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What's a racebelt or bib number belt or race number belt?

A racebelt is an elastic strap with a quick-connect/release clip to which you secure your bib number. There are a couple of different securing mechanisms. Some racebelts have short elastic cords attached to them with barrel clips or toggles that hold the race number in place. On others, small buttons or snaps are used to affix the number. Another model uses a hook sort of system. Among the folks at Triple Sports, the preference seems to be for the barrel clip/toggle mechanism. But this also can be a personal choice.

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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