Triathlon Gear Reviews
Lumen Metabolism Tracker
There are so many nice touches to the product, it's hard to remember what a technological miracle it is to measure whether I'm fat burning or carb burning at any moment in the day. It's sleek, it's small, it turns itself off, the voice in the app that coaches you how long to breathe in and then breathe out has a wonderful user interface that isn't annoying even after months of hearing, "Breathe deeply through your Lumen..."
The main idea is to be in fat-burn mode more often and for a longer time (if you are trying to burn fat, which most of us are). The device shows you how you are doing, then recommends food to eat that day to keep you on track toward greater metabolic flexibility. There are explainer text blurbs, videos and more, and you can even order food so you can choose exactly what you need each day to match the recommended carbs, fats and proteins.
Having worked with a nutritionist the first half of this year, and started using Lumen in late spring, I stuck with my nutritionist's menu until July, and then when I started giving myself more flexibility, I was comforted by being able to check in with the Lumen, and to get advice on macros. My workout schedule also syncs with Lumen (in a limited way) and so Lumen recommends more carbs on long cardio days. It has a nice graphical way of representing the values of various foods as carbs, proteins and fats, and many veggies don't count toward the total carbs, which I agree with. There are little notes, like, we know avocado has fat in it but you should eat it because of XYZ. I did notice it recommends me to eat a lot more fat that I had in the past, and it's hard to find sources of fat that don't also have a lot of carbs, so that's been a learning curve for me. Nuts, cheese and avocados perform well for that.
I measure each morning when I wake up, and the app cheers me on when I wake up in fat burn. It keeps score of how many mornings per week you wake up in fat burn, and gives advice on how to improve, such as not eating too close to bedtime, and sleeping seven to eight hours.
Overall, this is an AMAZING piece of technology, and the app is just as great as the science, which is rare. I never feel confused using it. My complaints are really around the categorization of food and having the app consider the time of day and whether I consumed workout fuel during the workout. I think this should be accounted for differently so I could compare a long run with water only to a long run with energy gels or sports drink. It is possible to measure my breath when I return from the run, but it's not as accurate if I've eaten any of that fuel within the last hour and if my heart rate is still elevated from the activity. That's more a limitation of how our bodies work than the devices fault, but maybe they could run a formula against those particular measurements to compensate somehow. Anyway, overall it's very very cool to do such advanced measurements without even getting all the way out of bed. This device was provided to BT for reviewing purposes. I will be renewing the app subscription personally. Here is our affiliate link to purchase Lumen.
Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow
I just went through a bunch of saddles.
I pretty well liked the Selle Italia Flow I had on my old triathlon bike I sold. I didn’t LOVE it, but I didn’t think about it a ton. I got a new bike and the stock seat was one of those nose-less deals. I thought I would like it. I did like things about it, but after a several hour ride, or a few hour ride on the trainer (no sideways movement, no change in tile, no cornering) I really came to hate it.
I went to the bike shop and I tried one and just tried to concentrate on where my sit bones and pubic bone were aligned compared to the supportive parts of the saddle I was trying.
The first one, all of my bones felt like they fell inside of the cutout, like they dropped into a hole. So that was a no, and clarity that I needed something narrower.
I tried a narrower one, but I had an issue with the area where the sides of the seat flare out as they go back - the flare out was too wide or too far forward. The sides of the saddle in that area would rub uncomfortably against my inner thighs. Or that’s what I thought. I was thinking, well, why don’t I just move up on the nose more? Then I would not be hitting the sides. But I couldn’t figure out why that didn’t feel right to move up onto the nose more.
I saw this crazy saddle in the store that was entirely carbon fiber. No fabric or padding. It looked narrow and I asked to try it.
Me: I don’t think it works, you were right. But I would have wondered for the rest of my life, so thanks for putting it on.
Geoff, bike shop owner: Yeah, you aren’t able to rotate your hips forward.
Me: Yeah! I’m not! Why is that? Just because it hurts too much?
(Me trying to roll forward onto my pubic bone more)
(Me making faces)
Me: Yeah. I think it just hurts too much.
So then we knew I needed narrow, and I needed more padding in order to roll forward onto my pubic bone in the aero position. So then he asked more about the last saddle I had that I liked, and I showed him a pic. He came out of the back with a much more “cushy” saddle. Not big and wide and padded. Just a lot heavier and with gel padding. We put that on and it was a winner. I’m bummed that it weighs more, but if I can stay aero, that matters more.
TRIHARD Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion
I'm not one to spend on special hair products. I just get whatever is on sale, and use it until it runs out, and then find something new and see if I like that better. I also only swim a couple of times a week. But these products are so high quality, I would invest in them again. On one occasion, I misjudged my schedule and had to go straight from a swim-and-weightlifting workout to a meeting without time to shower. I had used the Pre and Post Swim Conditioner before my swim workout, and I used the lotion on my skin. I changed into professional clothes and let my hair dry on the way there. I was AMAZED that I didn't smell like a pool and didn't smell from the gym even. In fact, I was well into my day before I remember that I had never showered!
It's usually my hands that are unpleasant on a swim day. Even after a normal shower, I can still smell the pool on my hands if I rub my eyes or nose during the day. But with the body wash and lotion, this was not an issue at all. The sample kit used for this review was provided by TRIHARD. BeginnerTriathlete users can receive a discount using the code BEGINNER20 at checkout.
Speedo Endurance Suit
It's fun to get the latest new gear and review it, but sometimes it's more helpful to review items I've had forever that never seem to wear out. I am surprised Speedo still offers this suit. I don't know how they make money, since these never seem to wear out. I have two that I have had from 2010 until 2022 and they are still going strong. I believe I purchased them in a grab bag special where I didn't get to choose the color. I was wearing mine in the pool during a triathlon club workout this past Sunday. There were three women in the lane, and all three of us were wearing Speedo Endurance. Enough said.Read More
BMC Timemachine TM01
BMC is a quality company, making a great bike with all of the nice little things that a bike SHOULD have but often doesn't. The integrated toolbox is great. The shifters are amazing, the paint is gorgeous, and I love the way the bike looks and rides. The brake rubbing is a problem, and I think actually cost me a lot of time in my Ironman and set me up for a poor run. That was my fault for not getting it looked at right before the race, but my LBS had to do some pretty major surgery to handle it. The adjustability was a huge selling point since I'm 45 and likely to get less flexible in the coming years. I feel I'm set for a while with all the new technology on the bike. The batteries for the shifters last a LONG time, too. Like months if you don't shift much, for example on the trainer.Read More
The Magic 5 Custom Goggles
Great process, amazing product. I have a very slim face and regular goggles have to be tightened so hard they leave horrible raccoon eyes. I finally found some that sat on my orbital bones instead of inside them, but the lenses were shaped in such a way that my eyeballs would actually TOUCH the front of the lenses. Ugh. So awful. When these arrived I was skeptical because the shape seemed odd and the nose connector was not attached at the midpoint of the lenses, but more toward the top. Whatever they have figured out with custom manufacturing, I'm impressed. Wow.Read More
Naipo Massage Gun Deep Tissue Muscle Massager
This is a great product and a wonderful invention. At times during intense training, there have been areas where I can't get relief from a foam roller because of the angles, and I can't afford to go to a massage therapist every day. There is even a spot in one of the heads of my hamstring that sometime even a massage therapist cannot get to release. This massage gun took some time, but it did give me relief on the most difficult spots. It also can be used for quite awhile without making your hand uncomfortable. In the past I've used another kind of massager that is shaped more like a belt sander, and it vibrates my hand so much it becomes extremely uncomfortable after just a couple of minutes. This massage gun is not like that. I can hold it for a long time and can use it one-handed, which is important for getting at certain spots that are hard to reach.Read More
Terrible customer service, from recommending the wrong size to not willing to replace with a larger size product, to claiming to have found a rip on the returned product. Also, if I caused the rip without even realizing upon the first try, the product is really of poor quality. I've had other wetsuits and never ripped any as XTerra claim I did with this one...Read More
After wrestling with earbuds and AirPods with a dozen different tips and not finding anything that would stay in my ears while moving, running, etc. I finally found these. They use bone conduction to convey the sound into my head, leaving the ear canal clear to hear traffic or other important noises. I would feel comfortable wearing this cycling, although I haven't done so yet. Earbuds always wiggle out and fall out when I run, but these don't have that issue.Read More
Sundried Rouleur Women's Training Bib Shorts
This is a great option for women for cycling bib shorts. They are stylish and well-made. If you are used to a very thin pad, this will be an adjustment for you. It's a thicker, molded gel pad. The fabric kept me very dry even after an hour in the saddle followed by a 35 minute run indoors, which is a set of sweaty conditions.Read More
IvaMichele The Aspire Triathlon Shorts
These are cute, functional, and very long. Technically they are well built and the materials are good. More colors would be nice, but I do like the butterfly logo. These shorts were provided by the manufacturer in exchange for this review.Read More
Wahoo Kickr Snap
I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it as much as the kickr. But so far so good, and since I am only at this residence for 4 months a year, and half of that is either on the road or back home. This was a great alternative. Plus when it is time to pack up and I need the storage space, this unit folds up nicely and takes up a lot less space than a kickr would.
Very happy with the decision to go with the Snap.
Vibram Five Fingers V Trail
Vibrams are a niche market, but one I am part of. I love running "barefoot" without actually being barefoot. This particular model is a nice blend of minimalism and rugged design, so I felt confident even on packed gravel.
This review was provided in connection with Run Repeat.
Compex Sport Elite 2.0 w/TENS
This unit was provided to me by Compex in exchange for an unbiased review.
When I was first approached to do this review, I was more than a little bit skeptical. After I talked to Brandon at Compex, I was even more skeptical. The claims I was hearing didn't seem to pass "the smell test." I'm happy to say I was wrong. The Compex Sport Elite 2.0 is everything the claims say it is and more.
There is no way I can do justice to the Compex Sport Elite in the limited space available here. I strongly encourage anyone interested to visit their website at www.compex.com and read about EMS and TENS.
The short review is Compex just works!
Selle Italia Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow
My first Tribike was a 2001 Canondale Multisport that I got used. It had a Stella Italia Flite seat and when I took the bike to the local Bike Mechanic he said that I got a really good seat and that it I ever sold the bike I should swap seats for a stock seat and keep the Stella Italia. When I took the bike to a bike fitter 6 months later he noticed the seat too and said that he used to have 2-3 of the exact same seat in his garage. When I got my 2nd TriBike I made the seat swap, but when I got my 3rd and current bike the only way to mount the seat was with a hex wrench through the cut out in the seat. The Stella Italia didn't have a cut out so I kept the seat that came on the 3rd bike. I couldn't figure out why my FTP dropped 30 watts or why it felt like I was riding though mud everytime I got on the bike. I tried every adjustment I could make over about 4 weeks of riding and nothing helped. I finally decided to swap out all the new seat to the one that came with my 2nd bike that was the same shape as the Stella Italia seat but made of inferior materials and that had a cutout in the middle. The difference was immediate. I not longer felt like I was ridding through mud. I think the seat that came with the 3rd bike was too wide and I was rubbing my legs in the sides of it or something. Anyways I road with the stock seat from the 2nd bike for a year to year and half then when looking for another Stella Italia because the second seat flexed a ton and just felt flimsy and cheap. Over the that first year and half I also had the 3rd seat melt in my hot garage. I found someone with a used Stella Italia Max Flight Gel Flow and decided to pick it up. I love that is has a leather cover. It won't melt in the hot garage like the stock saddles made of synthetic materials do. This saddle has the cut out in the middle so I can mount it on my bike. It is a lot stiffer than the saddle from bike #2 but not as stiff as the original Stella Italia Flite saddle. So...it is an upgrade from the saddles from Bike #2 and Bike #3. I don't know if there is something faster out there and I haven't tried any other saddles but I am happy with it.Read More