Archive | August, 2011

Xlab Rocket Pocket

This is the Xlab Rocket Pocket (like a bento box).  It’s small and contoured so that it wouldn’t slip or slide down or around the top tube while resting.  It holds all the essentials like your keys, gels, bars, and IDs.

The Xlab Rocket Pocket is good for use during training and during race day so that you’ll have access to what you need on the bike.

Don’t want to put nutrition in it?  You can also just use it to put tools in there if you prefer.  The sky is the limit.  See this and more Xlab products by going to the Xlab products page.

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Race Day Revo Review

Economical, budget minded, thrifty. Any way you word it the Louis Garneau Race Day Revo backpack gives access to top-tier features, found in other more expensive bags, while maintaining an entry-level price point.

The Race Day Revo all suited up and ready for business

You’ve seen the 10 gallon hat, now meet the 5 gallon bag

This transition bag, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, doesn’t strike an especially strong aesthetic chord with my discerning eye for what’s kitsch or cool, however the bag delivers where it counts. Louis Garneau manages to fit in numerous bells and whistles into the Race Day Revo, incorporating:

  1. Vented wetsuit compartment
  2. Double sided-internal dry compartments for shoes
  3. Vented towel compartment
  4. Sunglasses/goggle pouch
  5. External helmet connector

The Race Day Revo manages all of these extras while still showing off the usual assortment of side pockets and water-bottle holder.

Just another day as the office water-boy...

Constructed from extremely thin nylon, this race day bag is completely waterproof and collapsible to the point where you could just roll it up and pack it anywhere when not in use. The internal compartment doesn’t seem large, since the bag itself is smaller than most, however we managed to fit a 5 gallon water bottle inside with ease meaning that it will fit all of your race day gear, and then some. When you break it down the Race Day Revo’s weight is designed to be light (it won’t break your momma’s back) and when a problem comes along, the Revo whips it (whips it real good).

Zoot Z-Pack Tri Bag

Zoot Z-Pack Training Bag

This Zoot Triathlon Bag is what you need for a streamlined race day or training session.  The Z-Pack features:

  • The ability to attach a Race Travel Bag for complete travel ensemble
  • An expandable helmet storage panel
  • A Separate wet/shoe storage pocket with external access
  • An external ID/business card window
  • Two mesh cargo pockets for easy-access storage
  • An interior CD/MP3 pocket with rubber headphone jack
  • A large main compartment with top access
  • Two external zippered, fleece-lined pockets
  • Cell phone pocket on shoulder strap
  • Vented back panel for breathability and comfort
  • Memory foam shoulder straps for comfort
  • Adjustable sternum and shoulder straps for different torso lengths

Specs:

  • Fabric: 1680D Nylon in high-abrasion areas, 420D Poly, PU- coated mesh
    Size: 11″ wide, 9″ deep, 21″ tall (28 cm wide, 23cm deep, 53.25 cm tall)

At a triathlon transition where space is usually scarce, having a bag too bulky would make things much too difficult.  One, you’ll likely peeve other people around you, and second,  merely getting organized ends up being a more daunting task if  you end up bringing too much to transition.  This is why the Z-Pack is a great choice.  Bring what you need to your training session or race day, so you can focus on what’s most important – your race.

See how the Z-Pack compares for your needs to other Triathlon Bags.

TRISLIDE and BodyGlide

We’ve all made the same mistake and suffered similar chafing consequences and while we can’t all be “Slippery Pete’s”, the alternative to having a natural friction free sheen has been either BodyGlide or the new to market, TRISLIDE.

Both of these products offer a silicone based formula so that it applies and stays where you want it to, forgoing the days of applying Vaseline or cooking spray which stains clothes, washes away with sweat and is just a generally messy experience. Having used both of the products I was impressed with TRISLIDE’s unique spray applicator approach and diminutive size that won’t hog a lot of space in your transition or gym bag. On the other hand, BodyGlide is every bit as functional as the new kid in school, TRISLIDE, and has more training years, chafe free miles and a tried and true race pedigree to its credit.

You can’t go wrong with either, but without, you’re facing a not so slippery slope of painful swims and running workouts which will ultimately increase recovery time and as a result, an increase in race times. Pick up a stick or can and you’ll know what I mean.

TYR Hurricane Category 3 Wetsuit

“You’re only as fast as your wetsuit will let you be.”-TYR


With that said, and your money pockets taken into consideration, feast your eyes on the Category 3. TYR’s Hurricane wetsuit series is composed of three tiers (pun intended), 1, 3, and 5. For those that want the primary technologies of the Category 5, but don’t want to spend top dollar, the C3 is the perfect option for a mid range suit. The wetsuit boasts light-weight Yamamoto 38/39 SCS coated neoprene, as well as varying 5mm panels. The high-buoyancy 5mm panels found in the chest, legs, and core were designed to help the swimmer to be elevated in the water and keep the swimmer from dropping their lower half. This feature, known as Speed Wrap Paneling, as well as the ones listed below were carried over from the CAT 5. The only features the Category 3 doesn’t come with when comparing it the 5, are that the entire surface area isn’t 100% Yamamoto Nano SCS rubber, and the inside isn’t lined with soft jersey fabric.

  • Free Range of Motion Zones – Less pinching and constriction, meaning more flexible reach.
  • Form Fitting Wrist Cuffs – Multi-stretch cuffs at the wrist allow powerful strokes while keeping water from entering the suit.
  • Quick Release Ankle Cuffs – Tapered legs allow for a speedy release of the suit without much effort.
  • 360 degree core stabilization system: Creates the sensation of your core feeling a wrap-around support which works to elevate the swimmer, ensuring optimal body position and saving energy over the long-term of the swim.
  • Graded Force Catch Panels: Paneling along forearm allows for greater pull in the water, such as a built-in paddle would.

If you do have an entry-level wetsuit and want to make the upgrade to a mid range suit that’s going to come with all the bells and whistles, the Hurricane Category 3 by TYR is great choice. Check out this wetsuit and many other triathlon wetsuits at One Tri.

Bellwether Retro Jersey

I’ll probably get a lot of crap for this, but triathlon and cycling apparel has gotten so serious and technical that all the style is non-existent these days.  So this is why I’m a proponent of the Bellwether Retro Jersey.  Comfortable and stylish, it features an elastic-free arm opening, silicon elastic gripper at the hem, three slanted pockets, and a 4″ zippered pocket.   Pair this  with a Bellwether Forma Bib Short  (I found these to essentially double as a compression piece for active use), and you’re set for the road.

Fit:  Club Fit (means that the fit is a bit more relaxed, as if you’re riding with a club, get it?)
Fabric: Quadra-Tech (excellent ventilation system for moisture and heat management)

Bellwether Comfort Control System (Below info is from Bellwether)

Clothing physiology is the interaction between the layers of clothing and the body’s own micro climate. Air temperature, humidity, skin temperature, rate of perspiration, and other factors all effect clothing performance. Technical fabrics and products only work well if they allow the body to achieve equilibrium between the input and output of heat and moisture.  With the Bellwether Comfort Control System, the correct balance of breathability and moisture transfer is achieved. The properties of each fabric are chosen to support the thermoregulation of the human body to insure maximum performance and optimal comfort.  At Bellwether we understand the functional design of our products. Using our Comfort Control System as a guide, we can ensure that each item is designed to excel for its intended purpose.

Quadra Tech

Unique box like construction increases the outer surface area of the fabric which improves transfer of perspiration away from the skin for speedy evaporation, while small channels promote ventilation for proper temperature modulation.

Orca Core Tri Pant Review

Looking for a pair of tri shorts with a bit more coverage, with a comfortable pad, and has pockets?  You should consider the Orca Core Tri Pant.

It features a 6mm thick pad that provides ample coverage and support while on the bike, but not so big that it’d interfere with you on the run.  On the back is center pocket for storing personal items, such as additional nutrition, keys or an ID.  As for the inseam length, it’s 8.26 inches.

Other features of the short is that it has  reflective trim for lower light conditions, hydroseal leg hems, and a rubber waistband/internal draw cord.

Links of note:

Xlab Gorilla XT – Highest Grip Carbon Cage

The Xlab Gorilla XT.  If you’re riding on bumpier roads, or you’re paranoid of any bottles flying out your rear hydration systems, this is the cage for you!  Designed for mountain bikers, this is Xlab’s highest grip carbon cage.

 

Light, sturdy, tight, and tough, your bottles ain’t going anywhere anymore – meaning you can rest assured while going on the trails.  Gone are the days of having to deal with one less bottle on the road or trail.  The Gorilla XT cage installs quickly like any other cage.  So go ahead, jump over that mountain lion, or that neighborhood cat and don’t even think twice about it.

See this and more Xlab products on the Xlab products brand page.

Zoot Fuzion Sleeveless Wetsuit Review

Looking for a Sleeveless Wetsuit?  The Zoot Fuzion might be a great candidate in your search for your first or all around training triathlon wetsuit.

Offering nine sizes, this wetsuit was designed to ensure a proper fit on different body types.   A notable feature on this suit is that fact that it’s made with Yamamoto 39 cell neoprene.  It’s the world’s most light weight and low-density rubber, making the suit extremely flexible, buoyant, and durable.  This translates to more speed.

The Fuzion also has a tapered collar line SCS smoothskin, which will help minimize chafing.  An updated cuff construction seals out water, and helps with getting the wetsuit on and off, giving it a feature that many entry-level wetsuits do not have.

The torso and thighs are 5mm,  sleeve and underarms are 1.5mm, and in the legs between 3-4mm.

Links of note:

Zoot Ultra Speed Shoe

So I’ll admit, I’ve been rather partial to my Ultra Tempo 4.0 over the past year and it’s become my little race baby. The kind of shoe that I take out once a week for a PR attempt and save for race day occasions. I loved that shoe.

Too bad.

I’ve just spent the last week with the Zoot Ultra Speed and to be truthful I’ve seen it (the Ultra Speed) before. It was that one shoe sitting on the sales wall looking like a g*d*mn electric smurf with its blue and yellow (hear them haters talk, but there’s nothing you can tell ’em….sorry wrong color/song) lace-less smug face forcing me to pass it off as a, “sure it looks fast, but that’s what they want you to think” shoe.

My opinion after a week:

Basically I was slapped in the face by how light it is (yes, I’ve said that many times and I’ll say it once more just to piss off redundancy grammar nerds.) It’s seriously 1337 sauce on your feet. You can’t even tell that they’re there. Whiiiiiiiich can be a problem if you want to treat these a daily trainer.

Don’t.

These shoes are race specific. Meaning they’re cutting all the corners in a shoe to give you the absolute fastest, best performing and overall biggest advantage that your feet can fathom come race day. Think of them as track spikes. Elite track runners don’t train in their spikes and neither should you.

This is literally the first shoe that I’ve felt that I should save for race day. Which makes me super giddy and happy to race knowing that they’re actually angled with a 10mm drop to give you a more aggressive platform for a mid-foot / forefoot running strike. Basically, long distances need not apply but you sprints / olympics / 70.3’s you’ll be in the clear with regard in having the lightest and fastest shoe.

I can’t wait to test these in Orangeman!

Zoot Compression Sock

First compression sock I’ve ever tried.

It felt like a sock. It looked like a sock. It did NOT act like a sock. I mean how complicated can these shoe liners get?

Apparently quite a bit.

So yes. I haven’t worn it in a race setting (it’s only been a week), but that’s what the Zoot compression sock is meant for; long-term performance / recovery benefits coupled with improved strike padding which results in a sock that will outlast whatever race you’re running in, no matter your level.

Frankly I like how I stand out from other runners on the trail while I’m wearing this advanced gear and I’m pretty arrogant in the fact that I’m ALWAYS wanting someone to come and race me during a workout. So far no takers when I’ve been wearing this coupled with my Ultra Tempo 4.0’s and ridiculously short electric lime green running shorts. (Sorry no link there. Those shorts are mine!)

But then again, I’m willing to wager it’s just the shorts that’s keeping people away, which only makes me wonder, “if only Zoot would make some lime green socks…”

The long sock: no longer a modern day Shark vs. Jet accessory but rather comes with added athletic/recovery specific benefits.

Orca Alpha Review

My first impression on the Alpha is that it’s another flagship wetsuit from a quality manufacturer, and it is. What I’ve discovered is that reviews or outside industry impressions are scarce and far-between for the Alpha and that the majority of the copy on the internet comes straight from Orca’s marketing department. Allow me to fill in the blanks.

You can expect the standard top of the line qualities from the Alpha: 40 cell Yamamoto, Nano SCS coating, quick out ankles etc. These are all features that have become commonplace most of the uncommon top tiered suits but what sets the Alpha apart from the rest of the pack are three key features.

  1. The Alpha’s shoulders are ridiculously thin. 1.5mm thin to be exact. The idea is that you want a balance between form and function and the 1.5mm thickness gives your body the range of motion needed for your swim stroke without sacrificing buoyancy.
  2. Instead of simply adding a gripper or pattern for the catch panel the Alpha instead features a 3mm thick contoured catch panel, branded as “AquaTread”. The added thickness layered on the super thin 1.5mm shoulders/arms gives the suit just a bit more buoyancy positioned in the perfect place
  3. “Aerodome” 5mm neoprene.  Orca took a 5mm cut of it’s 40cell Yamamoto neoprene, put a bunch of holes in it and then sealed it. The holes increase the buoyancy of the paneled areas by 30%, trapping air and using it to keep your tired rear afloat.

After looking over the suit I can’t wait to take it out for a test swim and as far as flagship wetsuits go, the Alpha is now at the top of my list.

Zoot Endurance Tri Tank

Here we have the feminine Endurance Tri Tank by Zoot. It is a tri -specific top which is perfect for racing as well as training. It is composed of a nylon/spandex fabric featuring Endura technology. This technology is custom to specific Zoot items, allowing for optimum compression and muscle support, as well as reduces muscle fatigue and extends endurance. The stretch in the fabric allows for superior range of motion. The top also features a built-in bra, as well as a 10″ zipper. Zippers can be great on race apparel because it allows for venting should you get over-heated, and opens the top to feel less restricting. There are two pockets that are placed on the sides to avoid catching any water are perfect to hold your nutrition goodies. The top comes in an array of colors: Virtual Pink/Fuel, Tropic/Green Lantern, Indigo/Ice, Black. The collar around the neckline gives the top an added touch of style. Pair with the Zoot Endurance Tri Short to complete the look. Both on sale now at One Tri.

Orca Core Sport Pant Review

My cousin came to me about a week before his first tri, “what do I need to get?”

There’s certainly joy in helping someone new with triathlon, but these are daunting because there’s so much to talk them through, if they absolutely have no triathlon gear.

The first thing I tell anyone is that they need a tri short.  I told him to get the Orca Core Sport Pant.

This short is excellent for newbies because it has exceptional value and features all the essential triathlon specific short properties – quick drying, has a lighter pad (compared with a bike short), and is made to be worn underneath a wetsuit.  The added bonus about this short is that because it’s relatively inexpensive, it’s great for use in brick workouts.

This is good, because I’m tired of hearing a triathlete friend telling me that he still uses board shorts to swim in the pool.

Click here to see more Orca tri shorts.

Profile Design T2+ Aerobar Extensions

The Profile Design T2+ Aerobar Extensions uses a system that fits both 26.0mm & 31.8mm bars, making the Profile Design T2+ Aerobar Extensions one of the most practical S-Bend extension on the market! These aero bars are ideal for triathletes and time trialists.  These are an excellent replacement if you’re looking a flatter bar that puts you into a more aggressive riding position.

Installation for these bars aren’t the most difficult, but you should have some basic understanding of cable routing for your shifters if you decide to go that route. You can also have your local bike shop help you out.

FEATURES:

  • Affordable, lightweight aluminum constriction
  • MULTI-FIT System™ fits 26.0mm & 31.8mm bars
  • 6061-T6 aluminum extensions and forged brackets
  • Length, width, and rotational extension adjustment
  • Equipped with “J” Brackets™ for a lower arm position
  • Includes F-19™ length and rotationally adjustable armrests
  • Shot peened and anodized finish for added strength and durability
  • Dual cable routing holes for optional internal cable routing Full aero carbon wing with ergonomic brake grip areas

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Clamp: 26.0mm & 31.8mm bars
  • Width: Adjustable
  • Color: Anodized matte black
  • Weight: 470g

De Soto Forza Tri Short

De Soto Forza Tri Short – longer, compressive race fabric for muscle support, and comfort.

I got these shorts for a race last weekend, and like a few of the key features:

  • It’s “compressive”.   With the “Compressor” fabric, think of the short as having active compression like qualities, which dampens muscle vibration, giving you the muscle support during race day, and in training.  Excellent feature for the price point.
  • The pad.  The pad construction is good, as it doesn’t make it apparent that you’re wearing a short with a pad in it!
  • The Fabric.  It’s comfortable against the skin, and it’s extremely quick drying.

De Soto also makes a 4 pocket Forza Tri Short.  See more De Soto Tri Shorts.

Bellweather Forma Bike Short Review

Recently while on my stationary trainer, I got the chance to wear the Bellweather Forma Bike Short.  Boy was I excited. This short comes with some noteworthy features worth taking a look at. As previously noted in another blog, I discussed the differences between tri shorts and bike shorts. The Forma falls into the bike short category, bringing with it a thicker chamois, longer inseam, and different material. The chamois and material are what drew me in. The material used in the short is called LYCRA POWER™ which just so happens to come along with compressive qualities to it. We’re all aware of the supportive dynamic compression offered to our muscles; of which I certainly could feel. The material is not only compressive, but comes with a ribbed surface, allowing more airflow into the short (we all know how sweaty we tend to get under all that lycra). Bellwether innovated this fabric by means of trying to achieve the correct balance of breathability and moisture transfer.

Onto the chamois…I’ve certainly made a point to make the padding a topic of interest in my posts when discussing shorts. Let’s face it, what our unmentionables get squished against better be comfortable. Here’s why it’s different:  The overall design was made with elite-long distance riding in mind. The foaming in the chamois was placed strategically to be more dense along the contact points that hit the saddle in order to alleviate pressure and reduce road shock. We’ve all felt that surprise pothole 40 miles into the ride and could use the additional suspension in our shorts. I also found that while I was in aero position, I continued to feel padding in the pelvic bone region. Most cycling shorts are a giant boat pad in the back and that’s it, not taking into consideration that one might be pronating their hips forward. This was great.  I felt added relief in the front, important to a triathlete who might spend most of their time down on their aero bars.

Another feature to note is the soft elastic band that didn’t create imprints on my hips. Always a plus.  Although not a tri-specific short, the Forma’s are perfect for the long distance rides and well worth the buy. Available for purchase at One Tri.

Zoot Women’s CompressRx Sock

Behold the Zoot Compression Sock. Along the lines of items necessary to your arsenal of tri gear, I would claim it fair to say these should certainly be included. With all the hooplah out there on the market about compression, let’s clear some things up on the science behind it all and why these socks in particular are going to help your performance.

Let’s start with the science. Zoot utilizes graduated compression, and more importantly, utilize it correctly. The amount of compression ranges from 26mmHg (mmHg is the unit of measurement used in compression garments) at the ankle and decreases to 18 mmHg just below the knee. The strongest amount of compression is found in the lower part of the leg. This method allows for deoxygenated blood to flow back to the heart. Within the ranges of compression, the 26mmHg falls under medical grade compression. This factor is important when choosing compression. Anything less than 20mmHg isn’t considered medical grade, and will not offer the same benefit. So what is all this doing? The socks help to flush out lactic acid in the veins as well as assist in proper venous flow and return. While running with Zoot CompressRx socks, one is able to get up to 40% more arterial flow in their calf by supporting consistent pressure on the muscle. The compression increases the pressure in the tissues beneath the skin allowing for reduced excess leakage of fluid from the capillaries and increasing absorption of tissue fluid by the capillaries. The goal is to assist the body in doing what it naturally does in flushing damaged muscle tissues.

So what the heck is the benefit? Well, here’s a couple noteworthy stats:

  • 29% decrease in lactic acid build-up.
  • 25% reduction of perceived effort.
  • 40% improvement in recovery time.
  • 5% increase in performance.

These socks in particular can be used as active compression (use them while training or racing) or recovery. Also, keep in mind that they’re perfect for travel use while flying, driving, or even if you plan to be on your feet for a prolonged period of time. The sock is also foot specific with padded foot soles to prevent irritation.

Measurements: It’s important that you measure your calf (circumference of the largest part of the muscle belly on your calf) prior to choosing your size. Proper fit will ensure optimal performance.

Train on!

The Truth About Compression Clothing (for endurance athletes)

This is my first run with compression, pun intended.

I understand that I’m late to the game as a serious triathlete, or athlete in general, who may wear these garments, but I’ve always viewed nouveau products with added skepticism. Believe me, I sell these for a living and people ask me what qualities they provide and I always repeat the same thing (the basic facts which the manufacturer provide in their literature):

  • Increases blood pooling to critical muscles
  • Decreases amount of lactic acid buildup
  • Assists in muscle recovery post workout
But to be honest I had never tried it and I always told my customers that. Call it a macho-man reflex to the latest and greatest; that I trust my training more than I do the ever revolving door of 20(xx) latest and greatest gear.
2XU Compression Tights
Come to find out these garments were pioneered in the 1930’s as a means of assisting medical patients undergoing rehabilitation from vein conditions such as varicose veins, Sclerotherapy, chronic venous insufficiency, Lymphedema, pregnancy and thrombotic syndrome or post venous stasis ulcers (yes I have some sources).
Basically these garments act as a giant, strategically placed, “Ace Bandage” which in turn acts as a means to reduce swelling in critical areas in the body which allows for improved blood flow in addition to a decrease in swelling, to targeted areas. Think of it as a wearable ice-pack for your muscles with deep-vein benefits.
Well color me interested. It only took 20 minutes of investigation to find this out.
None of the products on the market will give you this easy explanation, nor do they give you guidelines for wearing the garment. All I can tell you is that, yes, it is backed by 80 years of therapeutic science, it does work and the simple idea is to wear it as much as possible during or post workout, however, there are a few graduated lines of compression clothing for athletes, namely:
  • Race ready, high performance (high flexibility, low amount of compression)
  • Post-workout / recovery (low flexibility, high amount of compression)
  • Hybrid (50/50 mix of flexibility and compression. A one stop purchase which gives the benefits of both garments)
These compressive clothes don’t come close to the medical grade garments in terms of the mg of mercury (pressure rating) that they’re classified by, but for good reason. The medical garments are meant for one staying stationary and for a patient that requires SERIOUS compressive needs in order to achieve a beneficial medical effect. You, our loyal readers, are able-bodied and require a garment that is both flexible and compressive as to reap its therapeutic benefits while smashing age-group records or recovering faster than the other ill-informed athlete (last-week me).
Since trying out the new recovery line of 2XU recovery compression and following up with a hefty bit of research I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, this ‘ish does work. You will feel an added benefit. You will be able to return to training faster and with more intensity than you previously thought and you should have a new-found joy for sports-science.
Why?
Because you’re a trihead and you don’t take trends for face value. Compression is here to stay but for good reason. If you’re serious about endurance training or for any sort of sport that requires a lifting/training period coupled with a competitive showing / race period at least pick up a pair of recovery garments if not the hybrids. You’ll be back training harder in a faster amount of time and you’ll get more out of your season’s length by wearing these products.
Also, you’ll look like you’re wearing Batman’s pajama’s. Which is worth anything in my book…

Bellwether Forma Bike Short

It’s all about the short, the short, the short!  The bike short, that is.  Bellwether’s Forma Bike Short answers the call with a quality chamois, and durable fabrics that’s able with withstand the most aggressive rider on the road.

I’m careless when it comes in washing my athletic apparel, and I usually just throw these in the washer/dryer because I hardly have the time to hand wash this stuff.  After about 6 cycles now, the fabric and chamois has held up quite well!

The bonus is that the fabric, as is the case with all Bellwether mid to higher end shorts, is that they have a compressive property to it.  In theory, this could possibly be the best value for a compression cycling short!

Check out Greg’s take on the shorts below:

Features:

  • LYCRA POWER™ fabric supports muscles
  • Ribbed surface improves airflow
  • High-density 3D molded seat pad
  • Soft elasticized waistband
  • Externally sewn silicon leg gripper
  • Flat-locked seams
Fit: Ergonomic ten-panel design
Fabric:  Aenergia™, Axial™
Chamois:  Physio Pro™

See more Bellwether goods by checking out the Bellwether Products page.