing but that is changing fast, so bike manufacturers are producing more ‘women-specific’ designs. Choice is still limited compared with standard road and tri bikes, and you might not be able to find as many great-value packages as men can. Truly women’s specific bikes such as Trek’s WSD series, Specialized’s D4W and Felt’s FW models have different frame geometries to the men’s equivalents. Women have shorter bodies and arms and longer legs, so on a men’s bike they’ll have no trouble reaching the pedals, but will be overstretched reaching bars and brakes. So women’s frame shave shorter top tubes and higher head tubes to improve reach.
However, before you automatically plump for a female-specific frame, go to your local bike shop and have a proper fit. Higher front ends on bikes change the way they handle and you may find it doesn’t suit you.

Women’s bikes also have shallower drops, short-reach shifters, narrower bars and shorter cranks. Saddles are wider to accommodate women’s pelvis shapes.

More at Triathlon Bikes: Beginners’ Guide

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Running Shoes

Choosing the Right Running Shoes

“Running Shoes? We’ll discuss how to narrow down your traditional running shoe choices. Read now!”

While most running shoes feel comfortable when you’re standing in a sports store, the true test is after several miles on the trail or asphalt. You’ll quickly realize that your perfect shoe has more to do with the shape of your foot and your running style than it does with the logo stitched on the side.

Running Shoes

Running Shoes

Road Runners or Trail Runners?

Road running shoes are designed for pavement and occasional forays onto packed surfaces with slight irregularities (fire roads, nature trails, wood-chip paths). Light and flexible, they’re made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.

Trail running shoes are essentially beefed-up running shoes designed for off-road routes. They are enhanced with aggressive outsoles for solid traction and fortified to offer stability, support and underfoot protection. If you routinely encounter roots, rocks, mud, critter holes or other obstacles during runs, choose trail runners.

Tip: If you can’t find a trail shoe with the right fit for your running mechanics, it’s better to go with a road-running shoe.

Know Your Feet

Foot size: If you’re unsure of your shoe size or if one foot is larger than the other, it’s best to have your feet measured at REI or other shoe retailer with a Brannock device. (That’s the flat metal tool with sliders that measure the length, width and the toe-to-ball length of the foot.) Whenever possible, try the shoe on to see if it fits. Shoe lasts (which determines shoe sizes, described below) vary by manufacturer and even from one shoe model to another. You may need a half-size or even a full size smaller or larger than you think.

Most men wear a D-width shoe; most women wear a B-width. You don’t have to wear a shoe of your gender—the lasts are basically the same. Men: Try a women’s shoe if you have a narrow foot. Women: Try a men’s shoe if you have a larger or wider foot. If the shoe fits, wear it!

Arch shape: As you get out of the tub, shower or pool, take a look at the footprint you leave on the bathmat or cement. The shape of your footprint will indicate the type of arch you have. Your arch shape affects the way your foot moves as you run.

Biomechanics of Running

Your foot shape is closely related to its movement as you walk or run. With every stride, your heel typically strikes the ground first. It rolls slightly inward and the arch flattens to cushion the impact. Your foot then rolls slightly to the outside and stiffens to create a springboard to propel your next step.

As runners, however, we each experience different levels of these sideways motions as we stride. The key characteristics:

Pronation is the foot’s natural inward roll following a heel strike. Basic (neutral) pronation helps absorb impact, relieving pressure on knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.

Overpronation is an exaggerated form of the foot’s natural inward roll. It is a common trait that affects the majority of runners, leaving them at risk of knee pain and injury. Overpronators need stability or motion control shoes.

Supination (also called under-pronation) is an outward rolling of the foot resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. Relatively few runners supinate, but those who do need shoes with plenty of cushioning and flexibility.

How can you be sure which running style is yours? A podiatrist or physical therapist could undoubtedly tell you, but a simpler answer is probably in your closet. If you own a well-used pair of running shoes, check the wear pattern on the soles.

A neutral stride is indicated by shoe wear centralized to the ball of the foot and a small portion of the heel.
Overpronation is identified by wear patterns along the inside edge of your shoe.
Supination is marked by wear along the outer edge of your shoe.

Types of Running Shoes

Cushioning shoes provide elevated shock absorption and minimal medial (arch side) support. They’re best for runners who are mild pronators or supinators. Cushioning shoes are also good for neutral runners during off-pavement runs. Reason: Minor irregularities in surfaces such as dirt roads give feet a little variety from the repetitive, same-spot strikes they typically experience on hard surfaces.

Stability shoes help decelerate basic pronation. They’re good for neutral runners or those who exhibit mild to moderate overpronation. They often include a “post” (see Shoe Construction 101, below) in the midsole.

Motion control shoes offer features such as stiffer heels or a design built on straighter lasts to counter overpronation. They’re best for runners who exhibit moderate to severe overpronation.

More at Running Shoes: How to Choose

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Your Questions About Best Wetsuit For Weak Swimmers

Ruth asks…

Why are the olympic uniforms in swimsuits, trunks and gymnastic gear so revealing?

I know that some of the swimsuits are high for mobililty in the water and also includes the gymnastic uniforms, but why do they have to be that way? You can literally see a person’s butt almost hanging out of their uniforms. That’s not a good sight for people that have weak minds like child predators if you know what I mean.

Mike Rich answers:

Well it’s not like any of the swimmers or gymnasts are hideously ugly or morbidly obese covered in cellulite so I don’t find it that bad.

The swimmers and gymnasts’ uniforms are designed to be lightweight so they can move freely without heavy clothing weighing you down (imaging swinging up on the high bar with a baggy shirt flapping all over the place or trying to win a gold medal in swimming whilst being slowed down by a saggy pair of board shorts.)

Also it’s not that revealing, the men gymnasts generally all wear leotards with striupp pants or leggings (which is a shame) and the swimmers don’t even have their chests exposed (expect for maybe after the race when they pull the swimsuit/wetsuit down).
The gymnast’s leotards aren’t that horrible either, it would just be so much harder to compete if everyone was trying to be modest.

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