Monday, December 20, 2021

Quick Strides 27: Renee & Shannon top trail podiums in New Balance RC Elite 1 and ASICS Fuji Lite 2. Jeremy runs a night trail race in France. InsideTracker Results for Sam, Mini Reviews Tracksmith Nor’Easter and Gore Wear Drive Jackets and Odlo. Superfeet Me3D insoles and More!

Article by Renee Krusemark, Shannon Payne, Jeremy Marie and Sam Winebaum

Renee & Shannon top trail podiums in RC Elite 1 and Fuji Lite 2. Jeremy runs a night trail race in France. Sam tests Tracksmith Nor’Easter and Gore Wear Drive Jackets. Superfeet Me3D insoles and More!

Renee (Nebraska):

Is the best trail shoe a road shoe? I like to think for non-technical terrain a road shoe is a good choice, but turns out this thought greatly depends on terrain. I ran the Stuffed Turkey Endurance Race-30 miler after signing up a few days before race day. I wore the NB RC Elite 1 (RTR Review) for some stupid reason out of curiousity to see how it would handle horse trails.

I switched out the insole with my Craft CTM Ultra TPU beaded insoles to firm up the ride and add some cushion. I added Wuru wool under my forefeet for comfort too. 

Overall, the high drop and lack of nimble ride started to hurt my ankles, but I ran well (first female and third overall). The first ten miles were great, but running on the uneven, rutted sections became uncomfortable. While I do think road shoes work great for non technical trails, for distance runs more than 20 miles, I benefit from an outsole with full rubber coverage, which can help provide a stable landing (thus saving my ankles and lower legs). I think I would have enjoyed the inclines/declines and turns more in a lower drop shoe.

Shannon (California): 

Some of our winter days here in Northern California sure look an awful lot like the Pacific Northwest! Fog, clouds and rain make those dark, early morning runs seem just a little darker. The upside: everything gets so green! 

Anyway, small talk about the weather aside, some of those rainy runs have been darn near pouring. I was recently seeded a Saucony Drizzle 2.0 jacket from our local Saucony rep (running store employee perks!). 

I’m a huge fan as not only does it keep you unbelievably dry, but somehow it manages to do so without feeling like you’ve donned a trash bag. The hood stays put when it’s up, even running into ridiculous headwinds. Love this jacket and it will certainly see lots of use through the wet winter and spring.

Another item that has been rocking my running world are Superfeet Me3D insoles. I’ve done most of my training in an orthotic or insole of some variety for several years to help stave off a oft-recurring posterior tibial tendon issue, and have found Me3D’s to be awesome. 

They’re light, low profile, and slightly flexible, unlike most insole options. They’re custom-made to the wearer’s feet by taking metrics from the FitID scanner which can be found in an increasing number of run specialty stores, in this case at Fleet Feet. Those metrics include dimensions of the feet, but also dynamic metrics: how the foot moves throughout the gait cycle. Using this data, Superfeet 3D prints an insole that matches the foot both in terms of the foot’s shape and dimensions, but that also varies in flexibility throughout the insole based upon how the foot moves. 

So far, I’ve found them to be a terrific option and a great alternative to an expensive custom orthotic (please note that these are not intended to replace a prescription orthotic made by a reputable professional, but can serve as a high quality, affordable alternative). 

In other news, this time last week I raced the Foresthill Uphill Challenge! 

It’s a great local race in Auburn put on by Singletrack Racing and the Auburn Aid Station that climbs from the bottom of the American River Canyon and finishes at the Foresthill bridge, climbing just shy of 800 feet over a mile. It was a lung-and-leg buster for sure, but was of a grade that I found to be just runnable without needing to resort to power-hiking. In other words: my favorite gradient. 

The Asics Fuji Lite 2 (RTR Review) carried me to first place and a nearly three-minute course record for the women. 

Fuji Trail Lite 2 for the win! It was also my favorite trail shoe of the year in RoadTrailRun’s big Best of Trail Running 2021 Article. I said:  “The Asics Fuji Lite 2 for being the most versatile in terms of its outsole, and being just enough shoe to be usable for everything from training runs to races.

Jeremy (France) 

SainteLyon race results/Scott Supertrac RC

Picture is courtesy of

As discussed in a previous Quick Stride, I finally raced for…the second time in 2021, during the oldest trail-running race in France, the SainteLyon, which joins two cities (Saint-Etienne and Lyon) through valleys and hilly trails, crossing some towns. The “thing” of the race is that it starts at midnight, and by the end of November/beginning of December so it can be quite cold.

This race has many formats, from the whole course (~75kms and 2000m ascent) which I raced in 2013, to sub-parts (45kms which I finished in 6th position in 2017, and other subsections of the whole course of different lengths).

This year, we decided withmy two partners to take on the 3-runners relay. The legs are 33kms, 24kms and 21kms, and the second leg, which happens to be run more in the forest than the other two, with around 800m of ascent.

Racing in the middle of the night is quite something, and I forgot how fun it is. With avision limited to your headlight beam, very few noises when you are running in the middle of a forest at 3 A.M, you just feel like running in a bubble, sharpening your senses, your perception pushed to 11.

Something I did not foresee was the difficulty of running a relay when you don’t start it: you’re not really sure when you’ll start, and waiting under a big tent at -2°C between 2-3A.M, being a bit sleepy, might not sound like the best way to prepare a race…but it is part of the experience!

Anyway, the race went quite well, we did not have any other objectives than push ourselves and have fun (we had a look at the famous Zach Miller TNF50 finish !) and we ended up as the 8th team. I ran the 5th fastest on my leg, despite really bad sensations.

Shoe-wise, I chose the Scott Supertrac RC 2 (RTR review): versatile traction, good fit, an upper that protects a bit from the cold and humidity, adequate protection and cushioning for the length of the race. It proved to be a good choice, and only slid a bit on icy roads - but what does not?

Compressport Hybrid Seamless Hurricane pants

These pants served me while waiting to run my leg at the Saintelyon, and I’m using it more and more even at home, as it is so comfortable and warm with minimal bulk.

As the name suggests, it has a hybrid construction with a windproof membrane on the front of the legs, and a breathable rear. 

Front windproof on the right side, rear breathable part on the left.

Two bungees near the ankles allow some adjustments, and a waistband serves the same purpose, with a clever construction avoiding any pressure or discomfort as the cord is located on the external side.

There are two hand pockets in which we’ll avoid putting heavy items, and the right one has an inside mesh pocket to secure little items (keys, card, or even a bit of nutrition if you’re running with these pants.

There’s a nice amount of stretch

The fabric used is very soft to the skin, and has a generous amount of stretch, making it very comfortable even with an adjusted fit.

The pant is designed for running  but I still have to do this. I’m sure it will be very comfortable, as the cut is halfway between a tight around the calves, and pants with more room up on the thighs.

I’m just a bit worried about its durability if used to run. It can be perfect during a warmup before a race for instance, and the warmth of the pants combined with its breathability makes it perfect for a very wide range of temperatures.

Sam: (New Hampshire)

During the past week or so I tested and posted initial video reviews for the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24 and Nimbus GEL-Nimbus Lite 3 (Initial Video Reviews), Hoka Tecton X (Initial Video Review) and Salomon Phantasm CF (Initial Video Review) and it compared to Saucony Endorphin Speed 2

Salomon Phantasm CF at a short race

Sam: I raced the upcoming (February) Phantasm CF at a local 4 miler and really enjoyed its more flexible natural feeling differentially flexing fiberglass plate and ride. More than adequately if not “supercritical” soft and bouncy or light,  it should prove a great race and uptempo ride for those wanting a more agile, stable and energetic plated option. It has super shoe class leading downhill stability and due to its more flexible plate climbs beautifully. 

At just above freezing and breezy I ran in the Odlo Mid Layer Axalp Ceramiwarm 1/2 Zip. Soft and with a touch of light fleece like material on the inside and stretchy with just enough fabric on the face to keep me protected from wind it is a most versatile layer. It has a long and generous fit at my usual size medium. 

It has silicone printing on the shoulders for wear and to keep race vests from slipping, 2 highly effective hip mesh pockets (no phone bounce), 
thumb holes that really are wide enough to cover the whole rear of the hand and some reflective details.  

I received my Inside Tracker results from the “Shalane Flanagan” 30 bio markers blood analysis panel. Enlightening to say the least!  

I discovered I am on the low side and  “at risk” on Vitamin D and need work on 5 elements with the other 29 elements optimized.

The results are accompanied by action steps and  highly informative articles as to why important for sports and healthas well as the science behind each bio marker.  I captured the screens of results below.

We will soon have a full article with results from other contributors including Jamie Hershfang who had the fastest women’s road 50 mile time of 2021, 8:01 pace. 

Tracksmith Nor’Easter Jacket ($298 ) and Gore Wear Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper Drive Jacket ($220)

With the weather finally “winter” here in New Hampshire, I have been running daily in new winter worthy jackets that Tracksmith and Gore-Wear sent for testing.  

The Tracksmith Nor’Easter is much like last year’s NDO, a merino-lined Schoeller soft shell weight fabric in a slightly lighter fabrication this year. The outer shell is definitely wind and water repellent while the thin bonded merino lining provides some warmth and wicking and with short sleeves under none of the dreaded sticky feeling. This ultimate winter (and cooler weather) jacket has strong wind resistance, great breathability and temperature regulation,  even in more moderate temperatures, and some warmth but never too much and I have never been chilled regardless of temperatures or effort. 

It has a stout dual front zipper and two deep front zip pockets backed on the inside by drop in pockets for gloves, hats, etc…

Not a lightweight jacket, the Nor’Easter is armor for any of the cold or foul weather as we have on the New England coast be it wet, windy, cold, or gray  and as always with the brand it has great style so it crosses over to non-sports uses easily and with class. 

While it has rear reflective details I wish there were a few on the front too.

Tracksmith shot their catalog pictures about a mile from my house in a particularly windy stretch near Rye Harbor. 

Of course I had to test it there (as I did last year’s NDO Jacket) and get some pics in the exact same location while it was blowing, damp, and about freezing. I can say I was never chilled as I played around with my camera.

My only negatives are the lack of front reflectivity and one must also consider the pricing but I do believe you get what you pay for here in protection, versatility, and long term expected durability. 

The Gore Wear Drive Jacket also focuses on winter run comfort but in a different way. 

Gore’s super breathable and totally windproof Infinium is on the inside next to the skin (while the Tracksmith relies on the outer softshell with merino lining next to the skin) with the outer white areas lightly insulated with Polartec’s very light, quick drying Alpha insulation on the outside under a thin windproof ripstop outer layer. The Drive has two zip front pockets and reflective detailing below the outer translucent shell, so protected from wear and tear.

The insulation covers the chest, upper arms, and upper back with the rest of the protection, the Infinium membrane under the outer ripstop layer. Gore-Wear also makes a similar jacket where the insulation covers the entire back and sleeves. I purchased one of these earlier and found it too warm for all but well below freezing temperatures whereas the Drive has a greater range of temperature comfort but no hood as the Infinium Jacket does.

And the heavier softshell pants above are also Infinium-Backcountry Tabernash Jogger Pants

The result is an incredibly light jacket with a touch of warmth that I think will be best suited to fast paced endurance efforts in drier cold where wind resistance, breathability and a touch of warmth are key. My only negatives are that the lower sleeves tend to get sticky if not wearing a long sleeve and the narrow thin zipper while not fragile so far is a bit hard to pull with the inner thin wind flap getting hung up near the neck when zipping.

The Gore Wear Drive Jacket is available at our partner Backcountry HERE

And at Gore Wear HERE

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 conten. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

2021 RTR Best of Running Awards: Multiple Categories, Best Overall, Brand of the Year, Surprises, Apparel, Tech, and Accessories 
Road HERE Trail HERE

RTR's Top Road & Trail Run Shoe Introductions for 2022 from The Running Event 
34 Run Shoes for Road & Trail HERE
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: