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Friday, February 20, 2009

New and newer

Paul Harrell (shop/team owner) contacted me earlier in the week and said that Hindcapie had sent over some samples of tri kits for us to try out as the baseline for our team kits and that he would like me to come try on the apparel and give him feedback. A few teammates have decided to move over to the ranks of the banana sack wearing tri world (common stereotype it seems – not that I’m opposed to Speedos per say) so I’m no longer the sole tri guy on the team. This (along with my nagging for a kit) may or may not have played into the decision to produce the tri kit. Regardless, I am eager to represent Harrell’s on the race course as I believe they are hands-down the best shop in town and have been integral in progression as a triathlete. I wouldn’t even flinch at wearing a blue Speedo with the Harrell’s logo stamped on the arse … but thankfully this is not the route we’re headed with the kits. So here’s the sample kit. This one is size Medium top and bottom. The Large was a little too large and the Medium is nice and snug.

One of the things I really like about the top was that it was full zip. At first I was unsure about this but once I put it on I was digging it. For one it was WAY easier to get on and off then a half zip. And when it’s in the mid 90s with 95% humidity and we’re out on the run at FoF along that stretch with no shade, that zipper will be my new best friend. It’s hard to tell in the picture but the fabric on either side of the center the fabric is a mesh material to allow for max ventilation. While the sample may look rather hot in black (the custom kit will be blue and white I presume), this thing was made for keeping the racer cool. Another aspect of the jersey that I really liked was the design and location of the pockets. They were located on the back of the jersey but not in the center of the back. Instead they were rather narrow and placed on either side of the lower back in the indention area above the hip. This would seem to be an ideal location when thinking about body position in the water and accessibility on the bike. Of all the jerseys I’ve worn, I can honestly say this one felt the best and seemed as if it would be the fastest.

The shorts had an equal amount of emphasis placed on keeping the athlete cool … more so by far than any short I’ve tried. Again hard to see in the picture, but the entire section along the outer quad is a mesh material. The chamois was there but not-there if you know what I mean. And the inside of the front of the chamois was void of seams close to center, which is an absolute must in my book. I once only discovered an “injury” that I sustained during a race to the head honcho after a beam of water made a direct hit in my after-race shower. This left me instantly breathless while dancing around in little circles with tears coming to my eyes. Never again I say … never again. Now the first thing I look for in a short is solid dose of design and engineering around the front of the chamois. Every else about the short seem very good in my opinion. I like a low hip line and full support for the quad seemed perfectly adequate for a long day of racing.
I also tried the skinsuit/trisuit which was almost identical to the separates except it was a single piece. I don’t have any experience racing in these and therefore had nothing to which to compare. It seemed nice, although I personally prefer the two piece setup. Can you really go wrong with something from Big George?

The other new item that showed up yesterday was my new pair of Nike Zoom Skylon II’s. I went with the black and white color scheme instead of the red/silver/white of my other pair. My wife then informed me I am indeed a fashionista dude since black and gray are the in-colors right now (I elegantly paired the back and white shoes with a pair of dark gray speed laces not show here).

On the newer side of things, unfortunately Scott has delayed (yet again) the shipment of Plasma 2 based tri bikes until April. In the words of Paul …

“On the Plasma-----------Scott keeps pushing the bike out so instead of playing the waiting game, I suggest we (or you really), plan on racing the current plasma for the remainder of this year and if and when they come out with the new one we can make the change. I don’t want you to invest too much thought into your bike; you need to stay focused on the training! The current Plasma is a great bike and I think you can have a great season on it. I’ll stay in touch about the new one when I get any new info about it. They are currently saying sometime in April but with the previous push backs I’m a little reluctant to believe them.”

This is one of the reasons I love riding for Paul so much … his main goal is for me to be able to focus on my overall race without having to put a lot of time and worry into my bike setup, mechanical issues, etc. I’m in 100% agreement … the 2008 Plasma served me quite well last season helping me get many age-group podiums and wins and I’m positive it will continue to serve me well this year. No more age-group podiums since I’m racing Open, but maybe I can sneak on the overall podium once or twice :-)
Have a great weekend!!!

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