First reactions in the triathlon community to the new Felt IA have run the gamut from “ugliest bike I’ve seen” to “I need one… now!”. Regardless of whether you like the aesthetics of the IA’s deep tube shapes and low seat stays, it is one fast bike. IA stands for integrated aero and the IA is now Felt’s flagship model for triathlon bikes. According to Felt the new IA tested 20% faster in the wind tunnel than the Felt DA and was ridden by Miranda Carfrae last year on her way to victory at Kona.
Providing the structural integrity of the IA’s slippery shape, Felt used a new carbon layup process with a material they have named UHC Nano TeXtreme. TeXtreme carbon is made using flat tapes of carbon instead of yarns or fiber. This is important because it allows the engineers to pack more fibers into a given area. The end result is more carbon fiber and less resin which allows for the same structural integrity while cutting up to half the weight.
This week we got our hands on two of these speed machines, a 54cm (already claimed) and a 51cm (still available!). We took some time to look over the bike in person and snapped a couple pictures. Take a look at some of Felt’s documents linked below if you are a technology geek, or come into the shop to take a look at triathlon’s fastest bike for yourself.
Some of you may have heard about the SlowTwitch goggle tour running for the next few months at various shops around the country: Slowtwitch Goggle Tour. Here’s the basic idea as described by Slowtwitch founder Dan Empfield, “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. 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.”
Great idea we say. And we don’t want to limit you to just a few weeks of goggle try-on or just a few brands. It’s always been our everyday policy that customers are welcome to take goggles out of the packaging, try them on, test the seal, the tint, the optics. And furthermore, if you purchase a pair of goggles from us and they don’t work for you, come on back in and we’ll take them back and find a replacement that does meet your needs. Perhaps we haven’t done a great job communicating this policy so we wanted to let all of you now that you are welcome to come in for a “Goggle Tour” at your convenience. We have a great selection of goggles from Aquasphere, Blue Seventy and Zoggs (all included on the tour), as well as models from Speedo, TYR and Sable Water Optics. Come on in and try a few on to see what you like.
The best way to compare goggles is to take them out of the package and try them on. You are looking for a comfortable fit and seal without having to over tighten the straps. If you press the goggles to your face without the strap on you should feel some momentary suction indicating a secure seal. Just a momentary suction is fine the goggles do not need to stay in place for long.
Here’s a sampling of what we carry and what might work well for you:
For Male Triathletes or People With Larger Faces – Blue Seventy Hydra-Vision, Aquasphere Kayenne (below), Aquasphere Kaiman or Kaiman Exo
For Male Triathletes or People With Smaller Faces – Blue Seventy Siren, Aquasphere Kayenne Lady or Small Kit, Aquasphere Kaiman or Kaiman Exo Lady or Small Fit
For those that Want the Very Best Optical Quality – Sable Water Optics 101
For New Swimmers or Anxious Swimmers – Aquasphere Vista Mask
For Pool Swimmers and Traditionalists – Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 or Women’s Vanquisher, Blue Seventy Nero, Speedo Swedish Goggles
For Outdoor Swimmers that Desire Polarization – Zoggs Predator Flex (below), TYR Special Ops
For Kids – Aquasphere Kayenne Jr, Aqauasphere Vista Mask Jr, Blue Seventy Hydra-Vision Jr, Speedo Vanquisher Jr
After you try on a few goggle options checkout our full line of swim accessories: pull buoys, kickboards, nose clips, ear plugs, swimmer’s snorkels, swim watches and heart rate monitors, fins and paddles. We also carry a full selection of men’s and women’s swimwear in sizes 28-40 in both Extra Life Lycra and Polyester from Blue Seventy, Speedo, Adidas, and Sugoi. And finally check out our library of Swimming Books and DVD’s from Velo Press and Total Immersion.
Here is another edition of Gear West reviews by Lukas Pedersen,(Cinematography done by Sean Pease).
What I have chosen to review for this installment is an aero helmet. I chose to get the Lazer Tardiz because it fit me the best. It also comes in a ton of different colors that will compliment any kit or bike color. I purchased the Hawaiian edition because of how cool it is. Check it out!
Aero helmets can save you about 60 seconds over 40k. That means that in terms of cost you can’t get a better investment in time savings per dollar. Race wheels save more time, but they cost way more. (I do accept donations fyi.)
Now to review! This helmet fits very well. The dial on the top of the helmet is very easy to use even while on the bike. Turn it one way or the other and its adjusted! It also has a cap on the top that you can remove to use your water bottle and douse your head with water if you get too warm. I have never used it, but it’s there in case I need it.
I have used it in about a dozen races so far. I don’t have any issues of overheating because the helmet vents so well. The helmet goes on very quickly in transition, and if you get the visor that goes along with the helmet you don’t have to worry about your sunglasses either! Then while on the bike you hardly notice it is there. It doesn’t jostle around or block my vision. The color scheme is great and when I pass people they don’t attempt a re-pass. They know how fast and cool the helmet is-they don’t stand a chance! Check out the video Sean and I made. I was going so fast! I have on the red and white one to match the GW kit and the Trek Speed Concept. My blue CEP socks are because I wish I was am so cool!
I have been highly impressed with this helmet. The structural integrity has not been tested here because I don’t really want to crash, nor do I want to crush my new helmet. If I do end up doing an impromptu test I will be sure to let you all know! I am not worried though because this helmet meets all the safety standards. The only reason I would purchase another helmet would be to get a different color scheme (such as the pink one), but if I do you better believe that it would be another Tardiz. Lazer makes a great helmet and the price is perfect.
Every once in a while one of the staff here at Gear West Bike & Tri loves a product so much that they dream about it all day and night! Luke asked if he could do a write-up about CEP compression socks, we said, “Of course you can young man!”. So, here it is…in its entirety, edited for your sanity.
Compression socks you ask? You’ve heard of them. I know you’ve seen them. They are the fun socks that go all the way up to your knee (and no, I am not talking about tube socks from the 1970s). The socks I am reviewing are designed to give you a boost in performance and recovery.
Compression has been used by the medical community for many years. The general idea is to compress the muscle which will dilate the veins. This increases the blood flow by up to 40%. More oxygen-rich blood=more performance and a faster recovery time. CEP’s parent company is Medi. It is a medical company that has 60+ years of experience. They know what they are doing. CEP’s socks utilize graduated compression. They are tighter at the ankle and less tight at the calf. This helps push blood back to the heart and return with oxygen more quickly. CEP says that the socks increase performance by 5%. The socks don’t make you faster per se, but they do reduce time to fatigue by 5% allowing you to sustain a given pace for a longer period of time. That translates to faster times. Enough of this though. Review time.
Deciding on a color was the first part. They come in white, black, green, blue, red, pink, and a cool neon green for night running. I went with the blue (although the neon ones were very tempting). They are sized based off the size of your calf muscle. So I measured and went with a size III. I put them on and I could feel them compressing my lower legs. It felt odd at first, but in a good way. I then headed out the door on my run. It was the first of many.
I have now used the socks many, many times. I have run in them and also slept in them a couple of times (I made sure they were clean first. I wash them with all my other training clothes and hang dry them). I find that the socks make me feel better during runs of longer than 1 hour. I didn’t get the heavy leg feeling during the later part of my runs like I have before. I was able to sustain my pace for longer into the run. Another place I really found these socks to shine was after my ½ marathon. If you’re like me you never stretch after a workout or race. Usually after a workout or race I wake up with my calves feeling as though there are stones in them. I decided that I was going to wear my socks to bed after the race; as geeky and odd as it seems to be. I was crawling into bed with socks on and was a bit odd. Although, when I woke up my calf muscles didn’t feel as though they were destroyed! In fact, they felt fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised.
My conclusion? Awesome! I wear them all the time now. I got another pair so I can rotate socks. I don’t want to wear the same pair everyday because nobody likes stinky feet. I like to use them while working at the shop and while working out. I am not alone in this either. Most of us have a pair, or two, now. They hold up very well. They are simple and they work!
Ed — There ya go folks! Lukas loves them and so will you. CEP compression gear is the best, and it works great. You can see more CEP product and information HERE.
Support the Miracles of Mitch Foundation as they continue to offer support to children and their families who are battling cancer. This photo book captures many of the amazing stories happening within the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, celebrates the achievements of the kids that have raced or fundraised this season, and summarizes the overall mission of the foundation going forward. For $10, get a great picture book and know that 100% of your contribution goes to Miracles of Mitch, supporting children battling cancer and their families! For more information on the foundation, visit the Miracles of Mitch homepage.