Slowtwitch Goggle Tour!

It’s the Slowtwitch Goggle Tour! What’s this? Are we sending goggles on tour? Yes, kind of.

Remember last year’s Saddle Tour? You went into your local shop and almost every tri saddle was available for you to ride, in your own chosen aero position, at your race power, on a saddle quick-change mechanism pitched atop a fit bike. Forty-five bike shops in 30 metro areas participated and many of you found, in fewer than 30 minutes, your most comfortable saddle out of several tested. (We’ll reprise the Saddle Tour later this Spring.)

This time around - this month and next - it’s goggles. The Slowtwitch Goggle Tour will stop at 36 tri, run and swim shops in 20 metro areas that specialize in goggles and swimwear.

Since a lot of swimming is going on in Slowtwitchland right now, we thought it a good time to establish, once and for all, your most comfortable, watertight, goggles with the lens and visibility you like best. All participating retailers will be stocked up on Aqua Sphere, blueseventy and Zoggs goggles as well as other goggles they may carry. The three companies just listed are hosting this tour, that is, they along with your local shop are funding this push. The schedule is here, by date:

Feb 1-15
Milwaukee: Emery's (Menomonee Falls)
Milwaukee: Emery's (Milwaukee)

Feb 10-25
Atlanta: All3Sports
Atlanta: Podium Multisport
Boston: Fast Splits
Detroit: Fraser Bicycle
Phoenix: Tribe Multisport

Feb 15 - 28
New York: Westchester Road Runner
New York: Metro Swim Shop
Washington DC: Bonzai
Washington DC: Tri 360

Feb 21 - Mar 7
Orlando: Gear for Multisport

Feb 23 - Mar 8
Hilton Head: Go Tri Sports

Mar 1 - Mar 15
Chicago: Runners High n Tri
Chicago: Urban Tri Gear
Houston: Bicycle World Houston
Houston: Bicycle World Katy
London, UK: 10-Point
Miami: Swim Bike and Run
Portland, OR: Athletes Lounge
San Diego: Nytro Multisport
San Francisco East Bay: Forward Motion
St. Louis: Swim Bike Run
Tampa: Swim Zone
Tampa: Kona Multisport
Salt Lake City, UT SBR Sports

Mar 7-20
Austin: Austin Tri Cyclist

Mar 15-31
Dallas: Tri Shop
Dallas: PlayTri
Stamford, CT: Pacific Swim Bike Run
Twin Cities: Gear West
Cary, NC: Inside Out Sports
Seattle: Northwest Tri and Bike
Seattle: Speedy Reedy

Mar 25-April 10
Los Angeles: Triathlon Lab
Ventura: Tri Running

Part of the “protocol” here (all our virtual “Tours” have their protocols) is that all participating stores will have demo goggles – out of the aftermarket packaging – for you to fit up to your face, so that you can make a seal (or fail to), check out the optics, the field of vision, lens distortion or (hopefully) the lack thereof.

Why these three brands? They are the brands I asked. Why? Because these are the three brands making goggles I personally like, that are industry leading (Aqua Sphere) or underrated and should be demo'd (blueseventy and Zoggs). I have been looking forward to trying the Zoggs Photochromatic goggles, which was one of 5 finalists for “tri product of the year” as voted on by consumers (specifically Slowtwitch forum readers) and retail stores. I'm swimming now in blueseventy. Aqua Sphere needs no intro, it's quite simply the favorite among triathletes. But there is no requirement that the participating retailers keep to only these 3 brands. That said, I know that each of these 3 brands will be adequately represented, strong inventories, and demo goggles, when the Goggle Tour comes to your town.

It’s the “Winter of Swim” here at Slowtwitch, with the Guppy Challenge running now, a new round of Guppies – triathletes who truly suffer at swimming – commencing a new Guppy Challenge in a week. Concurrently we’ll kick off the “Satisfaction Challenge,” a virtual challenge for swimmers a notch better than the Guppies (those who swim an Ironman split in 1:20 to 1:40 and want to hack 10 or 15 minutes off that time.) And then there's my own personal challenge I'll be "blogging" about, my attempt to swim faster by augmenting pool swims with sessions with a Vasa Ergometer.

I am asking our participating retailers also to inventory up on swim apparel, hand paddles, fins, buoys, for training. If there is one thing that I personally hate it’s driving from store to store looking for square legs that I like, and that fit. If I by them mail order, they invariably don’t fit. Or I don’t like them. Hence this Goggle Tour, which is goggles, yes, but a lot more. Simply put, let’s just all take care of our swim needs now, early, when it’s in stock and when you can demo product.

Speaking of products other than goggles, there is one more thing to tell you about this tour: I am specifically testing a couple of microelectronic products. Finis makes a pair of products, the Neptune (its MP3 player) and the Tempo Trainer. These are audio products. Swimovate is a lap counter and more, and it’s in a watch format. Many of the stores participating are going to have these products in stock during this tour. I’ll be printing my reviews within a week, and if after you read them you think you’d like to see these products and noodle them in person, there’s a good chance they’ll be at your local shop during the Goggle Tour. For those who just have no Goggle Tour by them, one of our local Goggle Tour stops is Nytro Multisport and they also are, of course, a leading online seller. Because they’ll be inventoried for the Goggle Tour, Nytro has many or most (or all) of these products in stock.