I had never heard of rocket launchers before I started triathlons, and finding out they weren’t an attachment to my bike that would suddenly make me seriously faster, was at first a little disappointing. However, once I learned that I could dramatically increase the number of drink bottles I could carry, all with the added benefit of being more aerodynamic than I would be if I had them on my frame, I was sold. As my events started to increase in duration, I needed to carry more than a single water bottle on my bike, so I moved to the Metron Trimax Rear Hydration System to solve my challenge.
But it is a lesson in balance and skill to be able to use them well without breaking your aero position. Sure, you can simply sit up to retrieve the bottles, take a drink, and return them, but what is the point in being more aerodynamically placed behind you if you sit up like a giant sail to be able to use them? So this means a lot of time was spent at the track getting used to reaching backwards whilst still staying down on the bars, drinking and returning the bottle, without losing position.
The Metron Trimax system seems to handle a variety of bottle types and sizes well, with a moulded holder that grips onto the bottles without making them impossible to get out. The slightly higher grip also means that bumps in the road offer little challenge for a bottle that is slightly slimmer, by providing some extra height tolerance for the bounce experienced. Additionally, they have two spaces to screw in CO2 canisters behind you, meaning you can reduce the size of your spares kit that attaches underneath. It is easily affixed to the seat rails with just your regular multitool.
Here are my tips for learning the skill of removing and replacing your bottles:
- Check that the bottles come in and out relatively easily before you start riding.
- Head to a location away from cars where you can stay on your aerobars, and that allows you a safe tolerance if you swerve a little or drop a bottle.
- Before you start, engage your core (it should be on already but a nice reminder), settle into your aero position and most importantly, as you are concentrating on a new skill, don’t forget the basics – you still need to pedal! Often people slow right down as they are attempting this new move and risk coming to an untimely stop.
Start by just reaching back and touching the top of the bottle to find your bearings. Do this with each arm – one at a time, of course!
- Reach back and remove the water bottle, bring it to the front and return your forearm to your armrest. You may need to change the position you hold your wrist depending on how you reached back to remove it. You can rest the bottle on your armrest to change positions if you need to. Drink a few sips, then place your bottle on your armrest and turn your hand over so it is thumb down as you hold the bottle. As you reach back to return the bottle, use your thumb as your guide to locate the entry to the holder and slide the bottle in.
Be prepared that you might drop a few bottles at first so use your older ones to practice with. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll love the convenience of the rear hydration system!
By Michelle Cooper – Pushys Sponsored Athlete