Any recommendations of sleeveless versus full body wetsuits for this race and the DC Tri? Will the water be cold enough that I should get the wetsuit in time for Peasant Man?
Two years ago the ITU was held at about the same time and it was wetsuit legal.
Last year it was not wetsuit legal (with an asterisk). If you were competing for an age group prize, you were not allowed to wear a wetsuit. If you could care less about age group competitions then you were allowed to wear a wetsuit. However, if you wore a wetsuit, you couldn't swim at the same time as your age group. They put all wetsuit wearers in the last wave and sent all wetsuit swimmers together regardless of age or gender.
It will all depend on the temperature at the time as to whether wetsuits are allowed or not. Last year's race occurred during a heat wave so the water temp was quite high. The USAT rules governing wetsuits and water temperature have also changed for this year. Prior to Sept of 2010, amateurs could wear wetsuits and compete for age group prizes if the water was 78 and under. This year it's 76.1. If you do not want to compete for age group prizes then the cutoff is 84 and under. Water temp above 84, no one can wear a wetsuit. However, as the people who competed in Eagleman last year found out, anything above 76.1 and below 84 is the call of the race director. He/she could say any temp above 76.1, no wetsuits are allowed period.
Water temp for PeasantMan will be in the 60s. For some that's quite cold. For others, it's blah ... whatever. The other option that you have is to rent one. Many places around the area as well as online will allow you to rent and use the rent credit toward the purchase of a new wetsuit. Whatever you do, don't make race day/race weekend the first time that you donned on that wetsuit. The results won't be to your liking.
PeasantMan will also have a professionally run open water swim clinic. If you purchase or rent a wetsuit, there will be ample opportunities to practice in it during the time surrounding the PeasantMan festivities.
As far as fullsleeve or sleeveless ... ask 5 people and you will get 7 answers :) The gist is that full sleeve provide more bouyancy while sleeveless provide a better range of motion. For what it's worth, at every half and full Ironmans that I have done, the fullsleeve probably out numbered the sleevless by a 9:1 ratio. The ratio is a little bit lower at sprint/oly races but not by much. This could mean absolutely nothing, something, or somewhere in between. However, the ratio is meaningless if you are not comfortable in one or the other.
I would also encourage renting instead of buying 'blind' -- Conte's and Bonzai are two shops that I can think of off the top of my head, so before you decide to make the $$$ investment in a wetsuit, a $$ weekend rental might be a better first step. So try renting and see if a full-sleeve is too constricting, or if you get too cold in a sleeveless, or if the size is right. With this additional info, you can then decide if buying a wetsuit is for you.
I've raced in sleeveless and fullsleeve. I prefer the sleeveless because of the range of motion. But for cold water (<60 for me) the fullsleeve feels oh so nice and cozy.
For new triathletes, I usually recommend sleeveless because it is less constricting. One thing to note regardless of what wetsuit you decide to go with, when you try it on, it should be tight. When you get in the water it will loosen up. If it is too loose, when you get in the water too much water will get in and will slow you down. Our Merchant Partner XTerra has great deals on wetsuits and a great exchange policy if you are concerned about the size and fit. I rep for XTerra at some local races, so if you have questions on their wetsuits, feel free to shoot me a question.
Thanks, all. I just bought a full sleeve xterra and can't wait to try it out at Peasant Man.
I would go full-suit. I just transitioned from a sleeveless and couldn't be happier. They might be a bit warm for mid-season races, but are ideal for both April races and September/October races when then water temps are pretty cold. They are generally faster than sleeveless as well. Mine is an Xterra.