What you need in the XTERRA?

In most of the triathlon events, you need all the gears to help you to finish the 「Swim, Bike, Run」 as soon as possible. But in the XTERRA off-road triathlon, athletes will be riding and running in the trail. Muddy, slippery and rocky courses make the situation more complicated.

Today we are going to share "The equipment will help you to finish the XTERRA."


A nice tri-suit not just makes you look good, also save more time during the race. There are many tri-suit options, such as the sleeveless style creates the flexibility and comfortability on the shoulder during the swim. But the sleeved style can provide better protection while riding MTB. No matter what, “FIT” is the most important!


Goggles: Make sure that you can check the buoy during the swim easily and clearly, and there are many types and shapes of goggles for your reference. First of all, you need to find a style fits your face and try to adapt it while practicing.I usually prepare two goggles for the race. In case if there is one of them gets damaged and I still can have a spare one to use. Also, trying to have those two goggles with different intentions. One for sunny day(with tint) , and the other one for cloudy days with poor visibility(no tint).

Swim Cap: Swim caps are available in most of the races, so the organizers can distinguish among the groups. Then why do you still need more preparation? One is that you can use it in the pre-race swim exercise. Another reason is what if the water temperature is low, you can wear two swim caps to avoid headache.

Wetsuit: Wetsuit is not a necessity, but each event will be open for use according to its rules, or it must be used when the water temperature is under certain temperature. The use of wetsuit requires some techniques. If you didn’t have experience of wearing it, please try and practice before the race.

Speedsuit: Like wetsuit, speedsuit is not a necessity. But when the event is not allowed to use the wetsuit, you will find that all elite athletes wear a speedsuit outside of the Tri-Suit. Speedsuit has better hydrodynamic and helps to stabilize the core of the body. If you are very concerned about the results, you will need one.


Mountain Bike: Racing XTERRA requires a mountain bike. The style of the XTERRA MTB venue is similar to XC(Cross Country) race which means lots of climbs during the race. A suitable mountain bike for XTERRA should be lightweight if it possible and the suspension travel is around 100mm. 

 The hardtail has a front shock and a hard back without suspension which can help you ride faster at climbing. The full suspension bike always weighs more than hardtail one, but it helps you ride more smoothly at downhill section. About the wheel size, 29-inch ones are popular in the XC events nowadays.

However, it all depends on the budget.;)

Not familiar with mountain bikes? Try to reach your local bike shops! They can help you!

Tires: A high-end mountain bike but with improper tires will still make your ride very suffering sometimes! MTB tires are very specific, you will need to adjust the tire configuration and tire pressure settings by different road conditions.

However do not worry too much! Most of the big tire manufacturers will specify the use of environmental recommendations!

Helmet: This is an important piece of equipment. Even your training is perfect, you won’t be allowed to race if you don’t wear a helmet.

Considering the long ride time, you need a breathable, lightweight helmet. Pedals & Shoes:

For the biker who just starts the mountain bike, most of the people will use the flat pedal. Flat pedal makes it easier for the riders to get off their bikes when they need to, also it will be more comfortable while walking. But it doesn’t means safer. Although the flat pedal is easier for the rider to get off the bike, it is also possible to disengage the rider's foot from the pedal during riding. So most of XC mountain bikers will choose the clipless pedals & shoes. Of course, using the clipless pedals & shoes requires some practice and adaptation. But when you get used to it, it can help you ride more efficiently on steep slopes or better on technical section.

Drinking Equipment: “Hydration Pack” or “Water Bottle” is always a question for the first-time XTERRAer, and both are suitable I think. Some of my training athletes prefer the Hydration Pack which can hold all the drinking water for the entire ride, as well as storage tools. And backpack back will make you feel more secure when riding. It provides an extra protection, they can have more confidence in the technical section.

(Not only beginners like the Hydration Pack but also many professional athletes! Such as 2019 Asia Pacific Tour Champion Carina Wasle is the master of the Hydration Pack.) Using the water bottle reduces the burden on the upper body during riding, but drinking water in the trail will require more practice!

Nutrition: In a XTERRA event, you will consume a lot of energy! Using the nutrition can help you maintain your performance. Riding is the best timing to eat. There are many different options for the nutrition. The most important thing is find out which one is best for you in the advance! Gloves: Normally the gloves will not be used in the road triathlon, but in off-road riding. The sense of grabbing becomes very important, and you won't never want to crash because of your hand slip!

Although many professional athletes do not use the gloves in order to transition faster. But for most athletes: gloves are very helpful and able to reduce the risk of the mistakes while crashing. If you are worried that the all-finger gloves will slow you down at the transition area, you can use half-finger gloves as well!

Sunglasses: Even the sunglasses are not a necessity, but I still strongly recommend it! It can effectively block the bugs, leaves or dust in the trail from invading the eyes. Sometimes the trail can get very dim, I recommend to use the lens with high transparency to avoid the line of sight being affected! Tire Pressure Gauge:

The tire pressure of the mountain bike affects the ride. In addition to find the right tire pressure setting during your daily training, by using the tire pressure gauge also helps you quickly set up tire pressure before the race. Tools & Backuo Inner Tube: You won't want a DNF by any avoidable technical problem during the race. It is highly recommended to carry portable tools to eliminate mechanical problem during the competition. It is the best to include a chain tool in the carry-on tool, inner tube also the small pump. Please make sure your inner tube size must match the rim.

FOR Trail Running

Shoes: Racing on trails requires good grip. The trail running shoes are like MTB tires, using particles to increase grip. By different ground conditions need different sole designs. Beginners can start from the “all-around” shoes!

Many road triathletes use elastic laces to help them move faster in the transition area, but not for the trail run case. The elastic laces can help the foot slide into the shoes easier but with poorer upper support. And this may affect the running performance.

Other Suggestion

In addition to the equipment described above, there are some items to help you participate in the XTERRA event! Resistance Bands: The best way to warm up before the swimming is of course to swim in the advance. But sometimes there is no chance to get into the water before the race! In such situation you can use the resistance band to start your warm up. And the resistance bands can give the muscles the proper load and it’s easy to carry. Large Bath Towel: After finishing the warm-up, you won't want to cool down because you are waiting for the start. Large bath towels can wipe off sweat and keep you dry. It is also convenient use for the clothes change or wash after the race.

Socks: Wearing socks or not is very subjective choice. For elite athletes, they may not want to spend too much time in socks during the transition. But for AG group athletes, socks can increase the comfort during the race! Vaseline: Wetsuit, running shoes, and other equipment that are in close contact with the skin may cause discomfort during the race. Applying vaseline can effectively reduce friction.

The most important thing about equipment is "use it in your daily practice." It is not a good idea to use equipment that you have never tried in the race day!

Now! Prepare your equipment, XTERRA together!

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