Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Best Cheap Sunglasses for Ironman Triathlon

Sunglasses are an important part of my cycling as they protect my eyes from harmful UV rays as well as objects like bugs, stones, and wind. With that being said, there is nothing more frustrating than buying a pair of $250 sunglasses only to scratch them, sit on them, or lose them.

When it comes to triathlon cycling sunglasses the most important thing is a rimless design. Most cycling sunglasses are not designed for triathlon because they have rims and those rims block your field of vision when you are tucked in the aero position. Not only do rims block your vision, but they are also less aerodynamic as you have to raise/lower you head to see at times and this movement increases drag and slows you down.

Simply put, if the sunglasses aren't rimless, I am not using them for triathlon. I also want sunglasses that offer full protection from UV rays and impact, have great optics, and are cheap and light.
Tifosi Podium -
Honorable mentio

My current recommendation that meets these criteria are the Crews Rubicon. Crews Rubicon cost about $10 and at the price I don't stress over something happening to them.

At their core Crews Rubicon are actually safety sunglasses designed to protect the eyes of workers and thus meet all the required safety requirements for impact and UV. However, their rimless design make them great for triathletes and allow for full viewing of the road without a rim in the field of vision. They offer great optics, come in a variety of stylish colors/tints and are lightweight.

Some other cycling focused sunglasses that are rimless but more expensive include: Tifosi Podium and Smith Optics Pivlock V2.

Smith Optics Pivlock V2 -
Love this sunglass but is 10x the price

Product Links:
Crews Rubicon
Tifosi Podium
Smith Optics Pivlock V2
My own Rubicon in 'Fire' and 'Emerald'



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quick Garmin 735xt Review + How & what Garmin products I use to train and race

New Garmin 735xt - I am passing on this upgrade

I saw the announcement this morning of the immediate release of the Garmin 735xt and decided to quickly review whether I need this device over my Garmin 235. Contrary to what I normally do, I am going thru publicly my own internal review decision, which only takes a couple of minutes, and sharing it with you.

A bit of background though. As a professional triathlete I use Garmin products almost exclusively now. The Garmin 235 has come to be my go to gadget on the run while the Garmin Edge 520 has been my go to bike computer having skipped the Garmin Edge 510, and using the Garmin Edge 500 like the rockstar it was for many many years. Surprisingly to some, I don't use the Garmin 920xt.

My go to bike device - Garmin Edge 520
The end result, although super flashy, the Garmin 735xt doesn't offer any new features I personally need over the Garmin 235. It has some extra features that some might be interested in, but for me, I like my simplicity. The Garmin 235 meets everything I need for training and racing in one device. Had the Garmin 735xt supported open-water swimming in a slimmed down profile I would have been all over it but alas I must wait.

Before leaving I thought I would explain how and what Garmin products I use to train and race.

First off, I don't use the Garmin 920xt. The only thing I would use the 920xt is for open-water swim workouts and seeing the Garmin 910xt is a lot cheaper for just this one feature I opt for that. I would never race with a Garmin 910xt or 920xt, the device is slowing you down in the swim considerably, and is simply one more thing to rip your wetsuit over.

Instead, I have a Garmin Edge 520 strapped into my bike and ready to go when I get there. The Edge 520 has 10 data field screens over 8 for the Edge 500, while having a considerably larger screen and weighing essentially the same and having a similar profile. The larger 800 and 1000s series weigh considerably more than my Garmin Edge 520 and have larger profiles creating more aerodynamic drag and slowing you down further. The Garmin Edge 520 is the perfect companion to train and race on.

Garmin 235 - My go to GPS watch
for running and casual cycling
For the run I use a Garmin 235. I have had nearly ever Garmin run device ever created but the Garmin 235 is the right device for me. Although the optical HR lags for interval workouts, for stable workouts and racing it works great. It is also super light. I have come to really like the automatic syncing of the Garmin 235 over Bluetooth to the iPhone and then Garmin Connect and Strava automatically. It grabs satellites super quick in comparison to previous generations. It's accurate!!! The only down side I experience with the Garmin 235 is it limits you to 2 specific data screens you can customize with data fields. I would like to have a couple of extra pages. I also use the Garmin 235 in the pool in the "other" mode for lap swimming. It acts as a great pace clock, especially when swimming at night. I also use it for all my casual bike rides where I only really care about pace and distance.

Lastly, I will say that I still use a chest strap for interval workouts and on the bike. The old-fashion Garmin chest straps (premium soft strap to be exact) are more responsive and more accurate - especially in interval workouts where you bring your heart rate up and down quickly. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Giro Empire SLX Review - Fastest Wind Tunnel Tested Ironman Triathlon Bike Shoes

Photo Credit: Tim Hughes
This past March I forked out $1,000 of my own money to visit the A2 wind tunnel. One of the things I tested were my old Pearl Izumi Octane shoes and a new pair of Giro Empire SLXs. The results were absolutely shocking!!!

Before I go into details, let me explain a little bit of my philosophy when it comes to equipment. Simply put, in the absence of an aerodynamic design or aerodynamic data, I go with whatever is lightest.

My previous Pearl Izumi Octanes were light, sub-200 grams, but with two straps they didn't seem very aero. I had talked with friends Sebastian Kienle (Ironman World Champion) and TJ Tollakson (Ironman Champion) about shoe covers that tested fast for them, but the problem is they are not practical to put on in the middle of a race. Although fast, TJ's were custom tailored just for his shoe and foot.

Dreitz 3/8inch ~9mm Elastic 
Luckily, I came across the new Giro Empire SLX shoe. It is a traditional shoe with laces and it seemed like it could be aero. Being a triathlete, I immediately thought I could re-engineer them to use elastic laces.

With a Giro Empire SLX in hand I went ahead and got to work tinkering with the shoes. In the end, I decided that the best thing to do was cut the tongue from the shoe. For me, someone who is doing a flying mount in T1, cutting the tongue is a necessary as the tongue will bunch up when you *jam* your foot into the shoe in a race.

I also experimented with lace width. It turns out that traditional elastic laces are too wide so I bought some regular Dreitz elastic in bulk that is the most narrow I could find. It lays flatter for better aerodynamics. The end results is a super light shoe - 162grams for size 9.5. Is super comfortable, yet stiff, and super easy to get into and out of. Note, I drilled a hole in the back so that I can slip a rubber band in them in transition.

My old Pearl Izumi Octane and prototype
Giro Empire SLX with elastic laces
Desipte the Giro Empire SLX being a superior shoe in all regards to the Pearl Izumi Octane, I still needed to see if it was faster aerodynamically speaking. It turns out that it was. In my wind tunnel testing they tested 4 watts faster at 0 degrees of yaw, and 12 watts faster at 10 degrees of yaw!!! This is at the industry standard of 30mph.

After a full year of racing in the shoes I am still in love and had my fastest bike splits yet. I am in no way supported by Giro but if you are considering purchasing please do so thru the links below. Doing so helps to support my own tinkering, testing, and writing for all!!!

Additional Resources
- Giro Empire SLX on Amazon
- Giro Empire SLX on eBay
Giro Empire ACC - less expensive version of SLX
LG LA84 - very inexpensive set of lace-ups by Louis Garneau

Since publishing this many pros, including Matt Russell, AJ Baucco, Michael Weiss, Kirsty Jahn, and Cody Beals have been seen on the Empire SLX. Each has their own unique modifications done to the shoes. 

Photo Credit: Tim Hughes

Future Ideas:

So many amateurs and professionals have made their own modifications to my standard elastic design. I wanted to highlight two potential products that some have been using that I like and will be experimenting with in the future.

Xpand Laces w/ plastic tabs - Xpand laces are regular elastic laces but have a special plastic tab to lock in the lace without knotting the ends. This allows for riders to play around with lace tension while they figure out what tension is best for them without wasting lace and dealing with knots.

Xpand laces with plastic tab for future adjustability 

Inmaker Flat Rubber Laces - I had tried Riplaces w/o success but this design is a little simpler than Riplaces and has potential to work.They have different sizes to accommodate desired tension. One complaint about elastic is that the laces tend to get twisted and don't always sit flat. The idea behind these is that they will sit flat.

Flat Rubber Laces



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Best Magnesium Supplement for Athletes - MgSport

I have been using Magnesium supplements for years to make sure my magnesium levels are sufficient given the amount of exercise I do as a professional triathlete. Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 body functions and endurance athletes / triathletes can be prone to low Magnesium levels.

However, a damning 2015 report by the New York Attorney General accused various big-box retailers, including: Wal-mart, Walgreens, and Target, of selling supplements not containing the ingredients they were purported to and that had me questioning every supplement I took.
Save 15% on MgSport Magnesium at
Amazon with Coupon Code TGMS2017
As an professional triathlete, I am responsible for knowing what I put in my body and because of that report I sought out products that were manufactured under GMP standards (Good Manufacturing Practices). I was fortunate enough to discover MgSport and I have since replaced my big-box retailer Magnesium with MgSport. I even partnered with them in 2016 and I continue that partnership in 2017.
There has been a lot written about Magnesium and why athletes need it, but I don’t want to recreate the wheel. Just know that despite eating a nutrient dense diet, I would never go a day without also supplementing with Magnesium. It is cheap insurance as far as I am concerned.
What I do want to highlight are the benefits of MgSport specifically. While MgSport actually contains what it says it contains, it also contains a more expensive, but more absorable form of Magnesium. Most supplements you will find in stores contain Magnesium in the form of Magnesium Citrate, if they even contain that as claimed. In clinical research, the Magnesium in MgSport was found to absorb 3x times better than Magnesium Citrate. While athletes typically deplete their stores in hard summer training in heat & humidity, Magnesium levels ARE NOT something that are corrected overnight and instead need to be built up over time. Right now is the best time!!!
MgSport is made in the USA and has GMP certification. Frankly, nothing is more scary than supplements for China that could possibly be contaminated
MgSport Magnesium also contains Vitamin D which is essential for calcium absorption to strengthen bones, along with Vitamin B6. Lastly, the pill is significantly smaller than store bought Magnesium Citrate. This is possible because again, the Magnesium in MgSport is more absorbable and you don't need as much of it to get the same effect.

As for me, I take one MgSport capsule at bedtime. Magnesium absorption happens best during sleep + it is also known to improve sleep quality in athletes. You can get your own supply of MgSport and save 15% with coupon code 
TGMS2017. Just visit MgSport Magnesium on Amazon and add the coupon on the "Shipping & Payment" screen.



Add the coupon on the Amazon "Shipping & Payment" screen

Lastly if you are a triathlete or endurance athlete, I am setting up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about Magnesium or anything else you can think of.