I did my first triathlons last year, and between my introduction to the sport and my boyfriend's training for a 70.3, we spent a lot of time on tri websites, in tri stores, etc., researching, examing, trying on and talking to seasoned triathletes.
|Sample Tri Suit|
Anywho, what I learned was that there are a few different options for those of us of the female persuasion. You can go with a tri top (usually a tank top, sleeveless or raceback) or a bikini-type tri top. For bottoms, there are tri shorts of different lengths (I've found I prefer the shorter ones) that have a thinner chamois than a standard cycling chamois, plus you can swim and run in them, and they dry quickly. They also make bikini-style tri bottoms. Or, if you're more of a one piece person, you can get a tri suit, which are definitely pricier, but rival the comfort of a cycling bib and you're not fussing with anything riding up or down.
I also learned this stuff runs small. I usually wear a small, and I'm more of a medium in tri clothing. All the manufacturers are a little different. If there is a tri store near you where you can try on a couple different brands, it's worth the time to figure fits best, and what feels best.
|This is clearly not me. Just the shorts I got.|
As a side note - don't wear anything underneath this stuff and use bodyglide where applicable.
Ultimately, I'm glad I made the investment in tri clothes. I knew I would be doing a few - I wanted to make sure I was comfortable, wearing something that would dry quickly and help keep me cool, and while it might sound silly, I wanted to look the part. I knew I would feel uncomfortable the whole time if I looked like it was my first time (or second, or third...). Plus, spending the money on the clothes was somewhat of a commitment to the sport for me.
What is your favorite thing to wear when you're racing?
Next up - accessories.