Saturday, August 4, 2012

THIS is why we buy the best we can afford from TCSD sponsors!

Those of you who have gone swimming with me have undoubtedly heard, many times, how much I love my De Soto T1 wetsuit.  I've had it for 4 years now, always treated it carefully, without a single nail-dig or gouge or rip or tear.  It is the only wetsuit I've ever raced in.

Then, while leading the Swim Buddies at the Solana BeachTriathlon , I ripped the left leg of my bib-john, just below the knee.  I was putting it on standing up (which I never do), started to lose my balance, then pushed my foot down without bending to bring my hands down too: The suit ripped at my hand, just below the knee.

The rip started at a few inches long, but after three times around the swim course, with three entries and exits, the rip had made the complete circle.

I was heartbroken.  I went to the De Soto HQ the next day, and turned the pieces of my suit over to Steve Haslett, who told me it would be ready in under two weeks.  I begged and pleaded, since I had no backup wetsuit, and I really wanted to race the Aquathalon on the next Thursday.  Those of you who saw me at that race also saw my wetsuit with its practically invisible repair.

The bill for the massive repair, on a rush schedule?  Nada.  Zilch. Zero.  Totally free.  100% covered by the De Soto Lifetime Warranty.

I don't know if there are any wetsuits more expensive than a De Soto (before the generous TCSD discount, of course), but my own experience tells me there is no greater quality and no better value.  I've always loved it for its comfort and performance, and the quality materials and construction.  De Soto knows their suits will get frequent use for many years, and they back them, and their owners, completely.

I added it up, and I figure I have at least 400 hours in the water with this wetsuit, probably 500.  I asked Steve what the realistic lifetime is for wetsuit material that is well cared for and has minimal sun exposure.  While there are no hard and fast numbers, we figured I was getting near the limit.

I'm going to take extra-special care of my repaired bib-john, but I'll also start saving for my next bib-john: When another repair is needed, this bib-john will become my backup, and I'll start the process all over again with a new one!

Thanks, De Soto!  For making a great product, backing it unconditionally, and most of all, for being a TCSD Sponsor.

P.S.:  I've been asked why I bought a top-of-the-line wetsuit as my first wetsuit, before I even knew how to swim!  During the first weeks of my exposure to triathlon four years ago, I asked an elite-level athlete (whose name I have forgotten - sorry!) what the most important things are for a newbie to know when buying triathlon equipment.  His answer surprised me: "Comfort.  Anything that touches your body must be comfortable.  Spend whatever time and money it takes to make it happen: You will be a better and happier triathlete for it."

I took that advice to heart, starting with my De Soto wetsuit, my De Soto trisuit, and my ISM Adamo Road bike saddle.  Over the past 4 years I've tried everything else I could get my hands on, including several pairs of shoes.  But the gear I still wear the most is the top-quality and comfortable gear I bought first.

Save money wherever you need to, but don't compromise on the things that touch your body.  Buy quality used gear before buying a lesser new product.  The best place to find quality used gear?  The TCSD Classifieds, of course!

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