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Category Archives: Gear

Shoe Reviews

Shoes. With all the different brands, styles and fads, it’s hard to figure out which shoe is the right one for you.  Over the past few years I’ve tried out a few different lines of trail shoes, and I thought It’d be fun to share my thoughts on them. I’ve never been the kind of person who buys things simply because it’s “what the cool kids are doing“, so I’ve been hesitant to spend the money on Salomons. I really wanted to do my own thinking and come up with that awesome shoe that noone knew about.

Strike One: the Asics Trail Shoe:

I was pretty excited when I bought these shoes, paying over $120 for them. They looked cool, had good ventilation and seemed lightweight.  Well, to make a long story short..they sucked. The laces didn’t stay tied, they held water and I got a lot of blisters. Running in wet conditions was like wearing roller skates. 

Strike Two: The Hi-Tec Infinity-Lite

At first, I LOVED these shoes. Never before had I experienced so much traction and breathability. While running in these shoes, you can literally feel the air moving through them. They drain water very efficiently, the laces stay tied and they’ve got that handy hoop on the back so you can clip them to your pack while cycling.  All this, AND you can find them at steeply discounted prices on ebay.

The one major problem with this shoe is its lack of durability.  I’ve owned 3 pair of these shoes, and they all fell apart in nearly the exact same way. Before the 2012 Berryman 24 hour race, I bought a brand new pair of these, and the tread literally fell off halfway through the race.  I was understandably pissed off, so I called their customer service people later in the week. Their response: “Wow, that sucks. ” Thanks, Hi-Tec..thanks a lot.

Then one day I got lucky and found a Merrell outlet having a clearance sale…

Big success! – The Merrell Mix Master

What a great shoe. I found these babies on sale for $40. They drain water wonderfully, breathe magnificently, are durable and they look cool .  Win-win, especially for $40. If I could own 10 pairs of them, I would.

My only issue is that since the sole is so thin, I can “feel” the trail a little too well. I suspect this has more to do with my body-weight than anything, so we’ll overlook that. These are excellent shoes for adventure racing, no doubt about it.

The Hoka One One Stinson Trail Shoe.

Best purchase of 2013

Best purchase of 2013

If I could describe the Hoka trail shoe in two words, those words  would be “Holy Shit”. These shoes have literally solved 95% of my running problems, with the other 5% being comprised of obesity and lack of motivation. Shinsplints..gone. Uber painful calf cramps…gone. Knee pain..gone. Shit, I think my teeth have even gotten whiter since I started wearing these shoes.

 My one and only complaint is that they don’t really shed water very well. But seriously, these are the best and lightest  trail shoes you’ll find. You can step on rocks and never feel them! These shoes have given me the ability to run downhill, and that’s not something I’ve been able to do until now.  I seriously think these skins are some gonna be a major game-changer for me.

So…those are my thoughts on AR-specific trail shoes. Someday I’ll own a pair of Salomons, but for now I’m a Merrell/Hoka man.  Feel free to call me a dumbass in the comments section and/or share your own opinions.

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New winter kits

As the end of the year approaches, we here at Team Virtus are getting into the holiday spirit and considering sporting something a little more festive on our winter rides. Since the blog has been a little quiet lately while we trim our gear with white fur and jingle bells, we thought we’d give you a little sneak peak at our creative process. Enjoy, and feel free to add you own ideas!

kate cxmas

Kate

photo.JPG

Luke

bob santa speedo

Bob

adam val

Adam

robby elf

Robby

casey christmas sweater

Casey

travis

Travis

My Bike Setup for Cedar Cross and Dirty Kanza

Okay, so I just got done cleaning my bike up and getting it ready for tomorrow’s Cedar Cross (It’s TOMORROW!!!!).  If all goes well tomorrow, this will also be my bike setup for the Dirty Kanza 200 on June 2nd.  Here are the deets…

Frame: 2008 Specialized Tricross Singlecross.  Why am I riding a singlespeed?  Is it because I’m a badass?  Of course!  Actually, it’s because I can’t afford a cross bike with gears, and I got a great deal on this bike.  Gears would probably increase my odds of finishing both races, but I’m really starting to love this bike more and more every time I ride it.

Tires: Specialized Borough XC 700 x 45c

Bars: Salsa Bell Lap Drop Bars

Other: Stock wheels, stock chain, stock cranks, stock saddle (although I’d love to have a Brooks B-17 leather saddle), stock brakes, and stock pretty much anything else you can think of.

Storage: Revelate Designs Tangle Bag, Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag, Minoura Double Water Bottle Cage Holder, Backcountry Research Awesome Strap-Race

With this setup, I’ll be able to carry roughly 160 ounces of water, plenty of food, and all the necessary tools, tubes, patch kits, etc.  And the best part is, I won’t have to wear a hot, sweaty backpack.

Although I haven’t named this bike yet, here she is in all of her glory:

cylcocross bike setup for Dirty Kanza and Cedar Cross

After the Cedar Cross, I’ll let you know how it goes, and I’ll let you know if I decide to change anything.  But as of now, I think this rig will work just fine.

So, what are you going to be riding?

Flytepackin’ on a Sunny Day

I realize LBL is still fresh on everyone’s mind, but today I want to talk about the CAC. Luke and I have been hard at work selecting CP’s for this year’s non-race, and yesterday we went out to see how the course flowed. Since he couldn’t get there until later in the day, I took the opportunity to hit Cedar Creek in my Flytepacker. Hiking upstream afforded me the opportunity to take in some of what I think is a beautiful landscape.

For those who just want to get out and walk in the woods, the Cedar Creek area has a lot to offer. It’s easy to get carried away taking photos.  I’d say this one is postcard-worthy:

First person to send me a postcard with this photo gets into the Cedar Cross for free

A game trail lead to a low-lying area where woodland critters cross the creek:

This photo shows one fully inflated Flytepacker, one inflated bedroll for an ass-pillow, and all my other stuff, (including backpack), in the drybag attached to the back of the boat. I made sure the water was deep enough to float, then headed downstream:

Looking downstream

 There are few things more relaxing than floating downstream in a packraft. I bet you’re wondering what I used for a paddle..

Super fancy packrafting paddles are available at your local Dollar General for about $3

I was nearly back to the truck when Luke and I made contact. I sent him up a re-entrant to checkpoint “waterfall” and found a place to take the boat out. Most of the creekbank is mud, but I got lucky and found this beach-type area to use for a takeout.

I'm pretty sure this is the rock face locals refer to as the "Redneck Waterpark". I'm told that people jump from it when the water is high.

Luke and I spent the next 1-2 hours scouting the first O-section of the CAC. I don’t want to give away too many CAC details, but in the interest of recruiting more non-racers, I’ll offer a couple photos:

Wet weather waterfall

Even the best photos don’t do justice to how gorgeous these areas look in real life. For example, you probably can’t tell from looking at this photo that I am INCHES away from a vertical drop that would mean certain death for anyone foolish enough to take another step:

Don't miss the CAC

In the very-near future, we’re gonna be ordering maps for the CAC. Expenses add up pretty quick when you’re putting on a free race, so we’d REALLY like it if you would RSVP in the comments section or send us an email. Do it quick, cuz this is one CAC you’ll never forget. And if Don Daly show up, it’ll be the cheapest CAC he’s ever gotten. (Couldn’t resist)

For Sale

2008 Specialized SS Tricross x 2
Both frame sizes are 52

One bike is stock

The other bike is not:
I have upgraded the brakes and hoods to:
SCR-5 Cane Creek hoods and levers Onyx Cantilever Brakes.
Upgraded the front cog to a Salsa cog

$450 a piece- OBO

Contact me via email @ rjb294@hotmail.com for more information.

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