The original triathletes were amazing. Dave Scott and Mark Allen did incredible feats in triathlon long before technology took over the sport. They didn’t have the metrics we do today, and they certainly didn’t have all the information gathering capabilities we have. However, they set records and competed bravely. In fact, Mark Allen holds the record for the Kona marathon to this day. Technology is a great friend for triathletes, but it also has its downsides.
So technology has taken over every part of the triathlon. One of the most widely studied areas is the area of the triathlon watch. Every year, new watches are available that are of ever larger dimensions for triathletes. My personal favorite is the Garmin 910XT. This watch gives me heart rate, power (with power meter), pace (with optional foot pod), speed, cadence (with optional cadence sensor), mileage, swimming meters and much more. Each of these measurements helps me measure my success or failure in each training session and race.
Technology is making great strides in bicycles and wheelsets. The amount of research on these two elements in the triathlon world is amazing. Every year there are new and exciting advances in aerodynamic speed on bicycles and wheelsets. In most cases, these technologies can have two very different vantage points. This was most evident at the 2016 World Championships in Kona. Diamond Bikes has unveiled its Andean bike that fills the entire space between the front and rear tires with a solid piece to let the wind flow through this area for aerodynamics. This year, another bike debuted on Kona with exactly the opposite idea. The Ventum bike eliminated the bike’s down tube and freed up space between the front and rear tires, leaving only the top tube. These are two very different aerodynamic concepts. This is one of the amazing things about the advancement of technology, and also one of the downsides.
Every piece of triathlon equipment is undergoing constant technological advances. Shoes, wetsuits, socks, conditioners, caps, sunglasses, helmets, racing suits and anything else you can imagine. This world of triathlon technology is not close to completion and will continue to push the boundaries.
REVERSE TO TECHNOLOGY
The technology in triathlon is amazing. These new items are exciting and make every year different. There are new advances that are helping triathletes to go faster and longer. These new technologies even help amateur triathletes go faster. The very purchase of new wheels can decide whether you will be on the podium or off the podium. The development of shoes has helped many athletes avoid the injuries that plague so many, such as plantar fasciitis. Technology will continue to help sport keep getting better.
The downside of technology is that amateur triathletes come to their local race and are no longer able to win because someone else has the money to buy the latest technology. The largest purchases, such as wheel sets and bikes, can be expensive for the average triathlete, and yet there are people who buy these items at alarming prices. An amateur triathlete may also feel overwhelmed by what to buy and what not to buy. Certain pieces of technology are not worth the extra cost because they don’t cut the racing time significantly enough for what it costs. Now that these new technologies have been unavailable for a while, counterfeit products have started to produce cheaper items. It will be interesting to watch the influx of these fakes onto the market and see how it affects the big tech boys.
If you are an amateur triathlete, buy wisely and do not buy new gadgets just because they are new. Make sure you invest in items that will really make you faster, not just a gimmick.