Triathlon on the Cheap

Not for the fainthearted.  Nor the light in the pocketbook.

Those should be the new tag lines for USAT. 

Ours is an expensive hobby.  We invest a pretty sizeable chunk of our disposable income into the tools that allow us to speed down a strip of asphalt, to glide through the water, and be fleet-footed down a path. 

I’ve never actually added up all of the entry costs for this sport, however, I know that I’ve spent close to $2000.00 this year alone on this sport.  Yes.  TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.  And I haven’t even raced that much.  If you add in my running events plus the expenses I plan on incurring the rest of the year, this figure will at least double, if not more.

The year I did Ironman, I easily spent $5000 on the sport, and I only raced 2 races all year.  How on Earth?  Two Ironman Community Fund slots (@ $1300 per), hotel and travel to Lousiville, condo rental and travel to Panama City Beach.  Rental wheels.  Rental wetsuit.  Forget about the “small stuff” – Clif bars, gels, tubes, tires, Body Glide, etc…that probably adds another thousand dollars.

Saturday morning I stopped by a local bike shop – specifically to purchase five things.  Two tubes for my wife’s bike, two tubes for my bike, and a new CO2 inflator for my wife.  In and out in less than five minutes:  $55.38 down the drain.

I recall when bike tubes were about $5 each.  I paid $11 each for tubes for my bike – of course, they had 60mm stems.  I guess 20mm of extra aluminum on the stem is worth the $3 extra per tube.

Sorry to be so jaded.  Perhaps I’m just ranting like the old man I’m becoming as I age not so gracefully into my 40’s.  Perhaps I am beginning to sound like those old fogey’s on Slowtwitch that rant on and on about the “spirit” of triathlon. 

I just wish our sport didn’t cost as much as it does (or can). 

Granted, I know it could be so very much worse.  I don’t buy new equipment all the time.  I own a second-hand bike and second-hand wheels.  I’m fortunate enough to have some amazing sponsors that are generous in every way possible.  Perhaps the time will come when I don’t mind dropping five grand on a new bike or wheels.  I suspect that it won’t be while my kids are around…but that’s what retirement is for, right?

Time to go up my 401(k) contributions…


3 thoughts on “Triathlon on the Cheap

  1. I could not agree more… It is a very expensive past time. I don’t think I have been in/out of a bike shop or running store in years without spending a minimum of $100 each visit. And generally I am going in just for GU or socks… I end up with new riding/running gear/clothes, aerobars, water bottles, sunglasses… it never stops!!!

  2. I completely feel your pain. The deeper I get into the sport, the more it matters to me what equipment I have, the quality, and have the desire to spend more money on it – money that I try to make appear from….somewhere. I’m scared to add up the dollars I’ve spent!

  3. I don’t even what to think about how much money gets thrown into this sport. However, on the flip side, other than a $10 co-pay for an annual doctor visit, I haven’t incurred any medical expenses since I started this sport. I like to think of it as paying for health insurance 🙂

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