Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Louis Garneau "The Review"


About the shoe: 

This is actually their level MTB shoe and has two single straps that merge into a wider one for more power transfer. Removable crampons under the toes and a heel retention system make this shoe a practical and affordable solution.

Approximate weight (size 41/1 shoe): 308 g/11 oz

First thoughts were based on the price range and at an msrp of $84.99 I wasn't sure if I was going to get the performance to rival that of the Sidi's and Specialized BG shoes.  The design was simple and for me it didn't include a ratchet strap that seem to fail on me after a year or so on most shoes i've tried in the past.  The loop on the back I wasn't really fond of I honestly thought I was going to catch it on something, but that has not yet happened.  I was worried at first about only having two velcro straps but the width of the top strap made for a tight yet comfortable fit.  Even in wet muddy or dry and sandy conditions I never felt the velcro loosen up.   The cleat track is durable and stiff but not to the point of being unable to run in them and they clear mud quite well.  The design of the toe box is interesting and while I didn't see anything up front to protect it from the elements and damage from bouncing off rocks amongst other things it's held up very well after 4 wors races, 3 12 hour races, and multiple mountain bay rides in all conditions from the wet rain and snow to the dry and dusty.  I am very happy with the performance of these shoes and at this price there is no possible way you can go wrong especially if you don't like the ratchet strapping.

(short version pictured)

Louis Garneau MEN ALVEO 3K BIB

About These Bib Shorts: 

The mesh look-a-like construction of the Alveo 3K Bibshorts provides ventilation and the ability to recover its shape although it has been stretched.  Airzone chamois is super ventilated with memory foam that maintains density.

  • Ergonomic fit
  • 10 panels
  • No seams inside legs
  • Flatlocks
  • Powerband
  • Front reflector
  • Back and bottom reflective logos
  • Airzone Chamois

I normally don't go the route of a bib short I just didn't like the feel in the past but I'd figure I would give it one more chance and I am glad I did and with a bib at an msrp of $119.99  It is well ahead of it's competition at the pricepoint.  Fabric felt heavy at first but the mesh like material allows the short to breath with ease and very comfortable.  I was very impressed with the airzone chamois in one major aspect in that the beveled edges really made a difference by not pinching your skin as you move in the saddle as you pedal at a high cadence.  A nice touch to add to this as well would be the lack of seams on the inside of the short and the "powerband" got rid of that ever so annoying gel bead at the end of the leg.  The only thing I didn't like and I may just need to get used to this is how high the material goes above the waistband and I thought it would get too warm but didn't notice a change except to the slimming of my midsection.....hahahahaha.   I am loving these shorts, but I have to keep reminding myself that I still need to use some chamois butter despite how comfortable these bibs are. 

For more info go to www.louisgarneau.com

Order through John at Sprocketz here in Weston!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WEMS #2 Stump Farm 100

Photo By Mark Schindel

I'll start off by saying that I wasn't sure what to expect.  The weather up to Sunday morning had been well short of amazing even by rain forest standards, but if history says anything about the Reforestation Camp, this place could hold water on monsoon like levels, which is a complete contrast from what the Adventure 212 guys went through in Ohio this past weekend.  The weather when I left for the venue was fine with even some sun here and there and that basically lasted till I got to highway 41 when it poured like crazy really till I got to the camp.  The setup was very much different from the past and without lapping through the same route as done in past.

We lined up for the start and the field was not short of competition and even with Tim sprinting to a top 5 finish at the Dirty Kanza, I still had to contend with the usual suspects plus with the addition of Carlos, Mike and Trevor this was surely going to be a hard fought event.

The start ran in the opposite direction down the new wet single track and then out on the ski trails backwards to the main gravel two track.  I got off the line out front and was first to the bike.  I was quickly joined by Carlos and clearly he can ride singletrack smoother than I can so I held is wheel and jumped ahead going into the first section to buy a few minutes of time and once it opened up he regained the lead and we rode out the better half of the first lap wheel to wheel until I bobbled a section and lost my momentum for little bit.  I thought at this stage in the game it was early and maybe, hopefully, he would come back to me later on  and really I should have stuck with him as our lap times were almost the same averaged out over the last 4 laps so yeah I screwed up a little bit so I settled into a pace in which I felt most comfortable and was caught by Mike Curtes and we rode in through the lap area chit chatting a bit about how fun that course was backwards.

I kept my pace where I thought it needed to be and began concentrating on riding smooth and efficient and basically that's what I did for next few hours. Lap 3 I was already encountering lapped traffic and  Lap 4 I came in for new bottles and took to the course again without hesitation.  I started feeling pretty damn good so I began my attack and really my approach was to pass every rider ahead of as if it were a fellow 100 miler and this pace continued on as I came through lap 8 even though I dropped my chain while climbing some singletrack.

It's strange what goes on in your head during a race like this.  Today I was paranoid that my bike was going to break and that Mike would catch me so in an effort to fend off those demons I stopped for more bottles and this time I lubed my chain quickly and glanced for loose twigs and such in the derailure, pedals and cassette.  I ripped out of there like a James "Bubba" Stewart starting a Moto X race with every intention of testing these tired legs and "build some character" I pulled out a couple of my best laps  (minus the pit stop) and rolled in 2nd place at 7 hours and 5 minutes.  This was probably in my eyes the best race I had where I didn't win because of the hard pace I sustained and then the increased effort that I didn't know I had towards the end.

Photo By Mark Schindel

WORS #4 Sunburst Slowdown
With a very difficult training week in store I wasn't expecting much but it did have some climbing so I thought I could sustain enough for a top half finish.        WRONG!

I took off from the back and got hung up in a crash that occurred early on before the initial loop even got underway.  Then to top it off, I got caught up in another mess on the singletrack climb where I was reaching for every branch trying to keep myself from unclipping but it just wouldn't hold off and I jumped off the bike while Scanley, Mark, Bill, Dan and Jesse all got away and again I was off the back. Now I am getting pissed off at this point and really just cruised around for the first lap.  The second lap I hit the reset switch and attacked as best as I could with my flat as hell legs and busted up that climb.  I started reeling riders in one by one and thought I did a good job, but that was not the case.  Too much early on putzing around really cost me some valuable time.

Next up is the 12 Hours of John Muir.  I've loved this course the last couple of times I've done it and am looking to improve on my 9th place finish from last year and looking back at my lap times, there should be no reason why I can't get back to my 2008 2nd place performance, but the new course has me quite curious and with the weather that place doesn't hold water all that well and gets very sticky.

After that I have the Subaru Cup XC and Short Track followed by a much needed break before heading to Levis to get some revenge on that course.  I have unfinished business with that race let's put it that way shall we.