The Black Bear website says that the water temperature typically ranges from 68 to 76 degrees.
I have never done a triathlon before and am wondering whether I should plan to wear a wet suit. (I would need to purchase one before the race.)
I would appreciate any advice -- pros and cons.
I probably recommend having a wetsuit. This winter has been really cold with lots of snow so I expect the water temperature to be on the low side of the typical range.
You can always rent a wetsuit as well. The club has a wetsuit loaner program (though we have a very limited supply) and TriBonzai also rents wetsuits for $35 for the week.
Bryan is correct. Although I prefer not to wear a wetsuit during shorter distance triathlons, I honestly believe that the water temps for Black Bear will be in the mid-60s. I am also doing the Olympic race at Black Bear and I am definitely wearing a wetsuit.
On a side note, the reason I don't like to wear a wetsuit is that I have trouble getting that darn thing off.
wear it, it'll make you float and therefore move faster.
i'm telling you.
-andy sovonick of gaithersburg
Tell 'em Andy Sovonick Gaithersburg or should I say.... El Blanco Uno!
el blanco uno is a great world's champion.
but his human identity remains a secret.
-andy sovonick of gaithersburg
I talked to the race director of Black Bear, and she said that it's going to be most likely a wet suit legal race.
Any comments on sleeveless/full sleeve? Does full sleeve really make you significantly warmer, enough to justify the restrictions to arm movement?
I've swam in 77-78 degrees water temps, with a fullsleeve, at half Ironman races without issues. You will find that the vast majority of athletes (probably 90%+), at any given race, will have fullsleeve on vs sleeveless.
I think that there is a bit of overhype with the restriction business. If it's a good fitting suit, the restrictions should be minimum. It's second nature to me. I don't even think about it during races. This is not to say that there aren't any restrictions. It is to say that it's a bit overblown. If it's the case where the restriction is non-trivial, you would see a lot more pros and age groupers settling for sleeveless vs full.
Go watch any Ironman races anywhere on the planet (or Youtube) and see how many have sleeveless vs full ... and those folks are out in the water a lot longer than 750/1500 meters.
Just my 0.2 cents :)
I think the debate about sleeveless/full sleeve wetsuits and shoulder restrictions is more contested by those who come from a competitive swimming background. Competitive swimmers are used to the freedom of shoulder movements during swim meets and so adding some restriction to the shoulders in a full sleeve interferes with technique/form and so they prefer the sleeveless. Whereas people who are not competitive swimmers, the slight restriction you feel from a full sleeve wetsuit is not really noticed.
Thank you all for the helpful information!
One downside for that venue is that bears tend to feed on darker-hued water creatures such as seals or salmon. Thus they might mistake a wetsuit-clad swimmer for prey. Just like sharks sometimes attack wetsuit-garbed surfers. So swimming without a wetsuit, or at least a sleeveless, might be preferred.
Also, some triathletes tuck goos in their wetsuit sleeves for long swims. Due to the risk of bear attacks at this event, it is not recommended to carry sweets on one's person while in the water.
Bear attacks in the Poconos are thankfully rare, however, and tend to be focused on new triathletes, probably due to their inexperience about the course in question.
Bryan is 100% correct when comparing full and sleeveless. I think it's based on ones philosophy. For colder water (under 62), I would were a full. Anything above 62, and I will wear a sleeveless. The full is too restrictive for my liking, but I'll sacrifice that for warmth.
One thing I would suggest is to try on either one and see which one your prefer and I would suggest that you do wear one unless it's too hot for one (which won't be the case at Black Bear).