TODAY ONLY is the day to take advantage of a Buy One Get One Free offer from Infinit, my favorite sports drink company. They will make a custom blend based off of what you want and give you a 2nd one for free. Use Code : SALE17 at this website.We want you at the RRM Holiday Party on Saturday, December 16th at 6p. NorthPointe Wellness. This is for paid RRM members and their significant other. An RSVP is required (click here to RSVP). Pro triathlete Andrew Starykowicz is coming back to talk about the greatest sports comeback in history.
Congratulations to Pawel Rutkowski for becoming the IL State Champion for Category 3 Cyclocross AND the Chicago Cyclocross Series Category 3 Champion over the weekend. That’s a fantastic accomplishment.
It also thankfully moves him up to Cat 2, so I might have a shot at breaking into the top 30 now…..
Hurry up and RSVP for the Holiday Party!!
If you have checked out Infinit Nutrition before, there has never been a better time. Once a year they do a BOGO with their custom blends. I have been using a custom blend based off their “SPEED” preset blend for a couple years and just ordered two more bags (that usually get me through the year). for the price of one bag. Use “SALE17” at checkout for the two for one deal. I’m such a fan of their standard GO FAR blend for really long stuff that I haven’t had any reason to modify it. If you have been trying to crack the code for what your body and stomach need during longer events (marathon, 70.3, 140.6) then these are the professionals to consult. Maybe take one of their popular blends and add a little more salt, change the flavor, or add some caffeine. Whatever you want, they make for a reasonable price. www.infinitnutrition.us
Thanks to those who came out to the club meeting last Wednesday! Nick Dal Pra from Peak came out to talk to us about doing some cross training at PSX. Don’t forget that RRM Members have the 10:30a session every Saturday (through March) PAID for them. Seriously. Just show up. I showed up Saturday after not having done any lower body lifting since earlier this year. I’m mostly against any serious strength work during race season and between running, triathlon and bike stuff, ‘race season’ tends to go from April to, uh, now. So it’s fair to say I was a touch rusty.
Let’s just say I’m still walking funny from Saturday. A brief run and a bike ride after probably didn’t help my case, but I was literally going up and down my stairs on hands and knees for two days thanks to overdoing it at PSX. Don’t be one dimensional like me. Go strengthen your lower body in the off-season.
Hugh Jass Fat Bike Series has race #3 this Saturday. I’m planning on going up with a couple other guys. You can ride any bike you want and they rent fat bikes as well.
My 2017 ‘gift guide’ is below. There’s a couple left from last year because I’m still using them all the time. Just fun ideas for gifts for other active people, gift exchanges or even yourself. Everything I have is stuff I own, have hands on experience with, or Dan Hiser recommended, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. I also added a dog specific set at the bottom for those of you that like running with your dog.
Rock River Multisport
Patrick’s Christmas Gift GuideUnlike last year, pants are not at the top of my gift guide. Visibility is the key theme for me this year. I’m 340 days into running every day this year and I can count 293,462,340 times that a driver has blown a stop sign or red light, turned suddenly without a signal, driven by while staring at their phone, backed out of a driveway without looking, or are going 10+ mph over the speed limit in a residential area. Anybody that knows me or lives in Spices and Trees knows that I have reflective gear and lights every time I hit the streets in dusk or dark, so at least these jerks see me sooner when they occasionally look up from their phone. Yes, I look very dorky, but at least I’m seen. This is just as important on the bike. We have seen two local people killed in 2017 by being hit from behind on a straight stretch of road during fairly light conditions. There’s been several more after dark collisions too.
Even just 3-4 years ago, bright lights with a decent battery were stupid expensive, huge and/or not very weatherproof. The options in 2017 are astounding. They aren’t just for low-light use either. If I were to go buy a set of lights today, I would go to Shosies and buy a Lezyne combo kit. They make a lot of options, but their combo kits are very well priced and they are simply fantastic lights that do everything well. You can see all their options here, but I’m going to make two recommendations for a combo kit. If you don’t ride with lights during the day and/or think people actually see you with your dinky blinky light (cough, cough, Tim Goodwin who lives in my neighborhood and rides solo when it’s early and dark, cough), this is for you.
This tail light is crazy bright in the daytime flash setting. One of the brightest I have ever seen. You can see it over a mile away. It lasts for 3 hours in that setting. The other daytime flash that is still visible from over a half mile away lasts nearly 5 hours. You don’t want those modes at night though. The crazy bright flashing is a distraction in dark conditions and is shown to cause motorists to go towards the lights and/or forget about everything else around. There sounded to be a vehicular accident matching that description during the Toy Ride on Friday, but I wasn’t exactly there to be able to say that’s what it was. Buy a bright tail light, but just use the super bright modes during the day.The matching headlight has the same specs as the one I use for night riding and I have no complaints if you’re not going to need it for more than 3 hours. 400 lumens for 3 hours is pretty solid and that’s bright enough to see the road and things around it. The daytime flash mode is also crazy bright and lasts 9 hours. The only time I want more light at night is when riding with people who go overboard on lighting and you get a little washed out from their craziness.
If you want a little more battery or some brigher modes, spend the extra $15 and get the….
Same taillight, but you are really upgrading the front light. That 400 lumen setting becomes 450 and the battery goes from 3:00 to 4:30. There’s also a 650 lumen setting that gets you 2:30. Unless you’re going really fast or trail riding (with the light on your helmet) that seems like a lot. But it’s only $15 more…. There’s also a mega turbo super duper mode that lasts 90 minutes, but it’s a little over the top.
I own the Bontrager Flare (among others like several Cygolites) and have heard good things about the new Specialized Flux and Stix series, but I have seen and touched the Lezynes and know they are up there with the best. Their combo pricing probably makes them the best value too. If I were buying lights today for myself, Emily or another ride these Lezynes are the two kits I would choose between.
These are not great as a visibility focused light, but their main focus is to alert you of vehicles approaching from behind. The technology is solid. I got to play around with somebody else’s Varia over the summer and this was shared by somebody that bought it for their dad this year. Essentially, it’s a radar unit on the back of your bike that alerts you to vehicles approaching you, so you can be more aware of what’s going on. Sometimes you don’t hear vehicles until they are already overtaking you. This DCRainmaker review will tell you more than you ever needed to know. It’s pricey, but compatible with nearly every Garmin produced in the last 3 years and I’m not aware of anything like it.
Goodr Running Sunglasses – $25
This one surprised me last week when I stopped into Fleet Feet. I could write an entire newsletter on these. Just go freaking buy them. The hardest decision is which one to buy since there are like 40 options and they are ALL good. Go to Fleet Feet and try them one. “Swedish Meatball Hangover” is calling my name to come back and buy them.
I love sunglasses. It’s pretty hard to find great athletic ones for a reasonable price. I’m a big of Smith Optics and own two pairs of their Pivlock Max glasses for riding. Comfortable, lightweight, stylish, good optics….and your wallet is usually hurting. These are no bounce, no joke, excellent sunglasses for anything active and casual. Buy a 6 pack and share with friends. Buy them for yourselves and don’t share. I don’t care. All I know is the Cash 4 Gold 6 pack is calling somebody’s name.
It’s a tad dorky, but having the right bolt tightness is pretty important on bike parts to keep them from falling apart or breaking. There’s hardly a bolt on your bike that 5Nm is too much for or not strong enough for. I wouldn’t bother with a 4Nm version.
This thing is only the size of a couple gel packets and the new versions have a built in holder for extra bits. This one goes with me for most rides since stem or seatpost is my most likely adjustment and they are 5nm on every one of my bikes. My fancy multi tool has been used maybe 4-5 times….this gets used most weeks. Other companies make fairly similar ones as well, but I can’t say I have ever needed to try anybody else’s. My original one from 2013 is still going strong and matches pretty well to 5nm on my ‘nice’ torque wrench at home.
This thing is still going strong since last year. Not a broken stitch or anything. Somebody stole the water bottle at Rock Cut last winter….that’s my only complaint. I use this almost every day to carry a phone, dog bags and clip a few visibility lights to. This stays on the list
Honestly, I rarely have a reason to carry 2 liters of fluid, another bottle and plenty of room for snacks. I couldn’t tell you what that little whistle sounds like. The only thing that’s been in the pill pocket is candy. What I can tell you is that I wear this thing at least once every week. I had no idea something could be so comfortable while running.
Yes, it works great when you want to carry obnoxious amounts of fluids and calories (like training for IM when eating and drinking is the 4th discipline), but I like it for carrying other things. Phone in a chest pocket for easy access and more pictures. Extra pair of shoes, water bottle and a few extras in the back and jog to the gym for a lift. All my swimming stuff and a water bottle for a little run/swim/run.
Plenty of places to clip lights to and be visible for all hours of the day. I have 100+ (mostly very short) runs on this pack and there isn’t a single broken stitch or wonky zipper. It’s comfortable with hours worth of stuff and it’s comfortable with just blinky lights and a cell phone.
After running daily for nearly a year and rotating between these four pairs, I can say these are still at the top of my recommended list. The lightly padded version here are the exact same with a little padding in two spots and I really like their hiking socks for casual use.
Running socks can be obnoxious. I wear a 12 or 13 in most shoes and 2 sizes of socks to cover every size just doesn’t work well for me. They would be stretched so thin they would wear out in a hurry or they would work their way down into my shoe. I had tried Smartwool running socks before and the large did the same thing as all the others. A large ‘micro’ cut was probably the running specific socks I had owned. Turns out they make xl and I thought I would give ‘low cut’ a try. Just perfection.
“Low cut” is an ankle sock and the right amount for full protection between your shoes and skin without a bunch of excess. Both cushioning levels are good for their intended purposes. If they weren’t at least as comfortable and protective as any other sock I have tried, I wouldn’t even mention them. I don’t think I ran in any other socks this year.
I recently saw that you can use the code SMARTWOOL3 and get 33% off any three pairs of Smartwool socks on Jet.com. I haven’t ordered anything off Jet before, but maybe it’s a good way to try these socks out.
Tire Pressure Gauge
If you’re going to ride a bike, you should be concerned with tire pressure. The lower you go (fat bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes), the more crucial it is. Nothing is more important than tire pressure when it comes to grip, handling and comfort. It’s even true for your skinny tire bike.
The gauge on your pump is crap. Seriously. My “nice” Bontrager pump is off by at least 10psi when tested against my handheld gauge. The cheaper gauges at the hardware store won’t work on the presta valves your bike has. You need something specific for bikes. The SKS Airchecker or Topeak Smartgauge D2 are both great options. It boggles my mind when I’m in a bike shop that doesn’t sell one of these. These should be going out the door with every fat bike purchase along with a rough idea of what settings to use for certain conditions. I use mine every time I swing a leg over a bike and will even take it with me on a ride since it’s so small. I can’t think of a better way to make your bike faster and more comfortable for ~$25. I recommend the SKS for low pressure applications (fat bike, mt bike, cyclocross) and the Topeak for high pressure (road, time trial, triathlon). The SKS measures down to half a psi, but lets slightly more air out when taking a measurement than the Topeak. The Topeak does whole numbers only, but barely lets any air (if it all) escape when taking a measurement. If you don’t care about half a psi, get the Topeak. If you want something super light to throw in your jersey pocket, get the SKS.
(picture from DCRainmaker.com) Last year this was an ‘honorable mention’ because I had one die within the first year. Scosche replaced it quickly and efficiently. That same one is still going fairly strong so it moves up to recommended. There’s limitations to optical heart rate (and I’m not using HR for training very much anymore), but this is by far the most comfortable way to measure heart rate while running. Wrist heart rate from a watch just isn’t very accurate during activity either.
If you like to monitor/record your heart rate,
you likely use a chest strap. They are a total pain to take on and off, especially at the gym. Big slimy strap on your gym bag all day? Have you ever gotten dressed to ride and realize you forgot to put on your HR strap? It’s a process with bib straps and a layer or two on top. The wrist based watches/activity bands just flat out suck during anything active. Here’s a HR strap that works with every sports watch and cell phone out there. Seriously, Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Bontrager, iPhone, Android from the last ~5 years….just not your grandma’s jitterbug. It works with most recent treadmills too. If you click around on your treadmill’s bluetooth settings, you can connect this HR strap to them. Most have programs where it will adjust your speed/incline to keep you in a HR race you select. If you’re into MAF training, it’s pretty cool to be watching TV and have the treadmill always keeping you in your selected zone. 8 hour rechargeable battery should give you enough juice for anything you’re doing. I prefer wearing mine in the same spot as Ray does in the picture above.
Rechargeable, bright and lightweight are what I look for in a good headlamp. This is the best I have found so far (Black Diamond Sprinter is also really good for runners). I use this Fenix while running in the dark to see where I’m going and it’s bright enough to get the attention of drivers. The brightest setting is really high and way more than what’s needed for basic running, but nice to know it’s there. I find myself wearing it around the house for projects and working on my car too. Very useful little guy and way better than the cheap 3 AAA lights found all over.
Gifts for the Doggos or Doggo Lovers
My dog is a black lab that is invisible in the dark. I had two lights clipped to his running harness in the past, but they didn’t really point towards approaching vehicles. After a lady literally stopped her car, got out and told me she saw me perfectly, but didn’t see my dog (and how her dog was hit by a passing vehicle while they were walking!) I finally bought the….
Cooper looks like an alien when this thing is on. It’s very bright and wraps around his torso. There’s lot of colors and light modes. It’s rechargeable. It would be pretty hard to miss him. That’s what I want. He loves going out for runs (on leash) and we both have to be proactive when dealing with people that can’t be bothered to pay attention to their driving. It’s not a great harness, but it’s functional and I’m not finding any weak points on it. The D-ring attachment is attached strongly and it goes on and off without too much hassle. An okay harness with a good light makes it a great product. There’s room for improvement, but I haven’t seen a better one.
Dog Chest Plate Harness – $25
This is harness we use during daylight. If you want a safer way to run with your dog, this is much better than a neck collar. Ours has been used near daily for the last year and other than smelling like a dog, it’s in perfect condition. I could lift Cooper up by it since it support his chest. It also allows him to ‘pull’ a bit more (which may not be appealing to you) so we use it for running, but not walks. If you’re looking for something for your dog to ‘tow’ you, then you want to check out the Ruffwear Joring System.
Hands Free Waist Leash – $40
I will never run with a hand leash again. I can’t believe I never had one of these with my last dogs. Same as the chest plate harness, it’s in perfect shape after a year of near daily use. The padding distribution is a little wonky, but it’s never been uncomfortable. Ruffwear also makes a really good one.
This is the exact leash and harness Cooper and I use.
RRM Group Workouts
Saturdays at 10:30a starting November 4th
Paid RRM Members only
RRM Club MeetingDecember 16th Holiday Party
6p at Northpointe Wellness
Fat Tire Festivus Saturday, December 16 201 N 2nd Street, Oregon, IL (Behind Conover Square Mall)It’s a Fat Tire Festivus miracle! Grab your fattest tires and get ready to roll across streets and off-road sections of beautiful Oregon, Illinois. The FTF route covers roughly 8.5 miles of city streets, parks, views of the Rock River, and the historic Riverview Cemetery. Register for the Competitive Race category and compete for a prize for the top 3 men, women, and youth (under 18) or join the Fun Ride and simply enjoy the ride with fellow riders. All off-road bikes are welcome around the Festivus Pole with games and a post-ride party to follow.
Rock River Multisport is a non-profit club based in the Rock River Region of Northern Illinois. RRM is built by endurance focused athletes of all skill levels.
RRM focuses on creating a community for collaborative training and mentorship and seeks to promote healthy lifestyles through local opportunities for its members to train and race with a supportive group of like-minded individuals.
We pair athletes together for training and racing opportunities and seek sponsors and local partner affiliations to help our athletes make and achieve their athletic goals in a number of endurance sports (swimming, running, cycling, triathlon, x-country skiing, endurance racing, inline skating, etc.).
Most importantly of all, we want to create a fun atmosphere for people who are interested in sharing what it takes to compete in endurance sports and enjoy life.
While predominately a social club, expect to see exciting training and racing events in areas currently missing from the area!