With the holidays knocking at the door, I thought it might be fun to put together a brief list of 10 great gifts for that special triathlete in your life. Here they are, arranged from the least to most expensive.
1. If your tri buddy has any ambitions of ever doing an Ironman: Becoming an Ironman: First Encounters with the Ultimate Endurance Event, by Kara Douglass Thom, is a must-read. This book chronicles the first Ironman race of many top pros and amateurs alike. It's a fun read that tells some of the best early race stories from a number of different points of view. http://www.Amazon.com.
2. There's nothing that says happy holidays like a card. How about sending your tri buddy a triathlon card? Or better yet, getting him or her an entire box of triathlon cards just in time for the holiday season. Visit http://www.trisanta.com today and get your cards before the snow starts flying.
3. You want your tri buddy to keep up with all the latest news and views, so how about an annual subscription to Triathlete magazine at http://triathletemag.com.
The ultimate triathlete gift basket: For those of you on a budget, but with a bit of time and energy, here's a great gift basket that you can throw together online or with a short trip to your local sports store. It can include:
- The basket (I'd use a nice big sports duffel bag that's perfect for all the stuff a triathlete needs to drag to the transition area)
- Body Glide (Keeps the triathlete in your life from chaffing)
- Suntan lotion (I like Bull Frog because it's waterproof, non-greasy and doesn't smell like coconuts or some other fruity scent I don't want to smell when I'm in the heat of a race)
- Portable wet wipes (Great for removing the numbers from your skin or a quick cleaning up after a sweaty race)
- Tie-less "lock" shoelaces (A must-have for anybody who wants to look like a pro)
- Number belt (Another cool item that speeds up transitions but won't bust your budget)
- CoolMax running hat (I like the white ones because somehow I think they keep me cooler)
- PowerBars, Gu, Clif Bars and any other sort of quick nutrition that your tri buddy may use (I like Snickers because they don't make me look like a pro)
- Liquid Band Aids (Great for sealing those last minute nicks or cuts)
- Lip balm with sun protection
- Socks (DeFeet does a great line of triathlon socks with little images of swimmers, bikers and runners. Visit http://www.trisports.com/deaiso.html.
- Fuel Belt (And NOT the fuel hat that holds two beer cans -- that's something that may be more useful after the race)
- Total cost of The Ultimate Triathlete Gift Basket is between $50 and $100 depending how full Santa decides to stuff it.
5. The Ironman watch. Most triathletes I know really like the Timex Ironman watches. Both my wife and I like them as well. Why? Because they're really easy to use and program. My current favorite is the O.V.A. Series (optimal viewing angle) of watches that let you look at your watch easily while you're running. Visit http://www.timex.com/.
Coaching--the triathlon gift that keeps on giving. How about getting that special triathlete in your life a coach? Personal coaching can be pricey, but you can purchase online training plans
or monthly training plans.
7. You can't help but notice that all the pros wear Rudy Project sunglasses. So if want your tri buddy to be hip with the coolest sun glasses, you have to go with Rudy Project at http://www.rudyprojectusa.com. I like the Rydon model because it's light and good on both the bike and the run.
8. At some point, every triathlete will need a wet suit. But buying a wet suit for someone else is tough, since a good fit is crucial. The answer: A gift certificate. I like the Sports Basement at http://www.sportsbasement.com. They usually have great year-end sales on over-stocked items like wet suits.
9. If your tri buddy's dream is to live the triathlon lifestyle, then make it happen for them this year. There are a number of great triathlon camps around the country that can fulfill your buddy's dreams. Of course, I'm biased towards my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Where else can you go for a bike ride and have Tyler Hamilton blow by you followed by Simon Lessing?
I'd recommend Wes Hobson Performance and Mark Allen Online. Both put on some of the best camps in the country, and best of all, you can go for a fast run and still get passed by some of the fastest pros in the world. Also check out Active.com to find the right camp for you.
10. I just purchased a new bike. And no, it wasn't a tri bike. But a tri bike is always high on any triathlete's holiday wish list. For that ultimate gift, I'd go to http://www.bikesportmichigan.com. They have the best tri bike reviews and sell the most popular triathlon bike brands.
Happy triathlon holidays!