Triathlon Then and Now

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Because of Wildflower's rich triathlon history, we've been around to watch the sport grow, change and evolve over the years. And boy have they changed! We thought it would be fun to take a look at "then vs. now" in terms of triathlon clothing, gear and nutrition. Join us on a journey to "back in the day!"

Clothing then: A simple swimsuit will do, thank you very much. Guys in Speedos and not much else ruled the day. The same with the ladies who alternated between two-piece and one-piece getups. While functional for the swim and the run, this clothing choice wasn't as much fun on the bike!

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Clothing today: Most triathletes have switched over to one- or two-piece tri suits that offer longer leg coverage, often a small cycling pad, and a zip front. These are functional for all three sports and also allow plenty of space for emblems and logos. You're also likely to see compression gear for legs and/or arms on many athletes, helping keep muscles fresher for the long haul.

Bikes then: Aero bars were a new concept and mostly came in the form of clip-ons. Some triathletes began experimenting with more aggressive seat-tube angles in an effort to obtain the most aerodynamic position possible. Wheel sizes of 650c, as compared to the road bike's 700c, were also taking over. Aero helmets started making appearances as well. 

Bikes now: There are myriad triathlon specific bikes on the market now. The sky is the limit in terms of materials, seat angle positions and wheel sizes, but the pendulum has swing back toward the 700c size, placing 650c-sized bikes in the minority. 

Nutrition then: Carbs and carb loading were king. Energy supplements for race day were limited. The first gels were introduced in the mid-90s and some liquid replacement drinks were available, but for the most part, triathletes subsisted on a very short list of nutritional supplementation.

Nutrition today: The choices are endless. From gels to drinks to "chews," triathletes have an almost overwhelming array of nutritional supplements to help prevent the bonk and enhance performance. Carb loading? Not so much any more. 

What hasn't changed: The triathletes type-A personality traits and desire to cut time wherever possible. Triathletes love to chat gear, training methods and nutrition and will endlessly debate the latest and greatest of each aspect. At their core, triathletes love their unique sport and are forever seeking the best race experience possible. Throughout it all, Wildflower has been there delivering that excellent racing environment.

How have you witnessed change in your years as a triathlete? Predictions for further evolution? 

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