Saturday, November 27, 2021

Quick Strides 26: Renee races ASICS Metaspeed Sky and Fuji Lite 2, Jeremy "experiences" Nike Tempo Next %, Peter 1st Ultra Topo MTN Racer 2, Sam tests Tracksmith Off Roads, Hoka Mach Supersonic, Scott Kinabalu 2

Article by Peter Stuart, Renee Krusemark, Jeremy Marie and Sam Winebaum

Quick Strides 26: Renee races ASICS Metaspeed Sky and Fuji Lite 2, Jeremy "Experiences" Nike Tempo Next %, Peter Ultras Topo MTN Racer 2, Sam tests Tracksmith Off Roads, Hoka Mach Supersonic, & Scott Kinabalu 2

Peter (Austin, TX) 

What’s one of the cardinal rules of marathon racing? Don’t use any new gear on race day, right? Is that supposed to apply to Ultra racing too? Oops. Luckily I walked away unscathed from my Ultra last week after breaking some rules!

I got so excited about the Topo Athletic MT-4 that I begged Topo to send me a pair of MTN Racer 2 (RTR Review) as I couldn’t find them in stores anywhere. I figured a little more cushion and a layer of Zip Foam would do well for an ultra. Unfortunately they came in a couple of days before my first Ultra, so it wouldn’t be wise to run in them, right? Definitely not smart to put on a shoe for the first time and then go do 50k in them. Well, I’m not always smart. It worked out great though! No issues at all with blisters or any other problems. I wore the Topo MTN Racer 2 for 3 of 4 laps of a 50k yesterday. I switched to the Hoka Speedgoat EVO for one  lap, and though I enjoyed the soft, cush ride of the Speedgoat they felt sloppier to me and I switched back to the Topo for my final lap. All good, a great shoe, great traction, nimble and very comfortable.  

The race was called the Wild Hare 50k and was put on by Tejas Trails here in Texas. It took place on a ranch that is used for mountain biking, so there were tons of twisting and turning biking trails through woods, pastures and streams. Only about 2k of vertical for the day and dry conditions made it a nice contained environment for my first 50k.I wouldn’t mind if they were a hair softer, but overall a terrific shoe and huge thanks to Topo for sending them out. 

Another great discovery for this race was the Ultraspire iso Pocket 3 Handheld. Carrying a handheld for over 5 hours can be torture, but the Ultraspire was very comfortable. A couple of features helped to make my day easier. 1. Super wide top made the bottle very easy to refill at aid stations and it was easy to grip the top with tired hands and very easy to fill. Second, the vertical zip on the pocket made my nutrition very easy to access. A terrific bottle. 

Now I’m going to take some Aleve. 

Renee (Nebraska)

Like last year, I was happy to receive gear from ASICS for the ASICS World Ekiden (thanks for supporting RTR, ASICS!). The Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review) was a pleasant surprise. 

For my 5k leg, I ran a 19:49, which was a few seconds faster (in the same location with similar weather conditions) as my time last year in the Nike Next%. I had no time to warm up, so I took the first two miles to get a feel for the shoes. Overall, I like the shoes although they are probably more than I needed for a 5k. Without doing speed work weeks prior, I was happy with my time, especially considering I used the first 5k of a 10 mile workout for my recorded 5k Ekiden leg. I’m a naturally high cadence runner, so for faster speeds/paces, I extend my strides. I found the Metaspeed Sky to be more comfortable with shorter strides and quicker cadence. After the first two miles, I figured out my zone with the shoes and was able to run faster at the end (5:45 m/m). In the future, I’ll enjoy the Metaspeed Skys for longer training runs. 

Speaking of ASICS, I used the Fuji Lite 2 (RTR Review) for a casual 20 mile/32k trail race earlier in November. The event was casual and small, but I was happy to finish the distance first for females and second overall. I have not been “race” training and chose the Fuji Lite 2 for its light weight and comfort. With about 180 feet of elevation gain per mile, the Fuji was a good choice. While I could have used a shoe with a better lockdown, the outsole provided excellent grip on the downhills. I packed my Skechers Razor TRL  too, but decided on the more comfortable Fuji Lite 2 because I was not confident about running fast and preferred comfort. I fueled with the GU gel Roctane and a light mix of TailWind. There’s a good chance the Fuji Lite 2 will end up on my “best of” list for 2021. Not only does it perform well for races, but also it works well as a trainer (and at a decent price for a trail shoe). I have a 30 mile trail run Thanksgiving weekend, and I have a bunch of great choices in terms of shoes . The Fuji Lite 2 is on the short list, as is the Skechers Razor TRL (RTR Review)l, and my well-worn pair of Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 (RTR Review). With a minimal amount of elevation, I might wear a road shoe. Time will tell! 

Jeremy (France)

Nike Zoom Tempo Next%

It must be two or three weeks now since I  received the Nike Tempo Next, my first “Next” Nike shoe, and I must confess that I’m impressed. The Tempo moniker lives up to its name as I find the shoe not nice at all at easier paces, but once you step on the Just WOW! 

It’s incredibly efficient at propelling forward with lots of rebound, but a firm rebound. It’s not a smooth ride at all, it’s quite noisy with the Zoom Air bags at the front “pumping” on each impact, often squeaking either on the left or right side...I must even admit that I do not find the Tempo really enjoyable to run every time….but once you’re in the right tempo, with the right cadence and footstrike, pushing on the plate that acts like a’s just a blast. And with incredible foot protection.

I was astonished to see the paces I’ve managed to hold on a long tempo session without feeling much leg fatigue (but lungs burning? Yes for sure!).

I’ll add some comparisons to Derek’s review and write a French review for this shoe, as it can be a really nice Christmas present for the runner in your life. Or...yourself! And they happen to be on sale on Running Warehouse.Europe for 152,90 € which kindly sent me this pair for review. 

SainteLyon Race week-end!

Once again this week-end I’ll take part in the dean of “nature races” in France, the SainteLyon, approaching its 80th birthday.

Linking two cities (Saint-Etienne and Lyon) in a moderately hilly area, for around 70-80kms /2000m+ depending on the years, this race has a specificity: it is run by night. It starts at midnight (or 11:30PM now with starting waves) and usually you get either snow (which is cool), very icy ground (less cool), or rain and mud (not cool at all!).

There are lots of formats: the whole course (done in my early running days, icy conditions), half the distance (ran recently in 2017, lots of snow and incredible fun), just the ending 25kms, or a relay, which is the race I’ll take part in on Saturday night.

We’re a team of three. I'll run the middle leg (23km/600+) which mostly takes part in the forest and on the trails. I should start around...2AM...and prefer not to think about this right now!

Considering the conditions (2-3°C, rain..wind..) and the ground (less than 10% asphalt on my leg), I’ll take the Scott Supertrac RC2 (RTR English Review and French Review) as a shoe of choice: protection, traction, and still able to run fast might do the trick for the race.

As always, I have absolutely no pace, time or any other goal than giving it all and having a blast. Good news is that my other fellows are in the same mindset!

Sam: New Hampshire and Park City, UT

I have been at our place in Park City for the last week where the weather has been cool, sunny, and snowless… That means the trails are dry and the road too with perfect running conditions so I have been mixing it up on many of my favorite lower elevation runs.

I have more time in the Kinabalu 2 than the Ultra RC we just reviewed (RTR Review) and can say while the stack heights are identical they are very different riding shoes.  The K2 has a dual density midsole with a slightly softer heel area than the front whereas the Ultra is all the single density firmer foam. This is noticed. 

The Kinabalu 2 has a non stretch upper with TPU overlays and underlays and lots of them delivering a very secure if stiffer feeling and fitting upper. It has a considerably higher toe box with plenty of foot splay room Unlike the Ultra RC the Kinabalu 2 has no rock plate and is one of the most flexible trail shoes I can recall. Its outsole pattern is a dense series of bars and I was surprised how well it sheds mud, likely due to the flexibility.  The ride is more agile up front but a bit thinner in feel with a touch less but still plenty of protection from the outsole and midsole. It is a superb uphill running shoe and very stable on the downhills but I do wish the upper was a touch more pliable. It has been a perfect Park City shoe where the trails are well groomed and the climbs and descents smooth and fast. Review soon.

I have also worn the Tracksmith Off-Roads Short Sleeve, Shorts and Hybrid Jacket daily in temps around freezing, and often just the Tee which I think is the near ideal layer for fall. Soft, stretchy, moisture absorbing its Merino Tencel blend has never had me chilled or overheated.  It dries very rapidly and has stayed “fresh” for multiple runs.

The Shorts have also proven versatile and comfortable. They have two thigh pockets on the lightly compressive liner which hold phone and even my tripod flawlessly. The webbing belt and fit a bit snug at my 33” waist in the medium keeps any load in place.

The Merino blend Hybrid Jacket is “thin” and surprisingly warm. 

Almost too warm around freezing in the dry air here but.. for my Turkey Trot at 15F it was perfect. Sorry can’t quite yet talk about the blurred out shoes but soon!

I also had an excellent first run in the Spring 2022 Hoka Mach Supersonic and couldn’t help but grin as this firmer plateless trainer racer is fast, very dynamic, yet with a softer more forgiving top ProFly construction top layer. 

The lower quite firm rubberized foam acts in many ways as a plate would without resorting to any plastic and carbon inserts to provide a propulsive and even has some plate “sound effects”  

Apres run but also for run the elegant  Tracksmith Cross Country Pop Over and Travel Pants sent before the Off Roads collection for test keep getting me “best dressed” kudos yet the materials are all tech run worthy.

Tracksmith is offering a discount now through Cyber Monday Black Friday through Cyber Monday applied to future purchases .

Spend $125 USD to receive 10% off your next order, $250 USD for 20% and $500 USD for 30%.

A discount code will be emailed to you within 24 hours of checkout.

Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Unknown said...

Do you have a test of the ASICS Trabuco 9 in preparation?


Mike P said...

Chris- I do have a pair. Got tied up with other reviews, but I'll be posting something within the next week or two.

I do like them a lot. They're more flexible than the Trabuco Max, and still with a pretty big stack hieight - making them more suitable for long distance technical terrain. Upper is also better. I'll have more details in the full review.

Mike P said...

Chris - Asics Trabuco 9 review is up now!