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your effort. If it runs out of juice, you should be able to continue training or racing by paying attention to your internal measures and guidelines.

Do I need a triathlon or road bike?

No. At least that's the short answer. Most anyone can complete a sprint and even an olympic or international distance triathlon on just about any bicycle. Hybrids, mountain bikes, folding bikes, road bikes and tri bikes can all be seen on most shorter event courses. Mountain and hybrid bike riders will work harder than their skinny-tire counterparts. But, in many cases, it's better than dropping a bunch of money on a sport you don't know whether you'll even like.

So, how the heck do I use the racebelt then?

Before the event, fasten the bib number to the racebelt. If you're paranoid, like some of us here, use a couple of safety pins as well. Place the belt in your helmet, on your handlebars or somewhere near your bike. After the swim and upon returning to your transition area, use the clip on the racebelt to secure it around your waist or step into it, pulling it up around your waist. Now you're ready for the bike.

Can I just pin my number to my shirt and then put on the shirt after the swim?

Yes. Keep in mind that sometimes it is nice to move the number to the back and then return it to the front later in the event. Some event directors require participants to wear the number on the back during the bike portion and the front during the run. A racebelt facilitates the process. And in the end, it's only $8-$10, making a racebelt one of the least expensive things you'll buy and use the most in the sport of triathlon (you can use it for running events, too. No more rusty safety pins!).

What about a hat, visor and sunglasses?

Sunglasses are a near necessity during the bike leg. They keep bugs, wind and the sun out of your eyes. Hats are nice during the run leg to shield your head and eyes from the sun while keeping stinging sweat at bay. Visors can allow heat to dissipate a little quicker than a hat while offering the same eye protection from the sun.

Do I need a heart rate monitor?

No. Will a heart rate monitor help you train and race efficiently? Yes. Heart rate monitors are excellent tools to keep you on pace and prevent blowups from overly quick starts. A heart rate monitor, however, is just one tool to determine ...

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