For my first triathlon, I brought a pretty blue beach towel, thinking I would use it to dry myself off after the swim. I quickly learned that you actually need a towel to mark off your transition area—you know, the place where you lay your shoes, socks, glasses, etc. So there are just a couple of little problems with that fuzzy beach towel. First, towels are easily kicked to the side (unintentionally, of course), which means your carefully laid out items might be a big ol’ mess by the time you come in from the swim or bike. Also, unless you have a really funky towel, it’s totally likely yours is going to look like 90 others, making it a little tough to pick out your station when you hit T2. (Kind of like when your big black luggage comes out at La Guardia’s baggage claim area.)
The T Mat Pro is designed to alleviate both of these issues. First, it’s a little thicker than a towel and has non-slip backing, so it’s less likely to get moved around. Second, you can get them in a bunch of fun colors and patterns, so it’s gonna stand out. Even better, the neoprene fabric helps to dry your tootsies in a flash—way better than the nasty towel I’ve always used. Plus, it’s got a little bit of cushion to it, so if you find yourself needing to cop a squat to get your shoe on (hey, we’ve all been there), you have a softer place to rest your tush.
To top it off, it rolls up (or folds) into a small enough package to fit in your backpack, so you can use it for stretching at the gym or pool in addition to race day. Plus, at just less than $30, it isn’t a huge splurge. Let’s just say that my big race day wouldn’t have been the same without it! — Kristen