Here are a few things I've tried and really like. Hope to help you with last minute gift ideas for your family member or for yourself if Santa fails to bring what you want.
1) Timex Global Trainer - Timex Link to the Product
This watch is the best of 2010 in my opinion.
I've been on Team Polar. I still love Polar's products, but as this blog is apt to do, I'll call it like I see it with no politically correct speaking. When it comes to GPS and heart rate watches Timex wins with this watch. If this were a professional MMA fight or boxing match - it would be a TKO.
The Timex watch is as close to "plug and play" as it gets. Uploads to Training Peaks easily. Has very simple interface which is near to intuitive. I struggled with it a bit but a) I didn't read the directions first (because 1) I am male 2) I am trying to see how easy it is to figure out 3) I ultimately did read the directions and it made more sense) b) I have been using Polar watches the majority of my racing career.
I will train with this watch, but I'm not sure I would race with it. It isn't too much bigger than my Polar 720i and is slightly smaller than my friend's Garmin 310XT. It is larger than the smaller Timex Ironman HRM watches and my Polar RS200. I will probably race in those and train with this one.
2) PowerCranks - PowerCranks Link to the Product
Able to buy one "athletic toy" this off season? Make it PowerCranks.
Now that I'm able to train full blast again I was doing a retrospective (read: review) of my training logs. The best results and biggest improvements came from using PowerCranks. How much do I believe in PCs? So much so, I'm putting ALL of my athletes on them this off season if they can afford them.
Numbers don't lie. Either do the results of PowerCranks users: Mirinda Carfrae, Chris McCormack, Sammy Sanchez, Paolo Bettini, Simon Whitfield, Conrad Stoltz, Melanie McQuaid, Benny VanSteelant, pitcher Randy Johnson, wide receiver Joey Galloway.
The best reason to get these is a quote from one of the two greatest American cyclists to ever live - Greg Lemond, "If I had access to PowerCranks when I was training I never would have lost a time trial."
3) MotorTabs - Link to the MotorTabs Product
I was introduced to MotorTabs a few years ago when I was out in California. The flavors are good. The packets easily stuff into your jersey pocket. They are more reasonably priced than Gatorade - unless you pack your own Gatorade powder. (Sorry, Gatorade and my friends at the GSSI.) Additionally, you can ride all day with these babies and your stomach won't get upset. Proof? I have done several eight hour rides a 10 hour ride and one 16.5 hour ride all with MotorTabs and I was strong all day. Even more important was that the day after these events I felt fine (other than a bit of fatigue) and I was willing and able to drink more MotorTabs the day after these events!
4) Lynskey Performance - Link to Lynskey Performance
Love your carbon bike? Weigh 130 lbs as a grown male? If you don't have a full on sponsorship from a carbon bike manufacturer with several race frames ready for you at the drop of a hat. Perhaps it is time to get a real bike. If you are done with the very breakable carbon frames you have hope.
The future of titanium frames is RIGHT NOW! My Lynskey R420 frame come in just over the UCI weight limit AND it is made of titanium. It rides like a limo, but flies up hills, hugs corners like a formula one race car and won't crack when I put big boy watts into the frame.
Make the switch. You'll be riding your Lynskey long after your carbon frames have gone through the recycler.
5) CompuTrainer - Link to CompuTrainer
I don't know about you, but the stories about people getting hit on their bikes are freaking me out. Around here, about 25 people had season ending bike crashes. Some were because the bike rider was unsafe. Some were because the roads are increasingly unsafe.
I'm doing more and more of my quality work on the CompuTrainer. I can concentrate on my work and not be concerned with traffic, traffic control devices, the texting teenage driver or the drunk behind the wheel headed home from Lake Geneva early on a Saturday morning.
Now with the new collaboration software, I can ride virtually with many of my triathlon friends around the globe, regardless of if they are in Berlin, Mexico D.F., Milan, Cairo, or Sydney.
6) Kurt Kinetic Trainers - Link to Kinetic Trainers
Can't afford a CompuTrainer? No worries. These trainers are indestructible! More importantly, they are power tested to be equal to riding on the road as far as resistance is concerned.
7) Spinervals - Link to Spinervals
Assume, if you want, that I'm just "shilling" for Troy. These workouts are the real deal. Regardless of if you are by yourself or in a group in a basement or garage. If you ride these workouts you will improve.