Triathlon Christmas Gift Guide (Iain)

Many years ago I asked Santa for a computer. I got a pair of socks.

The next year I asked Santa for a video recorder. I got a pair of pants.

The year after that I asked Santa for a socks and pants! I got socks and pants. At least I proved the b*****d reads my letters.

If you are struggling to think of what to give (or get) this Christmas then here’s some suggestions.

Book – Rise of the Ultra Runners

In Rise of the Ultra Runners ( the author Adharanand Finn travels the world investigating why people feel the need to run long distances in challenging environments.

The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance: Finn, Adharanand: 9781783351329: Books

The book follows his quest to collect enough points to get into the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc. Before starting his qurst he was an experienced (mostly road) runner who was mainly interested in speed and times.

He covers the history, personalities and his experience of ultra-running. It felt like it was a good informal history of the sport as much as his personal narrative.

There is a very interesting section on why Kenyans don’t do ultra’s even though they dominate long distance road events.

The only negative comment I can make is that I would have liked to have heard more about his training. You don’t get as good as he is without hours and hours of training. Did his wife mind him training all the time? Did his kids appreciate him being away? I always wonder who people find the time to get that good.

Bike – Cycle top

The Cycle Jersey Store ( has some unique fun tops. My favorite being this one for the Western Isles band Peat & Diesel

The top was so good it was used as the prize in this year’ss Toddman race. You can read about it here and

I still believe I should be declared the true winner of the race!

They also do tops for beers, whisky and charities.

Board Game – Flamme Rouge

This is a great board game to get if you like cycling.

Flamme Rouge is 2 to 5 player game which recreates a cycle race. Each player controls two riders. Each player gets a set of movement cards for each rider. Each card can only be played once.

On each turn a player decides which cards to play. Normal rules of cycling apply so riders at the front get more tired than those at the back, riders move quicker going downhill, and sprinters are fast but burn out first.

The skill is trying to work out when to sprint and when to draft so that you can leave enough energy to win at the end. Al the games I’ve played have been very open. Anyone was able to win until the end of the game which meant it was exciting for all participants.

The theme is really good. The artwork and game pieces are high quality and it does feel like a virtual cycle race.

Prints – The Crow Road

If you are looking for pictures or prints then I recommend you check out etsy ( Its a marketplace for small sellers. Its really good for cards and birthday presents.

Have a look at who does prints of famous Scottish and European climbs.

If you search for terms like triathlon or swimming you will discover lots of sellers offering interesting products.

Just be careful when ordering pictures or cards that you are getting something physical. Some seller sell digital downloads of their designs which means all you get is an email with a picture to print out at home.

Swim Cap – Batman

If you want to stand out from the crowd whilst swimming then invest in an interesting cap. I recommend swimming as Batman.

But if you check out kids swim caps you will find lots of interesting designs and becasue the cap is stretchy it will definitly fit on your head even if it claims to be kid size.

Meggings – tartan

Meggings are Mens leggings and they are great for wearing underneath shorts on a cold day.

I bought these for Andrew. When he wears them at races he gets at least half a dozen folk asking where he got them from.

So here’s the answer –

They come in other styles and this isn’t even close to being the wildest design!

And if anyone wants to know what I’d like for Christmas – I’ll be happy with a new pair of socks and pants but preferably tartan ones!

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