August 1, 2022

18 Money-Saving Triathlon Hacks

Triathlon can be an expensive sport. But you don’t have to break the bank to race! On today’s episode, coaches John Mayfield and Elizabeth James present 18 money-saving hacks. Listen in for tips on how you can save on race registrations, gear, travel, lodging, and more!

A big thanks to UCAN for being a long time partner of the podcast! At TriDot we are huge believers in using UCAN to fuel our training and racing.

To experience UCAN’s LIVSTEADY products for yourself, head to their website UCAN.co! Use the code “TriDot” to save 20 percent on your entire order.

We also trust 2Toms to keep us moving! 2Toms provides revolutionary products to prevent issues from chafing, blisters, odors and sweat. To make the switch to 2Toms, head to Medi-Dyne.com and use the code “TRIDOT” to save 20 percent on your entire order.

TriDot Podcast .149 18 Money-Saving Triathlon Hacks Intro: This is the TriDot podcast. TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile, combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain. We’ll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests. Join the conversation and let’s improve together. Andrew Harley: Welcome to the TriDot podcast! Hey, real quick at the top of the show, if you are one of our listeners and you have never left us a rating and review on the Apple Podcast app, we would love for you to take a second and do so. You guys and gals leaving reviews just helps our show find its way to the ears of new listeners. Yes, please, and thank you, you all are awesome. Great show today, I’m really excited about this topic, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We are talking about money-saving hacks that you can implement as a triathlete. It’s an expensive sport, and me and a couple coaches here today are here to help you strategically save some money on your triathlon shopping. Joining us for this conversation is pro triathlete and coach, Elizabeth James. Elizabeth is a USAT Level II and IRONMAN U certified coach, who quickly rose through the triathlon ranks using TriDot, from a beginner, to top age grouper, to a professional triathlete. She’s a Kona and Boston Marathon qualifier who has coached triathletes with TriDot since 2014. Elizabeth, welcome back to the show! Elizabeth James: Always great to be here! As you said, goodness this sport can be expensive, so if we can pass along some tips for people to save some money, I think it’s going to be a great conversation today. Andrew: Also joining us for this is coach John Mayfield. John is a USAT Level II and IRONMAN U certified coach who leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs. He has coached hundreds of athletes ranging from first-timers to Kona qualifiers and professional triathletes. John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012. Thanks for joining us, John! John Mayfield: My pleasure! Great to be here. Andrew: You were like a Chick-Fil-A employee there, with the “My pleasure.” John: They don’t own that word, we can use it too! Andrew: Anyway, I’m Andrew the Average Triathlete, Voice of the People and Captain of the Middle of the Pack. As always we will roll through our warmup question, settle in for our main set topic, and then wind things down with our cooldown. Extremely excited to announce that 2Toms is a new partner of TriDot. 2Toms is always working on revolutionary new products designed to prevent chafing, blisters, odors, and sweat. Their passion is to keep you moving. As triathletes, we can certainly have our training and racing thrown off by not taking care of our skin. So when the folks at 2Toms told us that they had the absolute best chafing and blister protection products on the market, we had to give them a shot. In fact, we took a huge goodie bag of 2Toms anti-chafing towelettes with us to our last ambassador camp, and we asked for honest and candid feedback. The reviews from those 70‑plus TriDot athletes were immensely positive, with many folks placing orders that day and making the switch to 2Toms. Ever since, I’ve been using SportShield in my own training, and have great results with happy skin in all the right places. 2Toms has SportShield, BlisterShield, ButtShield, FootShield, and their StinkFree odor-removing spray and detergent. So whoever you are and whatever skin protection you need, 2Toms has you covered. 2Toms is in the Medi-Dyne family of brands, so go to medi-dyne.com to pick up some 2Toms today. And when you do, use promo code TRIDOT for 20% off your order. Warm up theme: Time to warm up! Let’s get moving. Andrew: Whether you are just getting the essentials, or purchase every tri toy under the wide open banner of heaven, to do this sport all of us will make at least a few purchases along the way. Sometimes we buy a new tri toy, and instantly it’s a smash hit. Other times we get a few uses and wish that we could do that purchase over again. John, Elizabeth, what is one triathlon-related purchase that you would redo if you were given the chance? John, what is this for you? John: I actually have two. One goes way back, and one is more recent. One thing I see – I don’t know if it’s a mistake, but what a lot of new triathletes do – their first bike purchase is often a road bike. They’re more familiar, they’re more comfortable, they’re more readily available. You walk into a bike shop, and there’s ten or more road bikes for every tri bike. It’s often what we have, what we’re used to, so a lot of times when someone gets into triathlon they buy a road bike. I did that. I had a bit of a cycling background, so I had that road bike. But I got into triathlon, and then I bought a nicer road bike. Then I bought a tri bike, but I bought an entry-level aluminum frame, and I quickly – outgrew is the wrong word – but I quickly became dissatisfied with both of those. I wasn’t riding the road bike near as much, I had a nice road bike that was just sitting there. I was riding a not‑so-nice tri bike, so what I ended up doing relatively quickly was buying a nice tri bike. So for me that was kind of that regret, that buying lesser bikes instead of to go in and buy the tri bike. But it’s a big commitment, so it’s not necessarily a mistake. But it is a little bit of a regret, that I had bought those bikes, and actually ended up selling them both and buying my first nice tri bike. That was a couple years ago. More recently was my running shoes. A couple years I got into the Vaporflys like everybody. I loved them, they felt great on my foot, my foot sat nicely in them. Then I was like, “Well, this year I’ll just try the Alphaflys,” and they are not the same. I went to run in them the first couple times, not trying to put a bunch of miles on them, kind of saving them for race day. But I’ve used them in two races already – one was a half, one was a full – and both times I had to stop and re‑tie my shoe because my foot just wasn’t in there right. My foot was sliding down, it wasn’t staying back. The Vaporfly just fits better than the Alphafly for me. So I wish I had my $300 back to get another pair of Vaporflys. Andrew: Elizabeth James, what is this answer for you? Elizabeth: For me, it would actually be Q-Rings. When I upgraded my bike, I put a Q ring on. And I loved it, I did, but only in certain gears. I did feel that it helped smooth out my pedal stroke, but there were some drawbacks too. There were about three gears that were really problematic for me with the Q Ring, where the chain would rub on the front derailleur. It could be fine-tuned. I could take it into the bike shop, they could tune it, they could get the shifting to work just right. But it wouldn’t stay very long. And for me, I am not very mechanically inclined, so as soon as it would get off, I was not able to get it tuned back up and tweak the shifting well enough so that it wouldn’t be that metal grinding on the front derailleur. So it was causing a lot of friction, not fast, and it was so noisy. I eventually just kind of avoided those three gears because I didn’t like the sound, and the people I was riding with were pretty annoyed by it too. But it was kind of a drawback, and it just was not working out well for me. I couldn’t spend the time to constantly take it back in to the bike shop, so I eventually just went back to a round ring. I loved it for when it worked, but it was just a constant battle for me so I went back, and kind of wished I didn’t do that in the first place. But live and learn! Andrew: For me, my answer here is my treadmill. I have a LifeSpan TR5500i model treadmill. It’s a really good treadmill. I really like my treadmill, I’m happy with the purchase overall. It has one fatal flaw that makes it my answer here. The buttons to change speed, it has a button for 2 mph, 4 mph, 6 mph, 8 mph, and 10 mph. So you have to press one of those numbers, and then toggle up and down with the arrows from there. The arrows are pretty easy to use, but when you’re doing MAV shuttles for example – so if I needed it at 9 mph for my MAV shuttles on the high end, and I need to dial it back to 5 mph on the low end, that’s a lot of buttons to be pressing every 20 seconds when you’re changing speed on a MAV shuttle. Even when you have intervals that are four minutes long and two minutes rest, I’m just always having to press the stupid arrows to dial in exactly what pace I should be running. I would probably buy a different one if I could. That’s this answer for me. Guys, we’re going to throw this question out to you. I like the diversity of answers we have here. We have my treadmill, we have Elizabeth’s Q-Rings, we have John’s bike, and what was your other one, John? John: The shoes. Andrew: The shoes! There was John’s story with the Vaporflys. So I’m excited to hear what our audience has to say. Make sure you are part of the I AM TriDot Facebook group. We’re going to throw this question out to you our audience, and see, what is one tri purchase that you would do over again if you could? Main set theme: On to the main set. Going in 3…2…1… Andrew:Here at TriDot we are huge believers in using UCAN to fuel our training and racing. In the crowded field of nutrition companies, what separates UCAN from the pack is the science behind LIVSTEADY, the key ingredient in UCAN products. While most energy powders are filled with sugar or stimulants that cause a spike and crash, UCAN energy powders, powered by LIVSTEADY, deliver a steady release of complex carbs to give you stable blood sugar and provide long-lasting energy. I personally fuel my workouts with the orange-flavored Edge gel and the unflavored UCAN Energy. Between their energy mix, energy bars, almond butter and more, there is definitely a LIVSTEADY product that you will love. So head to their website, ucan.co and use the code TRIDOT to save 20% on your entire order. It used to be 10%, but the fine folks at UCAN have upped it to 20% off for TriDot nation. So once again, that’s ucan.co, promo code TRIDOT. You can absolutely toe the line at a local tri without it being a huge expense. But the deeper you get into this sport, the more gear and nutrition purchases you are likely to make. And with so many things we can put our money behind, thank goodness there are some hacks to make all the spending a bit more bearable. On to the money-saving hacks! Money-Saving Hack #1, John Mayfield, what is it? John: Number one, get a second job. Kind of kidding, but not kidding. There are opportunities, even within our sport in and of itself. Back when I first started coaching, I had a full-time career that had absolutely nothing to do with triathlon, but I was just passionate about helping people. Really, even before that, it was more so just a passion about learning. Jeff Booher talked about starting TriDot out of a passion for wanting to learn and improve our own triathlon. That’s what coaching was for me initially, was just learning and absorbing everything I could, just being a sponge and loving every bit of it. Then I had all this information and I was like, “Well, I have this information and I love working with people, I want to become a coach.” That’s when I started coaching. Then you start charging and having some income, so that was great for me early on in my triathlon career. That’s what coaching was, it was a way for me to learn, a way for me to connect with people within the community. I probably spent more on triathlon than I was earning through coaching income, but that was one way that I was able to offset some of those expenses, especially early on. You’ve got more of those expenses, the bike, the gear, all these things we talk about on a regular basis. It is definitely an up front, heavy expense. Then the good news is, to a certain extent it tapers off and gets a little bit cheaper as things go on. For me, when I got into the sport, I started coaching, that was where most of that money was going to. It was either gear, race entry fees, that sort of things. But there are lots of opportunities. Even within local shops, a lot of times there are part-time positions there. Those are great opportunities to earn some income. Sometimes you get a store discount, and it’s a great way to connect with the community. It’s a great opportunity to learn. If you have an interest in learning mechanics, maybe Elizabeth should intern at the local bike shop and improve her mechanic skills. Or a running shop, where those guys really know a whole lot of stuff about running shoes. Jeff Raines, who worked at a running shoe store for a long time, can go on for days all about different running shoes. It’s just a great opportunity to learn and engage, to connect with people, and also earn some income. There are opportunities to lead group rides, some of the bigger gyms have organized runs or rides. Sometimes it’s not a paycheck, sometimes it’s more like you get your gym membership comped if you do certain things. Connect with race directors. I’ve gone and helped set up a race, or sometimes if you volunteer at a race, they’ll comp your entry into the next year or one of their other races. There are a lot of opportunities to give back, to learn, and to offset some of the expenses of triathlon. Andrew: Yeah, this is a great tip. I’m glad we started with it right off the bat, because there are certainly a lot of opportunities here. I think of my friend group, I used to work with a girl who made money on the side for driving for Uber, and she would use that money from driving for Uber to fund her passion projects. I used to coach a youth tri team for one of the local tri stores here in my area. It was kind of a unique structure, they would pay their youth coaches in store credit. I had enough one year to buy my smart trainer, and I had enough the next year to put a good chunk of money into a road bike, and I was able to get some of those major purchases squared away by doing something that was already fun anyway, in coaching a youth tri team. Definitely a lot of opportunity here. Elizabeth: I’m just going to quick interject, my first IRONMAN registration was paid for by the fitness classes that I taught. I taught a strength class, a core class, a cycling class. Yeah, that extra income, I saved that – there’s my piggy-bank savings story like mom had. Yeah, that paid for my first IRONMAN Wisconsin registration. Andrew: Let’s move on, Elizabeth. Can you give us Money-Saving Hack #2? Elizabeth: Yes. Hack #2 is buying used. I’m happy to speak to this one because this is something that I have done a number of times, and actually still frequently do. You’ve got so many opportunities with Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, fellow athletes that are selling things. I think the big thing here is, when you’re looking for used gear, is to recognize which items still have a good life in them. Not overpaying, not paying retail price, but really looking for a deal on something that has been used, and something that somebody else is no longer using that you can still get a good life from. I think a lot of my bigger purchases have actually been used items. I got my first Garmin watch from a swim coach that I was working with, so I paid $50 for her watch because she was getting the newest model. That was a steal of a deal there, to get my first Garmin multi-sport watch and be able to use that. I got a Wahoo Kickr from Craigslist. Again, big discount, probably like 20% of what the retail price was. The guy had used it for about a year and a half. He and his wife both had one, and they realized they probably only needed one, so they were selling the other one. So I was able to go over, actually test it out, make sure that everything was working, and then that was a major deal. The race wheels that I still use were purchased from a friend. He was upgrading. That’s the thing, triathletes are always upgrading. They want the newest and greatest and latest things, so if you’re willing to get last year’s model, most of the time you can get a great deal on that. I also have a Vasa swim trainer that I lucked into right before the pandemic. Again, just somebody that had it, purchased it, wasn’t using it anymore. That was on Facebook Marketplace. If you’re looking for a deal, there’s deals out there to be had. Andrew: John Mayfield, Money-Saving Hack #3, what do we got? John: So it’s the opposite side of Elizabeth’s. Instead of being the buyer of the used gear, be the seller. A lot of opportunities here, for all those reasons that Elizabeth mentioned: we like to upgrade our equipment. Oftentimes there’s still value to the equipment we’re replacing. Oftentimes we don’t need duplicates, sometimes it’s good to have a duplicate, so there are certain things that I have hung on to over the years. But sometimes I’d just upgrade something, and that’s an opportunity to offset some of the cost. In fact, a lot of times when I would plan those bigger purchases, once you reach that critical mass it’s like, “I have everything I need.” Then after a few years it’s kind of, “Now I need to replace those things.” It’s having that plan to offset a portion of the cost of the new by selling the old. As you mentioned, we’ve got a lot of opportunities for this, a lot of marketplace for that. One thing is – I kind of play this game, because we see this a lot on social media like Marketplace – there’s bikes constantly listed. We partner with a massive online triathlon bike cycling site that is all about resale, so I am constantly seeing bikes for sale in my Facebook newsfeed. So I play this game of where I scroll up just enough to see the pictures and the description, and then I like to guess the price. I’m usually somewhere in the neighborhood. I have like, “Here’s what I think it’s worth,” and “Here’s what I’m going to guess what it’s listed at.” You can kind of tell by some of the description how proud, or how much sentimental value, or how much perceived value this super-fast, super-aero bike has. It’s like, “Okay, well that’s all of them.” So it’s kind of fun to play this game, “What is it worth, and what is it priced at?” I’ve gotten pretty good where I can kind of nail the price, and usually that price is somewhere around double what it probably should be. For me it’s just entertaining. I kind of laugh when you have a ten-plus‑year-old bike that’s got thousands of miles. You could buy a nice new bike for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000. I have this one that’s like, twelve years old with 18 IRONMAN it and they still want $1,500 for a bike that’s completely worn out. So it’s all about pricing it fairly. The price should reflect the condition and the wear, but also keep in mind that a lot of these big-ticket items do depreciate quite rapidly, some more than others. I feel like smart trainers have a pretty good retention value, so keep that in mind, but bikes are like cars. Maybe there’s something to that. If it has wheels and moves you along, it’s going to depreciate real fast, just like driving a new car off the lot. Your value drops by 20% to 30%. Same thing, you roll that bike out of the bike shop, and your $12,000 bike isn’t worth $12,000 anymore. On a good day, it’s maybe worth eight or nine, then it’s kind of like, “Good luck trying to find that person willing to shell out $8,000 or $9,000 dollars for a used bike.” Those are the kinds of things you have to take into consideration. I would say if you want to sell it, price it to sell, and know that you’re probably going to avoid a lot of hassle with people reaching out to you, wanting to lowball you and all that. Price it accordingly. Something else to throw out there, if you’re looking to buy something, put it out there in those groups. A lot of times we have stuff sitting around on the shelves that’s like, “You know what, I’ve got some thing. If someone wants that, I can make some money on it. I haven’t used it in a year, two years.” Maybe that’s something that’s just over there collecting dust. It’s a great opportunity for both sides. And if there’s something that you want, maybe you don’t see it, put it out there. Ask in those groups if anyone has anything sitting around that they’re wanting to sell, and then keep an eye out for those kinds of posts. See what you’ve got that maybe you didn’t think of selling, or maybe you can do somebody a solid and pass them along. “You know what, I’m not using this, I’m going to pass it along and make a little bit of money.” Andrew: Sometimes I’ll punch that item in on eBay or Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and see how much other people are selling that item for. Then I’ll go either just a little bit lower or go at that price, depending on what the item is. I’ve done where I’ve gone to the Pro’s Closet. The Pro’s Closet is a massive online used buyer and seller site, so they’ll buy items from athletes and then resell it and make some money off of it. When you buy from the Pro’s Closet as a buyer, you know they’ve checked out that piece of equipment and it’s in good working order. An example that I did there, I was buying a pair of Zipp wheels from TriDot athlete Caleb Chapman, and to offset my own cost I decided to sell my Profile Design carbon wheels, which were in great condition. So I went in the Pro’s Closet and said, “Okay, if I were to sell these wheels to the Pro’s Closet, how much would they give me?” They offered me X amount of money. Well, X amount of money was a great deal on a pair of carbon wheels for somebody else, so I put those wheels out to the TriDot group and I said, “The Pro’s Closet will offer me this much, does anybody want these carbon wheels for this much?” And TriDot Ambassador Lauren LeBlanc bought those wheels from me for that price. It was a great deal for Lauren, it got a little bit of money back in my pocket towards my own wheel purchase, and boom, it was a win for everybody. So those are some of the resources out there to see what is a good price on the resell market for an item. Elizabeth James, what is Money-Saving Hack #4? Elizabeth: Hack #4 is to wait for those big sale weekends. If you are looking to buy new instead of used, or aren’t able to locate an item that works for you that is used, then be willing to wait for those big weekend deals. Goodness, it seems like there’s a sale for every kind of holiday at this point. Especially for those bigger ticket items, 15% or 20% off can go a long way and really take a good amount of money off. So follow those brands on social media, maybe sign up for their newsletter, learn when they do their biggest sale. Then maybe like John and I have talked about, put some money aside and have that ready, so that when that sales comes around you’re ready to go. I know for me, I basically have a running triathlon list of, “This is the gear that would be really nice for me to upgrade. These are the needs, I’m going to need it pretty soon. These are the wants,” and I just keep an eye on the sales and the newsletters that come into my email inbox, especially around the time of sales. We just passed the Fourth of July sales, and I was looking there saying, “What kind of deal can I get?” But be stingy on the deals, too. Five percent off is maybe not the greatest deal. Twenty percent off, that might be something. Still do shop, still do compare a little bit, but look for those sales. Another thing I have found to be very beneficial is to buy summer gear in the winter, and your winter gear in the summer. Buying in that off-season can really save you some big money as brands are trying to unload what’s left on the season. So if I know at the end of the summer, “Man, I’m really in need of a new pair of cycling bibs for next summer,” or “Gosh, I need a new base layer for next summer,” then come the winter months I’ll start shopping for that, and have it ready for the next season. In the summer, if you’re looking for a long pair of pants or some good running tights, buy it in the off-season, and you're most likely to get a good deal there too. Andrew: You’re talking winter/summer, off-season/in‑season. That same concept works just knowing when brands are about to put out new stuff. Running shoes, for example, you can often get 20, 30, 40, even 50% off a pair of running shoes that are perfectly good because the brand’s about to drop the new model. Sometimes the new model is an overhaul and it’s way better, sometimes the new model is the same thing with a slightly different upper or something. The previous year model is just as good, but now it’s 50% of, just because the brand’s about to drop the latest and greatest. That’s always a thing to know, too, is when in the year are brands putting out their newer, updated line of stuff. Sometimes the apparel companies, WYN Republic, Zoot, if they’re putting out new kits right before Kona, their older model kits that haven’t sold yet might go on sale for 10, 20, 30% off. Just keeping an eye on those things can be helpful as well. The one big-ticket item that I got on a sale, Elizabeth, was my Scicon travel suitcase that I fly my bike in. Those things full-price are $600 to $800 depending on the model. Something that was helpful for me was I followed them on Instagram, and I saw that on July Fourth they had a 20% off sale, on Labor Day they had a 20% sale, and when Black Friday came around, when I saw that 40% off sale I was like, “Ooh, this is a big sale for them, let me jump on this.” So if you follow brands on Instagram or social media or subscribe to their email list, sure you might get some targeted emails for a little bit, but it can help you dial in when is their biggest sale, and you can recognize when a big sale hits and capitalize on it. I will give Money-Saving Hack #5. This one is very personal to me. I call this playing “saddle roulette” to find the right saddle. Saddles, to buy them, depending on the model are anywhere from $70, $80 on the low end up to $200, $250 or more if they’re crazy high-end carbon models. When you’re trying to find the right saddle to make your booty happy, it can cost money to buy three or four or five different models to try them out. If you have a local tri shop and you can sit on a few in the store and pedal for a little while and see if you like it, that’s certainly helpful. But then sometimes you get on the road, and what you found in the store on the trainer might not translate to the road. So when I was looking for a saddle that would make my bottom happy, I think I tried 11 or 12 different saddles over my years of triathlon, and the saddle I’m on now I’m very happy with. The way I got to that without spending a ton of money was by playing “saddle roulette”. What I would do is buy a saddle that I was interested in trying, and make sure it’s a place with a good return policy. A lot of your local bike shops, or if you’re buying from the dealer itself, they recognize people are going to put those on their bike, they’re going to ride a couple times, and you can return it with little to no use within 30 days, no problem. Or if you’re buying it, say off of eBay or from another athlete, you’re not going to be able to return it at that point, so make sure it’s a popular model that you can then resell easily. If it’s some obscure model no one’s heard of, make sure you’re buying from the manufacturer. If you’re buying a Cobb or an ISM or a model that is popular, chances are you’re going to be able to resell it on eBay for 80% of what you paid for it, because other people are wanting to try that saddle out as well. So what I would do is I would get a saddle, get it on my bike on the trainer, use it indoors a few times and outdoors once for a 30 or 40-mile ride at least, to see how I felt about it. If it wasn’t for me, I would make sure I would return it within its return window, or if it was one I couldn’t return because maybe where I bought it from, I would post it on eBay and get usually 60 to 80% of my money back at least. Sure, maybe you’re losing $20, $30, $40 here and there that way, but I just viewed it as an investment, investing in the process of finding the right saddle. So I was able to try 11 or 12 different saddles to land on my Dash saddle that I get along with really well, and I only spent $30 here, $40 there on shipping costs or money lost by reselling, but I didn’t have to spend $150 a pop on 12 different saddles to find that one that I liked the most. So playing saddle roulette to find the right one is my Money-Saving Hack #5. John, what do we have for Money-Saving Hack #6? John: Explore the lesser-known brands. There are a lot of brands out there that are more boutique, which provides a whole different experience as opposed to buying from some of the bigger, more established brands. A lot of times there is some personal interaction, some personal connection with the brand owners, the brand representatives. A lot of times they’re more grassroots-involved, things like that are really cool. It provides a great product, sometimes even a superior product, but also an experience that comes along with that. Years ago, I bought a set of wheels, and it was somebody that had reached out to us. We had a small group that they reached out to. Several of us went in and kind of took a gamble on this product, but it was a guy out of San Diego that was a wheel builder. He was starting this company, and he was doing some really cool stuff. It was an opportunity to explore and try something new. So I bought these wheels, and one thing that was kind of great was knowing when and where to spend the money. A lot of times we have kind of a trickle-down benefit. We have these companies that are out there spending a ton of money on research and development. They’re developing these things, finding out what works well, but then once it’s out there it’s out there, and you’ll see other companies picking up on some of that same technology. Whereas that big company has a massive expense to cover, some of those smaller companies just have the benefit of that, so they’re able to provide that same level of product or that same technology at a lower cost. Then even things like wheels, for example: the rim itself is oftentimes less impactful than some of the other things like your rolling resistance, which oftentimes is going to even trump your aerodynamics. So get that good, aerodynamic wheel. They’re pretty much all deep rim, they all have the shapes and different things that we know makes for an aerodynamic wheel, so there’s not going to be a massive benefit from one wheel to the other. Get the right depth for you, but then one 80 millimeter deep wheel is going to be pretty darn comparable to the rest of the other options out there. But where you can really set that wheel apart is investing in some good bearings, getting the right tubes and tires for it where we can really reduce the friction, which oftentimes can have a bigger impact than even the aerodynamic gains of those wheels Andrew: Yeah, so be open to lesser-known brands, oftentimes you can save a little money. Oftentimes you’re paying for the brand name on some of those brands that are out there. Elizabeth, what is Money-Saving Hack #7? Elizabeth: I feel like #7 goes right in hand with what John was just saying, and that’s know when to splurge and when to save. As we were just talking about, sometimes you are just paying for that brand name and brand recognition. Whereas you might be able to get a product that’s maybe not as well known, and you’re able to save a little bit of money there. I think product reviews can really help with this. Just knowing what is worth the money, and what is going to best fit your needs. For me, running shoes is something that I will never skimp on. If there’s a deal for it, fantastic, but I’m going to make sure that I have a quality pair of running shoes, and if that’s going to cost me $150 or $200, then so be it. Because as I’m looking at the long-term value of that, that’s something where I’m not looking to skimp on. That’s something where I’m going to splurge, and I’m going to make sure that I get a shoe that fits me well, that I know is going to work. I think of it this way: if it’s something that you’re going to end up paying more for later because it’s going to cause an injury, or it’s not a great product and is going to cause you issues and you’re going to have to go and upgrade to something else later, it’s not worth the initial savings. We did a big splurge on our treadmill – and Andrew you were talking about this earlier – but I know that I use the treadmill very frequently, so I had very specific needs. I had a list of items like, “This is what I want,” and because I had that list it was going to be more of a splurge. I wasn’t able to really find a fantastic deal. We got a Good Friday – or not Good Friday, a Black Friday deal on it. It was a good deal on Black Friday. Andrew: Two very different Fridays! Elizabeth: Yes, man, not good to mix that up. It was a good deal for Black Friday, but it was something I knew I was going to splurge on. So some of those bigger items, I’m going to splurge a little bit more on my bike upgrade, on the treadmill, because those are things that I’m going to use on a frequent basis, and I want to make sure that’s right. But there are still opportunities to save on some of those lesser-known brands, and you’re still getting a good-quality product. Andrew: I’ll move us on to Money-Saving Hack #8. You can save quite a bit of money by renting some of the big-ticket items for race day. The common ones here, we’ve talked about carbon wheels quite a bit, but you can bypass buying carbon wheels entirely just by renting them for race day. You can rent wetsuits for race day, you can even rent a better bike for race day. If you have a road bike, you can rent a tri bike for race day. Oftentimes this is talking to your bike shops or your local tri shops. There are online retailers that rent wetsuits, that rent wheels, that can deliver them to your IRONMAN race day site. I know a lot of athletes that do this. Honestly, if I had known this was an option before buying my carbon wheels, I probably would have done this back in the day and been saving this whole time. A lot of times those big-ticket items are expensive. A nice wetsuit is expensive, nice wheels are expensive, nice bikes are expensive. So you can save quite a bit just by training on what you’ve got, and when it comes down to race day, just go to those rental places and rent those nice carbon deep-dish wheels, or even rent a better tri bike. I would say if you’re renting a bike, maybe rent it for a few weeks in advance to make sure you get along with it. I’ve rented a bike for a sprint or Olympic. That gets in a different story if you’re renting a bike for an IRONMAN, maybe you want to go with what you know for a ride that long. But Money-Saving Hack #8 is sometimes you can rent those big-ticket items that might be financially out of reach in terms of purchasing. Money-Saving Hack #9, Elizabeth, what do we have? Elizabeth: Okay, so maybe instead of renting for race day, Money-Saving Hack #9 is just to borrow gear from somebody else. Or this could be renting your gear to somebody else to use, maybe you get a little money back from that. I frequently have borrowed gear from friends, teammates, training partners, for races that I’ve done. Goodness, when I raced Kona in 2018, I had borrowed a set of race wheels. I didn’t want my 808 wheel on the back, so I definitely borrowed a little thinner dish for racing there, and that was fantastic. Andrew I’ve borrowed stuff from you. I borrowed a wetsuit last year for my first pro race in the freezing Sand Hollow waters of St. George. Gosh, that early-season race is cold water, so I borrowed a thermal wetsuit from one of my training partners. It wasn’t something that I felt that I needed to spend the money on, because I don’t plan to race in that many freezing cold water venues, but I wanted something for race day there. So you can borrow gear, you can share gear. There’s a bunch of girls in my tri group back home that bought a bike box together. Andrew: Oh, smart. Elizabeth: I mean, they frequently don’t race the same races, so they just have one bike box for three or four of them, and whoever is traveling and flying to the race gets to use that. They split the cost, and very rarely are they going to the same event so they’re able to pass that along, and was able to share that amongst themselves. That was a great idea, too. Andrew: Yeah, that’s really smart. I know John’s disc wheel has been on probably a dozen different bikes for race days. Jeff Raines as well. Jeff Raines offered to let me use his disc wheel for IRONMAN Texas when I was originally signed up for it, and then when it became IRONMAN Waco he had a race that weekend as well. Elizabeth borrowed my Scicon travel bag one time, and she was kind enough to give me a $25 gift card to my favorite cookie store here in Dallas Forth Worth, Crumble Cookies. So Elizabeth, instead of paying $600 for a bike box, she borrowed mine, and I got some really, really frickin’ good cookies out of it, so everybody was happy there. John Mayfield, what is Money-Saving Hack #10? John: Number ten, be a brand ambassador. We’ve already talked about there are a lot of brands out there, especially in our space, that are looking to grow. Oftentimes they have an ambassador program that helps grow their brand. We are a great example of that, we have over 750 amazing ambassadors that represent TriDot in their local communities and social media and all over. There are a lot of other brands out there that are increasing their exposure through ambassador programs, and a lot of times these are great opportunities to get in on certain offers. Sometimes it’s a sneak peek, sometimes it’s a first access to a new product, sometimes it’s a discount or even free product. These are great opportunities to save. But that being said, as someone who works with a great, amazing ambassador crew, make sure that this is something that you’re really bought into. Make sure that this is a brand that you really want to represent. These ambassador programs need to be reciprocal, and that’s something that is so great with our TriDot Ambassadors, is it really is a reciprocal relationship. Don’t be in it just for the discount, don’t just sign up just so you can save a little money or take advantage of that. Make sure that you are going to contribute back. Make sure that it is a product that you truly believe in. But yeah, those ambassador programs can be a great opportunity to try new product, to connect with brands and fellow ambassadors, so check those out. Andrew: Elizabeth, what is Money-Saving Hack #11? Elizabeth: Hack #11 is to take care of your gear. Like anything, if you take care of your stuff, it’s going to last longer. With your bike, keep it maintained. Clean the drive train, make sure you’re getting it tuned up. We just had 2Toms on last week’s podcast episode. There, take care of your gear. Use their de‑funking laundry detergent. Andrew: Their StinkFree laundry detergent from 2Toms, it’s fantastic. Elizabeth: Stuff like that. Rinse out your swimsuit after you’ve been in the chlorinated pool. Hang your wetsuit, rinse it out after you’ve been in open water. Dry your running shoes and rotate your pairs of shoes so you’re not wearing them again when they’re a little bit wet, as that’s going to break them down a little bit more. Taking care of your gear is going to make it last longer. You’ve already spent a good deal of money, it’s been an investment, so take care of that investment, make sure you get the full life out of it if you can. Then I’m going to segue this into Hack #12, which is find a second life for that older gear. Yes, #11, take care of it, do your best to keep it in its full life. But then #12, find a second life for it when it is time for that to move on. I have plenty of pairs of running shoes that are no longer good for running, but they are just fine to go to the grocery store. They are just fine to do yard work in. I don’t have other pairs of shoes for that, it’s just the old running shoes. They just get cycled from the pair of shoes that I run in, to the grocery store, to working in the yard, then to the dumpster. Right now I have my older bike on the trainer. I’ve got my QR that is fantastic for all the outdoor rides, but I’ve kept my Scott bike, and it’s been a wonderful trainer bike for me. I will frequently get a new pair of goggles for racing, and once I have used them for a couple races, then they go into the pool bag for the everyday set of goggles. So, rotating those things through their life cycle. If I have a really nice race kit, I still use some of my first race kits on training rides, or at least if the shorts are worn out the jersey might still be good. Just finding a second life for some of that older gear, even if it's not in race condition anymore and not at its best, there’s probably something else that you can find as a good use for it. Andrew: Yep, really good tip there. Let’s go to Coach John for Money-Saving Hack #13. John: Register for races early. Oftentimes the earlier you sign up, the lower the price you pay. Usually it’s just a couple dollars, but as you race throughout the year this can add up. It’s almost like getting one race free. If you can save $10, $20 on five or six races over the period of the year, a lot of times that’s the equivalent of one. The big events do this as well. That’s something IRONMAN started doing several years back is having that tiered pricing, to where if you got in early you paid a lower price. You also have the option to make payments on that, so there’s some opportunities there. Now, I will say, this is something I knew would end up on the podcast, and it will probably come up again. I raced about two weeks ago. It’s a race that I have done every year since 2011 with the exception of one, so this was my tenth time to go and do this race. I traveled from Houston to Waco, about a three-hour drive, had my hotel booked, went up there, went to packet pickup, and they said, “We don’t see your name on here.” I was like, “Well, surely I registered. I registered back in January because I remember doing the early-bird registration.” And they’re like, “Well, do you have your confirmation email?” I said, “Of course I’ve got it.” So I’m scrolling through my phone, and there is no confirmation email except for last year. I did find last year’s confirmation email. I guess I just had this false memory of registering back in the winter months for this race, because sure enough, I was not registered. So I knew in that moment, “This is going to come up on the podcast.” It took all of about two weeks to come up. I was fortunately able to register, and was able to race the next day. But I tried to take advantage of that early-bird pricing, ended up doing the exact opposite and paying the highest rate, but it was well worth it. Andrew: I’m someone that I see, “Okay, so what if the price is going to go up $10 in a month.” But yeah, to your point, if you’re racing six, seven, eight times a year between tris and marathons and whatever you’re going to do, those $10, $20 bucks adds up. Then obviously if it’s a major race from a major brand, sometimes that $10 or $20 is actually $100, which REALLY adds up. For the planners out there – or if you’re like me and you’re not necessarily a planner, become a planner – it can pay off because the early bird gets the discount. Money-Saving Hack #14, John, let’s go back to you for this one. John: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. This is something that can be very difficult. There are so many really cool things within our sport, and who doesn’t want to roll into transition with the coolest, newest bike, and wheels, and helmet, and shoes. You can spend a fortune decking everything out. But the important thing to remember is that all that gear, that’s getting into the tiny little fraction on performance. Your training, your genetics, all that plays so much more into your performance on race day than the equipment. The equipment can help you maximize all the training and work that you’re putting in, but it’s that last one or two percent. A lot of times, when we’re buying some of those things because they look cool, the marginal gain from what you have to what you’re looking to invest in or trying to buy because it looks cool, may not be all that much. It goes back to making sure that you’re making smart purchases, those purchases that are really going to pay off, obviously things that are within your budget. We don’t want to live beyond our means just to try to have the latest and greatest, because it’s not always necessary. Just be smart with that, and make those sound decisions, sound purchases. “Do I need this? Is it time to upgrade? Is this truly going to make a difference in my performance?” Andrew: Great tip, John. I have an intermediate tri bike, it’s got some good semi-deepish carbon tubing. I can look at the bikes of my peers on race day and be like, “Man, there’s so many nicer bikes on this course.” And yeah, I could spend $5,000 or $6,000 on a nicer frame even, just a frame to upgrade to a more aero bike frame, and it’s not going to be all that much faster than the bike that I currently have. Great point there John. There’s examples of that all across the sport. You don’t always have to have the latest and greatest of every item. Money-Saving Hack #15, Elizabeth, what do we have? Elizabeth: Use discount codes as they’re available. There’s plenty of opportunities here for this. For example, here on the TriDot podcast we’re giving some discount codes for the companies that we’re partnered with, so take advantage of those discount codes that we’re throwing out here even on this episode. Plug into a local tri club. If you’re part of a tri club, they oftentimes have deals with certain brands. Maybe it’s a nutrition company or a wetsuit brand, maybe they have something with a local running store where you can get 10% off your next pair of shoes. Maybe your bike tune-up is $20 off. See what deals they have as well. For those athletes in the United States, your USAT membership comes with a number of discounts on a variety of products. There are great recovery products, flights and hotel deals, you can get some discounts there. There are discount codes out there, and if it’s something that you are already planning on purchasing and it’s from a brand you either wanted to try or have been using, even if it’s 5% off here, 10% off there, those things are going to add up, and maybe even allow you to make another purchase in the long run. Andrew: I will share Money-Saving Hack #16, and it is build a social media following, and get some sponsors. You will be surprised at how many brands will be willing to give you some discounts, give you some freebies, give you a little compensation in exchange for promoting their brand. The more of a social media following you have, obviously the more willing they will be to do that. In the social media sphere, this is called being a micro-influencer. There are actually brands out there that prefer to work with micro-influencers over working with influencer influencers. A lot of times, if you come across a social media post and it is a semi-famous person who has a million followers on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok, you know that that product they’re talking about is a paid promotion, and you might be very quick to ignore it. But if you have a friend of yours who is a local athlete who has ten thousand followers on Instagram and they post about liking a particular product, you might pay attention to it because you know that person, you rub shoulders with that person, they are local in your athletic scene. So you can work at becoming one of those people. I myself – it’s funny, I have a podcast that I host, and I have a company, TriDot, that has given me and blessed me with a platform to talk swim, bike, and run with athletes – I have not been able to motivate myself to try to become a social media influencer. I don’t post on social very often. Maybe I should, I don’t know. But if you’re somebody who is motivated to do that, and you start putting out posts about your training, and posts about your athletic journey, and then start reaching out to brands, you will be surprised at who will be willing to give you some stuff at a cheaper rate, or give you some freebies in exchange for organically promoting their product. Some people are naturally good at this, some people you’ve got to work at it, but either way Money-Saving Hack #16 is to become a social media micro-influencer. John, what is Money-Saving Hack #17? John: Travel smarter, not harder. One of my favorite aspects of triathlon is getting to do it in various locations. There are so many cool places to go and experience, and many are kind of off the beaten path, so it takes you to some amazing places. It also allows you to connect with some amazing people, that’s definitely been one of my favorite parts of triathlon. A couple things I’ve learned is travel strategically. There are certain days of the week that flights are cheaper and flights are more expensive, so you can plan your travel around that. Another big thing I’ve seen is more and more proliferation of rentals: your AirBnBs, VRBOs, that sort of thing. Often it’s cheaper to rent an entire house than two hotel rooms. So if your party is a little bit bigger, if you’re traveling as a group, maybe it’s even meeting up with somebody that you know and trust and want to share a property with. A lot of times not only do you save money, but you have a different experience. You’re in a house or a condo, something like that where you’ve got a kitchen, a living room, a little bit more space, it’s a little more comfortable than your sterile hotel room. So not only can you save money, but it makes for a different, more enjoyable experience. Andrew: Elizabeth James, close us down here in the main set with the final Money-Saving Hack. This is #18. Elizabeth: All right, #18 is to pay it forward. This sounds a little different because it may not actually save you any money. But it certainly is a benefit, something that’s going to be a win for the triathlon community. Pay it forward. Help somebody newer to the sport. Pass along some of the items that you have too many of or maybe have a newer version of. If you are in a position to help somebody get into the sport by offering them some gear, please do so. It’s a win for everybody around. Certainly that may not be a financial compensation for you, but if you can help somebody get into the sport, then that’s an even bigger win than the finances you may gain from it. Cool down theme: Great set everyone! Let’s cool down. Andrew: While we are talking about gear on the TriDot podcast, let’s take a peek at some of the recent gear purchases our coaches have made. Elizabeth, John, really quickly to close on this episode here in the cooldown, hit us with one or two or three most recent tri‑related purchases you have made, whatever is noteworthy, and quickly tell us how you are getting along with your new items. Elizabeth, what is this for you? Elizabeth: Most recent, and I mean recent enough that it should be arriving today so I haven’t used it yet, can’t really give a full report, is a new swim skin. This was so overdue for me. I’ve had mine since 2015, it wasn’t doing me much good anymore. It was like a baggy, saggy piece of fabric with a couple holes in it, so probably it was not the best at IRONMAN Des Moines a month ago. But I just bought a new Roka Viper X2 swim skin. I’m really excited that should be arriving today, I should get to test it out later on this evening in an open water practice. I’m pretty pumped about that, I’ll have to keep you posted on how it goes. Purchase number two – maybe this is cheating, but it’s about to happen so we’re going to count it. This is where we’ve been talking about keeping an eye on the discounts: even though I just ordered something from Roka with the swim skin, I knew they were about to have their summer sale for sunglasses, and I need a new pair of sunglasses desperately. Gosh, my pair right now, the lenses are so scratched it is hard to see out of them. But I’ve been waiting because I’m like, “I’m not going to pay full price for these. I can kind of still see through the other lenses, they’re not dangerous yet.” Summer sale’s about to happen, so I’m really looking at some Roka Matador Air glasses. That should be happening any day now. Andrew: I have Roka Matadors, and they’re fantastic. Elizabeth: Actually, yes, I tried yours on at IRONMAN Texas when we were there, and I got approval from around the table like, “Yeah, those work for you.” Andrew: Because you gotta look cool in them. They gotta match with the vibe. Elizabeth: Yeah, so I blame you – or thank you, whichever way you want to look at it – for that purchase that’s about to happen. Then number three for me, goodness, a whole restock of UCAN products. I’ve got lots of long bike rides right now, and I am going through a lot of their carbohydrate energy powder, so I needed a full restock of all the bars, gels, energy powder, recovery powder with a little protein in it, full restock of UCAN products. Andrew: Yeah, always nice to restock that closet or pantry with our nutrition. My three things that I’ll give a shout-out to. I badly needed a new Garmin watch, so when Garmin released the brand new Forerunner 955, it just made sense to buy it. The orientation of the buttons is way different, so I’m still pressing the wrong buttons all the time when I’m trying to hit laps and intervals and stop/start. So I’m still getting used to the orientation of the buttons, but automatically I love having the heart rate on the wrist instead of having to wear a separate monitor. And the underrated thing, I’ve loved having music on it. I’ve loaded a couple Spotify playlists straight to the watch. I’m used to running and biking without music, and with my Aftershokz Bluetooth headphones I now can run with music again. That’s been a really nice addition, really loving that. We met Jan Sibbersen from Sailfish Wetsuits at the TriDot Ambassador camp in St. George earlier this year, and he’s been getting to know us a little bit and we’ve been getting to know him. Really, really great guy. He coached some of our athletes in the pool at camp. Talking to him about Sailfish wetsuits – they’re one of the most popular wetsuit lines in Europe – and he was like, “Man, you’ve got to try my wetsuits.” And I was like, “Fine, I’ll try it.” Oh my goodness, I got a Sailfish wetsuit, and I’ve loved it for the handful of swims I’ve had in it so far. I had never had that experience, when people talk about when you put on a wetsuit, and you get in the water and instantly you gain ten seconds per hundred. I had never had that experience before. I’d always been kind of the same speed in a wetsuit. I put on that Sailfish wetsuit, and I got out there in the water, and I was looking at my watch in disbelief at my first couple splits, because it was way faster than I had any business swimming. So I’m a really, really big fan of that wetsuit already. I’ll probably be picking up one of those swim skins soon as well. Number three on my list, I’m going to give a shout-out to an Etsy shop. It’s called “Oscar Woods Designs”. We have a couple times teased we are working towards launching a TriDot Triathlon YouTube show. Right now we are turning a room in my house into a YouTube studio. A really fun project for me to be working on. We’re excited to get some visual content out to our listeners, viewers here pretty soon with our coaches on camera, teaching swim, bike, and run. It’s going to be really, really cool. So on our little YouTube set that we’re working on, I wanted to have a bike rack with a bike displayed on the wall. Because we’re a triathlon show, you’ve got to have a bike on the wall. I found this Etsy shop, “Oscar Woods Designs”. He’s a woodworker who makes really cool vertical bike racks. Type in that shop name, or search for “vertical bike rack”. He has them in different colors, and they’re a really fun, nicely made wood display that you hook your bike onto, and it leans the bike off the wall. I messaged him in advance, he painted it TriDot red for me so it’s going to match TriDot colors on the wall, so shout-out to him. I’ve got it, and you guys will see it on YouTube here pretty soon. John Mayfield, what are these newest two, three items for you? John: I copied Elizabeth’s notes verbatim. I too just got a new swim skin, after having one that was in dire need of replacement. Hers dates back to 2015, I’ve got her beat by a year. I specifically remember buying mine in 2014. I did a race in it in 2020, and it was horrible. It did not fit, it was just a drag suit. So using some of our examples from today’s podcast, I borrowed a swim skin over the last year, so shout-out to Jonathan Haynes who hooked me up several times over the last year and a half or so with the swim skin, but I figured I’d stop bothering him and bought my own. I had to look it up, but Elizabeth I got the same X2, so we’ll be swim skin twins on that. I actually just got a new watch. I have yet to even use it other than to tell the time over the last week. I had a friend who upgraded, and then he actually had one that was repaired under warranty, so he actually had two. He was kind enough to pass on a 945 to me at a fantastic price. And really, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my 935, but I wanted the music. I run endless, mindless laps around the track. I do almost all my long runs out there on the track, so something I’ve been thinking about is like a podcast would be great to help pass the time, but I don’t want to carry my phone. So when I saw that Garmin had come out with that functionality, I’ve been wanting it, so when I had the opportunity I jumped on it. So thanks to my good friend Luca for passing that along. Then of course, it’s hard to believe it’s almost eight months old now, but still loving my brand new-to-me bike. Andrew: Well that’s it for today folks! I want to thank Elizabeth James and John Mayfield for helping us save on our upcoming tri purchases. A big thanks to UCAN for being a longtime partner of the podcast. At TriDot we are huge believers in using UCAN to fuel our training and racing. To experience UCAN’s LIVSTEADY products for yourself, head to their website, ucan.co, and use the code TRIDOT to save 20% on your entire order. We also trust 2Toms to keep us moving. 2Toms provides revolutionary products to prevent issues from chafing, blisters, odors, and sweat. To make the switch to 2Toms, head to medi-dyne.com and use the code TRIDOT to save 20% on your entire order. We’ll have a new show coming your way soon. Until then, happy training! Outro: Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot podcast with your triathlon crew. For more great tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Ready to optimize your training? Head to TriDot.com and start your free trial today! 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