So Many Toys . . .
OK, I admit it, I am a geek. A real equipment junkie. A man well and truly in touch with his inner nerd.
I really like stuff. Perhaps it’s because I’m an engineer at heart, so I really appreciate the quality and ingenuity of great things. Or maybe, it’s because I need all the technohelp I can get to improve my race performance - if nature didn’t give it to me, then by becoming a cyborg (just like the guy on the left - photo from The Speculist blog), perhaps I can still hold my head up high. And Terminate the competition.
My problem is that my budget is also kinda limited. Though I do have a birthday coming up . . . . Anyway, I’m not dropping any hints for prezzies - more like looking for advice on where I should spend my hard-earned cash. Which of these toys (/necessities!) would you go for above all the others?
- New race bike. Right now, my bike is ANCIENT. It’s about a 1986 Raleigh Record Sprint (don’t know exactly . . . bought second-hand in 1990), on which I’ve replaced the rear drop-outs, the rear mech (now a 105), rear shifter (now indexing), seat post, seat, front wheel, crank, pedals, head, and given two different paint jobs to. I’ve also added a cheep set clip on of aero bars. My wife jokes that it’s like the old broom (”I’ve had this broom 20 years. In that time, it’s had two heads, and three handles”). The problem is that the shifters are frame mounted, and it only has a six speed cassette, so the ratios are a little wide. For about £600, I can get the Guess RB1 TT, which I think I saw reviewed in last month’s Cycling Plus (can’t find the mag now, and can’t find the bike anywhere else either . . . anyone know anything about this?), or a really GREAT second-had bike. I’ll also have my original bike for converting to a fixie, so I can join the cool kids
- Heart Rate Monitor. C’mon - I’m supposed to be serious about my training, but I don’t even have an HRM! How on earth can I expect to know when I’m trying hard enough in training . . . or too hard during a race? I don’t want to spend a fortune, so options include the Blackburn Delphi (£79.99), though I think it’s only for on the bike, Polar S610i (£169), or go the whole hog on a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS (£199). Or can I get something for less that does most of what these toys do?
- Music to train to. I almost bought an iPod Shuffle last week, but the airport store had sold out. Still, at £55 including engraving (”Get To The Point”, of course), it’s mighty tempting. The thing is though, so’s the 2Gb iPod Nano at £99 - especially seeing as I can add the Nike+ sport kit (which doesn’t need Nike shoes - small ziplok bag & some duck tape will do nicely) at £19, and an arm band at £19.95. But that’s pretty much £140, which is a heck of a lot more than the ‘Shuffle.
- CamelBak. £24-£69ish - various models. Actually, the more I think about this, it’s probably a necessity. I’d want one with a waist strap, so that I can also run without it bump-bump-bumping all over the place. I’ve also read that a bottle & cage on a bike adds 2.5% to the drag - would carrying my drink on my back for the bike section reduce this, and mean that I can still top up with fluids?
- TomTom GPS thingie for my Treo 650. Yeah, I know that we’re right off the heading of triathlon / fitness gear here, but I want one. I’ve spent years mocking drivers with GPS navigation (”Get a freakin’ map, you DORKS!“), but I finally got to try one a few weeks ago, when I had to find a factory I’d never visited, and one of my clients lent me their TomTom. Absolutely brilliant - oh the joy of not having to fumble for the three pages of maps printed from streetmap.co.uk; that gentle female voice giving such clear instructions (I think she’s a real minx, and I also recognise one of her earlier jobs - “Eject . . . . Eject . . . . Eject“); its tolerance and understanding of when I go wrong - such gentle but firm correction; ooooohhhhhh! Sorry, I was miles away there. Anyway - waddya think - worth the £165 for all of Western Europe, or £132 for UK only?
- Swimming Lessons. Kinda obvious. But if I’m to make real improvements in my swim time, I do need help - professional help. At £23 per half hour though, it’s not pocket-money prices - my guess is that I should go for 8-10 weekly sessions to get the real benefit (too much or not enough?).
That’s all . . . unless you think I’ve missed something off. . . . (no, I have plenty of personality, thank you). Your comments & suggestions are most welcome!