ROCKWELL Monza Sunglasses review

rockwell-logo

ROCKWELL Monza

ROCKWELL Monza

 

ROCKWELL Watches and Sunglasses?

Who knew that Rockwell made sunglasses?  Yes the very same company that leads the watch industry in a huge way now has a great line of eye wear! Introducing Rockwell sunglasses, which believe me are as nice as their time pieces!  For starters you won’t find these on a rack while waiting in line to purchase your favorite 32 oz “dirty diet” whatever drink from your local convenient store.  And don’t even think about trying to find them at the closest strip mall where some teenager is managing a kiosk with rows and rows of generic knock offs.  To find these you’ll have to look a little higher to a place called TOP SHELF, much like a fine cigar or an aged bottle of wine.  

 
Rockwell went straight to the creators of sophistication and class to produce their line of sunglasses.  Rich Eggett (owner of Rockwell) decided if they were to put their stamp of approval on these, they had to look and feel right.  So he teamed up with an Italian company to create five very clean yet individual styles.  The end results are some serious shades for serious people who appreciate quality.  With five models to pick from the choice should be fairly simple! However, to pick from the Milano, the Pompei, the Roma, the Venezia or the Monza will prove more difficult that it sounds.  
 
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ROCKWELL gives back!
 
One thing I’ve learned from my interactions with the amazing Rockwell crew is they always look for ways to give back.  Tons of their watches are associated with great foundations, with a portion of the sales going to those charities.  So it comes as no surprise that Rockwell has teamed up with “CharityVision” and a portion of the sales from each sunglasses goes directly to them.  “Rockwell has partnered with the nonprofit CharityVision to help individuals across the world with curable blindness. With every pair of sunglasses sold, Rockwell will donate a portion of the proceeds to this effort.

Rockwell Vision is designed in Salt Lake City UT. and is 100% hand-crafted in Italy. For more information on CharityVision, please visit their website www.CharityVision.net

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This type of generosity speaks volumes ​about Rockwell, it’s owners and the great crew that work hard to deliver such cool products.  Walking into their store in Woods Cross, Utah gives you a sense of just how big they’ve become and their display case increases in size each time I visit.  My go to Rockwell guy, Bryce Brown, will always greet you with a smile and hand shake.  He, along with all the others will make you feel like family the moment you step foot inside.  Which is why we’re super proud that Rockwell is a sponsor to the Skyline Mountain 50 and the Skyline Mountain Marathon trail events.

A little about ROCKWELL Monza:

100% Hand-crafted in Italy – Designed in Salt Lake City Utah

Frame: Black Matte – Nylon TR90 Injected

Lens: Smoke Polarized – Anti-Smudge and Oleo-phobic

​What does all this mean?  It means these sunglasses are as comfortable as they are classy looking.  Like a hot sports car with clean lines and very little to detract from the overall beauty, these sunglasses will have you speaking Italian in no time.  Putting on a pair will make you feel like you instantly jumped up a few notches in your social status.  Almost like going from coach to first class on a flight to LA to walk the red carpet!  All joking aside, wearing these will make you feel the quality, distinction and modern style of high end sunglasses.  Oh and the Nylon TR90 injected material means they’re durable, built to last through the abuse we typically give our eye wear.
We do consider these a luxury item as the price tag is reflective of a higher end product.  Before you shop consider the fact that you’re buying true, Italian made glasses and a portion of the sales will go to a great charity.  We recommend you save up a few bucks before treating yourself to something extra nice….because you deserve it, that’s why.  They make a perfect gift for that hard to shop for person in your life.  You know….that person who always wants to set themselves apart from the rest of the trends in the world!
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HOW DID THEY RATE?
We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:
Quality 5
Performance 4
Features 4
Value 4.5
OVERALL RATING FOR THE ROCKWELL MONZA: 4.37
Just so there’s no sticker shock when you begin your quest for a new pair of ROCKWELL sunglasses I feel it’s important to understand a few things. Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on my eye wear so a 4.5 stars on value has to come with an explanation.  Taking into consideration that a portion of the sales will go to the CharityVision foundation, I feel the money is well spent.  For more details on watches or these sunglasses, please visit rockwelltime.com.  I’ll be willing to bet you find something you really like!

 

Koobi Saddle 232T Triathlon Seat review

 

THREE POINTS OF CONTACT.
 
There are three points of contact between the rider and the bicycle.  Your hands, your buttocks and your feet, which should be the most comfortable and stable platforms when you ride.  If you’re going to spend some money upgrading your bicycle it’s recommended to start with these three areas before moving onto wheels or your components.  If you ride more than 10 miles at a time then you understand the importance of comfort.  Let’s be honest if you’re not comfortable on your bicycle, chances are you won’t ride as often or as far.  Koobi Saddles has created several different bicycle seats to address the comfort issue.  They’ve put a lot of time and research into what makes a great saddle for the different types of riding you do.
 
 
KOOBI SADDLES…PRONOUNCED “KEWBIE”
What should you look for when you purchase your next bicycle seat.  Koobi’s website has tons of insight, including a short video that will help explain the difference in seats.  Here’s a little bit of information that can be found at koobi.com.
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Bike Saddle Function

A well-designed bicycle saddle supports your body weight while you pedal, balance and steer. When you hit a bump, everything beneath you should flex or compress: the saddle cover material, the foam, the base and the rails. If all of the elements do their job, the bicycle saddle will absorb the energy in the bump instead of transferring it to you. It’s how those components work together that brings you optimum comfort.

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Comfortable Bicycle Seat – Bike Saddle Design Elements

The following articles explain how each component of a bike seat contributes to overall comfort.

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Comfortable Bicycle Seat – Koobi Saddles

Koobi is dedicated to improving bike saddle technology to provide an optimum cycling experience for a wide range of riders. Men and women, road and mountain bike riders, and triathletes – anyone can find an ideal fit.

 

 

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The Rider

All cyclists are not alike, so it stands to reason that one bicycle seat will not feel comfortable for every body. The search for a “perfect fit” takes into consideration:

  • Your gender
  • Your weight
  • Hours per week of riding
  • Type of biking: mountain, road, time trial
DOES ONE SIZE FIT ALL?
 
​NO!  One size does not fit all riders and all types of riding.  There are road specific seats, mountain specific seats and triathlon specific seats.  So how will you know what type is best for you?  First you need to determine what type of bicycle you are going to put the seat on, road, mountain or triathlon.  Next determine how many hours a week you will be riding or plan on riding then of course you already know your gender and weight.  That should get you started as to what seats to look at when you visit Koobi’s website.
One of the most important aspects of picking the right seat is where your “sit bones” are in relation to the padding of the seat.  This little bit of information could make your next ride way more comfortable.  Most bicycle shops can measure or determine the width of your sit bones for free by using a simple pressure pad.  This cool little device will allow you to sit down in a similar position of that when you’re riding.  The pressure pad displays different colors showing your downward points of contact on the seat or where your sit bones rest on the seat.  The shop can then take a measurement of the two sit bones and recommend the proper width of a saddle.  These measurements are usually between 140 mm and 160 mm in width.
If you’re like most people 146 mm is the standard comfort distance for sit bones and most bicycle seats, Koobi included.  Take a little time and write down all the information listed above, including your measured sit bones.  Armed with this knowledge you are now ready to find your next Koobi seat!  Their website is very user friendly, starting with the type of riding you will be doing – road, mountain, triathlon or time trials.  From there you can see the different seats that will fit your sit bone measurements, height, weight, gender and distance of riding.
THE 232T TRIATHLON SEAT! 
Hey all you triathlon riders out there….you’re gonna love the 232T seat!  Once I mounted my 232T triathlon seat to my 2011 BMC TT02 tri bike I noticed it sat a little higher than my old seat.  Two slight adjustments and I was set to ride!  I choose that particular seat because of the distance I ride as well as my riding position.  Now this seat is truly designed for triathlons and has several cool features built right into the seat.  First off it has the open nose area that relieves the soft tissue from the downward pressure.  Next it has a medium density padding that’s ideal for Olympic distance on up to a full triathlon distance.  The nose of the seat has a small plastic hook that will hang on a bar while in transition.  This same hook is great for getting out of transition as your hand won’t slip off your seat as you’re running to the bike start.  The rear of the seat has a plastic insert with a metal threaded hole, used to attach a variety of rear hydration systems or storage.
 
It took me a couple of short rides to get adjusted to the new saddle but now I find it the most comfortable seat I’ve owned.  I’ve put well over 100 miles on this seat without any issues and love the design of it.  I find that I’m able to be in the aerodynamic position for longer periods of time verses my previous seat.   My soft tissue area doesn’t get that uncomfortable pressure due to the open nose and my sit bones fit well with the width of the 232T.  I am sold on this seat and glad I made the switch!
 
 
HOW DID THEY RATE?  
We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:
Quality 4.75
Performance 4.75
Features 5
Value 4.75

 
 
OVERALL RATING FOR THE KOOBI 232T Triathlon Saddle: 4.81 stars
 
I’m super stoked with the Koobi 232T triathlon seat!  They’ve certainly done their homework on what makes or breaks a good seat and put that information into every one of their saddles.  The overall rating also includes how user friendly their website is and treats every customer as an individual with individual needs.  They want you to be comfortable because cycling is a fun sport when the equipment we use performs well.  I highly recommend the investment in a Koobi saddle, one that’s right for you.   

 

Barking Frog Review

BARKING FROG?

That’s right…a Barking Frog….so what is it? “Barkies, keep you warm in the cold, cool in the heat and protects you from the elements – sun, rain, snow, wind and sand. A Barkie is used year round, no matter what the season or where the adventure. Barkies are a seamless tube of high-tech microfiber fabric measuring 11×22”. This simple piece of fabric is typically worn around your neck like a handkerchief only much, much better. It can me used to keep the dust out of your nose and mouth or worn around the head to keep you warm. It can be used as a headband to keep sweat from rolling in your eyes. It’s a comfortable, seamless tube of soft fabric that stretches to fit around your neck, face, head or even your wrist.

THROUGH ALL TYPES OF ADVENTURES!

ELISA REITSCH, CEEO

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Chief of Everything Else Officer

Elisa

“Creator of Barking Frogs, Elisa has 30 years of experience as a successful artist, garment designer and manufacturer. She has worked extensively in the fields of business development, marketing and sales. As an athlete, ski patrol and lover of outdoor adventures, she understands exactly what you need to be comfortable while looking great. Her spirit and multifaceted talents are what sets Barking Frogs apart. Between her and Bark you can trust that we have everything covered – in a stylish manner!”

So Elisa sent us several of these cool little items. They were given to our personal trainers, runners and cyclists for testing and here’s what we thought about them. First off we used them as headbands during some training sessions to keep the sweat off our faces. One was used to run the Zion’s Half Marathon which can be tough with it’s constant changing weather. It was used around Melanie’s neck to keep that portion of the body warm. The material was light enough that it didn’t weigh her down from recording a great time! It can easily be pulled up around the mouth and nose or all the way over the head to protect you from the elements. One was used during the Antelope Buffalo 100 mile run…(Curt you are crazy, and we love it)! This simple piece of gear was a great thing to have. As the 100 miles started on Friday the temps were mild so it was worn around the neck. As the night time hours of running came so did the wind! It was pulled up around the entire head to protect the ears, chin, nose area against the wind burn and colder night time temperatures.

Lastly we used them during some riding on Legacy Trail in Davis County. If you’ve ridden this trail in the spring you know that the bugs are out in force! This makes riding with your mouth open an adventure in and of it’s self…. So we thought to put them around our necks and pull them up over the nose area to keep the bugs out. This comfortable piece of gear worked great and allowed us to still breath while riding. We did notice it cut back on the amount of oxygen slightly but not enough to make us feel suffocated.

The cool thing about the Barkies is that you can custom print most anything on them. If you have an event, family function or a team that wants to be set apart with some unique and cool functioning gear then the Barking Frogs can help. For complete products, specs and designs you can simply visit: barkingfrogs.me

THEIR GOALS:

GOAL: Pack light, go fast. What do you carry that will give you the most benefit and weigh the least? Barkies, hands down. Besides protection from the elements, this simple tube has many outdoor emergency uses, such as: bandage, sling, water strainer, protection from insects….

Multi-functional
Multi-sport
Breathable
100% microfiber
Machine washable
No seams
One-size fits all
Colorfast
Wicks water
UV Protection

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4
Performance 4
Features 3.5
Value 4

OVERALL RATING FOR THE BARKING FROG: 3.87 stars

Our overall rating takes into consideration the absolute need for any piece of gear while doing outdoor sports. The fabric is very light weight and very comfortable, however during super cold temps like the ones you will find in Utah it can’t replace a heavier material. Most people aren’t running or cycling in the middle of the winter but there are those dye-hard athletes out there. This item is perfect for the Spring, Summer or Fall months. Don’t let this review discourage you from using your Barking Frog for your snow sports, just be prepared to bring other cold weather gear. This would be great around the neck in addition to other base layers and quickly pulled up around the nose area during your snowboarding or skiing adventures! How will you use your Barking Frog?

Noxgear Tracer 360 Review

 

ADVANCED VISIBILITY GEAR!

Noxgear is an Ohio based company who takes safety very seriously when it comes to playing outdoors in dark conditions.  You might be a runner or a cyclists who only has time to exercise, train or play in the early morning or late night hours.  If you’re like me those two times are the only times you can get away for a an hour or two.  I’ve looked and looked for ways to improve my visibility during these times.  I came across Noxgear (noxgear.com) while searching safety vests on the computer and immediately became interested in seeing for myself what the product could do.

Tracer360 Features Callout

“Noxgear was founded by two engineers, Simon Curran and Tom Walters. In the beginning we set out to solve a problem we faced, and in the process of doing that we founded a company with a simple mission: deliver innovative, well-designed gear to all nocturnal athletes.  We are proud of this company and what it represents. Our name, Noxgear, is based on the Latin word for night: nox. Nocturnal, or being active at night, is also derived from this Latin origin.  From the earliest days of our working prototypes, our vests burnt a distinct ‘X’ in the night air.  So the perfect combination of its meaning and using the letter ‘x’ gave us our name: noxgear – for the nocturnal athlete.”

About a year ago a good family friend, Ashley, was running late at night with her husband when she was hit by a truck.  She survived with a broken arm, some scrapes and bruises but the fear of running again in those dark hours scared her.  The safety gear she was wearing was the typical bright yellowl, bulky vest with a few strips of reflective material in certain areas.  She was holding a flashlight, which was mostly so she could see the ground.  The driver admitted he didn’t see her until it was too late and as he went to cross the intersection he hit her.  This is one of the problems Noxgear has solved with their light up vest.  It’s always on, always visible even with out the use of a light source to reflect off the material.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Traditional safety vests require a light source to shine on them before they will be reflective or be seen.  The Noxgear Tracer 360 has it’s own light source that wraps around your entire torso for a complete 360 degrees of visibility.

The Tracer 360 has a single elastic chest strap that holds the entire vest together and the main power source is located on your back.  From the main power source there are two clear tubes of plastic that filter light through them.  These tubes go over your shoulders and around your lower torso almost looking like an X.  The chest strap can be adjusted for a more perfect fit, the tubes can also be adjusted to fit the shoulder areas better.  The main power source comes with three AAA batteries to light it and weights in at only 6.5oz total.  It has a single on/off and toggle switch to change the solid color of the light coming through the tubes and also has flashing modes that increase your visibility.  Here are the complete specs of this vest:

Technical Details:

  •     Low Profile, Integrated Battery and Electronics Enclosure
  •     Super Bright CREE LEDs
  •     Solid Core, Super Side Light Fiber Optic CableFlexible
    •     Heat and Electricity Free
    •     High Efficiency
    •     Solid Optical Gel Core
  •     All Weather / Season Design – Wear with T-shirt or Jacket
  •     Operates on (3) AAA batteries (Included) with Easy-access Door
  •     Up to 40 hours battery life
  •     Noxgear’s Unique Always Bright Electronics
  •     LED-blink Battery Notification on Start-up and Power Down
  •     High Quality, Durable and Chaff-free Elastic Belt Material
  •     Recessed Power/Mode Button to Prevent Inadvertent Activation
  •     Sweat Resistant, Breathable and Comfortable Design Using High Quality Sports Mesh
  •     Front Quick-Clip Buckle for Easy On and Off
  •     Minimal Fabric-to-Body Contact – Won’t Trap Sweat
  •     Water Resistant Design

Be seen.

I’ve been running with my Noxgear Tracer 360 for about 3 weeks now and absolutely love this product!  It’s my essential piece of gear as I’m heading out the door when it’s still dark outside.  I run with so much more confidence knowing that the increased visibility alerts drivers way before they come upon me.  I’ve noticed that cars are giving me an extra wide girth when passing and even slow down a little.  I had one driver thank me because she was able to see me immediately from far away and could tell a runner was on the road.  Of course I took the opportunity to quickly show her the cool piece of gear and found out she was an avid runner herself!  We recently featured this product at the 2015 Endurance Sports Show in Sandy Utah as safety gear for our cycling event, the Salt to Saint Bicycle Relay.  The most frequently asked question was if the lights bother the eyes when running or cycling?  The answer is no, not even in the least.  I can’t even tell it’s on me when I’m running and in no way hinders my night vision.  I will tell you who does see it….the motorists!

This vest is ideal for any type of activity outdoors in the dark or for a relay type event that runs throughout the night.  Noxgear has put a ton of thought into this amazing vest, keeping it light weight and completely functional.  This would be a great fit for the Salt to Saint Relay when our riders are cycling across Utah in the middle of no where at night!

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4.5
Performance 4.75
Features 5
Value 4.5

 

OVERALL RATING FOR THE NOXGEAR TRACER 360: 4.68 stars

I felt that Noxgear really hit a home run with this product.  It’s an absolute must for anyone who is active at night time.  I was very happy with the testing and feel it’s very much worth the investment.  Noxgear offers a ton of other high visibility items which can be found on their website, noxgear.com.  Just this morning I pitched this vest to a police chief and fire chief as another way to be visible when helping with an accident scene, DUI roadblock or other incident where safety is a priority.  It was received very well!  How will you be using your Noxgear?

Hillsound Freesteps6 Trail Crampon

WINTER TRAIL RUNNING

Anyone who runs in the winter knows that it can be a dangerous and tricky environment if one is not properly outfitted. Slipping on ice can lead to an untimely injury and potentially weeks of recovery. I have ran on icy trails in only shoes and taken my share of falls, so when I finally decided to get some kind of trail running crampon I was pleased to find an alternative in the Hillsound Freesteps6 (MSRP $39.99 USD/CAD). The other alternatives I had seen previous were Khatoola Microspikes® (MSRP $64.95) and Yaktrax RUN (MSRP $39.99).

 

PUTTING IT TO THE TEST

After a year of use the features I like about the Freesteps6 are:

  • The Elastomer Harness

    is stretchy enough to pull from the toe and get around the heel without problem. They then stay in place quite well, due in part to the sticky grip and in part to being a little tight. I have worn these crampons on my size 11.5 Brooks and size 11. Altras. On the Altras they tend to fill too tight, likely due to the wide toe box of the Altras. It depends on the angle of my foot placement on and the steepness of the slopes, but occasionally the crampon will move around in the toe area. From time to time I find myself making adjustments, which is not difficult since there is a nice finger hole on top of toe box and grippy tab on the heel for stretching over the shoe. There are no odd clasps, buttons to snap or velcro to connect when putting the Freesteps6 on.

  • High Traction and Confidence

    on ice and icey snow the crampons grip and provide firm traction. I can not recall a single time of slipping on the ice. Even strutting one cold January morning on pure ice, with a 20% downhill grade that curves into a ravine (I was really expecting to go down on this one).

  • Light (comparatively),

    the Large size weighs just under 12 ounces, almost 2.5 ounces less than the 14.4 ounce Khatoola Microspikes®. Really, compared to running specific snowshoes, these things are hardly noticeable. Forget Red Bull, these things will give you Winter running wings.

  • Exploring

    A really cool thing about throwing on a pair of crampons is that it makes exploring winter scenes much more accessible. Not to mention the thrill and fun of cruising out across a moonlit trail at night. Old familiar trails take on a new life when explored in the solitude and quietness of a snow landscape. There are always less crowds and an other-World feel at times.

SOME BAD, BUT MOSTLY GOOD

The heel section of the chains and spikes come together to form a ring of stainless steel. This ring can prove to be an area of snow accumulation when the snow is really sticky. Which can lead to a ball of snow right under your heel, not a comfortable running experience. I found that if there is too much snow and it is wet or sticky then the crampons were better left in my backpack and I would let the traction of my trail shoes do the snow gripping, similar to running in mud.

Speaking of the stainless steel ring, I took my Freesteps6 out on a run in early Decmeber up a local trail. At the end of my run as I took off my crampons I noticed that the ring heel on one of them had broke. I took some pictures and sent an email to Hillsound explaining that I had the product for just over a year. Since they have a 2-year warranty it was no problem to have them replaced. It is always a bonus when a company stands behind their product.

Snowball Accumulation

Snowball Accumulation

2-Year Warranty (phew!)

2-Year Warranty (phew!)

Slightly Tight on Wide Toe Boxes

Slightly Tight on Wide Toe Boxes

SOME SPECS

The Freesteps6 are made of Stainless steel, chains and a 21 spike bed, reinforced Elastomer harness, Size LG that I used weighs 340g.

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4
Performance 4
Features 3.5
Value 4.5

OVERALL RATING FOR THE FREESTEPS6: 4 Big Stars!

Considering the value when compared to the other leading brands out there, the Freesteps6 should not be overlooked if you are looking to walk hike or run on some icy trails this season.

ABOUT HILLSOUND

Icame across Hillsound at the January 2012 Outdoor Retailer show, where I was introduced to their new running crampon the Freesteps6. The reps there were very passionate about their products, they were friendly and cool to talk too. Hillsound, headquartered in Vancouver BC, had their beginnings in traditional trail crampons and from there branched out to gaiters. You can check out their goods here.

Rock Tape vs KT Tape Pro

 

The Epic Battle!

There is much debate as to which athletic tape is the best.  People want to know which one really works, which one sticks the best, which brand is better for a particular injury or sport?  With so many different brands out there, how do you know what you’re getting and if it will actually work?  When athletes finally choose a particular type of tape they tend to be very passionate and vocal about it.  Some have compared this passion to a college football rivalry where people are picking one brand over the other and defending it in lengthy debate.  Well the good news is we narrowed our search down to two products that seem to be at the top of every list!

 

UNDERSTANDING ATHLETIC TAPE

IIt’s important to understand what modern athletic tape can do for you.  With medical tape the goal was to prevent movement so it was created with none stretching material.  This technology is now considered to be outdated but medical tape is still used to prevent injuries, mostly in the wrist and ankle areas.  Modern athletic tape has an elastic property weaved into the material to promote movement.  Movement has been proven to help speed up recovery and increase blood flow to the injured area.  Blood flow to your injury is great because blood carries oxygen, and oxygen can help repair damage to the body.  A good athletic tape will stretch length wise but not width wise.  This is to offer your body full range of movement but also give support to the muscle, joint or ligament.  It can be used to compress or decompress a certain applied area and will create a microscopic lifting affect of the skin.  What this does is help remove any by-products from swelling or inflammation “by allowing congested or compressed blood vessels (capillaries, lymph vessels, arteries, veins) to flow more freely”.  Athletic tape can also delay fatigue by distributing the work load from an applied area to surrounding muscles, joints or ligaments.  If the athletic tape has kinesiology in the fabric some people have said that it helps reduce the pain they feel in that area.

SO WHAT DID WE DISCOVER?

We sent a sample of each the Rock Tape and the KT Tape Pro to Sarah Daley of Farmington Utah who is a certified person trainer and loves weigh lifting, swimming, cycling and running. Here is what she had to say:

Overall I am a healthy and active person who loves to run and have completed several local races. I am however, plagued with a tight IT band which is hard to relieve once it flairs up.  I stretch, warm up and it usually isn’t too bad, but everyone once in awhile my IT band will stop me in my tracks. I have tried a few different athletic tapes and even just medical tape. But had yet to find a tape that I am 100% satisfied with, unit now.

KT Tape on the knee

KT Tape on back  of the ankle

First off, I love the colors I received, and if I am going to be running around with straps of tape on my legs, it might as well add to my ensemble.  Both Rock Tape and KT Tape instructions were thorough and had detailed pictures with videos on how to apply the tape correctly.  I love how Rock Tape came in one continuous roll which allowed me to cut the exact length of tape I needed each time.  KT Tape came in pre-cut strips which had to be cut in half for smaller applications and left a little bit of material wasted.  It’s important to note that with both tape, when applied correctly they will work as you need them to.  Both tapes come in one single width and not split down the middle like some other brands we tested.  This made application easier to not have to deal with two skinnier strips to cover one area.  The material could easily be torn down the middle if the area and application needed that type of wrapping.

I put Rock Tape and KT Tape to the test side by side and to against other competitors. Since we are still talking about Rock Tape and KT Tape it’s safe to say the other brands didn’t make the cut.  I taped both my IT bands, one brand on each side. First thing I noticed was that Rock Tape has a much better adhesive than KT Tape. After walking around my house for about five minutes, getting ready for my run, KT Tape started to lift up from its applied area (an annoying problem I have had in the past) while Rock Tape stayed put.

Rock Tape on the knee

Rock Tape on knee

Rock Tape top view

I went out for a quick 5k run and the Rock Tape stayed strong and held tight. It was so light weight, I actually forgot it was on and it never peeled or bunch up like the KT Tape started doing. The other bonus to forgetting was that I didn’t feel the pain from my IT band.  It was a miracle!!  After having what I call, a chronic “twanging” in my IT band, it was a relief to finish my run strong!  The Rock Rape stood the test of time and reduced the pain so that I could run with no problems.  Removing both tape was pretty easy, it came of very clean and didn’t leave those weird sticky patches all over my leg.  As a side note if you have hair on the area where the tape is applied it might not remove as easy as if the area is shaved.  Hence the whole reason cyclists and swimmers shave their legs and arms…just saying!  So all in all, I prefer Rock Tape over KT Tape.  I recommend following the instructions, stretch the middle not the ends, round the corners, and you will get a tape worth the money! I will definitely be investing in Rock Tape over any other brand. Can’t wait for the 2015 running season to start!

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY!

So we tested the Rock Tape (rocktape.com) against the KT Tape Pro (kttape.com) and several other brands that didn’t make it for at least two good reasons or more.  We felt these two brands definitely deserved to be at the top of every list and sometimes comes down to a matter of preference.  Starting with Rock Tape we noticed that it adheres a little better than KT Tape, however KT Tape does offer a spray to help make their tape stick better.  This spray comes in a bottle and is applied prior to putting the KT Tape on.  It’s designed to make the tape stick even in water.  Of course this comes with an additional cost to your bill.  Both tapes cost around the same price which we feel is a little steep, but if it helps you through your marathon or long distance event then $20 isn’t a bad price to pay.  We weren’t 100% convinced that the tape helps interrupt the pain signals to your brain or if the suggestion of that feature put the idea in our head.  These tapes were used for IT band issues, knee issues and foot/ankle issues.  Both websites were easy to navigate with plenty of help for you to correctly apply each product.  When visiting their websites you will notice that Rock Tape has several other cool products to help with weight lifting or cross fit style workouts.  KT Tape offers a less expensive version of the Pro tape at $13 a roll.

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4
Performance 4
Features 3.5
Value 3

OVERALL RATING of both tapes is 3.75 Stars and will be a matter of preference if you use an athletic tape

The overall rating of each brand will be equal because each had their own value with separate qualities. It really came down to the type of activity you are involved in and if you believe in the power of kinesiology. What we recommend is testing the products out yourself to see if works for you and the specific activity you’re involved with. If we had to recommend one over the other we would say Rock Tape took this victory! This would be based on the fact that it really did stick with no additional spray.

Light & Motion – Solite 150 Review

 

There are lights and then there are Light & Motion lights!  We live in a place where the darkness comes earlier and earlier in the winter time.  For this problem we set out to find a true, white light that was durable, water resistance and bright enough to illuminate the trails we were running.  We came across the Light & Motion Solite 150 but discovered they produce tons of lighting systems.  Take a look at all the lights offered at lightandmotion.com.

 

LIGHT & MOTION IN A NUT SHELL

“At Light & Motion, we don’t mess around when it comes to product testing.  That’s why we were the first company in the industry to adopt the FL-1 standard to ensure our products are the highest quality and so our customers know the performance they’re getting.  The FL-1 standard includes tests for impact (drop) resistance, water ingress, light output (lumens), and run time.”

Not too many companies use the term “Integrity” but Light & Motion puts that into every product they make.  It’s the start of the product and is seen through each step of the process to make a light that works!  The company believes that having integrity in their products is a direct reflection of their staff, and they aim to please.  Not only do they look for ways to improve on production and quality, but if something isn’t working they dive head first into the problem and get it fixed.
What I like about this company is they are based out of California with products of course made right here in the USA.  They were told that getting into this industry in California was like swimming up stream, well swim they did and did it very well!  I believe because they stuck to their values and produced great lights for all types of sports they now lead the industry.

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

So I tested the Solite 150 headlamp which also came with a charging USB cable, bike mount and helmet mount.  The first thing I did was charge it up so it would be ready for my first trail run at night.  Light & Motion has been in the business for a while and makes great lights for deep sea diving, running, cycling or any other sport or activity you wish to do at night.  They are no stranger to making a true white light that really illuminates your field of vision.  This Solite 150 was designed for running at night and is water resistant.


Now Light & Motion also makes higher powered or higher “lumens” in order to accommodate riding mountain bikes or road bikes at night.  These thing are also built with quality which means they’re durable if you tend to be rough on your equipment like I am.  My first trail run was fantastic!  The extra wide band was comfortable on my head and I could barely feel the system on there.  I took it up Davis County’s classic Mueller Park trail to Elephant rock and back.  Starting my journey as the sun was setting and returning in the black of night.  I had absolutely no worries with this light on my head plus with the gripping material on the inside the light stayed in place.

 

With three different settings this light went on for hours.  At a full 150 lumens the light will last around 2.5 hours, at the medium setting it will last about 5 hours and at the lowest setting it will last up to 20 hours.  Light & Motion also put in a pulsing light so others can see you better with an additional setting for emergencies called their SOS light.  That’s right…..they even thought enough to have a setting that will send out an SOS signal in light flashes in the event you get lost.
My experience with this headlamp was great, it was comfortable to wear and I cruised down the rocky trail with confidence.  I’m not sure how they make the light a bright, true white light that doesn’t get lost in the environment but they did.  The light covered the trail evenly with plenty of it so I could see the obstacles and giant deer that stood by the trail!

IS THERE A LIGHT THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU? – YES!

Is there a light that’s right for you?….YES!  Light & Motion offers tons of different lights that will be just the right amount of lumens for the activity you choose.  Some, like their deep sea diving ones are completely water proof and project light deep into the dark water.  Some models come with a red tail light which is just right for cycling in the dark.  You can visit their website, lightandmotion.com for the dealer nearest you or simply order online and have it shipped to your house.  The nice thing about their website is it’s organized into several different activities.  So all you have to do is click on the sport you wish to do and they have recommendations for which light is right!

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4.75
Performance 5
Features 4.75
Value 4.5

OVERALL RATING 4.75 Stars and is highly recommended!

This headlamp was the ideal light for a trail run or road run.  We tested this product during a road biking ride and the mounts worked great however we feel that at least 350 or more lumens would be better.  This did not reflect the rating of this product but is simply a suggestion.  My experience with the Light & Motion Solite 150 was incredible and I would recommend this product for any runner who wants more visibility.

On Running – CloudRacer Road Shoe Review

Take a look at an On road shoes and immediately you know there is something very unique in it’s design.  This Swiss company is relatively new to the whole road running scene but years and years of experience went into making their line of shoes.   “February 2014 – With the On Cloud, On launches the world’s lightest, fully cushioned running shoe. With this, On lays the foundation for a new lightweight technology platform.”  (on-running.com)

 

INTRODUCING “ON”….

“A quest for the
 perfect running sensation.”

Prior to 2010 a Swiss engineer created a running sole that would cushion the landing and harden during the foots take off.  In January 2010, David Allemann, Oliver Bernhard and Caspar Coppetti design the first On shoe with this CloudTec system, which makes On very unique.  From there the company launches several lines of running shoes and professional athletes from all over begin to rave about their performance.

April 2010– Marathon legend Tegla Loroupe tests the On and becomes an enthusiastic ambassador. Many pro-athletes follow her lead and record their fastest times with some setting course records!  On was introduced into the United States in March of 2013, making Portland, Oregon their second head quarters.  In April 2013 On introduced a Cloudrunner model with a new flex plate called the Speedboard and of course it’s signature CloudTec system.

On has a specific goal in mind when designing and continually updating their technology….it’s to have more fun when running!  If your feet feel good it will translate into a more relaxed run and that will equate to faster times, longer distances and less fatigue.  No matter the model of On shoe you’re choosing one thing will remain the same, cushioned landing and firm take off.

 

ON IS BREAKING THE NORM!

Tn stands behind four core beliefs as a company to ensure it’s customers are receiving the best running shoes possible.
On Core Belief 1: From focus on correction to focus on experience and comfort…
On Core Belief 2: From one best way to run to billions of ways to run…
On Core Belief 3: From a look at the ankle to a look at the whole body…
On Core Belief 4: From a diagnosis for life to an evolution over time…

When On contacted us for this review we were asked to really stress the shoes and the runner.  They sent us a pair of their On CloudRacer shoe for testing and asked us to really put some long, fast miles on them. Their goal of course was to prove to us that their technology really works.  So we gave these shoes to our favorite road runner, Ryan Daley of Farmington, Utah.  What we discovered is not only do these shoes look super cool but the CloudTec system works!  True to their word, On really did create a sole that cushions on the landing and is firm in the take off.

Ryan shared his experience:  “As an avid-competitive runner, I’m always on the lookout for a comfortable, stable, lightweight racing shoe, which will help me achieve my running and performance goals.  So, I was very excited when I found out I was able to test-run a new shoe from a company I had never heard of before. The company is On, and the shoe is their CloudRacer.  As I opened the box for the first time, I noticed the shoe design was something I had never seen before.

There are 18 low profile “clouds” on the sole of each shoe, which are, as per their website, “designed for fast performance, but keep you fresh with a surprisingly comfortable and protected run.”  Putting this claim to the test my first run in the CloudRacer I did a 7 mile easy pace run, just to see how they compared to the brand I usually run in. I was a little nervous at first because the CloudRacer was so light weight. I wondered if they would have the support to keep my feet comfortable, and the stability to get me through the run.  After the first mile, I was put at ease and was amazed at how comfortable my feet felt in these shoes.  After my run, my feet felt great, which surprised me with this being a “break-in” run for new shoes.  No blisters, no rubbing, no foot cramps.

Over the next several runs I added distance up to 14 miles, and increased my speed. I am happy to report that I accomplished several personal records while wearing the CloudRacer and even a podium finish at a Thanksgiving Day 10k race.  I have tried many different types of shoes, and have stayed pretty loyal to one in particular. However, the CloudRacer definitely gives its competitors a run for their money.  After putting these shoes to the test, I was sold on them in both the great looks and the technology! I can’t wait to see what else On will come out with. I highly recommend this shoe if you are looking for comfort, stability, and performance which is usually hard to find in a racing shoe.”

ON SHOES CAN BE FOUND IN UTAH

There are two locations in the Salt Lake area but for an On retailer near you, visit on-running.com or order them right from the website.  Their sizing runs a true US size, so if you’re a size 10 order a size 10.  But for a perfect fit we recommend trying on a pair before purchase.  While you’re visiting the website take a look at the other running shoes On has to offer.  If you’re a triathlete, simple trade out the traditional laces with a speed lace and you have a perfect triathlon shoe!  Our hope is that On continues making great shoes and eventually dives into the trail running scene with an incredible trail shoe!

 

HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:
Quality 5
Performance 5
Features 4.5
Value 4.5

 

OVERALL RATING 4.75 Stars and is highly recommended!

We couldn’t be happier with this shoe which is reflected in our overall rating.  The construction and durability of the shoe translates directly into the performance of their shoes.  It’s no wonder professionals from all over have loved them!  The features go far beyond just a cool looking shoe and deep into the sub layers of the sole and construction of the upper part of the shoe.  Their technology really works like they promised and for that we give this a great recommendation with a price that’s right in line with a solid running shoe!

De Soto Sports – Polypro Thermal Hooded Jersey & Fleece Tights Review

 

In search of great cold weather gear?

With out question if you’ve ever been to a triathlon you’ve seen De Soto clothing!  This California based company puts out some amazing gear for all types of uses.  Just visiting their website gives you a glimpse of the many cool items you can use for swimming, cycling and running.  From the heat of the summer to cold open water swims, rides and runs, De Soto has the right gear for the job!  This stuff has been tested from 30 years of experience from triathletes themselves.  To me, if a company is willing to invest that kind of research into their gear, their gear is worth taking a look at.  (desotosport.com)

 

WHO IS DE SOTO SPORTS?

Desoto_logo“Founded in 1990, De Soto Sport (De Soto Clothing Company, Inc.) has established itself as one of the most visible brands of apparel at any triathlon around the world. Founded by triathletes, Emilio De Soto and Dan Neyenhuis, the San Diego-based company leverages over 30 years of experience in international triathlon competition into every product it creates.

De Soto makes technical garments for men and women designed with comfort and style, most of which can be used for swimming, biking, and running, eliminating the need to change. De Soto also offers a complete line of workout apparel, accessories and gear all of which transcend well into many other sports and exercise.  De Soto takes great pride in the fact that more than 95% of all De Soto products are made here in the USA. De Soto remains a small company with energetic, enthusiastic and friendly employees. Some are triathletes, some are not. The work environment, though casual in attire and filled with music, is extremely creative, constructive, and active.

De Soto is more than just a triathlon product manufacturer  In 2011, De Soto raised and donated over $30,000 to the victims of the disaster in Japan.  De Soto has a product line of approximately 75 different products designed with original and unique features including innovative fit, functionality, fabric, colors, and manufacturing technology. De Soto is never at a loss of ideas, only a lack of time to execute all of them.”

This company puts so much into it’s brand with continuous feed back from athletes everywhere.  They adapt and improve their line of products all the time to ensure the clothing and accessories rolling out of their shop are top quality.  You can tell just by trying on some of their clothing that each item was carefully considered before it was manufactured.  If you’re going to invest in some quality gear you can expect to pay a little more.  To that I say, if you aren’t comfortable wearing it or don’t like it you will not wear it!

 

De Soto Plypro Thermal Hood – Cycling Jersey

 

THE PROOF IS IN THE CLOTHING! 

FT1_4-zoom_250x346Ashley Smith of Bountiful Utah shared her experience in using De Soto cold weather gear.  She used the Polypro Thermal Hooded Jersey along with the Fleece Tights during her cross fit training as well as outdoor runs in cold weather.  She said, “I love the idea of this hooded jersey. A great base layer that will keep your head, neck, hands and upper body warm while it wicked away moisture. The material is high quality and very durable.  The thumb holes make it even more comfortable by keeping the sleeves in place.”  It looks similar to a speed-skater style hood with it’s thumb tabs and even has two vertical back pockets.  All of De Soto clothing has flat stitch seams for a more comfortable feel.  Polyolefin is a new generation of polypropylene that absorbs less moisture so it will keep you warning.  This material also retains less odor which will keep you happy!  It’s the ideal fabric to be used a first-layer or base layer for any cold weather activity.  With the Polyolefin the moisture is moved away from the skin to the surface of the fabric where it evaporates.  It’s designed to perform best when worn tight against the skin.

The hood works perfectly under a bike helmet or a ski helmet. Those two pockets on the back exist so that on really cold days, you can drop hand warmers into each to keep your spine warm. When your spine is warm, your body is warm and that equates to a more comfortable activity.  The owner of the company loves this garment so much that he’ll even wear it traveling.  Now I know what all you skiers and snowboarders are thinking, and you’re right.  It’s perfect as base layers for those sports as well….see De Soto Sports really does care!

Ashley continues: “The first time I put the Fleece Tights on I felt like I was putting on pajama bottoms. They are extremely comfortable. I was very impressed with how warm they felt on a run in the cold Utah weather. My legs never got cold, they stayed warm the entire time. And the cool thing was while my legs stayed warm the fleece could still wick away any moisture. I would love to see a thicker waist band for a more comfortable fit.  I would recommend both these items for sure!”  Try them on once and you will never want to take them off! Of course the tights are double-sided fleece made of Polartec® Powerstretch™. This amazing material is breathable and offers warmth without weight.  The tights have improved contour stitching, for a more comfortable fit and flattering look. The drawstring-elastic waist is made of nylon Lycra, and is low cut for a better fit for both men and women.

The tops tend to run a size smaller than your normal size.  We would recommended checking the sizing chart or trying the item on before buying it to ensure proper fit.  I recommend buying a whole size larger than you normally would in the Polypro Thermal Hooded Jersey but the Fleece Tights were accurate in their sizing.  The hooded jersey should fit a little tighter which makes it ideal for less wind resistance and a true base layer feel.

 

De Soto Fleece Tights

DE SOTO OFFERS 75 DIFFERENT MORE PRODUCTS.

PZ1_6-zoom_250x346De Soto clothing offers everything in both cold weather and warm weather gear.  They have awesome wet suits with accessories, compression sleeves, run belts, arm warmers, triathlon suits, running shorts, cycling gear, transition bags, hats….and the list goes on.  It’s no wonder this brand can be found at triathlons everywhere!  With approximately 75 different products I would be shocked if you weren’t able to find what you needed.  Having tried numerous brands, styles and materials I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed with De Soto products.  If you’re into swimming, cycling, running or all three I promise you won’t be disappointed by what you find at De Soto Sports.  You can see all they have at desotosports.com.


HOW DID THEY RATE?

We rated this item under four categories, each with a maximum of 5 stars:

Quality 4.5
Performance 4.5
Features 5
Value 5

 

OVERALL RATING 4.25 Stars and highly recommended!

The higher rating on Quality was based on the fabric used, flat stitching and it’s durability.  We gave it the same higher rating on Performance for the way the material wicks away moisture while keeping you warm.  The double sided fleece on the tights and the thumb holes along with the back pockets on the hooded jersey make up the Features on these particular items.  With a little bit higher than average cost we gave it the appropriate rating in terms of Value but also taking into consideration you are buying an amazing product.

Theragunz

Theragunz_logoLooking for a great recovery tool to help with sore, overworked or cramping muscles?  If you’re like me and always trying to find new ways to help speed up your recovery after work outs then take a look at a new product called theTheraGunz.  About four month ago I came across this product which is an in home tool that will help athletes of all types with recovery.  It’s inventor, Dr. Jason Wersland grew up in Centerville, Utah before moving to California where he now works as a licensed Chiropractor.  He started working on this project in 2006 with the idea of having a “pain management and massage tool” that could be used at home in between chiropractic services.  Dr. Werlsand: “The TheraGun provides a few things to the body; it massages the muscle being treated in a way that it breaks down muscle knots, increases blood flow that ultimately helps release stored lactic acid causing the muscle to relax and at the same time, this isthe cool part, the vibration communicates to the brain so quickly that the brain can’t keep up with the information so, for a few minutes, the pain cycle is broken and the body part being treated can relax.”

10612874_836495599728172This cool product was recently featured at the 2014 Salt to Saint Relay.  Cyclist preparing to ride the 420 miles from Salt Lake City to St. George were treated by Dr. Wersland at the starting line.  The TheraGun loosened up tight muscles, getting the riders ready for the long miles ahead.  The positive feed back was overwhelming at how great the athletes felt before the race.  He also was found at the finish line to do a post workout treatment to help with recovery, also received positive feedback.  My wife and I tried this machine for the last month to help with own our recovery.  When it arrived it was packaged in a nice carrying case with a battery charger and a second, larger foam ball.  I was amazed at how easy it was to operate.  The TheraGun has a reciprocating ball that can quickly be adjusted with one little lever to help reach those difficult spots on your body.  The foam ball can also be changed out with a simple twist of the ring just above it.  This larger ball targets the bigger muscles and covers more area.  There are two buttons to press in order to activate the machine.  This design keeps the machine from accidentally being turned on while in the bag or not in use.  You must first press the thumb button then press the trigger and the TheraGun goes to work.  Once the machine is turned on the thumb button can be released.  When you’re finished working the muscle, simply release the trigger and themachine shuts off.
Dr. Wersland recommends the machine be turned on before applying it to muscles (avoid starting the machine when already pressed against a muscle).  The amount of pressure applied varies from muscle to muscle and how tired or sore they are.  You can simply rest the machine with no amount of pressure for a lighter massage or apply “some” downward pressure to dig a little deeper into the muscle.  This great machine has saved my hands…or my wife’s hands from massaging out a knot.  I’ve had some serious calf cramps after my longer runs which would last for about a week.  10689651_10203651487599431I started to avoid running because the cramping would not go away, even if I stretched or massaged by hand.  When I usedthe TheraGun I was impressed with how it worked, even on a deep knot like that.  After a treatment and then some stretching the cramp was gone that day.  I now use it on my entire legs to work out any lactic acid or remove any soreness.  Typically I will use the TheraGun 2-3 times a week.  My wife, Timalee is a personal trainer and has brought this machine with her to treat her clients before and after she puts them through a workout.  She has received very good feedback on how they feel going into a workout and also with their recovery.  Dr. Wersland has introduced this machine to NASCAR drivers, professional MMA fighters, NFL teams and many other sports, including cycling, running and swimming.  Even if you’re just lifting weights in the gym or crushing a 50 mile run the TheraGun is a great tool to have with you.  This can be ordered online and shipped right to your door.  For more information on this product visit them at theragunz.com or on Facebook.