Frequently Asked Questions
I’m brand new to the sport. Should I join OTC, even if I have never done a triathlon?
Yes! We are a club with many beginners, and we welcome anyone at any level. We would love to help you prepare for your first triathlon. We offer structured training programs as well as regular events and workouts that are open to the whole club. Before you take the plunge and join, you’re welcome to drop in on one of the group activities. Just contact us and we’ll help to make the introductions.
I’m an experienced triathlete and don’t need much support. Should I join OTC?
Yes! We have a number of experienced and/or elite triathletes in our ranks. We are always looking for great competitors to strengthen our team!
How much does it cost to join and what does that pay for?
The basic club membership costs $100 per person for one year. Your membership expires one year from the day you join and is renewable annually. Your membership includes group workouts (some of which are coached), retail discounts, race discounts, and social events. View a more detailed list of member benefits on our Member Benefits page. It also means that you have a great group of people who will keep you company and motivate you through tough workouts, cheer for you at races, give you expert tips, and inspire you.
What to Wear & How to Get an OTC Kit
How do I order an OTC tri kit, cycling jerseys, and other clothing?
Several times a year, we open the “store,” which is a website that sells our custom-designed OTC gear. You cannot order when the store isn’t open, and orders can take 4-6 weeks to process, so don’t miss your window!
To order from the store, here are the instructions:
- Go to champ-sys.com, select U.S., then select 'Triathlon'
- Click on the 'Custom Clothing Login' button.
- Use this temporary information to start: The Login is OTC and the Password is OTC2016
- Next, you will be prompted to create your own account using a new email and password personal to you.
- Login again using your new email/password information.
Once this is complete you can order from the shopping cart.
IMPORTANT! After the cart closes no modifications can be made to the order as it will be sent to production. PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST 'CHECK OUT' WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED ORDERING; ANY 'SAVED' ORDERS WILL NOT BE PLACED WHEN THE CART CLOSES!
How do I know what type of clothing to buy?
What you wear when you race really depends on your preferences. If you do plan to do some races, it makes sense for you to buy a racing “kit.” You can buy a one-piece suit or a two-piece kit. If a waistline is bothersome, or if you like to feel extra sealed-up, a one-piece might be right for you. Going to the bathroom can be a hassle in the one-piece. If you order the two-piece and are worried about midriff exposure, you can order it with extra length.
There is a lot of other great stuff available at the store—including cycling jerseys, running shirts, hoodies, visors, and more!
How do I know what my size is?
There are sizing charts on the Champion Systems website, which offer some basic guidelines. If you are not comfortable buying something without trying it on, you have two options: 1) wait until a “fit night” (which usually happen 1-2 times per year) when the Champion rep provides samples to try, or 2) ask a kind OTC member if you can try theirs on. Send a message to the group on the Forums and, chances are, someone will have purchased the item that you are contemplating and will happy to let you try it on for size.
Can I return it if it doesn’t fit?
Unfortunately, not at this time, as clothing is made to order. However, club members have had luck selling their ill-fitting gear to other members on our classified forum.
Do I need an OTC kit to compete as part of the club?
No. You can wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable on race day. That said, if you wear an OTC kit, you will get a lot of love on the course from your teammates and from OTC friends and fans.
Do I need a wetsuit?
It is highly recommended. Most of the water in the Bay Area is quite cold for much of the year, and you will appreciate the extra warmth during your open water swims. In addition, it helps you to float and makes you faster!
If I am ready to buy a wetsuit, which one should I buy?
Wetsuits can be expensive. Before you purchase one, try a few out or at least spend some time talking to someone who is informed on the topic. Sports Basement offers wetsuit rentals that are very affordable. Rentals are also available through http://www.wetsuitrental.com/ if you don’t live near a Sports Basement.
If you do decide to buy one, there are many brands that range from reasonably-priced and good quality to expensive but awesome. If you know the one that you want and are patient, you can wait for great sales to roll around. Alternatively, you can enjoy our 10% Sports Basement discount and buy one right away.
I am a beginner triathlete and I’m on a budget. What gear do I really need, and what can I hold off on?
It is possible to spend a fortune on triathlon gear. Some of us know from experience! However, there is no reason to break the bank. Here is what we recommend that you do—and don’t—spend your hard-earned dollars on before you dive in.
- Buy a triathlon-specific bicycle
- Buy an aero helmet
- Buy aero bars
- Spend a lot of money on a new bicycle without getting really informed advice about the right bike for you
- Buy a new and expensive wet suit
- Get a bicycle fitting
- Get good running shoes
- Rent a wetsuit or buy a used one
- Rent a bicycle for your race if you don't own one
- Buy a road bike if you decide to buy
- Choose a race or two that are close to home
What race(s) should I sign up for?
If you have never done a triathlon before, we would encourage you to try out a sprint distance before diving into longer races. It also makes sense to select a local race for your first time. And, of course, we encourage everyone to sign up for the Oakland Triathlon in July!
Do we get race discounts?
We try to. If you are a member and planning to register for a race, be sure to inquire about whether or not we have a discount. Getting a discount sometimes depends on rustling up volunteers to support the race, so see below about volunteering!
Can I volunteer at a race?
Yes, please! Volunteers are a critical component of the success of every triathlon. If you are volunteering, you are doing a great thing for the organizers and the athletes. In addition, OTC is often able to secure discounts for our racers by offering a crew of volunteers. If you benefit from the discount, pay it forward and volunteer for a different race so that someone else can get a discount.
Plus, if you’re new to racing, volunteering is a great way to see how it all works—to observe the transitions, watch amazing athletes, and get inspired for your turn on the course.
What do I need to bring to my first race?
Every triathlete has their own race day packing list. Whatever you bring, you are encouraged to make a detailed list in advance (with help from other experienced racers, if need be), pack carefully, and do not wait until race day morning!