Triathlon Trends magazine. San Jose, CA—IronMan triathletes are among the most competitive persons on Earth. And increasingly, they’re gaining an extra edge on the competition with intelligent eyeware, such as the new Google Glass Sportz Goggles.
The pricey, high-tech device consists of the highly publicized Google Glass, adapted to triathlon and other multisport events.
Paige Lawrence, a triathlete from Cubierto, California, loves how Google Sportz Goggles have been adapted to multisport, such as the specially treated lenses that draw on night-vision goggle technology.
“In murk typical of triathlon swims,” Lawrence explained, “the water appears crystal clear. While other athletes are constantly popping their heads up to sight the course, I stay streamlined, heading straight to spots clearly visible in the underwater distance.”
She also likes the high-tech displays that appear on her lenses. “The wind current, water temperature, the wind direction—all that and more show up right in front of my eyes! I tailor my swim based on the latest meteorological readings.
“I bet I shave three hundred meters off for each mile of stroking,” Lawrence went on. “I’m taking every penny I used to waste on Lazer wetsuits, on putting them into Google Goggles!”
At last year’s Nation’s Triathlon, in Washington, DC, Philadelphia-based triathlete Franklin Benjamin posted the fastest swim leg among the relay teams, with Google Goggles outfitted with the new bifocal lenses app.
“I could easily see, and avoid hitting, every swimmer around me with the ‘reading’ lenses,” Franklin enthused, “and easily saw the far-off buoys with the ‘distance’ lenses." (This race was narrated in: https://www.facebook.com/FounderingFathers).
In fact, Google Goggles are especially suited for relay teams and for bike training pelotons, as its Bluetooth app allows voice messages to be relayed, hands-free, from one athlete to another.
Google Goggles also provide invaluable athletic and social media information—strategic, competitive data, say advocates--about other racers.
“I wouldn’t go into the transition area without them,” explained Brian Sergeant, a triathlete from Bajo Palo, California. “Most racers leave their cell phones on the transition blanket before heading off to the swim. A lot of times, the cells contain key information—workout times, coaches' names, even their race strategy.
“Before the start of the tri,” Sergeant continued, “I take a quick look with my Google Goggles inside the email and FaceBook pages of my top rivals. It’s like reading their minds, like stealing a baseball catcher’s signals! Meantime, they’re totally in the dark about me. It’s a huge advantage.”
The innovative eye pieces are proving invaluable for the bike and run legs of a triathlon as well.
“It was always a bit scary,” said endurance athlete Vance Legstrom, of Austin, Texas, “having to glance down at my Garmin while speeding along at 35 mph on a fragile titanium Trek. But now my wattage, heart rate, caloric burn automatically pop up in the lenses. I feel like a Top Gun pilot getting up-to-date info on his cockpit display!”
No new technology is ideal, of course, and that is true of Google Glass Sportz Goggles. Its price tag—$45,000 for a basic model—is not for everyone, and Google must select you off its long waiting list for the beta version of the device. And even Google Glass zealots admit the odd-looking eyewear, during the bike and run legs, make them look like Silicon Valley nerds on an all-night coding jag.
“But I wouldn’t trade my Goggles for nothing,” stated Lawrence, noting that spiffier-looking Ray-Ban models were in production and that prices will decline with widespread use. And she finds the lenses indispensable for her long training runs.
“Frankly, I’m bored out of my mind by mile 10 or 12," she remarked.
"But now I simply call up Netflix or Kindle onto my display, and I’m good to go again.”
Copywrong © April First, 2014, Triathlon Trends magazine
Where's the +1 button on this thing?