All triathletes must learn to deal with certain challenges while training and racing. Bigger athletes, such as Athena and Clydesdale triathletes, often deal with more issues than their lighter counterparts. Though it varies, typically Athenas are women weighing more than 150 pounds and Clydesdales are men over 200 pounds.
After speaking with several of my larger (taller and/or heavier) training partners, I have identified several of their common challenges and tips on how to deal with them.
Wetsuits tend to be a pain for all athletes to get into and out of, and often bigger athletes have trouble finding wetsuits that are large enough to be comfortable.
Athena triathletes have the option of using men's sizes, but the fit is usually less than perfect through the hips. Also, wetsuits are expensive, and athletes new to the sport may find that their body shape changes as they develop in the sport—and what fit like a glove one season may be too loose the next.
One of the least expensive solutions is to rent wetsuits for your first one or two seasons. Depending upon where you live, you generally only need a suit for early- and late-season races, so the cost would not be that great. By renting you get to test out several different brands, styles and sizes; so, when you are ready to purchase a suit, you will know which fits best.
On the bike, climbing is a power-to-weight activity. Climbing hills is tough. While some riders are just built more appropriately for it, and others are inexplicably more effective; many simply struggle. The general truism is: a lighter rider does not have to generate as much power as a heavier rider, as he has less weight to pull up the hill.
Therefore, larger riders have two options: drop weight or learn how to manage the hills. Rather than trying to power up longer hills pushing a big gear, drop to an easier gear and "spin" up the hill. Also, stay seated while climbing, as this position utilizes your larger glute and hip muscles and thus uses less energy than standing on the pedals. Finally, incorporate hill workouts into your training routine; and, even if you weren't built for climbing, you can still build the strength and gain the confidence needed to tackle the climbs.