The picture to the right has an interesting story to it. The gentleman in the photo is sitting on the side of the road during the second lap of the bike, at Ironman Couer d'Alene 2010. I've covered their number, so they can't be identified.
The person who took this photo mentioned the gentleman stopped along the course, and ran into the convenience mart/restaurant to get a cheeseburger. The person was supposedly dying for a cheeseburger, something solid in their nutrition plan. (Apparently something fatty as well).
I looked at this photo, and was stumped. It was a great mystery to me, as I tried to wrap my head around the reality of the situation the athlete put themselves in. Look at this person's bike. How much money in equipment did this athlete invest in? This person has Zipp 808 wheels, a Cervelo frame, nice components, aero-bars, all the costs to prep these items for race day, and they basically negated any good these products can do by stopping for a cheeseburger.
Look closer at all the items this person is carrying on their bike. Did they really need to carry this much stuff, when all they needed was a cheeseburger?
It seems this person was looking for more speed, but really all they needed was a better planned and executed nutrition strategy. They maybe needed to train smarter, so they wouldn't feel the need to stop and grab a cheeseburger.
I understand, some people just aren't serious about racing, and want to do whatever they feel is fun. But I hope we recognize how much we invest in the sport and its equipment, only to find we may simply be wasting these dollars.
If you're looking to make a big purchase on equipment, ask yourself if you'd stop for a cheeseburger. Or stop at a port-o-potty on the run. Ask yourself if you're really "racing". If not, there's nothing wrong with that. But perhaps your investment dollars should match your commitment level to faster performances, especially if you're already frustrated with the costliness of the sport. If you are financially stable enough to not have to worry about a budget, then this probably doesn't matter to you. But many athletes are thinking about how they can wisely spend their dollars, and this clearly isn't one of them.
Instead, consider all the ways you can be faster with better training practices, nutrition strategies, simply not stopping during a race, and many other cheap and effective ways to be faster.
We don't all need the high-end equipment, especially if we're thinking about an Ironman Cheeseburger.