I have joined a tri club and will be doing my first couple races this summer. In early January I bought my first road bike as a present to myself, and I have been riding it with sneakers and flat pedals so far. A LBS is offering new members of the tri club bike fits for half off, so instead of waiting until later this spring to buy clipless pedals/shoes, I am pulling the trigger now. I have speedplay pedals on order, and I visited them yesterday to pick out shoes with the plan to schedule the fit when the pedals come in. They were very helpful, but I am worried about getting regular road shoes versus tri shoes. They didn't have a large selection for tri shoes (only one or two pairs), and we settled on a pair of Specialized ember shoes with two velcro straps and the Boa ratchet system. I mentioned I was concerned about whether to leave the shoes on the bike during transition and slip my feet in after the mount line, or put the shoes on and run in them to the mount line. They didn't have a solid answer on which way to do it, so I feel uncertain. I can't tell if the shoes we picked out would be easy to slip into on the bike or not. I am also hesitant to order online without trying shoes on, since I don't know what I'm doing. But if that might be a better route in your opinion, let me know. Also, the other option is to shop around and try out different shops around the area for their tri shoe selection.
I am also having saddle issues, which I have been trying to research. The stock saddle with the bike has been awful, with numbing/bruising issues in the soft tissue area. So I've been looking at saddles with larger relief channels or possibly even the ISM saddles. I plan on putting clip on aerobars on my bike later in the season as I get more comfortable, so I want a saddle that can accommodate the more aggressive positioning. The LBS set me up on a Specialized power expert saddle after measuring my sit bones with a 30 day trial period: https://www.specialized.com/.../power-expert/105546 But on the ride home, it still felt pretty uncomfortable. I'm not sure if this might be due to leftover bruising from the old saddle, so I'm taking a few days off the bike and then going for a long ride this weekend. Again, the LBS was friendly but they are a Specialized retailer and I felt pushed to go for certain items. I asked their opinion about Cobb saddles (I used their online saddle selector), and their only response was how weird their saddles look. I live in a large city with an active tri club/community (this shop is a partner of the club), and I felt concerned about the lack of confidence in their advice. Do you all have any suggestions?