November 2011

Go Tri Sports: Where you go when you get serious

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. | Photographer: John Brackett

Go Tri Sports is where you go when you get serious about running, bicycling, swimming, or all three. “Industry-wise we’re known as a multi-sport retailer,” said John Dogger, who owns Go Tri with his wife Dagny. “We focus on all three of those individually, but also collectively in the triathlete’s context.” That means it’s basically running shoes, bikes, swimsuits, and all of the peripheral apparel and gear that goes with it, plus expert service and a whole lotta passion for those three sports, and for competition and extraordinary fitness as well. So, why not just go to the outlet store or a mass merchandiser like Dick’s?

Like I just told you, Go Tri is for when you get serious. Do you want to buy your shoes or your bike from somebody who might be in the Ping-Pong department tomorrow, or from somebody who lives your sport every day? That’s what you get at Go Tri. Dogger is an experienced triathlete, as are Ryan Stefonick and John Curwen, Go Tri’s event production/Internet marketing manager and back office manager respectively. Master bike technician Greg McGlinn is a Category 1 professional level rider. “He really knows what he’s talking about because he’s been using the bikes and equipment that we have here for a long time,” said Dogger, “and Tyra Wahl, our purchasing manager, is a bicyclist through and through. She knows the industry and knows the gear.”

What’s the first step in shattering your PR in the 10K or 5K? Yeah, it’s the right shoe, and Go Tri carries the brands that specialize in running: Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony, Asics and Inov-8. Do you know what size is right for you? Really? Check this out; if you’ve never been properly fitted for an athletic shoe you’re probably wearing too small a shoe. No worries. Go Tri offers a comprehensive arch and foot strike analysis. “There’s a reason,” said Dogger. “If you really start to get into something and want a shoe that’s built for it, rather than just for the aesthetics, it’s probably appropriate to get a proper fitting. So people come in who aren’t just looking for the coolest color or anything like that. They’re coming in to get the most appropriate shoe for their foot and foot strike. We’ve been fortunate to get referrals from local physical therapists, orthopedists and podiatrists, and we have a relationship with Hilton Head Health Institute. So we go in there every Monday and work with their clients.”

See what I mean? These guys know what they’re talking about, and they’re just as serious about getting you onto the right bike if that’s what you’re into. Go Tri carries only the top-of-the-line, high performance bikes like Cervelo, Look, Felt, Orbea and Cannondale. If you’re a serious triathlon or time trial rider you know what I’m talking about. For everybody else, let me try to draw an analogy. My thing is running 5Ks, and I have an old Trek hybrid for cross training, which is fine for me. But if my Trek is a sports coupe, these bikes are Formula 1 racecars. They look like they’re moving when they’re standing still. “They’re almost like works of art. They’re beautiful,” said Dogger. “Insane engineering. The lightness…” There wasn’t much more to say. He points to one hanging on the wall: “It looks as nice there as is will flying down the road with somebody punishing it at 30-35 miles an hour.”

So you don’t want to mess around if you’re buying one of these machines. Enter Go Tri’s 3-D infrared/2-D HD active fitting system. Simply put, the rider gets on the bike and the system helps to determine things like the optimal back angle for the bike and the type of riding. “It’ a really intensive process,” said Dogger, “and it takes about an hour and a half to figure out the best setup that delivers the most power efficiently.” It’s the only system of its kind in South Carolina, and if you get yourself fitted and ride away on one of Go Tri’s bikes, you also ride away with lifetime service.

Now that we’ve talked about products and services, let’s talk about what Go Tri Sports really is. With deference to Dogger’s definition as a multi-sport retailer, it’s much more than a sporting goods store. Go Tri Sports is an integral part of the local athletic culture that it serves. To participants in a multitude of 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, triathlons and other similar events happening all over the Lowcountry, Go Tri is a household name, as they promote and/or sponsor a large number of them.

“This past year we put on two of our Beach Bum Triathlons,” said Dogger. “These aren’t sanctioned events, but they’re a lot of fun.” The Beach Bum events consist of a 500-yard swim, 6-mile bike ride and 3-mile run, and it’s entirely run on the beach…even the bicycle leg. For next year, Go Tri is planning on three Beach Bums.
“We also have our USAT certified triathlon, which will be next May. That one is a sprint triathlon, and we may knock out a very early season triathlon in Bluffton that will be international distance.” That is, 750- to 1,000-meter swim, 25-40K bike ride, and 10K run. Also in 2012, Go Tri will start a new youth triathlon series of four or five races throughout Beaufort County. Outside of the immediate area, Go Tri is the title sponsor for the South Carolina Triathlon Series, which is a series of about 25-30 races all around the state.

For pure runners, Go Tri held the first annual Run for the Heritage 5K last spring on Coligny Beach and plans to make that a regular date on its calendar of running events, which includes the Run for RET 5K, Devin’s Dash 5K and Bluffton Half Marathon & 5K.

By the time you read this, you will have, unfortunately, missed all of those events. Know what that means? It’s time to start training for 2012. Now you know where to go to take the first step.

Go Tri Sports is located at 24-A Palmetto Bay Road, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 842-4786 or visit

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