|Speedfil standard set up on my new Felt DA4W = AWESOMESAUCE!|
In every triathlon, the bike is where you spend the most time. Whether it's 25 miles in an Olympic, 56 miles in a Half-Ironman or the full 112 in the Ironman - it's a lot of riding. This time is your best opportunity to refuel and re-hydrate from the swim and get ready for the run. Depending on the distance you're riding you may also require consistent intake of nutrition and that's not always easy in a race. Racing presents different obstacles to nutrition/hydration intake than training such as: nerves, increased speeds, more cycling traffic, and possibly unfamiliar routes or rough roads. Having a solid timing strategy for hydration and dependable equipment can make or break your race.
The most common setups I see are:
- Bottle cages on frame
- Bottle cages on rear of bike under saddle
- Standard Speedfil setup as shown above
- A2 Speedfil or similar bottle between aero bars + back up bottles
First, I would like to point out that while I see the point of rear mounted bottle cages (or saddle mount) I wonder if all ya'll get tired of losing your bottles all over the road on race day and creating high speed obstacles for everyone else? Ejecting your full bottles at 20mph into whoever's behind you sucks for you (you're out of hydration) and it sucks for those behind you (now they've got a roving grenade to try to dodge while also trying to avoid other cyclists).
Now, I do plan on checking out some rear bottle cages so I can carry more liquid on long rides for Ironman training later this year. But in a race scenario, I use my Speedfil only. It carries all the liquid I need (and a little more) to get me from aid station to aid station. It takes TWO seconds to fill. It allows me to hydrate while keeping both hands on my bike and comfortably tucked in aero position. It does not create litter nor accident causing situations. I know every single time I go for my water, it's where it belongs and it fits neatly on my bike.
Checking out the galleries from last weekend's races IM Texas 70.3 and IM California 70.3 and you'll note that not only a huge array of age groupers are using the standard Speedfil but a growing number of professionals. If you're looking for a solution for long rides and races, this is an absolute MUST HAVE.
- Not fussing with bottles
- Easy to fill (just squeeze into the top and go)
- Doesn't splash out!
- No causing accidents or pissing those off behind you with your ejected bottles
- No losing your hydration
- Aerodynamic design
- Envious looks on long rides as people screw around with their bottles or watching their little hands go back to their rear mount bottles and grasping at (doh!) nothing as their bottles are gone.
If you know any GOOD rear mount bottle cages, let me know! I watched a guy lose his bottle four times on the way to transition before the race. Each time, he nestled it back in the cage and I chuckled as he ejected it time and time again. I'm willing to bet that bottle was gone in 5 minutes on the race.