This was my splurge (full disclosure: birthday present from Will).
|TYR Torque Elite Speedskin|
I ordered the Torque from The Tri Shop and I cannot recommend them enough. They had the cheapest price and a really cool "try it on" policy, where you can order 2 different sizes and they'll include a pre-paid shipping label for you to return one of them. I had an issue with the medium Torque (the zipper stop came unstitched the first time I used it and jammed the zipper about 2 inches above the bottom - made it REALLY hard to get out of the suit!) I emailed the shop owner, and while they were out of stock in the Medium size, he contacted TYR and had them send me one directly. I ended up hanging onto the large much longer than their "try it on" policy allows, but he was extremely understanding about the whole thing. They also tossed in a pair of Timex compression socks for free - very cool.
I've been playing around with bike sorts all year, trying to figure out which ones were "just right". I'm still not sure I've found the holy grail, but hopefully what I've settled on will be ok. I am opting to wear tri shorts with a distance pad (ie more substantial than a typical fleece pad). I've found that the chamois in cycling shorts is just TOO much for me and bunches up in the wrong places and makes long rides really uncomfortable. I got a pair of Oomph Lava distance shorts in January - got a size medium hoping I'd lose weight. The waist band is the narrow elastic variety, and early in the season, after ~5 hours it would cut into my waist and be a bit uncomfortable. The pad, however, was actually pretty good - it has (for lack of a better description) "wings" that go down your inseam a few inches, so you avoid an extra seam or bunching. My other idea was the Pearl Izumi Elite In-R-Cool tri shorts. They have a more substantial pad than their other tri shorts and more compression. There are 2 problems with these shorts, though....., First, there's a big ol' serged seam adjacent to the chamois - which means you have the chamois edge AND this add'l seam as contact/shafe points. Not cool. The other negative (for me) is that while the back of the shorts is nice and high, the front is VERY low. This may be ok if you are a stick, but not so ok if you are like the rest of us - the waist band just migrates down during the run, making things hang out which really shouldn't show. I realize this waistband was probably designed for pure cycling, but for tri's its BAD. These are ok for a few hours on the bike, but due to the chamois seaming, 112 miles is a no-go. I wore the Oomphs last weekend as a "last ditch" trial, and I guess the whopping 3 pounds I've lost in the past few weeks (ironically the ONLY weight I've lost) seemed to do the trick. It wasn't until maybe 5 hours where the waist band bothered me, but it really wasn't very awful at all.
On top, I'll wear my new Pearl Izumi Elite Tri Support Singlet. I like that its got built in support (I don't need much) and its CUTE.
During Lonestar, despite 2 visits to the sunscreen table, my back was pretty badly burned around the strap lines of my top. I'm thinking of getting DeSoto cool wings to help alleviate the sunburn and to also help with the heat:
I'll be wearing my top from the bike (hopefully there aren't any weird chafing issues - I was ok for Lonestar, so here's hoping!). For shorts, I've decided that I'm going to wear a different pair of tri shorts. The Oomphs don't seem like they'd be comfortable for running, and I like the compression of long shorts for the run, as opposed to wearing traditional running shorts or a skirt. I have compression running shorts, but the seams are not placed well and start to bother me at the end of a half marathon. The seams in tri shorts are more more friendly and I still get compression. I'll be wearing my Pearl Izumi Select shorts. They don't have the weird low rise as my other PI shorts, but they still have the nice wide (and flattering!) waistband.
Socks - I am a HUGE fan of Wright socks. They have 2 thin layers which prevent blisters. Before discovering these socks, I was a blister-magnet. Since switching to them (knock on wood), I've been blister free. Love. Them. As a bonus, you can usually find them on sale at REI Outlet.