Need some holiday gift ideas for your favorite triathletes? Whether you're on a budget or have plenty of cash to spend, there's something for you. Sorted into three categories, there are gifts under $50, $51 to $500, and a few items over $500.
? A carton of gel product. A carton of GU, (Ed thinks "chocolate of course is best"), runs about $25 for 24 packets. This is something a triathlete might buy a few at a time, but having a carton or two makes him or her feel "rich." Just grab a couple on the way out.
? Park Tool TW-1 Torque Wrench. Many nuts and bolts on today's bicycles have torque specifications. To keep your athlete from overtightening a bolt and cracking carbon frame parts, a nice torque wrench is a must. A saavy shopper can find one for under $50.
? Insulated water bottles. Polar and Camelbak make models that keep drinks cool in the summer and warm in the cooler months. Both companies offer different designs as well as 20- or 24-ounce models running from around $12 to $20.
? Cycling DVDs. Getting a couple of new indoor training videos each year would be great. Several coaches and companies make indoor videos to help the time pass more quickly. Depending on the manufacturer, some begin as low as $25 and go up from there.
? Gore-Tex Helmet Cover. Though some people like a head cover, having a helmet cover is easier to remove. It also keeps rain from running into the helmet and down the back. MSRP is $49.99.
$51 to $500
? Speedfil A2 Drinking System. Staying in the aero position for drinking is important. This one uses a regular water bottle and is easy to refill. Available for $60 to $75.
? Compression Tights. For use during travel and for recovery from races or tough workouts, a pair of recovery tights would be a nice surprise. Compression grades should change from the ankle to the hip and the correct size is important, so be sure the store has a good return policy in case your athlete needs a different size. Made by several companies, prices range from $100 to $150.
? Professional massage. The best would be a package of massages, at least three. A dream gift would be a set of 12 massages, one per month. Depending on location, a package of three massages will cost $150 to more than $300.
? Park Tool Team Race Stand. This stand is really cool because it doesn't clamp carbon bikes by the seat post. The bike is clamped into the stand by the front fork and supported on the bottom bracket. It is also very portable. MSRP $271.99. The lightweight travel version MSRP is $339.99.
? Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR Wheelset. These are fast rolling, light and durable wheels. They are light enough to climb with, yet good for time trials as well. "Plus, Easton makes their stuff darned sexy." The entire wheelset, front and rear, will run around $2,200.
? CompuTrainer Pro. Cyclists can use their own bike and race against a pacer for motivation. The 3-D courses make indoor riding easy. There are power numbers so athletes can be sure that power isn't slipping down in winter months. The convenience of training in a spare room after work is great. Real race course profiles are available for many of the top events. MSRP is $1,649.
? Endless Pool. This system makes training for triathlon swimming incredibly convenient. There's no need to waste time driving to a pool or make my spouse worry about lifeguard support at a beach. "Yes, it's a big expense but it would make my life easier." Systems start at $20,900.
A big thanks to column contributors Sam Acheson, Pam Leamons, Kurt Ireland, Ross Livingston, David Newman, Barb Schultz and Ed Shaw.
Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She currently serves as one of the World Cup coaches for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow cycling and triathlon training plans. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.