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Old 04-25-07, 08:32 PM   #1
francismacomber
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First race under my belt!

First of all, a big thanks to everyone. I have been lurking for a long time and posted a few times with questions and everyone really helped me make my first race a LOT of fun. I ended up 2nd among beginners and 4th in my age group (but before anyone assumes I am fast, I think the whole pool of entrants ranged from beginner to casual, except for the top 10 or 15- which were pretty impressive athletes). Thanks to all the advice here, I was under 2:15 and 1:15 in my transitions, and only made the "normal" number of rookie mistakes.

Now I have the bug, and I guess that means I need to spend some money, right? I am thinking a wetsuit is/should be the next purchase. I have a lake swim sprint and a river swim off-road tri planned, and if all goes well I am really hoping to do the steelhead HIM this August. Is that enough races to justify a wetsuit, even if it's a cheaper one? Does anyone have any experience with any of the cheapos on ebay (particularly on the sizing)?

Thanks again.
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Old 04-25-07, 09:23 PM   #2
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full wetsuits help everybody, but they help bad swimmers (in particular, those with poor balance / body position) more than they help good ones. As far as which wetsuit to buy, the best advice I have seen (and what I followed) is to pick the one that fits you the best, assuming (and this is a big and important assumption) that you have put the thing on correctly. Some folks over on Slowtwitch.com have done some comparisons of wetsuits and while the tests were not done with all the strict rigor of peer-reviewed experimental science, the results were still enlightening. An expensive wetsuit (A Blue Seventy Helix, or a Desoto T1) that wasn't sized quite right or put on incorrectly and in haste was no faster (and occasionally slower) than an entry level model. Look for a recent post by Tom Demerly which goes into photographic detail on how to put one on correctly.

I would also look for a shop that allows you to try one on and even swim with it a time or two before deciding if it feels right; you may not know this until you have tried on a few but different suits are like different bikes - some will fit you better than others.
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Old 04-26-07, 06:05 AM   #3
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Here is what Chris was talking about:

http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/fea...uit_Demo.shtml

Here is another from that site that might be helpful for 1st time buyers:

http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/features/wetsuit.shtml

Last edited by rplong; 04-26-07 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:59 AM   #4
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For me, the wetsuit was worth every penny for the warmth and bouyancy (only if the race allows it of course). It definitely helps you save energy so you can concentrate on moving forward in the water instead of staying afloat (depends on your swim skill of course).

I have two "entry level" wetsuits but they perform great.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:34 AM   #5
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Great, thanks guys. It looks like I am going to have to find a shop and try a few on asap. If fit is that important, I should probably shy away from ebay it seems.

Rplong, are there any shops in Lincoln or Omaha that sell suits?
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Old 04-26-07, 03:04 PM   #6
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You can also check into shops that rent them. That way you can try it out to see if you even like it or need it (i know we all need everything). This will also let you size different brands which you can then use on ebay. Sometimes the shops that rent them out even sell their used outdated or slightly blemished wetsuits. Remember though if one brand fits you well it doesnt always mean that the same size of another brand will fit you (just like cycling shoes, jerseys, shorts ect..)
Congrats by the way for finishing your first race!
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Old 04-26-07, 06:49 PM   #7
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High Gear in Lavista is currently switching from QR suits to Orca brand. They currently don't have any in stock but two weeks ago, I was told the would be getting in new inventory around May. They rent and sell the suits. Or have at least in the past. Scheels also sells Orca suits. Pretty limited around here. A shop down in KC sells Zoot I believe. I think someone down in Lincoln sells BlueSeventy, not sure though.
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