What It Takes A big wheel in off-road triathlon gears up for an all-out Olympic adventure in Athens

July 25, 2004

Four years ago Conrad (the Caveman) Stoltz had the fastest bike
leg in the inaugural Olympic triathlon, starting the run less
than a second out of the lead--but faded to finish 20th. "I've
got unfinished business," says Stoltz, 30, who in Athens will
again represent his native South Africa. Known as an off-road
racer, the two-time Xterra world champ talks about the tools of
his (triple) trade.

MOUNTAIN BIKE
Specialized 04 S-Works Epic ($4,340) specialized.com
I use this aluminum, carbon-fiber and titanium bike for my
off-road races. It's got a revolutionary suspension system, known
as the Brain, with an inertia valve that detects bumps and
automatically adjusts the suspension. My biking has gotten
stronger because now I don't waste energy on the bike's bobbing
on rocky terrain.

RUNNING SHOES
Saucony Grid Fastwitch ($85) roadrunnersports.com
At 6'2", 180 pounds, I'm a big guy, so I need a light racing shoe
that provides stability and support. These have a new mesh
material that drains quickly when they're wet. I use this pair
for both on-and off-road races. It's not a high-mileage shoe.
I'll use it for only five or six races before getting a new pair.
Saucony is making these in green and gold for the South African
Olympic team.

WHEELS
Hed Carbonlite ($470 front, $520 rear) hedcycling.com
In Sydney I had the fastest bike split by 35 seconds. I feel
stronger than ever, and I'm hoping that all my off-road
experience will help improve my time this year. The bike course
in Athens is hilly and tough. I'm taking these wheels because
they are superlight and aerodynamic. It's going to be a big
time-saver for me on both uphills and downhills.

SUNGLASSES
Oakley Pro M Frames Sweep Lens ($105) oakley.com
This isn't something you want to fold up and put in your pocket.
It's a piece of sports equipment. These are hingeless and molded
to your face to compensate for the distortion of the light. The
quality of Oakley's lens is spectacular. I don't get headaches,
and my reaction time is that much better. I'll wear a darker lens
in Maui, where there's no shade, and a lighter one in Richmond.

WET SUIT
Ironman Wetsuit Stealth ($425) ironmanwetsuits.com
Special swimsuits will be made for the open-water swim in Athens,
but I'll bring my wet suit just in case the water temperature
dips below 73°. This wet suit is extremely flexible, which helps
conserve energy and allows you to take it off real quick. The
neoprene is 5-mm thick in the legs and torso, but thinner in the
arms so they don't get tired. I save four seconds every 100
meters when I wear a wet suit. For a 1.5-km open-water swim, I
can save up to one minute.

ENERGY SUPPLEMENT

Clif Bar Chocolate Almond Fudge ($14.25 per case of 12 bars),
Clif Shot Mocha Mocha with Caffeine ($22.80 per case of 24)
clifbar.com

A lot of people make fun of my eating habits because I like to
eat only organic, nonprocessed food. I eat Clif Bars during
training, for snacks and on airplanes when the food is just
inedible. I take two Clif Shots with caffeine on the bike leg and
one on the run to give me that extra lift. They are specially
made to release energy slowly.

COLOR PHOTO: RICH CRUSE (STOLTZ) GREEN AND GOLD Stoltz's dominance on rugged terrain could smooththe way for an Olympic win. SIX COLOR PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)