Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great (Wetsuit) Debate

To wetsuit or not to wetsuit? That is the question.

Well, not really for us since we already know the answer to that question.

Our first triathlon is approximately 2 and a half weeks from now (eek!), which means that it will be the beginning of June in Western New York.  While we aren't the coldest state in the country, the water temperature of Keuka Lake is typically in the lower 60 degree Fahrenheit range at this time of year.


That lovely graph shows the comparison of the water temperature between 2010, 2011 and 2012.  According to the graph the water temperature on June 3, 2010 was 65 degrees and on June 3, 2011 it was 69 degrees.  Currently, the water temperature is 54 degrees. 

Most people would probably opt to wear a wetsuit!

Mike and I have decided, however, to go without wetsuits this year.  For two reasons: money and the swimming leg is short. 

If anyone ever tells you that doing this swim, bike, run thing is cheap, you can call them a liar.  I knew going into it that we were going to be spending a lot of money (and it is double for us because we both do it) and I figured not buying wetsuits this year would be one way to save some cash.  

We are both strong swimmers, and have done open water swimming before, so swimming approximately 810 yards (.46 miles) shouldn't be that much of a problem.  If the distance were any longer we would probably have coughed up the money for wetsuits, more for the warmth than the added buoyancy.  For now, our tri top and shorts (well, Mike still needs to decide if he is going to get a top or go without) will have to do!

Sorry I'm re-using this photo

Yesterday, I wore my tri outfit in the pool.  This happened after I had already worn it on our 20 mile ride on Sunday and our 15 mile ride immediately before swimming yesterday (without washing it in between), shh don't tell the pool police!

Now I am going to be honest, it isn't the worst thing I have swum (swam? I never know!) in and it isn't the best!  The shorts are fine but the top feels like it is falling off (only because I am not used to wearing something that is practically a shirt in the pool).  The bottom of the top was flowing around too much and it felt like it was slowing me down, but it was probably all in my head.

Now if I were wearing a wetsuit, this wouldn't be a problem since those suckers are tight!  However, I am going to have to deal with my tri top and shorts and make the best of the situation.

Don't think we are completely crazy, though! If the temperature of the water is below 60 degrees right before our race, we will rent wetsuits.  Not an ideal situation either but hopefully it won't come to that!

What would you do, wetsuit or no wetsuit?

32 comments:

  1. My first tri was just last weekend and the water temp was in the low 60s. I definitely used a wetsuit and I was glad I did because the water was absolutely freezing. I didn't feel like I lost that much time in transition taking it off either. I was glad to have it.

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    1. We probably would like to have wetsuits but the race is so close that I'm not sure it would be a good idea, unless we have to rent them. It's been pretty warm here so hopefully it will be upper 60s, lower 70s.

      For future triathlons we will definitely have wetsuits!

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  2. My first tri of the season the water was 65 and it felt cold to me, but a couple people did go without wetsuits. This past weekend the water was 70 and I still wore mine, but cold have done without.

    You could always rent one if you wanted though - maybe around 35-50 bucks to do so.

    Also, I like to tuck my tri top into my tri shorts when I swim. Makes it feel like you are getting a drag.

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    1. We'll probably be the select few without I'm sure! Even though about a month ago the race did email to say that if the lake warmed up at the rate it was (which I think it has slowed down now) that the race would be wetsuit illegal.

      Thanks for the tip, I will try to tuck my top in! I might have to practice with that in the pool again.

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  3. I can't type. ugh. it creates less of a drag with the top tucked in

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    1. Haha that's alright, I understood :)

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  4. I'd go with a wetsuit but I'm a wimp! I hear Yes about the world of triathlon not being cheap. So true. Good luck!

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    1. Haha, I'm a bit of a wimp but growing up in Maine I swam in lakes that are probably similar temperature to what we will be swimming in all the time :)

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  5. I think I would have to wear a wetsuit, because I'm a big baby when it comes to being cold. But more power to you for going without!

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    1. We'll see if it is a smart decision or not :) Nothing wrong with wearing a wetsuit, it is probably the smarter decision!

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  6. I've not had any experience with an open water swim during a triathlon so I don't know how much help anything I have to say will be but have you done a practice in a similar temp in the open water at all? I would say that being strong swimmers and it being a shorter distance you would be fine but I (personally) would want some idea of what it was going to feel like prior to the actual day.

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    1. Not yet, but we do swim in lakes in Maine often but I'm having a hard time finding the temperature of those lakes online. We will be able to practice the day before, but at that point it will be too little too late. Maybe we will make a trip next weekend!

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  7. Ooh, I don't handle cold water well - curious to hear how it goes!

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    1. I'll be sure to blog about it :)

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  8. I love cold water - NO wetsuit! and I'd tuck the shirt into my shorts ;) -ps: hot pic!

    ...as stated before ;P

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  9. My husband is doing Keuka too... But the Olympic distance. He has never worn a wetsuit but he's never done one this early in the season either and the swim is a lot longer. He just bought one. In case you are interested the Geneva bike shop has a bunch on clearance. We got a great deal. Triathlon really is crazy expensive. Maybe that's why I love trail races....dirt cheap!

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    1. If we were doing the Olympic distance we would probably have wetsuits. Thanks for the tip on the Geneva Bike Shop!

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  10. I've never done a triathlon but personally cold water and I do not get along, so I would assume I'd wear a wetsuit. But maybe you are tougher than me and in that case, go for it!

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    1. Haha, not sure about being tougher! We'll see how it goes :)

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  11. I find triathaloners (?) so impressive - what an amazing accomplishment! I just run and occasionally bike, so I have no advice to offer. I can't wait to read all about it though!

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    1. Triathletes :)

      I will be excited to report how it goes!

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  12. I'm having the same debate about a tri I'm looking at doing in late September in OK. In general, it shouldn't be THAT cold, but it could go either way - anywhere from cool to hot. But I'm making the same decision (as of now) to probably go without a wetsuit since I don't own one. I will probably have to suck it up and buy one at some point if I stay on this path - too many months that you can't swim without one.

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    1. No wetsuit seems like the best option, but we will definitely buy wetsuits for next year because we will do at least an Olympic triathlon and a Half Ironman distance triathlon! I would definitely want a wetsuit for those!

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  13. You are brave! I am going to wear a wetsuit for my tri, but I am a huge wimp when it comes to cold water. I tend to get blue lips cold:) You are a strong swimmer though, which makes a big difference.

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    1. I guess you could call it brave :)

      I think that being swimmers helps because often a lot of people wear wetsuits for the added buoyancy which we don't need (although it wouldn't hurt).

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  14. Like hiker mom, I am a huge wimp with cold water, too! I'm not sure that I would buy one either, but I'd probably end up renting. If I knew I could deal with the water temp, I'd love to skip the wet suit! But I have no tris on the calendar, so it's not a decision I need to make right now. :)

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    1. You need to do one! Find a good one in Texas that we could come do with you :)

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  15. I have a full body lycra suit.. its made for snorkeling... like 30 bucks. But probably no good for tris... hmmmmmm

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  16. That water sound cold! I've never worn a tri suit or a wet suit, so I don't feel qualified enough to help with that debate! When I pursue a tri, I'll be pestering you for tips instead! ;)

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    1. Haha it will probably be pretty cold! I'll definitely answer any questions when you do a triathlon :)

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