Thursday, December 30, 2010

MEC Mercury Tights

Occasionally a purchase can bring about linger feelings of buyers remorse. Not for parting with your loot, but for the choice of garment you've just made.
The Mountain Equipment Co-op Mercury tights are a perfect example of this dilemma. Inexpensive, but the pros end there, and the check marks in the list of cons is lengthy.
First of all look up at the photo, see how the rise of the crotch extends to just below the nipples?. Inexcusable in 2011. Twenty years ago this may have been OK, but I can't stand an ill fitting pair of tights. The waist band should never have to be rolled over to make the fit adequate.
Secondly, after a few wears and washes, they are a saggy mess. The elasticity of the fabric is gone and they fit more like a size large than a medium.
They are fleece lined for cool weather endurance activities and have an abundance of reflective piping, but they probably won't experience fresh air again.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Black Diamond Guide Gloves

I was looking for a durable and warm ski glove, and in my web search the Guide Glove kept popping up. Turns out this glove was available close to home so I have been putting them through some testing. Dexterity was high on the list too and these gloves have seams cut into the palms for greater fine motor abilities. The also have a long cuff covering the wrist, which is one place I really like to keep out of the snow.
The liners are a fluffy wool pile fabric with a Gore insert and removeable, and I've found the interior disapates the moisture really well. Few things more unpleasant than sticking your hands back into your gloves after lunch only to dicover a stinky, and soggy mess. After two straight full days on the hill recently, the finger and palm leather was salt stained, which means the interior was doing its job.
The gloves are rated to -28 C, and although I've only been to -22, my phlanges were still toasty.
Aside from the leather the remainder of the glove is a four way stretch nylon with great abrasion properties.
Thanks Santa I really love them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Terra Plana Evo running shoe

As far as minimalist shoes go, these have to be near the top of the list.
Toes are happiest when they're together and it just isn't natural to have synthetic between my tarsals so this is one of the big advantages over theVibram KSO's.
The toe box provides some wiggle room and a bit more protection than the Vibrams too.
The sole is wafer thin, (4mm) and surprisingly stiff and unnatural and they cause the Evos' to flop around at walking speed, but as the pace increases so does the performance of the shoe.
The most plush area is found in the tongue and the heel, which caused blisters in the other tester in household.
The uppers have a honeycomb design created in latex over a breathable a nylon mesh that resists light water splashes and precip.
Construction is completely glueless to shave the weight and I found the shoes to be ideal for crosstraining and balance exercises.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sugoi Firewall LT glove

I'm disappointed to see Sugoi has done nothing to improve these gloves for 2011. Mine are from last season and they are the most frustrating gloves I've ever owned, and they are the impetus for this blog.
The palm is slippery, particularly when it gets impregnated with daily grime. If I can't grip my steering wheel, how could I hang on to my ski poles. Further to that the palm synthetic fabric invites the cold, offering winter winds a warm place to come in for a visit.
My hands are unremarkable in size, but I struggled to pull them on.
The cuff had to be heavily doctored to allow my hand to fit past the narrow opening. The was a neoprene webb across the cuff to allow increased movement. I cut that out, it was a hindrance. There was velcro on the cuff too, I cut that off too. It was sewn own in reverse order and the hooks were always sticking on the terry cloth nose wipe on the thumb. The reflective decals on the back of the glove have peeled off, and now the seams are coming apart.
Sadly, with a few improvements the Firewall LT could be a great glove, because they fit so well. They fit.....well, like a glove.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crankskins Crank wrap

When you own nice stuff, you want to maintain it like the day it joined the family. At least I do. I think I take good care of my gear, and it returns the favour with years of service.
Recently I installed some DA 7800 cranks on my road ride, which are notorious for showing heal rub. Crankskins are made to keep your cranks, seat post, downtube, frame and fork protected from nicks and scrapes.
I ordered the candy red to match my frame colour, expecting to get two extra wraps sent out, but they included a checkered flag one too. Now I wouldn't be caught dead with anything that refers to auto racing, trucker hats and swill beer, but the gesture was appreciated. (must be a slow seller).
The decals are supposed to be die-cut, but mine are not and I used scissors to cut them out.
Other than that the $21 for four decals including shipping was reasonable for the duty they will perform to keep the crank arms bearing their type.
Available in a growing variety of colours, patterns and textures specific to a wide variety of road and mountain cranks.

PRICE: $15.00 USD

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sugoi Hydrolite Jacket

It seems as though fall has been upon us for a long time now, bringing dull skys, liquid sunshine and gloom. Well, if you can still muster the strength to get out of bed and straddle your bike you're gonna need a rain jacket. The Hydrolite has been my companion for the last month or so, and it's been a god-send. Packable, light and weatherproof, it's always tucked into my back pocket whether I'm on the skinnies or the fat tires. It's also a great wind block and the generous under-arm venting allows body heat to escape while your arms are extended to the handle-bars.
I haven't washed it yet, but I'm told on the delicate cycle of the washer will treat you right because after a few muddy rides the jacket has now lost its showroom luster. I'd recommend trying the jacket on to ensure a good fit in the extended position, although the fitted cut of the garment is generous in the sleeves and tail. The smoke colour is often sold out, but it may hide the dirt a bit better.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sugoi R+R compression sock

Run or watch any race these days and you'll notice the growing number of knee highs.
It's not just a fad folks, the benefits of compression during and after running have been garnering a lot of research. Pull up the trousers of your friend the type 2 diabetic and you'll probably discover their sup. hose.
Compression increases blood flow to the extremities and aids in flushing lactic acid, hence the recovery is expedited.
In my own experience the socks are a great help in this area. Forefoot running can bring about tight calf muscles, and these socks really make a difference. I don't run in them, the padded foot bed particularly in the heel and toe isn't to my liking so they are half of the race and recovery for me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gregory Wasatch Daypack

My old hydration pack is over 10 years-old and is very limiting in the amount of kit I can lug around.
This pack actually belongs to my wife, but she has let me use it a few times and I've been converted. The Wasatch is beyond roomy. It has pockets in pockets and
I can carry more than enough for a run or a day hike in addition to a three litre water bladder. The mesh pockets on the belt an the side of the pack are easily accessible and add to the overall 12L capacity of the bag. All the marketing mentions the body hugging design and it didn't disappoint. I wore it recently on a five hour adventure without hardly even noticing its presence. I went through six litres of water, but the balance was superb. Apparently hydration bags have come along way in the last decade.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

MEC Tace Jacket (Sneak Peak)

The trail running section at most running shops has been growing over the last few years, as runners discover the joys of trails that were formerly the domain of mountain bikers. The Mountain Equipment Co-op has become keenly aware of this, and they even put up presenting sponsorship for the 5 Peaks trail runnning series. With that said, the MEC has been upping the ante with their shoe selection and collection of endurance apparel. The new Tace Jacket is part of the push to get on the trails.
My tester arrived recently and I have been doing it all in the Royal blue packable jacket. It's super light, and aptly named when the weather turnes nasty. Tace means armor, and I needed it on a short run recently when the showers came, then the rain, and finally the hail. I was soaked everywhere except for what was covered by this jacket. Water literally fell off the nylon shell. It also cuts the wind, but the generous pit and back venting has an amazing cooling effect. The Tace is boxy and I am a tailored jacket man myself so the cut feels loose, but it fits. There is an elastic wrist, and pull tabs for the waist which has more drape in rear. Reflective tabs mark the shoulders, back and left sleeve. A single slash pocket near the right kidney is MP3 ready. This jacket has already seen alot of action and with the summer dwindling,it's not going to let up any time soon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inov-8 Debris Gaiter

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy running trials intended for bikes or hiking. Time passes quickly when I am placing my strides to avoid the pitfalls of the trails. Dirt, stones and dust are part of the gig right?, sure but outside my shoe. I have been trying out these Debris Gaiters for a while and they are super. They don't add heat to my feet, they just keep junk out. They attach to the laces with a hook, and under the sole with two replaceable rubber laces. They are water repellent and quick drying so they are like a sock over my sock. They come in three sizes and their low price make them a must have for running off-road.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Skinz Road Bike Protector

I just dragged my road bike 1200km across the Rockies and back for some riding on the beautiful roads of the Columbia Valley. Even after my mishap with a garage door earlier this year, I still believe transporting a bike on a roof rack is the best way to go. The trouble is on the highway with bugs and stones messing up the front of your ride. My last cover from Sci-Con implodes after one highway journey and the choices in this niche market are pretty slim. Enter the Skinz protector. It covered the bars and the forks generously and nylon strapping secured around the load bars of the rack. Velcro strapping is also found near the saddle and the stem to keep in in place at high speed.

The entire protector folds up nicely into a pouch that doubles as the seat protector when the Skinz is in use. Durability has not been an issue yet but I suspect long exposure to the sun, and rain will weaken the lycra.

Skinz makes a wide variety of bike covers for the roof and the rear hitch.

PRICE about $80 CDN

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drymax Maximum Protection Crew

I have tender tootsies, and the older I get the more cantankerous they become. As a result, my peds have kept me from running longer distances. Truth is I don't love running, especially on the road. Trail-good, road-bad. Last spring I was talking socks with Ultra distance runner and fellow free-healer, Jeff Ball. ( He put me on to these socks and my feet have been happy ever since. They are bulky, but not padded in any area of the sole. They have high seams, so they don't rub in the shoe and they are dry. The video they produced,(see older posts) demonstrate the sweat removal system. They claim to be 25 times dryer than regular running sock and I believe it.
Sweat causes friction, which leads to blisters.
The Maximum Protection model is aimed at marathon and ultra distance runners. They feature the friction free fibres of Profilen® which has the lowest coefficicient of friction of any solid material.
I've run, played tennis, cycled and run stairs in these socks. They are true to their claims, well made and are proving to be durable. I have probably 40 days in these sock now and only in one instance did my feet burn like the old days. I just ran 27 km on a trails the Rockies with no problems, no blisters, not even a hot spot on the descents.
Great sock, hard to find, but well worth the effort and money.

Sinclair Canyon

Sun shower, driving head wind, 8% grade topping out at 70.4 km/hr on the descent.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ride around the Lake

It took me while to ride and log in to my account and then my phone battery died before I got back to town.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What are we doing here in North America? Cleaning up an oilspill.

Nike Free Running+

These shoes were intended to be my summer everything shoe, and so far they have been. Speed work on the track, stair training, some short distance running, single speed cycling, and even some tennis. I slipped on a few of the Free models, but I went with the Running+ because of their wider platform. And I knew I wasn't going to dedicate these kicks to running.
They take a fit of getting used to. First of all they are soft and my calves fatigued for the first week or so, but the body adapts right? Contrary to the corporate claims, they are not barefoot running, let's be clear. Sure they are a long way from a structured shoe but those marshmallows on the sole do not resemble the balls of me feet in any way. They are a departure for a big corporate machine to an unstructured shoe, but barefoot they are not. They are way to comfy to make that claim.
The bootie-like uppers are seamless and really are a great fit.
I like the shoes and I'd get another pair, I've even recomended them to a few people already.
(It appears they were aware of the shoes, but were waiting for someone like me to make the jump.)
The knock I have against the shoes is durability.They lack this important feature. The shoes are about six weeks old, but look more like six months. My toes are beginning to peek through the mesh and the soles are pretty much shot and I'll be lucky if they last until the leaves turn.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro

My last training tires were a high thread count racing tire, so they wore down pretty good after two seasons and a couple thousand Km's. I have made this mistake in the past, but I vow not to get drawn into the sexiness of road cycling again. I train for Triathlon, sometimes with aero bars and sometimes without, but always with the endurance of TT in the back of my mind.
This year I opted for training tires, it says so right on the box. Lower tread count, TPI=60, and a harder casing for resisting road abrasions. The deep tread fades on the shoulders, and is good for fast cornering and water dispersion, and it has a foldable bead.
The tire comes in five flavours. I went with vanilla, because white is the new black.

...because the TdF begins tomorrow

Thursday, June 17, 2010

MEC Quarter Knickers

Not many years ago, I was mocked openly for wearing knickers about town. Gladly, attitudes have come around and they are more widely available. This spring I dished out for these MEC Quarter knickers and I'm glad I did. This is my sixth pair of long shorts and these might be my fav. They are a riding short pure and simple, with articulated knees and roomy crotch. Whisper light and stretchy with a two position top button for letting it out a bit. The rear waist features additional webbing for a U-lock. The front slash pockets are zippered, but mysteriously missing are the mid-thigh pockets. Great short, so it may be too late in the season to find any more.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sugoi RSR Short

I would have to say these are my running shorts. Not because I adore them, but because they are versatile with slash pockets in back and one inside. Of course running is not something to do with a pocketful of change, but occasionally there is something small that needs to come with. They're available in three colours, blue, black and grey. They are cut long and loose in the leg for the longer tan line and they have a mesh insert. The liner does ride up a bit, but nothing's perfect.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Exclusive Bike Club

It's a club I have never had any interest in, but my invitation came last week and I was powerless to resist.
I am the guy who snickered at bowed bike trays, caved in car roofs, and duct taped ski boxes.
But I can't do that anymore, 'cause I'm a new member of this group of gear crushers.
Make no mistake, I am embarrassed about it, emabarrassed to the core.
I've been throwing things on my Thule systems for nearly 20 years, and have never even had a close call.
No longer.
Now I can only snear at repeat offenders and hope I never join that club.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Women's bikes

None of the hundreds of bikes in the newly renovated space at Revolution Cycle was built for me.

That’s because Revolution partnered with bike builder Specialized Canada to create the world’s first women’s concept store. Almost half their space is dedicated to women riders, which reflects the consumer base, says manager Ben Fedoruk.

Most have researched on the Internet or in magazines before they come in for a test ride, he says — and they know what they need.

“Girls aren’t the same. When they get on a bike that’s not built for them, they’re not happy; they’re not comfortable.

“This is women designing bikes for women.”

These are not just unisex frames painted in pretty colours. They’re designed from the wheels up with input from riders like Darcy Turenne. The Norco Bikes team rider was in Edmonton recently to sign autographs at United Cycle and show off the Vixa, the latest freeride unit she helped design.

A native of Comox, B.C., and former member of the national downhill mountain bike team, Turenne, 26, also hosted the television program The Ride Guide on the Outdoor Life Network. As an ambassador for Norco Bikes, she now spends almost 300 days a year on the road and in the saddle, so bike fit is really important.

“I wanted a bike that would suit my riding style. I basically just told them (Norco) what I wanted to use it for and what I wanted it to feel like, and the engineers came up with a mock draft of the geometry.”

According to Turenne, the Vixa has a shorter cockpit, with less reach from the seat to the handlebars, so it’s more comfortable. It’s also shorter in height and lighter than a unisex model, so it’s more nimble.

This is an exciting time for female cyclists, Turenne says. They’re attracting more media attention and corporate sponsorships, and all of the big bike companies are introducing women-specific lines.

“I think the support women are getting in the cycling industry is definitely attracting more female cyclists because there is product out there for them; they don’t feel excluded.

“Girls like to ride with other girls; it’s less intimidating. And having that product out there for us to use is really great, really good for the sport.”

Back at Revolution Cycle, Fedoruk says he’s seeing a lot of women who want to upgrade their wheels to more expensive models.

“They start out with maybe an $800 bike, but within two years, all of a sudden they’re bike junkies, and they read magazines all the time and they’re buying $4,000 bikes.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sable googles

Swimming is has many benefits we all know about, but it's cheap to boot.
Just some trunks, maybe a cap and googles. So why would I spend triple the amount of most googles for a pair of Sables. Mostly because they claim to be anti-fog and great fitting. much for that sales pitch. On the third day, I wore these in a lake swim tri and although they weren't rinsed until I crossed the line, the googles were pretty much done.
The salesperson, and the included instructions are adamant about handling the lenses on either side to maintain the integrity of the coating. I still have these googles, use them occasionally, but they are on par with much less expensive earwear. The fit is just ok, and their claim about distortion elimination is not really noticeable. All said and done they are just average and definitely not worth the extra money


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crank and File

I am producing a summer bike series for the Edmonton Journal on bike culture in this city.
The title above links you there but here is a sampling video on single speeds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rapha Pocket T

This is a high performance sleeper of a T-shirt. At first glance it looks like a overpriced T with an afterthought of a pocket slapped on the back quarter. But slip it on, cruise to the cafe and you'll be convinced this is no ordinary cotton garb. Because it's a blend it wicks, and stretches and looks casual but functions at a high level. I have a medium and it's form fitting, but the give and cut won't let it ride up in the rear when you're in the saddle. It's not race-day, but it's ride ready for casual pedaling or summer cruising.
True to Rapha attention to detail the pocket contains text of cycling lore.
PRICE about $85 CDN.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sugoi Resistor Toe Cover

It's been a cool spring so far, and I all my riding shoes are covered with booties. But, in a race situation
booties can be cumbersome in transition, so toe covers to the rescue.
I used them recently in a duathlon, and they didn't save my life, but my toots were sure pleased I chose them.
The wind swirled around on the 20km ride and I heard afterwards people complaining of cold or numb feet for the second run.
I was unaffected by the chill as the polyurethane coated stretch fleece did it's job.
The concept and execution of the toe cover is simple, easy on and off, and held in place by the cleat on the sole.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dueyfit Abs #2

The man, the legend Duey Hume takes you through his Abs workout part 2.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BILLABONG All Day Boardshorts

Greg Southam photo
Shorts so light, I forgot I had them on. That's what happened with these shorts on their trial run in Waikoloa. They fit unlike other boardshorts in my drawer because of their four-way stretch. They have unbelievable fit and comfort, they repel water like a ducks' back but still have all the regular features I expect in a water garment. Velcro fly, tie top drawstring, key lanyard and velcro single pocket.
I was also drawn to the solid vibrant colours of this line, because I've lived through the '80's I don't need to do it again.

PRICE $45-55

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SUP in the mall

I was happy to be among the few to demo some Naish, Starboard and C4 waterman boards at the big bad mall last Sunday.
However, I was not lucky enough to ride the waves at the end of the session. Can't have it all Mom used to say.
My collegue Greg Southam shot this video with his Canon 5D MK11 and his Aquapac camera case.
Pardon the advertising.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Assos legRubi

Spring is here, but I don't always have the luxury of riding in the warmest part of the day. I ride when I can, and sometimes I need protection from the cold and the Assos leg warmers are my choice for keeping my gams toasty.
First of all they are pure luxury, fleece lined and beautifully crafted with articulated knees and a grippy tape seam at the top. Discreet reflective tabs are sewn into the seam along the calf and even the packaging is a keepsake. The wind block makes them suitable for cooler days, and they can be easily stowed in a back pocket if the mercury rises.
A bit pricey, but Assos is worth the extra loot for the accessories that will last a long time.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dakine Boot Locker

Although the ski season is far from over in the high alpine, down here the tulips are poking through. So the Dakine Boot Locker is the last ski related review for the winter. The design is not new, wet boots below, dry stuff on top, but Dakine has a nearly perfected the boot bag. Roomy enough for both of my kids boots and two helmets and all their kit.
I say nearly because the small stuff gets lost. A small pocket for keys, iPod, or glasses would have have been a homerun. Instead the bag is a standing triple. As I mentioned the bag is roomy for gear (69L), yet managable on my shoulder with the strap. The interior is lined top and bottom with a tarp liner which someone said reminded them of a pizza delivery box.
I have gone a long time just carrying my boots over my shoulder and somehow managing all my junk, because I had never seen a good solution, until now. In fact I bought two.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Custom Board Shorts

I haven't tried these shorts yet, but they are so fun I had to mention them.
We have however tried the yoga mats from this company, and as a result of their professionalism I had no problem spreading the good word on thier behalf. They have over 230 designs already in the vault, but they will do custom orders too.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trim them nails

Anyone who knows me, jokes about how I wail on and on about this important piece of info.
Apparently I am not the only one. This is from the Drymax sock site.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BOGS classic high boots

Sure these boots are outside of the scope of this blog, however, when something good comes along, it warrants a mention.
First of all they are targetted to the agricultural sector, for mucking stalls and feeding the livestock. But they are a true three season boot and for me that really works. Rated to -30 C, they live up to that number as long as I'm not standing around. And for the spring they are waterproof and the knee high uppers are stretch neoprene.
Traction is sure in the snow and mud with the lugs, and in true welly tradition they feature a ramp on the heal for easy off function.
I would recommend buying these boots a bit small, as they pack out.
They only come in full sizes.
Price $90 CDN

Arcteryx Stinger bib pants

Ocasssionally I encounter gear,like these Stingers, that I almost feel guilty owning. These pants are so good they deserve to be in Chamonix, or the Chugach where they can serve their owner in epic conditions. Instead they are on a ski patroller on a little bump on the prairie. Sure they are overkill for what I have been using them for so far but occasionally I get to the Rockies and really rip. Just for those days I have the Stinger pants. They feature four pockets, and double ended zips for venting, bomber inner boot plates, snow cuffs and of course a ballistic Gore shell. There is ample room in the knee and the tush for the tele stance. These pants are really the pinnacle and sometimes I feel guilty, but sometimes I know I deserve the best. Stinger bibs are just that.
PRICE - $500.00 CDN (yea....ouch)

Episode 11 - The Season Dr. Scott Petett

The Season Episode 11 from Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finis Freestyle Snokel

Although my swim coach would never allow me to use this training device, I find it really useful.
It is made specifically for the freestyle stroke and forces me to keep my head down. This had been an issue with my ability before the snokel and now if my head bobs up, I get a mouthful. I think it also enables me to relax more in the water, so I can focus on body position and stroke dynamics.
Although there must be a reason, I wish there was a purge valve to expel liquids, but after some use it's become comforable.
I am not a great swimmer and probably will never be one, but I'll take every advantage I can get, and $40 isn't outrageous to help me with my swim stroke. It's also cheaper than my coach.
Nose plugs are recomended.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sugoi Braveheart Tuke

As far as endurace hats go, this might the one. The tuke is a fleece lined fino-therm lightweight layer with a generous cut. It's long enough to cover the ears and keep the ear-buds in place, but can be folded over like a beanie when the temperature rises.
This tuke is also great for riding, although not considered windproof, it fits under the helmet without bulk and keeps the noggin warm. Topping it all off, it looks good, so once it's on, it stays there.

PRICE $30 CDN. in 3 colours

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nice ride!

Bridging the Gap Vol.1 from Joseph Lobato on Vimeo.

Adidas Evil Eyes

Typically I avoid 'the hype'. Movies, music, gear, whatever. I like to find things that work for me on my own terms without an advertiser telling me what I need.
Last summer just before a long group ride, a man approached and opened with something like, "Oh I see you bought the hype." He was pointing to my Cervelo Soloist, and his comments still reverberate with me. For the record, I bought that bike for many reasons that still make sense to me, and the advertising was not among them.
So how does that relate to the Evil Eyes? Recently two guys I ride with were donning these glasses. They both raved about how they had interchangable lenses, tilting arms, making it easier to see while riding in the drops, removable arms with a headband.
The Adidas Evil Eyes are outstanding glasses, they fog slighly, but for the most part they stay clear. Mine came with two sets of lenses, grey with a mirrored finish and an amber. I ride, and ski with both. Another really cool feature of these shades is the foam band lining the top of the frame which keeps them off your forehead, and collects perspiration. The nose piece is also interchangable to accomodate all beaks and the ribber grooved arms keep the glassed firmly in place.
These are my training and racing glasses and they get alot of use, and the lense coating is still keeping them clear.
Made in Austria

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Drymax Maximum Protection Run Mini Crew

I'm really excited to give these Drymax socks a tri, I mean try. My feet have kind of held me back from more running events as they tend to blister. Always in the same place, no matter what intervention I try. My last half marathon was run with duct tape. Lame I know, but I was deperate. I really have high hopes for these socks which claim to be 25 times dryer than regular ones. I will update when I know for myself.
By the way the socks are coming from, which offers free shipping to Canada! Nice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sugoi Raglan L/S jersey

It's almost easier to describe what this jersey isn't as opposed to what it is. It's not flashy or techy, nor hot off the euro runway.
However it is a garment at the top of the pile and so it's my go-to winter endurance sweater. It's a workhorse and it hasen't let me down when I ride, ski or run. It has elastic cuffs and waist and three generous pockets out back, and the only knock against it is the lack of wind block. But really that's minor because it's hard to pry this jacket off my shoulders. I also am pleased with the longer cut in the frontside waist that doesn't ride up past my navel when I ski or run. This is noticable on some of my other and more expensive jackets.
At this point if you pass a someone on the trail like the guy above with that jersey, it's probably me.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic volunteer jackets

The Vancouver Olympic workforce uniform was designed by Hudson’s Bay Company design team, The bright blue is inspired by the scenery of the Sea to Sky region linking Whistler and Vancouver.
The smart design permits the uniforms to be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Snaps and velcro will allow the Olympic ring to be swapped for the Paralympic emblem.
Now you know.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Five gear no-no's when nordic skiing

This past weekend was the Canadian Birkebeiner ski festival. Five race distances attracted about 1500 skiers of all abilites.
I was in the 31km event, and an exciting part of the day was eavesdropping on skiers talk about their choice of clothing before the race. "Oh how many layers are you wearing?, and ten minutes before the gun, "I'm not sure what to put on."
There were some items of clothing I saw in the barn before the race that still baffle me.
So I've compiled a list, and remember most folks were out in minus 8 degree celsius weather for 3-6 hours.
1. cotton, head to toe sweatpant matterial. (It's not the '70's anymore)
2. leather, no not chaps just 30 year old mittens.
3. shorts, yup, shorts????
4. treated cotton, as in welding pants and matching coat.
5.down. great for apres ski, but lousy on the trail.

I looked high and low for denim, but I came up emty this year, the only thing worse than dungarees for skiing is lulu lemon flair pants. Give your head a shake ladies.

I wish sometimes I could ski with a camera to capture the insanity, but nordic skiing is hard enough.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LaSportiva Crosslite trail running shoes

I don't consider myself a shopper, more of a buyer. In other words, I thoroughly research my purchases before I pull the trigger.
These shoes on the other hand were not the shoes I had intended to run on. I was set on a pair of Salomons, but the fit and feel of the Sportivas turned me around.
Aside from the ridiculous light weight of these shoes,(311g) they have serious lugs for traction. More than I will need on my runs along the North Saskatchewan river, but I figured they would be great for winter too.
They exceed my expectations for grip in the snow and, as I never run in icy conditions, they negate the need for anything else for winter running footwear. In fact the lugs are a bit dangerous decending wooden stairs, as they tend to catch on the leading edge and propel me forward.
I am also a big fan of the screeguard covering most of the lacing system. This is really smart as even small debris can ruin a good run. The uppers are mostly mesh for cooling an even feature reflective surfaces on the side.
Although they are not marketed as a forefoot shoe, the lack of heel cushioning and flexible midsole makes these a perfect winter or trail shoe for someone who runs on Newtons in the summer.

PRICE: About $100 CDN

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Season

The amazing Canadian outdoor clothier Arcteryx, has funded a 22 episode series documenting five of their sponsored atheletes.
It worth a look. I combines a few of my loves: being outside, beautiful cinematography and the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rapha Arm Warmers

As with my leg warmers, see below, I have tried numerous pairs of arm warmers over the years with mixed results.
Either they are too loose at the top or too tight at the bottom. But the Rapha Arm Warmers are Goldielocks.
They're lined with fleece and they use Italian Roubaix fabric that feels almost like 2mm neoprene. They are a tight fill all over and have a tab on the top to help with pulling them on. Although more pricey than other garments, these are the gold standard and the sexy Euro attention to detail are a must have for any gear junkie.
They come in only two colours, black and white and the reverse.

about $60

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vibram Fivefingers KSO

A few years ago a friend of mine gave up his dream of developing a shoe that fit like a glove.
He discovered the Vibram fivefingers and quickly became their biggest fan.
Over time I saw the need for such a shoe, and jumped on the wagon.
Sure they look kinda odd, fit wierd, but get past that and you have a shoe for everything.
Honestly I have worn this shoe in all conditions, and have tried it in most sport applications where a binding
isn't needed. (Injinji even makes socks to fit the Fivefingers.)
I wore them a few days ago in the surf, thus the white wax on the toes, and I forgot i was wearing them within a few minutes in the water.
They saved my toes and soles on the sharp coral and lava and gripped the board tight.
The KSO(keep stuff out) is a tight fit around the circumfrence of the ankle and shielded me from the sand while running on the beach.
On land and water the fivefingers go with me everywhere.
Their line-up is expanding to leather uppers so check them out.

*Note* I would recomend buying the shoes a bit small if you can do it. They only come in full sizes and they expand with use, especially in the water.

about $80

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sugoi Midzero leg warmer

I've worn more than a few pairs of leg and arm warmers over the years with limited success.
Recently I got these Sugoi midzero leg warmers, or knees as I call them, and they do what they are supposed to do.
I don't ask much from my gear really, just for results. If my stuff works and I don't notice it, I'm happy. But that smile turns upside down when gear fails the basic tasks.
Sugoi is one of the few companies I've found that use a tape gripper at the top seam to hold the 'knees' in place.
When they are tucked into the shorts they are bomber and never move. Simple task, done simply.
In fact I use them for running, instead of knickers or pants weather permitting, and if find the support around my knee comforting and beneficial.
They are lined with with soft fleece and articulated for ease of movement at the knee.
These 'knees' are a must and I find I wear them more than I ever imagined.
Recomended buy

about $40 CDN.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Olympic Torch Relay kit

Ok first of all look at the emotion on my face. Happy, really happy and proud.
But I want to put the emotion of the day aside and focus on the garments torch bearers for this Olympics have been wearing for 78 days now leading up to the Vancouver winter games.
They are a large fit to allow bulky winter clothes underneath as they glowing white lined nylon suit is uninsulated. The polyester Chinese made suit is windproof to its credit, as the winters winds howl across this country, but on a day hovering around the freezing mark when I ran, the lack of heat management made me a sticky, smelly mess after only 300 metres of walk/running. Although organizers assure me there have been no incidents to date, I can't imagine a worse fabric to wear especially on my head than acryrlic. Spot the danger.
Don't get me wrong here, I was honoured to carry the Olympic flame for a few minutes, but outfit is not a legacy piece for me.
I can't imagine me wanting to pull on the white suit again on my way to the grocery store or before a race. But I now have a great halloween costume.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The review is coming for the white suit, matching hat and red mitts.
I'm running on January 15, in a complete suit made in China, for a Canadian Olympic games.
Wonders never cease.
Garments like these ones make me wonder if the designers have tried these threads on, because it's like wearing landfill.
The mitts are slightly different from the ones available commercially. The maple leaf on the palm has raised rubber knubbies making it easier to hold onto the torch.