Triathlete Love: Hey, Big Spender

  • By Susan Lacke
  • Published Jul 1, 2013
  • Updated Jul 15, 2015 at 4:04 PM UTC

Columnist Susan Lacke is frugal when it comes to triathlon gear and supplies. Her partner? Not so much.

“Honey, I have a confession to make. About last night…”

I put down my fork and braced myself for a bombshell. This was not how I wanted our post-race vacation to end. “Yes, dear?”

“I drunk-ordered a wetsuit after you went to sleep.”

I laughed. “That’s not so bad. I was expecting you to tell me you lost a bunch of money playing blackjack.”

“Well…” Neil smiled through clenched teeth, “it cost 800 dollars.”


Contrary to the popular catchphrase, what happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas. In fact, what happened in Vegas was waiting on our doorstep in a big brown box when we got home.

I suppose this shouldn’t shock me. After three years of living and training together, I’ve resigned to the fact that we have vastly different spending styles when it comes to this sport: I beg, borrow, and buy used, while he always ogles the latest technology; he takes great pride in his lightweight carbon-fiber bike, while I bought aluminum and went on a diet (good for the wallet and the rear end!).

After his last Ironman, he was walking his bike out of transition when he discovered his derailleur was broken. While I was typing a text message to our bike mechanic to see if he could fix it, he was already planning how he’d upgrade to a new groupset. The outright glee with which he talked about his sexy new components made me wonder if he had sabotaged the bike on purpose. I could only shake my head and laugh.

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I’ve learned not to nag him about his triathlon spending habits. As far as battles go, this one is not worth fighting. Would I like to take a vacation to some exotic beach, free of bikes and wetsuits? Of course…but we do get to go to some really cool places for races. We don’t go out to dinner and a movie as much as I’d like to, but the odds are very good one (okay, fine, both) of us would fall asleep during the opening credits, anyway.

So off to the tri shop he goes, armed with an American Express and my blessing. My only request is that he comes back with some gels for me. And maybe some bar tape, too, but only if it’s on sale. He usually comes back with the whole tri shop. If it could fit in the vehicle, I’m pretty sure he’d bring home the whole building, complete with a team of mechanics to live in our guest room. Thank goodness he drove our little car and not the SUV.

“Look, honey!” he cheers, “These new goggles are top-of-the line! And I thought I’d try these zip laces, so I got a set in every color they had! These shoes are .093 grams lighter than my current pair! Oh, and check out this power meter…”

At least he got me some gels.

And bar tape.

(It wasn’t on sale. Go figure.)

RELATED: Fast On A Budget

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