Here's Merle III (named after my late grandmother, who inadvertently bought me my first tri bike) in all her glory:
I got these new Zipp Vuka Shifters a few weeks ago. They won’t save me any time but they look cool, and sometimes when you’re suffering out there pedaling with all you’ve got, feeling cool is just what you need to press on for a little bit longer!
Charles Royal turned me on to Lizard Skins handlebar tape as well. I love its grippyness and, the red color, well that’s just for bling affect.
I’ve been struggling with mounting a torpedo water bottle cage for a while, though it worked well for White Lake Half Iron last year. I think I have this pretty well secure this time around. I’m going with an Xlab Gorilla cage for maximum bottle grip as I hear there’s a section near the bike turnaround that is kinda rough.
Since I had to redo all the cables anyway for the Zipp shifters, I upgraded to Jagwire cables. They’re supposed to be the best, so why not?
As I usually do for long distance races, I’ve attached my gel flask holder to the top tube. This makes it easy to grab my EFS Liquid Shots. I mount it so that the bottle points aft so that I can grab it with my right hand, squeeze it into my mouth without turning it around and then stick it back in the holder. (note cables zip tied just forward of flask for reduced drag).
I hate having to use this great big Xlab tire bag but since I’m using tubular tires I figure I better carry a spare or my race is over once I get a flat. I would love to rely simply on Vittoria Pit Stop tire sealant as I did for St Croix 70.3, but since they don’t make the valve with an elbow it won’t work on my rear disc wheel anyway. So I’m carrying a spare tire, 3 CO2 cartridges, and 2 tire levers in my Xlab bag. I also have a new ISM Adamo seat since I loved the first one I had.
I’m gonna go with Vittoria Open Corsa tires instead of the Tufos I have been using. From what I’ve read they have very low rolling resistance and are an all-around fast tire. They don’t hold air all that well so I’ll definitely have to pump them up race morning, but that’s a small price to pay I figure.
I replaced my usual Zip bottle cage on the downtube with another Xlab Gorilla cage. Again, it’s all out of paranoia that I’ll lose a bottle on that rough section of the course I read about.
I’m really a fan of the Purist bottles, which have a great valve for sucking down the juices. These bottles don’t leak and since my concoctions are extra syrupy the last thing I want is a sticky mess every time I reach for a drink. I’ll start the bike leg with some bottles I don’t mind ejecting when through, with the plan of picking up my two Purist bottles at Bike Special Needs halfway through the course.
I’d love to roll with my Sidi tri shoes but they’re so narrow that my feet will be numb halfway through the bike, so I got some new Bont Vaypor road shoes that I really like. The left one already smells like piss (scratch the image on your screen for scent). It’s been broken in alright. Of course, since it's a road shoe this means no flying mount and dismount but, for this distance, those seconds perhaps are expendable and comfort comes first for this cat over 112 miles.
Thanks to my wonderful wife Angie and Mike Beaman at Inside Out Sports for getting my bike pimped out and squeezing it all into one day that I wouldn't be riding it. That wasn't easy, and I am much appreciative.