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Ask Aaron: Wrestling with your Wetsuit

This week in "Ask Aaron" Aaron answers questions about lubing to get out of a wetsuit and wheel upgrades.

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Click here to view past versions of “Ask Aaron.” To submit a question, e-mail Aaron at Askaaron@competitorgroup.com.

Q. Hi Aaron,

I am having major difficulty getting my wetsuit off my legs after swimming. (I think the tapered end is sitting too high on my long legs, compounding the tightness.) Any lubricants or tips you can suggest so that I don’t have to use my pocket knife come race day?

Thanks
David

A. David,

Pretty much any lubricant will help, but there is also technique to removing your wetsuit. When selecting a lube, make sure it isn’t petroleum based, which includes Vasoline. Body Glide is lubricant intended specifically for athletics and comes in a stick, much like deodorant. It doesn’t wash off during the swim. Another option is Tri Slide, which is a spray-on lube. Applying Tri Slide is easier than Body Glide and it spreads evenly, but it doesn’t stick to your skin quite as tenaciously as Body Glide. Take your lube of choice and apply it liberally to your ankles and lower calfs before the race.

When you are taking your suit off in T1, don’t be afraid to get rough with it. After rolling the suit down to your waist during the run from the swim to transition, grab the waist of the suit with both hands and force it to the ground. Stand back up and violently yank one leg up and out of the suit. The harder the better, just don’t knock yourself over. Most of the time, the ankle cuff will simply release your leg. Take your free foot and stand on the suit, then drive the other leg out of the suit. If your feet don’t slide out immediately, use your hands to force the cuff around your heel. Good luck David,

Aaron

Q. Hey Aaron,
Age old question: New to the sport, won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon but better than middle of the pack age-grouper and really enjoying the sport, was recently fitted and purchased first tri bike with entry level wheels and therein lies my question… Is it worth the money to upgrade to better aluminum wheels or entry-level aluminum/carbon hybrid wheels…?
Thanks!
Alan

A. Alan,

I don’t think it’s worth it to upgrade to better shallow-rim aluminum wheels. Aerodynamic performance, not weight, makes gear fast in a triathlon bike leg, and high end aluminum wheels are typically no more aero than the cheap wheels that come spec’ed on most tri bikes. If you want to upgrade to a wheel that is both faster than your current pair and usable for everyday training, I would suggest the hybrid aluminum brake track/carbon deep section-style wheel. Examples include the Shimano C-50, SRAM S60, American Classic Carbon 58 Clincher and HED Jet 6. These wheels are all reasonably priced compared to many aero wheels, although they are still expensive, and their aluminum brake track improves durability and braking performance compared to full-carbon wheels.

Have fun upgrading!

Aaron

What is the difference between tubular and tubeless tires?

Zack

Hi Zack,

Tubular tires, also known as sew-ups, are tires with the tube sewn into the tire itself. Instead of hooking the tire on the rim to contain the tube, the tire and tube come as one unit. The tire is glued, not hooked, onto the wheel. This style of tire and wheel is lighter than clinchers, less vulnerable to pinch flats and typically more expensive.

Tubeless tires are a style of clincher tire. Instead of relying on a tube to hold the air, tubeless tires seal the air between the rim and the tire with the help of liquid plastic sealant that rolls around the inside of the inflated tires and plugs any tiny gaps or punctures. This style of tire is also less likely to flat than standard clinchers because the sealant plugs holes that would typically puncture the tube. Pinch flats are also eliminated. To run a tubeless clincher tire, you need a tubeless clincher rim. A few manufacturers make such rims, including Shimano and Mavic, but there are only a few choices.

Good luck Zack,

Aaron
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