Monday, May 15, 2017

Bicycle Commuter Style

When I lived in San Diego I loved commuting to work on my bike. 

Taking off in the early morning from our home in La Jolla to navigate 14 miles of roads, trails, highways and singletrack, I often opted for the mountain bike (it was good training for the Leadville MTB 100). 

I would cruise through the town of La Jolla, down past the Shores and climb up to the UCSD campus, getting a good dirt section diving into the woods on the backside of campus before racing downhill to the highway.

Our offices were in Mira Mesa, and the direct bike route included a section of I-5. Nothing like an early morning buzz by cars and trucks going 80 mph. After the death defying highway rip I would get to the best part of the ride with multiple opportunities to extend my ride through Los Penasquitos Canyon. Finally, up Lopez Canyon and down the road to the office park housing our corporate offices.

I was fortunate to have a locker and shower facilities to clean up and get dressed for the work day.

Bike commuting in a city environment is not as easy and more often than not requires it be done in work clothes. When we moved back to New York I picked up a unique, functional and stylish tailored Jacket, created by Rapha in partnership with British bespoke tailor Timothy Everest. It is essentially a version of the top half of the 2009 bespoke cycling suit.


The jacket is made from a unique nanotechnology based 100% wool fabric that’s both water/stain resistant and designed to keep your body at optimal temperatures – hot or cold.


The technical biking features are in place throughout the jacket: front hems that can be buttoned away from the legs, storm collar, rear pocket, action back pleats at the shoulders, zipped key pocket on the left arm with lanyard, working cuff buttons, dual in-breast pockets, iPod cable routing loops, and light touches of Rapha’s signature pink Melton wool trim.


Rapha still has a more generic cycling sport jacket available, the Lapelled Jacket, but it lacks the style, sophistication and technically elements to the Timothy Everest offering.

I recently saw a similar offering from Parker Dusseau, the Commuter Suit.


Nothing will replace having a locker and shower to clean up for the work day post-ride; It is nice to see more products being offered for the stylish bicycle commuter.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

If you need some wheels to roll around in your stylish threads, check out 5 Reasons Why a Folding Bike is the Best Commuter Bike


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Monday, May 8, 2017

Three I'm Digging #15

Over the years, with all the running, skiing, cycling and standing, I have become acutely aware that it is all about the feet, and when your feet are hurt, broken or tired, it is extremely irritating and you cannot perform at your best.

Additionally, when your feet are hurt or uncomfortable it has an affect on the entire body and consequently could lead to other issues and injuries.

As a ski instructor, many years ago, I found amazing benefit from having the very best footbeds to help with boot fit, alleviate fatigue and help with performance. I have not gone a day since without insoles in my boots.

Shortly after understanding the impact footbeds, I incorporated them into other performance equipment like my cycling shoes.

Sole Footbeds
$29.95

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Speaking of skiing and cycling, cycling shoes are a lot like ski boots. The fit depends on how different brands fit your unique foot.

Over the years, I have had great fitting shoes and have suffered with marginally fitting shoes. One of my first pairs was the Sidi Genius and I LOVED those shoe. I wore them till the bitter end and they just fell apart (about 8 years of thousands of miles a year riding).

Instead of investing in another pair of Sidis I went the price route and moved to Pearl Izumi and Carnac.

Nothing compared to the Sidis, but I made due and with proper footbeds I could better dial in the fit and they were better than adequate.

Recently, I was given a pair of Giro Prolight SLX II shoes as a gift and think I have found the Sidi equivalent.

I have logged close to 2,000 miles in these shoes so far in 2017.

Giro Prolight SLX II
$225

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Regardless of what we do athletically, our feet bare the brunt of our actions; whether it be running, skiing, cycling or just running around the yard in bare feet.

Over the years, I have been good and bad taking particularly good care of my feet, especially clipping my toenails so to not have them dig in to their neighbor toes while squeezed into my running shoes.

I also noticed that my toes would rub together on longer runs and would get sore, blistered and eventually create calluses between each one.

In an attempt to suffer less and keep my toes happy, I tried Injinji toe socks and have found them to be extremely helpful in keeping my toes happy and saving me when I forget to clip my toenails.

Injinji Toe Socks
$12-$15


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Monday, May 1, 2017

Getting Organized

It has been a crazy few months.

Not all good crazy. Not all bad crazy. Just a mixed bag of life comes at you fast crazy.


In an attempt to keep up, manage it all, keep the crazy from overtaking life and even thinking I can get ahead, I have had my foot firmly planted on the gas pedal.

In all the craziness I managed to become a bit disorganized and less focused on the details. As someone who takes pride in being a keeper of copious notes, to do lists and schedules, I found myself trying new tactics that, in the end, complicated things and added to my stress level.

Over the years, technology has changed the tools and convenience of taking notes, but not everything equals the ability to keep a nice log of handwritten notes.

I have become a big user of the evernote app to clip online articles and websites to read later while cruising social media and not having the time to dig in to a particular topic at that time.

Back when I was working and training for an Ironman, I kept an amazing journal with motivational quotes, fortune cookie sayings, details of my training, nutrition and general thoughts. I was so into the process and ability to look back and understand performance and factors (environmental, nutrition, etc.) that affected my performance, I kept this type of journal for many years after the Ironman.


I have often come across this journal and flipped through to find motivation, read a great quote and relive fitter, faster and seemingly better times.


I miss this. I miss being this focused. I miss being this immersed in the details of making myself better. I miss having an account of the things that made me go fast, fail, hurt, feel good, etc.


While looking for a way to get back to this type of focus in my current daily life and different set of responsibilities and training, I came across a cool site & practice: Bullet Journal.
The System
The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. 
It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. 
It will teach you to do more with less.


I am feeling inspired by this, so I went out and purchased a new journal.


Stay tuned to my attempt to 'restart' this practice.


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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Core To Casual Is Dangerous For Sports

Within the next few weeks, PHIT America will see an eye-opening news release on how the sports and fitness industry is contributing to the Healthcare Crisis Time Bomb. Then, the following week, PHIT America will publish the “Inactivity Pandemic 2017 Report,” featuring a comprehensive review of the Physical Activity Council study.  




 
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Listen In


I'm thinking of starting and dabbling in the world of podcasting.

Just exploring, researching and thinking right now.

Current Podcasts I listen to:

  • The Forward
  • How I Built This
  • TED Radio Hour
  • Entre Leadership
  • Awesome Office
  • Inc. Uncensored
  • Outside
  • Leaders
  • Business Unusual
  • HBR Ideacast
  • Live.Life.Better
  • Zwiftcast
How will my effort be unique and worthy of listening to?

Much to consider before I commit fully.
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Friday, October 14, 2016

Three I'm Digging #14


Between my mountain bikes, beach cruiser, my wife's bikes and my son's growing fleet, we have gone through a lot of bike bells. Yes, bike bells. As random as this sounds, a good bike bell is necessary in a number of different situations. Outside of my son constantly ringing his throughout a family ride, I find a good bike bell as a necessary accessory to most bicycles as the bell warns others of your approach on trails and streets and makes you and/or a child more "visible".
My wife saw the Knog Oi Bike Bell on Kickstarter almost a year and a half ago. We just got the two we ordered and, so far, I am impressed with their size, look and sound...no more big ugly space satellite on the handlebars.

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We received an Amazon Alexa last year as a gift and it sat in the box for about 4 months as I was hesitant to add anymore technology to our house and, to be honest, figured we'd plug it in, use if for a short amount of time and then it would just collect dust.
So, after ignoring it for a few months, I got curious and read up on the product. I was intrigued by the services and capabilities so I plugged it in and introduced "Alexa" to the family. My 7-year-old son thought it was the coolest thing ever and figured out that he could easily get some answers to his homework. He wasn't too keen on the name "Alexa" so he chose to rename his new friend "Echo."
To this day, there has not been one day to go by where we have not used "Echo" a number of times throughout the day. It is a pretty amazing product and only gets smarter and more useful over time.

Amazon Alexa
$179.99


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Back in April of 2015 in "Three I'm Digging #8" I wrote about Taft Clothing's very first product, the 'no show' socks that I and then my wife purchased and love. Since then, I have been following the Taft Clothing brand as they expand and introduce more products. I love their story and am a huge fan of everything on their site; it is so well thought out and unique.
When they first shot out a picture of The Chief shoe on their Instagram account, I immediately put in a pre-order for a number of reasons: #1 they are cool looking and so different, #2 My dog's name is Chief and #3 my grandfather's name is Chief!

Taft Shoes - The Chief
$210


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Monday, August 29, 2016

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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Monday, August 15, 2016

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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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

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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Monday, June 13, 2016

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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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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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Monday, May 23, 2016

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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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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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Friday, February 26, 2016

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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