Its Getting Cold Out There!

You can feel it in the air. Something is changing. It’s just not as warm as it used to be. It is simple chemistry. The air gets colder, the water temperature cools, muscles get tighter faster, and swim times go own. Looks like it is time to bust out the wetsuit for the races. But if you are going to use a wetsuit for the swim in a triathlon, believe me you don’t want to dust off that old surfing or diving wetsuit. Trying to take off one of these quickly in T1 is going to leave you sitting behind many a bike I can assure you. When I was a teenager,  before they came out with swim specific wetsuits for the public, we cut the sleeves off of our O’neill’s and cut the ankles up to our calves for easier disrobing. Now there are wetsuits specifically designed for swimming in triathlons. The rubber or neoprene is more pliable and easier to slip past your heel on removal. Also the geometry of the wetsuits are designed with swimming specifically in mind so that optimal swim position expends less energy. And just like with bikes, you can spend a little or a lot on your wetsuit of choice! And by a lot, I mean like $1200 a lot. TYR produced a wetsuit called the Hurricane Freak of Nature made from 100% Yamamoto 40 Cell Neoprene. I have not tried this wetsuit out, but judging from it’s price, I imagine it must be pretty amazing and all but complete the swim portion of the triathlon for you! TYR also has other Hurricane models ranging in price from $260 to $625 (See link for full line below). Seeing as budget might be a factor, there are wetsuits put out by De Soto Sport that have made me a big fan without even trying one out. Here is the manufacturer’s information on the De Soto Sport T1 First Wave Wetsuits that got me all excited for the cold season:

“The First Wave is simply the best wetsuit in the world and we challenge it against any other more expensive brands to the test. Our high-end suit is lined with 4-way stretch Nylon Lycra® to minimize chafing. All seams are glued and blind-stitched, making them stronger than the rubber itself. All wetsuit models feature sleek graphics and are sold as separates for a more customized fit.

Flexible 2mm body and arms with a lower neckline.

BIO-STROKE design puts your arms into a forward rotated shoulder position for a more efficient swim stroke.

YKK® Custom Zipper is the smallest and lightest and makes removal easier than ever.

GreenGoma™ #9 Rubber with Super Composite Skin makes the First Wave the warmest, fastest, most durable, flexible, and buoyant, and the most comfortable wetsuit in the world today.

Chlorine resistant treatment, but not recommend for repeated use in chlorinated water.
Lighter zipper weighs 30% less with same tensile strength and, lower neckline.

All T1 Wetsuits are made of GreenGoma™ a limestone rubber…bye-bye petroleum wetsuits. Until recently all triathlon wetsuits have been made of petroleum. First in the industry to introduce limestone rubber into our wetsuits, all T1 Wetsuits incorporate this amazing GreenGoma™ technology.

So what does this all mean to you?

GreenGoma™ rubber offers better stretch, buoyancy, durability, and insulation with a more closed-cell injected construction thus making it 98.9% water impermeable. So it is lighter, it dries quicker, and lasts longer. The only part of the rubber that gets wet is the new stretch liner that is now made of recycled post consumer products.

We offer two types of GreenGoma™ rubber:

1. GreenGoma™ #8 Rubber that replaces Yamamoto #38 rubber

2. GreenGoma™ #9 Rubber that replaces Yamamoto #39 rubber

Both GreenGoma™ #8 and #9 are laminated at the Yamamoto factory with Yamamoto SCS Super Composite Skin.

So is this rubber environmentally friendly? Is it a “green” wetsuit?

We have seamlessly replaced one rubber with another that is better, more buoyant, helps you swim faster, and lasts longer. If nothing else were to change, you will have a better-performing product with less detriment to the environment, which is always our goal.

Please allow us to be perfectly upfront. There are a handful of companies that are manufacturing wetsuits out of limestone rubber and then marketing them as environmentally-friendly. Currently, wetsuit rubber is either made of petroleum, which begins with oil exploration and drilling, or, in the alternative, made of limestone, which begins with mining. Both petroleum and limestone have taken hundreds of thousands of years to produce and both are nonrenewable resources; both are in limited supply on our earth, require heat, and create pollution and waste to refine into a finished product. So for one to claim that a limestone wetsuit is “green” is just not true, at least not yet.

It is apparent in light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that limestone is cleaner when one considers the risk of environmental disasters. The factory that makes our GreenGoma™ uses much less heat to refine it as compared to its petroleum counterpart. This is a step in the right direction.

In order for us to step away from limestone in the future, we need to first step away from petroleum and look for other “greener” options. The idea of trying to create a green wetsuit has inspired us to change to recycled internal fabrics with no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) dyes. The use of non-toxic laminates and adhesives during the assembly process are additional steps in our goal. We are getting closer to finding water-based adhesives that are stronger and more flexible. Finally we are working with YKK on developing a wetsuit zipper made of recycled materials.

As for recyclability and sustainability, no wetsuit rubber in the world is recyclable. Yes, old triathlon wetsuits can and should be re-used for other sports, or can be cut up and used as potholders, used for insulation and even be turned into beer and soft drink koozies. For now, the most obvious form of sustainability is simply that we have created a wetsuit that will last longer, so you will not have to replace it as soon.

Before any of us can swim 2.4 miles, we first need to get across the length of a pool. When it comes to making a greener wetsuit, we are the first to dive in!”

Now doesn’t that just sound like this company has their act together? Thinking about using “Greener” materials as a replacement for petroleum based wetsuits is awesome! And the performance of the product is better than what it is replacing? Perfect! Sign me up!  Oh yeah, and right now De Soto Sport 2012 models are all on sale!

One of the greatest things about the DeSoto Sport Wetsuit is that it comes in separate tops and bottoms. This is wonderful, because not everyone is built the same way. So if you have a longer upper torso and shorter inseam like me, you can purchase two different size upper and lower portions and you have an instant custom fit. Here are the pieces that I recommend purchasing to allow you the greatest flexibility depending on the water temperature:

First Wave Concept 5 Pullover 

 First Wave BibJohn

Speed Tube 5

Speed Vest

For an example of putting them together, these are what the Speed Tube and Speed Vest look like as an ensemble:

Or the First Wave BibJohn with Concept 5 Pullover:

I think now you get the point!

I don’t know how long the sale will be going on, so I would hurry and get your set today! DeSoto also has two other lines that offer their wetsuits at a lower price point, the Black Pearl and the T1 Espresso are also good choices for someone just getting into triathlons who may not want to invest so much before jumping in the water for the first time!

Happy Racing!

Here are links to TYR and DeSoto Sport if you would like to look into the information further: