It’s amazing how much gear triathletes accumulate. There’s always a new shoe, new watch, new wetsuit. Transition bags seem to get bigger and who doesn’t get excited for those nicely labeled color coded T1-T2 bags? We put a lot of effort planning and packing our pre-race checklist and by the end of the race, it’s usually a jumbled-dirty-mess-bordering-radioactive-funk. Here are my tips on keeping your gear in shape after your race. Wetsuit – Hello grass, sand and dirt. Rinse both the inside and outside and let it hang dry inside-out. Make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight and high heat. If you used a lubricant, make sure to wipe it off. Now is a good time to check for holes or tears and perform the necessary patchwork.
Clothing – This could get ugly. Do yourself and the athletes around you a favor, wash it asap. Don’t ever let it sit in your dark hamper – if you absolutely cannot get to it immediately, at least let it dry completely first. I like to add baking soda and vinegar along with my detergent before throwing it in the machine. If they’re extra gross, feel free to do a pre-soak. Lycra/spandex/poly don’t do well in high heat so be careful with the dryer. Better yet, hang them to dry.
Helmet – wipe the inside and outside and strap with a damp cloth. Hand wash the helmet padding and let it dry before putting it back in.
Bike & Running shoes – The conditions will dictate treatment but you always want to air them out. I like stuffing them with cedar wood sachets to help absorb moisture and keep them fresh. They may need a wash to which I use the same baking soda, vinegar, detergent combo. Make sure to take out the soles, open the laces, velcro and/or clips so they can dry faster. Outside drying is ideal however if you live in an apartment, keep them by a window with light and fresh air. Avoid heat and moisture. Once everything is dry, I recommend liberally adding baking soda at the bottom of the shoe before replacing the sole. Make sure to check your clips and and tighten if they’ve shifted.
Bottles- Give them a good scrub with a bottle brush and make sure to rise well, and then rise again. Even the tiniest hint of soap in your water during a ride creates an instant bad mood. I’m speaking from experience.
Bike – Give it a wipe down from the frame to your aero bars if you have them. Clean/oil your chain if necessary. It doesn’t hurt to give the gears and tires a once-over and you’ll be set for your next ride. If the conditions were rough, it may make sense to take it to your local bike shop.
Giving a bit of post race effort can extend the life of your gear and get you to the next race a lot quicker. Stay tuned for my favorite products list!
How to Keep your Tri Gear in Shape