Friday, July 13, 2018

6 Ways to Carry Water on Runs

There’s no way around it. On runs lasting more than an hour, you’re going to need to drink up. Though some runners stay hydrated by plotting a route with public water fountains along the way (or stashing bottles in the bushes along the route), most opt to stow their agua on their person during a run. The simplest and cheapest way to do so is by simply holding a water bottle in one hand, but sweat and large bottles can make it hard to get a good grip, distracting you from more important things like form and pace. Luckily, multiple options exist for runners to carry hydration in practical and convenient ways. Here are six ways to carry water on your runs:

Handheld Bottle

Nathan Sports Speedshot Plus Insulated Flask — $30
For shorter runs, a handheld bottle can do the trick. Rather than a round one that is tough to grip, many athlete handhelds are molded to fit the curve of the hand. A strap keeps the bottle secure, while an optional pocket allows a small spot to stash a car key or a gel.
  • A step up from simply holding a bottle since the strap does the work of keeping the bottle to your hand.
  • Many bottles come in insulated versions, which is handy on hot days.
  • Little risk of chafing from hand strap.
  • Can affect upper body movement while running, especially if one hand is unweighted with a bottle.
  • Sound and feel of sloshing can be distracting for some runners.
  • Smaller size may not be enough for runs over one hour.
  • Some valve styles leak while being jostled on runs.

Handheld Soft Flask

Osprey Duro Hand — $30
Instead of a molded plastic bottle, the handheld soft flask uses a flexible polyurethane to contain fluids. As the runner sips from the bottle, the polyurethane compresses. Like its hard-molded cousin, this option comes with a strap to secure the flask to the hand as well as a small pocket.
  • Compression eliminates sloshing present in hard-molded bottles.
  • When the bottle is empty, it can be rolled up and stashed in a pocket.
  • Some trail-specific bottles come with a built-in water filter for filling up from natural water sources on trail runs.
  • Equipped with bite valves, which do not leak.
  • Flexible bottles are cumbersome to fill up, especially on the fly.
  • Smaller size may not be enough for runs over one hour.

 Waist Belt

Fitletic Hydra 12 Hydration Belt — $26.95
Waist belts come equipped with holsters to carry bottles. Some are located on the lower back to carry a single, larger bottle, while others hold multiple smaller bottles (often the same ones used in handheld hydration setups) around the waist.
  • Hands are free to swing.
  • Can be adjusted to fit individual body type.
  • More capacity than handheld bottles.
  • In setups with multiple bottles, runner can carry multiple hydration options (one bottle with water, one with electrolyte beverage).
  • Most waist belts come with pockets large enough for gels, keys, ID and cell phone.
  • Can bounce while running, causing distraction, discomfort and/or chafing.
  • If belt is too low, it can interfere with hip movements.
  • Sound and feel of sloshing can be distracting for some runners.
  • Retrieving and returning water bottles while running can be cumbersome.


Cotopaxi Veloz 3L Hydration Pack — $119.95
For very long runs, especially those without easy access to water sources, a hydration backpack is an excellent option. These packs come equipped with a water bladder made of flexible polyurethane that can carry one to three liters of water.
  • Distributes the weight across the surface of your back, allowing you to carry more water.
  • A hose with a bite valve makes this option the simplest one to use – no fumbling with bottles.
  • Large water capacity means no need to refill on most runs.
  • Multiple pockets to stash snacks, trail maps and other essentials.
  • Water bladders can be difficult to clean.
  • Only one vessel limits options more than waist belt.
  • Multiple contact points increase potential for chafing.
  • Not all backpacks are built to fit the female physique, causing discomfort on the chest.

Sports Bra

Hydro Pocket Sports Bra — $29.99
Pockets in sports bras are becoming a trend, thanks to companies who recognize the natural opportunity to stash more stuff. In a sports bra, a water bottle fits comfortably between the shoulder blades, allowing women to carry their bottle without the extra hassle of a backpack or waist belt.
  • Can be used with most standard water bottles.
  • Location of the water bottle is unlikely to affect gait in the same way as a handheld might.
  • No extra contact points beyond a standard sports bra, reducing the potential for chafing.
  • Bra may not provide enough support, especially for large-chested women.
  • Smaller size of bottle may not be enough for runs over one hour.
  • No extra pockets for carrying other run essentials.
  • Retrieving and returning bottle while running can be cumbersome.


Camelbak Nano Vest — $100
Like a backpack, a hydration vest allows a runner to carry more water than a handheld. However, a vest is more likely to carry the weight on the front of the body, in soft flasks held on the chest (though some vests use a water bladder on the back, like a backpack).
  • Weight of is evenly distributed on front and back.
  • Runner can carry multiple hydration options (one bottle with water, one with electrolyte beverage).
  • Multiple pockets to stash snacks, trail maps, and other essentials.
  • Easier to adjust to individual body than a backpack.
  • Bottles are easier to wash than a hydration bladder.
  • Cannot carry as much water as most hydration backpacks.
  • Retrieving and returning bottle while running can be cumbersome.

Best Running Sunglasses for Summer

Everyone knows that running shoes are personal, but guess what? Running sunglasses are too. Finding a pair that perfectly fits your face, doesn’t slide down your sweaty nose, and still offers up the protection—and visibility—that you need while traversing trail or road can be difficult. But we’re here to make the hunt a little easier. Here are seven of the best running sunglasses currently on the market. And the best part: They look good, too.

Oakley Outpace — $173

These sunglasses held up to a myriad of sunny speed workouts, and the no-slip ear- and nose-pads help them truly stand up to the product name once the miles got super-sweaty. Yes, they’re equipped with Oakley’s famous Prizm technology to enhance details on the road, but the  extended field of view and side shields also work to combat glare. Plus, the ventilated lens allows for plenty of airflow that prevents fogging. But the best part is, hands down, the fact that the frame and temple design are hat-compatible—meaning there’s no need to choose between your preferred form of sun protection. Now you can have both.

Zeal Incline — $149

Inspired by those looking to clock speedy times on downhill adventures, the Zeal Optics team designed these Incline sunglasses so that nothing would weigh you down. They house their famous Z-lite frames that weigh less than an ounce, so you’ll pretty much forget that they’re on your face. Plus, they have polarized lenses that help blues and greens really pop, and a bio-plastic frame that won’t harm the environment.

Adidas Tempest — $120

With a sporty take on the trendy cat-eye lens, these frames are both functional and fashionable so you can wear them straight from your long run to those afternoon plans (though maybe give them a wipe-down first so they’re not so sweaty). The polycarbonate lenses weigh a mere half-ounce, are scratch-resistant and are even compatible with RX prescription lenses (order via SportRx) so you can skip the contacts and head straight for the door.

Smith Lowdown Focus Slim — $349

These sunglasses are definitely a splurge, but the built-in technology is worth it: the frames connect to the brand’s Smith Focus App and, using brain-sensing technology, measures how focused you are on your workout. It then dishes out real-time feedback that helps you stay in the zone. The shades also house the brand’s proprietary ChromaPop technology, providing more clarity so you can better differentiate colors often found in nature while you’re on the move.

Roka Phantom TI — $260

Everyone loves the look of a classic aviator frame, and these lightweight specs hold up to brutal sweat-tests, too. The titanium frames come in a variety of colors, weigh less than an ounce and are of course polarized for optimal visibility. And with fingerprint- and scratch-resistant lenses—along with multidirectional, no-slip ear and nose grips—they’re perfect for both long runs and fast laps around the track.

 District Vision Nako — $199

With advanced sports lenses that are engineered for trail running, these sunglasses provide better visibility during changing light conditions, are shatter- and scratch-proof, and have a hypoallergenic nosepad to all but guarantee a comfortable run. They’re also water and oil repellent as well. To make you feel even more confident in your purchase, District Vision put these sunglasses through a two-year testing period with various athletes, meaning they’re truly ready to be put through your paces.

Native Sixty-Six — $149

For those who want sunglasses that can perform without the super-technical look, these sunglasses can easily transition between short runs and social plans. Native’s N3 polarized lens technology claims to block up to four times more infrared light than regular polarized lenses, offer up UV protection, and filter rays so you have clear sight of your surroundings. The frames also have a lifetime warranty, so there’s no chance of these breaking on you before you’ve really put them to good use.

All-New Norco Threshold

Norco Bicycles is thrilled to introduce the all-new 2018 Threshold cyclocross platform. With updated geometry, a redesigned frame, and an arsenal of features to combat the muddy mayhem of cyclocross racing, the Threshold delivers on performance and durability.

A compact top tube and short chainstays make the Threshold ultra-maneuverable on tight courses. Increased fork offset helps the Threshold steer more predictably, especially in deep mud, while a slightly slacker head tube angle and lower bottom bracket increase stability when the terrain gets steep. The seat angle has been made steeper than previous generations to help riders with quick accelerations. The overall ride is quick and nimble, yet stable and confidence inspiring, so that you can make the most of every ride.

The redesigned frame on the Threshold uses the same ARC Race technology found on Norco road race bikes, reducing rider fatigue and allowing the bike to roll more predictably off-road, while the Power Chassis design’s oversized head tube junction, down tube, BB shell and chainstays deliver optimal lateral stiffness to maximize pedaling efficiency and power transfer. Size-Scaled Tubing on the Threshold means that all riders will experience the same positive ride characteristics, regardless of frame size.

Cyclocross races don’t get cancelled for inclement weather, and mud baths are inevitable. Front and rear 12mm thru axles on the Threshold deliver maximum stiffness for enhanced responsiveness and control through rough, rutted terrain, while flat mount disc brakes offer incredible modulation, stopping power and control through mud, sand, snow, grass and gravel.

To further help combat severe weather, the Threshold now has huge clearance front and rear to support the use of wider tires, and stealth mounting points so that riders can install fenders. The ingenious SASSY (Secret Attachable Seat Stay Yoke) clips on to the seat stay bridge and along with NINJA and BOiL threaded inserts allow conventional fenders to be fit to the Threshold, while remaining inconspicuous. The Threshold comes equipped with GIZMO internal cable routing and a seat clamp cover to prevent water and mud from entering the frame.

Shimano XTR M9100 Series

Shimano released their new XTR M9100-series today at the World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave. Technical details are nice but what does it mean for you? Key points include:
  • 12 Speed 10-51 cassette with a range of 510% – 1x drivetrains are functional when you have this much range.
  • Weight reductions – a trimmed down 1×11 system is available for additional lightweight setup
  • Multi Q-factor options in cranks – a better fit for those correcting for Q-angle.
  • Updated shift levers – lots of slide and rotation range to get the shifters matched to your fingers. Additionally 35% less shift force required.
  • Braking with 2 and 4 post designs for light weight and extra stopping power. As always efficient braking for smaller hands and lots of lever adjustment.
  • Pedals with two axle lengths for Q-factor adjustments. Also matching Q-factor between road and gravel.
XTR is first focused on the race crowd, but for the performance rider, the quality and finish,and durability is often well worth the investment.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

If you’ve just gotten into the world of mountain biking, you’re very likely impatient to start developing some of the MTB skills that make the pros the great riders they are. And while it takes anyone a great deal of time to become a great rider, the good news is that you, as a beginner, can start working on some of the skills the pros use daily. Here, we’ll look at some of the skills you can start working on today.

Skill 1: Balance on Uphills, Steep Downhills, and Challenging Trails

You might be surprised that “balance” is on a list of pro skills, because you’ve probably been able to balance on a bike since you took off your training wheels. However, you’ve probably seen pros navigate bumpy, challenging trails like they’re easy. While MTB pros make it look like second nature, maintaining your balance and the balance of the bike is a difficult art to master.
Cecilia Potts, a professional cyclist and former junior mountain biking world champion, explains that riding a mountain bike involves a constant effort to stay upright. She notes that, when riding uphill, you will need to move your body weight somewhat backwards on the bike. This is because too much weight on the front wheel makes it more likely you’ll come off the bike if you hit a bump. In going uphill, you need stop shift forward, or even stand up.
As a beginner, you may need to think about these shifts, but as you practice, you will get to the point where it becomes second nature and you won’t have to think about it anymore.

Skill 2: Stoppies

Stoppies, otherwise known as rolling endos, can make you stand out on a trail, and a well-executed stoppie can impress your friends. Practicing this skill can also help you to become more familiar with your bike. The goal with a stoppie is to pop up the back wheel while the front wheel is still rolling slowly.
To execute a stoppie, crouch down in the pedals and pop up quickly, pressing down on your front brake. Getting the timing and the degree of braking down can take some practice, so be patient with yourself. It’s a good idea to practice on a slight downhill on a trail with good traction.

Skill 3: Manuals

A manual is essentially the reverse of a stoppie: instead of rolling slowly on the front wheel, you want to balance on the back wheel. In order to practice getting the front wheel off the ground, it can be a good idea to first practice a front wheel lift. Practicing getting your front wheel up can help you ride over curbs and other objects.
As will all MTB skills, you probably want to challenge yourself once you’ve mastered one skill. Once you’ve got the front wheel lift, you can move on to a manual. To do this, you’ll need to sink down into the pedals and then pop up with your arms straight out. The goal is to continue rolling on the back wheel. The key is to balance your weight over the back wheel, although this can be very challenging to master.

Skill 4: Switchbacks

If you are planning on riding difficult trails, you’ll probably run into some switchbacks, which are very tight turns that may have you turning almost 180 degrees. Riding switchbacks takes practice, as each rider may find a slightly different flow through them.
One thing that is good to keep in mind on a switchback is keeping your weight low over the bike. Additionally, when going into the turn, it helps to swing your front wheel somewhat wide if possible. As you go around the turn, think about keeping your weight to the bike’s outside. This can help the bike to grip the trail on the turn. Once you become more experienced, you will be able to navigate switchbacks quickly, and even use skills like the stoppie to maneuver through especially tight turns.

Skill 5: Bunnyhop

Knowing how to bunnyhop can help you get over obstacles and to quickly reposition yourself on the trail. There are two types of bunnyhops: the English and the American.
In the English bunnyhop, you get both wheels off the ground simultaneously. To do so, you need to bend knees and elbows to get lower on the bike, then spring upward to get both wheels in the air.
In the American bunnyhop, the beginning is essentially a manual. Then, to get the back wheel off the ground, you think about “scooping” the rear wheel up by bending your knees and bringing the back of the bike up so you land back in the saddle.

Final thoughts

While some of these MTB skills take some work to master, each will help you navigate trails as you advance as a rider. Working on them as a beginner will help you get in enough practice that you’ll be bunnyhopping obstacles and speeding through switchbacks soon.

RaceFace Tailgate Pad

The 2016 Ford F150 is probably the worst truck to review this pad from Race Face on. Out of all of the trucks on the market, the 2015 – present F150’s has the BIGGEST bulge at the top of the tailgate out of any trucks currently on the market.
While this is a growing trend in truck design, the F150 is by far the worst in this aspect. I don’t know how much stuff they stuffed in there…but there is a functional/full pull out step with handle, rear view camera, back up camera for the trailer assist and who else knows what they shoved in there. At least my son really likes the step in to the tailgate and I can drop it with a push of a button on my key FOB.
Why does this matter? Because it greatly effects the fit of the pad. Ideally, any tailgate pad (regardless of manufacturer) really needs a flat tailgate, like the ones found on Tacoma’s, or at least a small bulge where the handle for the tailgate resides.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

With the addition of a bike chain breaker, the sturdy spindle-mounted toolset from All In Multitool just got a little sweeter. Now riders can hit the trail with even less gear in a pocket or pack.
Located only 30 minutes from the Slovenian/Italian border, the city of Udine is home to some rich culture and impressive architecture. The northern metropolis is also the home of All In Multitool inventor Giacomo Macoratti. Together with his business partner Alice, the pair design, test, create, market, ship, and sell their tools. All of this takes place after Giacomo’s full-time teaching gig, where he lectures on structural engineering.
The tool fits inside the crank spindle.
While playing with the All In Multitool V1 for the first time I was pleasantly reminded of my childhood desire to be an “inventor” when/if I grew up. The tractor-drive-shaft-like joint and solid mechanical feel of the tool inspire the confidence that it will do the trick on long rides, far from any workshop. The magnetized parts of the tool secure the smaller tool bits and act as a third hand to hold bolts and screws in place. When I heard Giacomo and Alice were making a new model I immediately emailed to ask if I could review it. Giacomo sent one my way the following day.

Technical features

The All In Multitool is held inside a steel BB spindle with seven high-resistance magnets, and those same magnets keep the following bits in place: T25 Torx, #1 Philips screw bit, 3-6 hex bits, space for 1 chain masterlink (link not included), and a bike chain breaker (V2 only).
All of the bits fit snugly into a magnetized, angular bit driver which provides enough leverage for nearly any screw or bolt on a mountain bike. It is possible to customize and replace any of the bits with those you prefer, and bits are generally available at local hardware stores. Unlike the color palette of the original tool, the new version will only be available in stealth black. The black anodization is said to better stand up to the rigor its use as a chain tool.

It’s as simple as that.
The new chain breaker feature is one that All In Multitool customers have been asking for, and Giacomo wanted to be sure when adding it that the tool would retain its very strong, long-lasting, and easy-to-use characteristics. By putting the chain breaker in the handle, the tool not only retains its former positive attributes but provides one of the lightest and simplest chain tools on the market. Simply remove the round handle from the body of the tool, insert the 4mm hex bit, and open the chain-pin by loosening the bolt on the outer face of the handle. From there, it works exactly as any other chain tool would.

Crankset compatibility

The All In Multitool will work in nearly any hollow steel crank spindle with an internal diameter greater than 21mm. This includes most Shimano MTB cranks, many SRAM cranks, and several others.