Having just won the IRONMAN 70.3 Pan American Pro Championship Panama this last weekend, Rudy Project Pro triathlete Sarah Haskins shares her thoughts on what equipment is best to tackle any situation.
Racing is both an art and a science. I feel the art of racing comes from within; a desire in our hearts to push ourselves to our limits, to compete and enjoy the process. We have an internal perceived exertion telling us how we are feeling, when to push harder, and when to back off. The science within racing can be very complex, but the key is to keep it simple. Many people burden themselves when it comes to mastering the science of equipment. Questions arise like: what type of wheel set to use, how much hydration is needed, what shade of goggle tint, what type of aero helmet, or is a visor necessary. The list goes on and on and can be overwhelming.
When I think about my equipment choice, the biggest factor is the weather on race day. How hot or cold the race is will affect my hydration, the wind will determine an appropriate wheel set, and the sun/humidity will determine my eyewear. Once you have determined your equipment choice that will work best for you, it’s important to trust that choice on race morning and not over think it! Often people will start second guessing start line, which can take away from your mental focus and hinder your performance.
When it comes to my helmet, I prefer the Rudy Project Wing57 for time trial races. I feel that as long as I can keep my head in a tight, aerodynamic position, this is the fastest helmet. I will always use a visor with this, unless the race is going to be very humid. Rather than using glasses, a full shield enables me to have a better visual of the road. If I know it is going to be a very hot race, I will choose the (very soon to be released) Boost 01 road aero helmet. The extra air flow helps prevent dehydration, and it has aerodynamic advantage over a regular road helmet. I feel this helmet is also a great choice if you have trouble keeping your head in a tight aerodynamic position over the course of a long distance race. For road and ITU racing, I choose the Pink Fluo Sterling.
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When it comes to sunglasses, I always opt for the Tralyx Red Fluo with Multilaser Orange lenses. If it’s a cloudy day or there’s a chance for changing weather, I opt for the ImpactX-2 photochromic lenses, which change depending on lighting. Whatever the amount of sunlight, I can match my eyes with the proper lens color thanks to Rudy Project’s interchangeable lens system. I love the feel of these glasses because they are very light and conform to my face, but they are also very protective. I don’t like anything bouncing on my face when I run, and when I wear the Tralyx, I don’t even notice them. The fit is perfect.
The other big question on race day centers around which wheel set is most appropriate. Typically, I use an 808 front and rear disc if the wind is less than 10 mph for a majority of the race. If this wind is upwards of 15 mph, I will opt for a 404 front and still run a disc on the rear. Having a less deep wheel in front helps me control my bike better, especially with the cross winds. If it’s a very windy day, with winds around 20 mph or above, I will ride a front 404 and rear 808 set up. This allows me to control my bike and ride a smoother, straighter line. Overall, wheel choice is very individual based on skill level and size.
In deciding which equipment is best for you, it’s really important to test out different options in training and see what works best. I would especially recommend testing out your swim goggles before jumping in on race day. Nothing is more annoying than swimming with leaky goggles! Also, some goggles may work better in the pool verses open water, so I suggest testing them in open water prior to race day.
Once that gun goes off, it’s all about the art of the race. The science of the equipment choice is complete (fingers crossed no flats). Don’t stress or even second guess your choices. Have faith in your training, your equipment choice, and most importantly yourself!
About Sarah Haskins:
Professional Triathlete, Olympian and Mom.
Follow me: @sarahhaskinstri and www.sarahhaskins.com