Monday, August 25, 2014

What will I wear? - 5 weeks to Ironman Chattanooga - Coeur Sports Triathlon apparel review

Sounds like a silly topic, eh? What will I wear? But it's actually pretty important for a race this long.

Also by this time in training a lot of stuff is worn out. So if you need new shorts or socks or whatever - now is the time to buy them and break them in for the race. 

The old addage of nothing new on race day is certainly good advice when it comes to a race this long.  So, practicing in what you want to wear is important at least for me. Plus, I had it in mind to perhaps make changes based on what I wore in France. In France I changed my bottoms for each leg of the race. (swim: swim bottom, bike: Garneau bike shorts, Run: Zoot tri shorts).

Trial and Error
For the past few weeks I've been trying out items that I think I might wear. Last weekend (not the one that just ended) I wore my planned outfit for a training session in Clermont. It held up well so that outfit is the plan.
You can't see much of me but I'm in my tri top and shorts there under the silver/blue helmet.

The big change that I wanted to make is that I want to wear trishorts for the entire race. The reason for this is three-fold.
  • One, putting on shorts when your legs are wet is almost impossible. 
  • The second reason is that if I can shorten my transitions it's free speed. I'm not going to win anything but to be finished 10 minutes sooner is 10 minutes sooner.
  • Third reason the more simple my transition bag is the less chance there is to make a mistake and forget something.
But ... and this is a big but(t) for 112 miles on the bike I need to be comfortable. It's a need not a want.

For 112 miles of cycling the butt must be as comfy as can be :-)
As a present to myself after some race I bought a Coeur Sports tri kit. I bought it because it's super cute. But they do feature what they call the seamless chamois. I only bought it because it was cute so when I got the shorts I opened them and was like ... what is this? I mostly wore it as a run kit becuase I was favoring bike shorts for my biking. But I did wear them one day on the bike trainer and I was super amazed at how comfortable they were.
See my cute Coeur Tri kit. It's even red - my most favorite color.
What's the problem - it's just shorts, right?
Here's the thing with me. Bike apparel is highly personal. For me I cannot stand when a chamois has stitching or a seam anywhere near where my leg joins my hip. I have a skinny leg and that gets pinched between my leg and the bike seat and it is quickly excruciatingly painful. To the point where I want to cry. For example Sugoi shorts are a no go for me due to the stitching on the chamois.

The Coeur Sports chamois runs the entire length of the leg on the inside of the short. There is no seam to rub on the inside of the leg. Which is why Coeur sports calls it seamless. It's a good name but honestly I think you have to see it to understand it. Mine are in the laundry so there are no photos. Sorry. But you can find a picture on the Coeur Sports website.

So about a month ago for an 80-mile ride I wore the Coeur outfit. I was prepared to be in misery since it was a trishort and not a bike short. I even carried an arsenal of extra chamois creme in case I needed it. I was amazed at how comfortable it was. It is a different feeling than being in a bike short because you are more aware of where your sit bones are on the seat but it's not a bag awareness for me. What's more I was more comfortable than I had been in bike shorts. Plus I wasn't sliding all over my seat. My sit bones were more able to anchor me on my seat. I think that equaled less friction. It was great.  I had literally no chaffing or irritation after that long ride which has never happened for me even in bike shorts. I was sold for the bike. I'm a convert. I finally have a favorite pair of shorts.

Friday I wore these shorts for my 2-mile open water swim because my question was how long would this chamois stay wet after the swim. They were dry before I finished my slushee so I think I'll be okay. I will say because they are intentionally cut looser on the top of the short (which I love) I can feel water moving them around while I swim but they didn't come off so it was just an interesting sensation while swimming and I got used to it by the end.

After examining the seamless chamois last week my training buddy ordered herself a pair to wear. Here we are modeling our cute shorts.
Sunday I wore a pair of Coeur shorts for the 85 mile ride and 60 minute run. I was fine. Interestingly during the ride for the first time the shorts rode up a bit and bunched at the top. It happened to both of us wearing them that day. It was very hot and we think it might be because the shorts were soaked. I'm not sure. It wasn't perfect but it also was easily fixed by tugging down on the leg. So for now I am sticking with the plan. 

So the plan for the race is this:

T3 tritop / Black Coeur shorts - for the whole thing. Swiftwick socks - one pair for the bike and another for the run.

I will wear the DeSoto arm wing cover thing for the bike. I will put a change of shorts and run top into my t2 bag in case I want run shorts for the marathon but it's just a backup option. I will also pack a jacket for the bike in case of cooler weather/rain. I will also pack a long sleeve top for the run in case of cooler weather. Those are all just backups. Also if it's wetsuit legal then I'll wear a suit for the swim over the outfit.

Training update:
Longest training week yet. I broke 20 hours of training and logged 14k yards of swimming. No wonder I'm tired :-) I swam 2 miles ows on Friday. I battled nausea which concerns me but I'm not sure what to do, I ran 20 miles Saturday and biked 85 miles with an hour transition run on Sunday.

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