Impromptu Racing

Took a little vacation last week to Maine. We stayed at a summer camp and tested out all the amenities for a potential 2017 summer for our son.

On the first night there it was announced that the following morning the Kennebec Land Trust was holding their annual Tri-Sports Challenge race and we were welcome to join.


Always up for a little impromptu racing and fun, I signed up and took part in the 1/4 mile swim, 1/2 mile water craft (more on my "boat" later) and a 5K run.



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Tour of the Catskills


Riding some familiar and missed roads with a good friend in the Tour of the Catskills event.

Scott had never ridden 80 miles so this was a true test with some nice big hills

I had a great time seeing some familiar sites and helping Scott
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Three I'm Digging #13


Been on a bit of a hiatus from writing with a lot going on, but that has only allowed me to find more products I dig and to share here.

I spent a good portion of spring and early summer riding my bike in preparation for the Wilmington Whiteface 100k mountain bike race (Check out my race recap here). The race is a qualifier for the the Leadville 100 mtb race and since I've done that race before, I thought it might be fun/interesting to change up the equipment a bit and go for it on a single speed.

I still love my early version Spot Brand Rocker 29er SS.

Here is the new version:
Rocker SS 29
Complete Bike: $3,199
Frame Only: $1,199

If you are in the market for a new carbon full suspension rig, I would highly recommend checking out the new Spot Brand offering:
rollik557
Complete Bike: $6,499
Frame With Rear Shock: $2,999
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After a good ten months out of the water, I have found my way back into swimming. After dealing with some lingering tendonitis in a shoulder and elbow, I decided to bite the bullet and shut down swimming to see if that was the root of the pain. So far, so good; albeit, I'm taking a very gradual approach to effort, distance and time in the water.

I treated myself to a new training drag suit since one of my old ones had lost its battle with chlorine and neglect. While picking up a few items at Swimmer's Choice here on Long Island for my son, I spotted some cool looking suits and was able to get a patriotic design on sale.

Dolfin Dragsters Stars Male Poly
SALE - $18.75

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Along with swimming, I am making the attempt to build back some running form and speed. Maybe not the best plan for the heat of summer, but I really love getting out at sunrise in the summertime.

Over the years I have tried every shirt imaginable and I constantly come back to one. Most shirts get heavy, clingy and uncomfortable once saturated with sweat and water on a hot humid run; sometimes that contributes to nipple chafe...brutal.

This Patagonia shirt tends to work the best for me and doesn't cost a fortune.

Patagonia Men's Short-sleeved Fore Runner Shirt
$39
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Dancing on the Pedals in the Rain & Mud

Wilmington Whiteface 100k - it rained all day which made for difficult, treacherous conditions, but what a good way to suffer on the single speed.


Review & Report getting cleaned up...
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A Fond(o) Farewell


2016 Tour of the Battenkill - Final race edition as the event transitions to fondo format in future.

Review & Report in production...


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Bear Mountain Classic - Review & Report


In January, I made the commitment to ride the Wilmington Whiteface 100k mountain bike race...on a single speed. While this sounded like a good idea and a 'fun' challenge, I must have blocked out the training necessary to complete a 100k mountain bike race let alone on a single speed.

The winter was filled with numerous hours in the boiler room watching movies and logging miles on Zwift.

Once spring rolled around, I knew I would need some real outdoor miles that included hills.

First on the calendar was the 2016 Bear Mountain Classic.

EVENT REVIEW

Sometimes simple is better.

A parking lot in a big park with some 10x10's, race officials, start/finish line and competitors...game on.

Sign-up/Price:  Easy sign up; if you've ever been on bikereg.com you know what I'm talking about. $75 is a more than fair price for an event that has a good course, marshalls, timing and all the proper race operations elements.
Pre-Event Communication:  Good emails leading up with the race book published well beforehand.
Packet Pick-Up:  Simple and straight forward in a parking lot.
Venue:  Bear Mountain State Park is a special location close to the city and make this an annual 'must do' race for many.
Course:  Excellent course.
Awesome loop with fast downhill to a great rolling climb section through the trees.
Course Markings & Volunteers:  Great. The only sketchy part was at the roundabout in the rain with the pack splitting around the island and no clear direction.
Clear signage along the course and well marked cone sections for bike lanes. A well staff split point for full and half bike course separation.
Post Race Food:  Not sure there was any as it was pouring rain and cold, so I split for home.
Race Photos: Nothing official, but some great shots from some local professional photographers.
Photogragh by Phil Penman

Post- Event Communication: Good

Travel: Easy drive from Long Island to Bear Mountain.

OVERALL: This is a great early season race in a special venue. I'm not a big road racing guy so the CRCA team vibe is not for me, but that is the norm for all road cycling events.


MY RACE/ADVENTURE

Looking at the weather forecast (that's what all endurance sport athletes do and obsess over in the weeks, days and hours leading up to a race), I could see that rain was in the cards...
Photograph by Phil Penman
Photograph by Phil Penman
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Performance Apparel/Athleisure Choices


Can all these new athletic apparel brands survive in the competitive athleisure market?

What started with Lululemon, the athleisure marketplace has seen no shortage of innovative, aspiring brands hoping to capitalize on a new segment and it's explosive growth.

The NPD Group certainly sees continued strength in the athletic apparel market:

Here are some interesting brands to watch and check out:

RHONE

"As a group of busy professionals and passionate athletes, our team became perplexed by the tremendous gap in activewear. Rhone was created to fill that void, speaking directly to how men live, work, and sweat. We wanted clothes that stand up to the test of everyday “transition” times. Whether running errands, jumping on a flight, or pushing hard in the gym, Rhone feels good, looks good, performs better. Ultimately we want to capture that which inspires all of us. Our belief is we can push each other and our product forward each day."






RYU

"We are a technical training brand engineered for the training and performance of the multi-discipline athlete. We develop the most innovative, well designed, best in class fitness clothing in Canada without compromising fit, value, and design. Our design teams are the greatest thinkers, producers and garment engineers in the industry. Designed without compromise, RYU exists to facilitate human performance."






1STROUND

"Brought to life in 2010 as the brainchild of two friends and sports fanatics from the University of Southern California, Teague Egan and Sterling Brewster, 1st Round Athletics has one mission and one mission only, to naturally improve athletic performance through innovation and cutting edge technology in a healthy, legal, and sustainable way. We aim to increase speed, strength, power, and endurance because sport is a game of inches, and every edge is monumental. 1st Round is comprised of men’s and women’s apparel including their signature SmartShield® compression line for men, as well as an athletic seamless fit, and a loose fit. 1st Round produces shirts, tanks, leggings, shorts, running shorts, and accessories including socks, wristbands and headbands. 

Additionally, 1st Round uses a new technology in all of its initial products called energyDNA®. Now millions of athletes can play and compete with the same level of energy and performance in the final moments of a game they do in the beginning. Our energyDNA® technology uses heat from the body and turns that into reusable energy to increase oxygen to the muscles of the athlete."

How This Former NFL Agent Survived Failure and Found Startup Success



HYLETE

"HYLETE'S creed:

train to push yourself both physically and mentally;compete so as to improve yourself, as well as those around you;
and live to be healthy in mind, body, and soul.

train. compete. live.

HYLETE'S vision:

continuously create innovative, performance cross-training apparel that captures the spirit of the cross-training hybrid athlete."









YOGASMOGA
  • "A lot of people think of themselves as clothing companies who sell yoga apparel. We think of ourselves differently. We are a yoga and wellness company that makes things for life.
  • Our goal is to be part of people's lives—wherever you are today, and wherever you are going tomorrow. We are here from yoga, to gym, to life. 

  • We make things from the heart and with love.

  • Whether you are on the go, or simply being, we're happy to be there with you. We hope to bring a little more yoga into your journey—wherever life takes you.

  • Made In The USA –– the innovation of bringing high-quality, technical apparel to market."



ATTACK LIFE BY GREG NORMAN COLLECTION

"Greg Norman Collection is proud to present Attack Life – a new line of Performance Infused Lifewear for those demanding more functionality from their wardrobes. This versatile sportswear collection fuses the best elements from an active, athletic lifestyle into everyday wear. Deliberately understated with attention to detail, the first season will feature men’s graphic t-shirts, polos, jackets, shorts and pants. 

Delivering the same GNC promise of quality, performance and design, Attack Life will be available this summer as part of the Summer/Fall 2016 Collection."



LAIRD

"After 30 years as a sponsored athlete, Laird made the decision to start his own Apparel Company. As relevant as ever as a Waterman and Fitness expert alike, Laird demands ‘equipment’ innovated for function first. Subsequently the mission of Laird Apparel is to provide the clothing for every aspect of his life, from Offshore to Beach and from Gym to Relaxation."




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Three+ I'm Digging #12


While the ski season on the east coast has been almost nonexistent this year, we still managed some good fun and a few turns at Whiteface in January, the west has had some epic days and consistent snowfall.

I was lucky enough to recieve a new pair of skis for X-mas since I've been sliding my old Volkl Gotamas for the last eight-plus years.

The new Volkl 100Eights are amazing and the perfect all-mountain ski for Colorado. Perfect for deep snow and crud in the back and nibble enough to fly on groomers on the front.

Volkl Skis 100Eight
$825


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Keeping with the skiing theme, there is nothing like a good warm jacket that fits really well. A lot of skiwear is cut too big and sloppy. A good athletic cut that allows freedom of movement while not pinching, bunching or riding up the backside.

While on vacation at Devils Thumb Ranch over the holidays I found the nordic ski brand Bjorn Daehlie to be well done. The SHELTER jacket is a great piece for skiing, walking around or a number of outdoor activities.

Bjorn Daehlie SHELTER Jacket
$250


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Performance athletic wear is blowing up and it seems a new brand launches everyday. Will any of them be around next year or the following...we'll see, but while they are turning out new designs and interesting fabrics I'll keep checking them out.

The 1st Round brand has some interesting gear and I really like their shorts and leggings. The shorts have a great commpression liner built in and some great pockets. The tights are well thoughtout and provide excellent compression, warmth and energy.

1st Round EnergyDNA Core Short
$50


1st Round EnergyDNA Element Legging
$70
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Ride Across The USA

Ride across the USA for Phit America


 
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RoadAir Mini Pump - Review - More Than Just a Bike Pump

PRODUCT: RoadAir Mini Pump

MSRP: $29.95

DESCRIPTION:
"✓ LIFETIME WARRANTY. When you buy our RoadAir mini bike pump you get lifetime warranty plus 100% protection of you money. If you have any problem with our mini pump, do know that we are here for you- Satisfaction Guarantee!
✓ EBOOK GIFT - The mini bike pump comes with a free ebook to guide you about its perfect use. The book, titled "Cycling For Life" will provide some great cycling hacks with productive workout routines and gear guides.
✓ COMFORTABLE & EASY TO USE - RoadAir tire pump features a sleek design which makes the product easy to use for anyone. With a simple design, you can use this tire pump to refill your bike tires and hit the road without wasting any time. The mini bike pump is extremely compact and lets you change the valve type PRESTA & SCHRADER as per your preference.
✓ TOUGH AND DURABLE - This portable bike pump made from strong aluminium alloy, this bike pump from RoadAir will last for years, providing a long lasting and durable usage. Easy to use, the bicycle pump is compact and will make you fix your flat bike tire on the road, without any trouble.
✓ STRONG MOUNT & ACCESSORIES - The bike pump comes with a strong mouth to keep the mini bike pump attached to your bicycle, no matter where you take it. ACCESSORIES - With the bike pump, you will find a Hidden Compartment Storage at the black handle of the RoadAir bicycle pump, within the compartment you will find the following three parts: Presta valve, Inflating needle and Tapered nozzle. can be used to serve different purposes, like for inflating balloons, pool toys, or to fill a basketball."

PACKAGING
Simple packaging with bike mounting bracket and screws included.

INSTALLATION
While I'm not one for carrying a pump attached to my bike, the installation is easy and straight forward. The pump is bigger than the Topeak Micro Rocket Pump I prefer to stash in my jersey pocket, the RoadAir easily fit in my CamelBak and is a similar size to my current mountain bike Crank Bros Power Alloy pump.


FEATURES
This is where this little pump is different from all the others. The pullout flexible hose and attachments make this much more than a bike pump. It is nice to not have to try to fit my fist with a bulky pump nozzle between spokes and then hold it steady to not rip the stem from the tube and/or bend the stem valve.
The additional attachments and simple storage compartment allow this pump to replace the need to have multiple pumps and easy to stash in a travel bag.
Features I like:
1.  Pull out flexible hose;
2.  Storage compartment for attachments.

There are a few features this pump lacks that I like/need:
1.  Size, not quite small enough to hide in a jersey pocket;
2.  The lack of a pressure gauge to hit an exact psi;
3.  As strictly a cycling pump is the hose and attachments need to be able to screw on to your presta or schrader valve and will not work on valve extenders.

PERFORMANCE
Pumping up bike tires is simple and effective with this pump. I took far fewer pumps to inflate a road tire than the Micro Pump and was on par with the "High Volume" setting on the Crank Bros pump when pumping up a mountain bike tire.

OVERALL
This little pump is a solid option and a good price if you don't mind a pump on your frame, don't need a psi gauge and do not ride with valve extenders. 
I would love to see if RoadAir could add a 'Micro' size pump with a pressure gauge that fit valve extenders to the product line, then we might find perfection.
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Three I'm Digging #11


We are approaching the holiday season so this will be my last 'Three I'm Digging' before compiling a bit of a 'Best of' list for holiday gift giving...maybe for next week...


It has been a long, long time since I put on the hockey pads and took to the ice. I've played a little pick up pond hockey and skated around on our backyard rink, but putting on the pads and getting into the mix with a bunch of players is a whole different animal...and set of muscles.

There have been a lot of changes to equipment since I last owned gear, especially goalie gear. With no desire to relive the days of having hard rubber pucks aimed at me and purposely putting my body in front of them, I have decided to try my skills at playing "out" and being a puck shooter.

Completely new to the equipment and skates for playing a different position, I took to local hockey store to get set up. One piece of gear that has changes and combined three items previously used are the Bauer Jock shorts. No more individual compression shorts, jock and garter belt. This is an all-in-one solution and I'm digging!

Bauer Elite Senior Compression LOCKJOCK Short with Cup
35.99


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I'm a big time sweat machine when I train and have experienced a lot of dehydration. I have experimented with a number of products to combat this nutritional need.

Through experimentation and many training miles suffering through 'gut rot' and suboptimal results I, at one point, created my own concoction of watered down orange juice and table salt.

One day, my brother gave me a silver bag with a big red 'X' on the front that he had received from professional rider Christian Vande Velde - an Electrolyte & Fluid Replacement Beverage...

I tried the Secret Drink Mix out and knew I had possibly found the solution to my needs. It was a great tasting product and delivered a good amount of sodium and I had no stomach discomfort. I was able to order more product online and became a regular customer.

Now the brand has changed its name from SDM to Skratch Labs and they have an awesome assortment of flavors and delivery methods as well as cookie mix, cookbooks, water bottles, etc. to round out nutritional needs.

Resealable bag - $19.50
Single serving $1.95
Box of 20 Single Serving packs - $35.00


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You will find many place here that I extol the qualities and enjoyment of the Inside Ride emotion rollers (not quite sure the word 'enjoyment' belong alongside roller training):


Since I've started using Zwift and becoming a more active participant in the community, I was putting my body, equipment, people around my and workout at risk trying to type, use 'power ups' and access the game platform. Wanting to maintain the floating and motion of the Inside Rollers, I purchased the fork stand.

An easy on and off accessory to use when I want to be more 'hands on' with the Zwift game or when I want to 'free ride' the rollers as they intend to be ridden.

$65.00



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HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 2


*DISCLAIMER: I look at running shoes a lot like ski boots. Because we all have different foot types, running forms and terrain choices, we all seek different comfortfeatures and performance from our footwear. Like choosing a ski boot, it is important to visit a retailer who will take the time to analyze your foot and running style to allow you to select a shoe that might be the right choice. But, only after running a few times in the selected shoe can you determine if it is the right one.

*I love getting new shoes. I love opening the box, the smell, how clean they are and their seemingly perfect fit when you first slip them on. And, more often than not, the first run (or even first few runs) in a new pair of shoes your mind is in a state of euphoria, which is why I wait until I have at least 25 miles run in pair of shoes before determining how right they are for me and then reviewing for others.


PRODUCT: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 2


MSRP: $130

DESCRIPTION:
"For 2015, the award-winning Clifton receives an updated upper with a focus on lightweight comfort in the CLIFTON 2. A softer, lightly padded tongue provides increased protection across the foot, and structural overlays improve midfoot support. The industry-leading ride remains unchanged, and the road-focused outsole includes strategically placed rubber pods to improve durability. When all is said and done, one of our favorite shoes just got better."

I've still been been in search for the perfect replacement to the, rumored, to be discontinued Hoka One One Huaka that I love so much. I have suspended the search recently as I went to the Running Warehouse and scooped up a couple pairs of Huakas for a ridiculously low price.

The Clifton 2 shoe is an excellent option as a replacement, but still not the same. While the ride is not as low to the ground as the Huaka, it is still super smooth, flexible and super light.

COMFORT
This shoe is extremely comfortable from first run to many miles. Where I've experienced the most improvement from Hoka is in eliminating uncomfortable elements like the seams in the toebox, the thin tongue and fishline-like laces. The upper is much more comfortable, padded and has less seam pressure points. Finally, Hoka has done away with the goofy cinch laces that cut into the tongue and top of the foot.

FEATURES
REGULAR LACES!!! The regular laces are a huge improvement, as is the new padded tongue. The tongue takes up some of the volume in the forefoot and mid-foot area so it feels like a bit tighter fit, but not too cramped. 

PERFORMANCE
These shoes perform similarly to the Huaka. I don't feel as fast and connected to the ground in these but it is not too far off. What is very noticeable is how light these are. When you first pull out of box to running, these babies are feather light for a maximalist shoe.

OVERALL
I'm a fan of these as a longer mileage shoe with a bit more under foot girth. I still don't feel as nimble and quick in these as the Huaka, but it is very close. The real laces, padded tongue and durability are a major plus with this shoe.
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