Friday, March 20, 2009

Hurricane Creek Park

Just got back from a local free-ride / downhill / cross - country mountain biking and hiking park. Can't believe I have never visited; it's only 45 minutes away! I'll definitely be going back as I know I missed some elements; however I did manage to ride most of the trail system after messing around on "The Beast" (shown above).

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

La Sportiva FireBlade Review...

As a long time Montrail Vitesse user I must say I was saddened when I learned that this shoe was no longer going to be made. The Vitesse was Montrail's flagship, and for many years only, trailrunning shoe. I'd worn the Vitesse since before Montrail was Montrail, back when they were still OneSport (anybody remember that?). Anyhow being invited to join the Wasatch Speed Goat Mountain Racing Team I was excited to learn that La Sportiva was one of our sponsors. I was excited because I knew that Karl Meltzer wasa big fan of the La Sportiva FireBlade and he too was once a die-hard Montrail Vitesse fan. So I figured what's good for Karl might be good for the rest of us Vitesse fanatics! Still I had to stay objective about this so I recently recieved my pair of FireBlades just days before the Delano 12 Hour race (that turned out to be a real mud fest). With my hectic school/work schedule I was only able to get in a few miles in the FireBlades before the Saturday race, but I already could tell these shoes were a winner in my book. I've learned that any shoe that you can wear right out of the box without any issues is a keeper and the La Sportiva FireBlade is one of those shoes. Like the old Vittesse the FireBlade has
the sockfit upper but better than the Vitesse, the FireBlade is lighter only 359g and the traction is far superior to the Vitesse (most people's #1 complaint with the Vitesse I'd guess). The FireBlade's FriXion® rubber soles are about the stickiest material I've ever experienced and along with the widely spaced, low profile lugs I had no traction issues at all at the Delano 12 Hour; even in deep mud! Any fan of the Vitesse should give these shoes a chance, I'm glad I did. At the same time I believe trail runner out there that desires a more "minimal" shoe but with a bit more underfoot and forefoot protection will really like this shoe.

It was a Dark and Stormy night...and Day!

What can I say? The forecast looked pretty grim even days before the March 14th race. Yes the 2009 Delano Park 12 Hour was, once again, going to prove to be a true test of man versus the elements. The weather prognosticator's maps showed nothing but green (rain) for the next couple of days (an early homage to St. Patricks Day perhaps?). And sure enough the rain came down steadily on the way to the pre-race meal, on the way home later and it was still coming down on the way to the start! The certified one mile loop was absolutely flooded; the out and back spur on grass would soon become the "field of lost shoes" as the grass turned into shoe sucking mud. For those thinking that this isn't a real "trail" race, let me assure you I've never experienced more mud, standing water and lousy weather for any "real trail" race of this length; period!

Two Sport Athlete...

I'm happy to announce that I just got picked up by SIXSIXONE® for my mountain unicycling ability.

For those not in the know, SIXSIXONE® makes the best body protection gear
in the business; for motorcycling, bicycling and snow sports. I've been wearing their products since I started unicycling (well after the first time I wracked my shins with my pedals!). In particular I love the 4x4 Knee/Shin Guards. I use these all the time when I do off-road and trials riding where the possibility of a sudden unplanned dismount are high! The EVA foam padding with nylon inserts are plenty of protection to stop wizzing pedals and rocks! At the same time they stay cool enough as the internals are constructed of Coolmax® that wick away moisture keeping me cool. I wore them during my 12 hour race in May of 2007 and despite the heat and humidity of that Georgia Spring day I stayed very comfortable. In addition to the 4x4 Knee/Shin Guards, I also use the Dirt Lid which is a very lightweight skate style helmet made by SIXSIXONE®. I mainly use the Dirt Lid when I'm practicing trials i.e. when there is a real possiblity of falling off backwards and thus the need for more side and back of the head protection. The Dirt Lid is indeed very light and I hardly know it's on and that is a good thing. It even stays fairly cool wearing it, even on hot summer afternoons! It comes with several different internal padding inserts that allow the user to custom fit the helmet to their unique cranium. Anyhow I'm really excited about riding for SIXSIXONE® and hope that it is a long lasting relationship as I plan to keep using their products into the future as I embark on bigger and badder mountain unicycle epics! Stay tuned...