Monday, January 07, 2013

Winter Run Fun and Gear: Ibex, Salomon, Swix

I have been on an extended stay in Utah and the running conditions have been fantastic this year. Hard packed, groomed and single track trails in Park City's Round Valley have been mint for runs and nordic skis for weeks now. I have run and skied a total or 120 miles, entirely on snow since Christmas with my Hatu Harrier friends.

NoWhere Elks Trail-Park City: view of Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons with Round Valley directly below

Gareth, Fasteddie, Wendy, and Larry in the middle of an 11 miler 

Smiling and Striding

It's been cold 10-20 F. every day so gear selection has been important. I have an extensive collection of gear but have gravitated to a few items day in day out.

Ibex Breakaway pants and jacket. Breakaway has a nylon front on both the pants and jacket, lined with a thin layer of wool.  They call the fabric Climawool. The back of both has a mid weight wool. Fantastic temperature range from 40's down to well below zero. The tights are a bit heavier and looser than the usual slick nylons but super comfortable.

I am a hat nut and sweat a lot so finding a winter hat which is not too hot yet warm is always a challenge. Picked up a Swix race hat with a wool poly blend and a mesh top, sort of a wide head capped head band and it has been perfect for even multi hour runs.

All my miles on the snow have been in the Salomon Spikecross 3. About 11 oz, size 9 these water resistant beasts have deep lugs and 9 small carbide spikes. Surefooted on all flavors of mud, snow and ice. A last resort road shoe if you are facing an icy snowy mess.
Salomon Spikecross 3

At summer OR last year I saw the Salomon soft flasks (5 and 8 oz) and companion Hydro Sense glove kit ( right and left gloves plus one 8oz flask) . Managed to find them at REI and have been delighted with both. Update: Running Warehouse now has Hyrdo Sense kit . Salomon video here  The flasks have not frozen up hard even down below 15 F when tucked into the front outside pocket of my Ultraspire Spry vest.  I have also tested the glove flask combination. While the 8 oz flask which comes with the glove is smallish,  a new larger 16 oz flask is available from Running Warehouse. Unlike bottle holders, there is absolutely no sensation that you are carrying water. As a bonus when empty or full the full flasks or harder top rim of the flask serves as a perfect finger rest to prevent fist clinching. 
Salomon Hyrdo Sense glove and 8 oz soft flask

I have used the 5 oz flask for nutrition mixing 2 gels with water. Note that the valve is not really for gels so a more viscous gel such as Power Bar Energy Gel is the way to go, especially in winter.

Phone Case
What's a phone case have to do with running? Well as trail runners know we often crash and when it's cold batteries fade especially when running with GPS run apps such as the incredible Strava Run app, my new favorite for tracking my runs and performance.  Protective cases/sleeves are often bulky and do little to protect the screen. I have the Tech21 "Impactology" flip case for my iPhone 4S. This handsome leather case is lined with D30 material, a polymer which harden on impact to absorb shocks. Only one port is exposed, headphone so there is also moderate moisture protection. A flip case is also available for the iPhone 5 that opens along the long edge instead of end to end as my iPhone 4S case does. 
Tech21 iPhone 5 flip case (Tech21) 

Bonus the D30 material and leather seems to insulate the phone enough to prevent short battery life on cold days.

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