Helping You Ride Stronger, Look Better, and Feel Great!

How to Carry Food and Water During a Triathlon

Cycling jerseys are great inventions. It’s so convenient to fill the back pockets with food, bike tools, CO2 pump, etc.

Then there are triathlon jerseys, with maybe one small pocket in the back. You can’t carry much other than a gel packet.

So how do you carry stuff if you’re out there riding a triathlon on your own? You might be riding up to 112 miles, which usually requires gear!

Here’s how I would carry the essentials for a triathlon:

Carrying Water

On bike:

For a shorter triathlon, my ideal water bottle would be one of those aero bottles that hangs down from your aero bars. These bottles come with a straw, allowing you to drink without leaving the aero position.

If you will need more water, you could carry a regular or aerodynamic water bottle on the seat tube of your bicycle.

If you need more water than that, you could get a water bottle holder that goes behind your seat and holds two bottles.

If you need lots of water and have money to spend, consider a system such as the NeverReach (www.NeverReach.com.) This holds plenty of water and lets you drink from the aero position! A slightly cheaper alternative to the NeverReach is the SipAway (www.SipAway.com.)

What I would not do is get a hydration pack for a triathlon. Those take a while to refill and are not comfortable in the aero position.

On run:

A Fuel Belt (www.FuelBelt.com) is my personal choice for carrying water with me while running. They have a variety of options to suit your personal needs.

Similar hydration belts can be found from Amphipod (www.Amphipod.com.)

Another company is Nathan Sports (www.NathanSports.com,) which makes hydration belts and other goodies, such as a device to hold a 20oz water bottle in your hand without using your grip strength.

Carrying a standard water bottle in your hand for the whole run is a pain in the butt and outdated strategy!

Carrying Food

On bike:

The gold standard for carrying food on your bike is a Bento box (seen here.) This is a small pack that velcros around your bicycle frame and sits on your top tube, near the stem. That makes it easy to access while riding.

You could carry energy bars, energy gels, cookies, etc. in a Bento box.

If you just want to carry energy gels, there are a few other options:

The cheapest solution is to tape the gel packs to your stem and/or top tube. You tape the pull-off tab down so you can easily rip the good part of the gel off and consume.

If you don’t want the mess, look at this interesting invention called the Gel-rilla grip (seen here.) It attaches to your bike and then clamps the gels down so you don’t have to mess with sticky tape.

Also fairly inexpensive is getting a gel flask for $5-6 and getting a stem mount for it.

Another option is to get a Gel-Bot bottle, which stores gel in your water bottle.

To get your electrolytes, try the SaltStick (www.SaltStick.com.) This little device will actually sit inside your aero bars or clip anywhere on your bike, allowing you to carry a sort of salt tablet anywhere you want.

Or, to avoid solid food, try drinks like Hammer Perpetuem or Sustained Energy, which provide hydration and are very high in calories.

On run:

I would make use of my Fuel Belt again. You could either carry a gel flask in it or pin energy gels to the belt.

Normally I’d do gels safety pinned to shorts, but that wouldn’t work so well with tri shorts that you’ve been wearing for the swim and bike already.

Carrying Accessories

On bike:

If you are racing self-supported, your best option is to carry your spare tube and tools in a seat bag.

More articles you will probably enjoy:
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

Leave a Reply

coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

usa cycling certified coach


pn1 certified coach
Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
Coach Levi's Mom
Hometown, PA