Saturday, January 23, 2016

Product Review: 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights (Men's)

2XU's Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights, Men's.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Back before the new year, I received a pair of 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights to test out. This was perfect timing as I was nearing my goal of completing 1200 miles for 2015 and the weather was getting colder out here in Iowa.  One major difference I noticed right away with the Hyoptiks compared to the Elite MCS Compression Tights was that the Hyoptiks are definitely of a thicker material, and even though I took a large tall in the MCS, a large regular in the Hyoptiks fit fine. This is a pair of tights that you could easily use for a cold Fall or Spring day and not need any other layer on your legs.  However, winter in Iowa brings very cold temps and higher winds, meaning you often need at least two layers on your legs.  I typically ran with these underneath a pair of wind pants that I have which add no warmth, just protection.  That pairing has and continues to work well.  I ran today in the early morning with the feel like temp just barely sneaking over into the double digits.

The logos are reflective for low light visibility to oncoming traffic.

The graduated compression on the Hyoptiks seems just right.  It's not too tight, not too loose, just right as Goldilocks would say.  They are firm and supportive.  The tights are antibacterial and UPF50+ if you are heading out for a sunny day in the winter. They seem to wick pretty well which is important when sweating at this time of the year, especially when running into a dry, blustery wind. The Hyoptiks would also make a great ski layer.  The combination of warmth and compression would be awesome for a warmer downhill day on the mountains or in the woods cross-country skiing.  

The packaging for the Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights.
Check out and get yourself a pair.  You'll be glad you did as you train through these winter months!  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Trail Review: Raspberry Mountain, Divide, CO

The hillside near Raspberry Mountain, Divide, CO.
When I was in Colorado this past Summer during my sabbatical, I had the opportunity one morning to get up early and hike/trail run up Raspberry Mountain just outside of Divide, CO, in Pike National Forest.  The night before my wife and I drove out to find the trail head and make sure I could access it via the road.  That can be a concern, because as you will find out if you drive down that road, parts of it are a bit rough and other parts are washed out.  Definitely was glad to have my Jeep Liberty to get up to the trail head.  The trail head itself is not marked.  But, with the help of a map we had picked up, we eventually figured it out.  It's at a 90 degree turn shortly before the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp.

The post marking the start of the trail up Raspberry Mountain.
There isn't a parking lot or anything other than just this post pictured above at the bend in the road. There is a bit of room for a few vehicles to park, but not a lot.  I got there early the next morning and was the first vehicle to park, so I tucked it in tight to the hillside to stay out of the way of cars driving up and down the road, as well as to allow for other vehicles, if people ended up desiring to hike/run like myself.

The trail starts around 9500 feet or so and goes to just over 10,600 feet according to my map.  So there's a good 1,100 feet gain in about 5K or so.  (My total trip distance back and forth was about 6.25 miles with around 2200 ft of elevation change, +/-.)  Much, if not most, of the first 2+ miles is double wide with several sections looking similar to the one below where the middle would sort of be washed out as the trail would jump upwards in 50-100 ft increments.

The last stretch really jumps upward and the trail becomes more like a normal hiking trail as you move around trees and through or over some rocks.  You are within/surrounded by trees the whole time until the very end when you pop out on this rock outcropping at the top.  It was late July and...WOW was the wind cold!  I was glad I had worn long sleeves and that I could huddle behind some rocks after taking a few pictures. It was nice to take a few minutes to pray alone to God that early beautiful morning in the shadow of Pikes Peak.  You think you are going to come out on top of this huge mountain at 10,600+ feet, but then with Pikes Peak behind you, it seems like all you've done is hike up a little hill!!!  Enjoy the rest of these pics!!!  Raspberry Mountain is very doable, get out there and have fun!!!

Pikes Peak in the background seems to dwarf Raspberry Mountain!

Part of the rock outcropping at the top of Raspberry Mountain.

On top of Raspberry Mountain with Pikes Peak behind me.

Sections of the trail are wide, but several are steep lung burners!

Let's just say running down was a lot faster than going up!!!

This intersection/tree across the trail confused me for a few minutes on my way up! (Or was it the lack of oxygen?)

Almost all the way back down to my Jeep!

Definitely worth the run/hike!  A great start to the morning on Raspberry Mountain back in July.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Product Review: XX2i USA 1 White Gloss Blue Flash Lens

After a late 2015 run with my XX2i specs!
Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i USA 1 White Gloss Blue Flash Lens as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Back in mid-December, a pair of XX2i USA 1 White Gloss Blue Flash Lens arrived in the mail for me to test out.  Now, let me pretty clear on one thing: I am fairly brand loyal when it comes to sunglasses.  I've had at least one pair of a particular company's sunglasses for probably the last 15 years at almost all times.  I even had someone go back after our major car accident in 2010 and get my sunglasses out of our totaled mini-van.  They didn't have a scratch on them.  I still have those glasses.  They rock.

That said, the XX2i glasses are pretty nice.  The picture below includes everything you get in addition to the sunglasses themselves!

Everything but the kitchen sink comes with these glasses!
Now while this pair of sunglasses from XX2i didn't come with additional lens, there are sleeves within the hard case for them and plenty that you can peruse at the store website.  In addition to the hard case, you also get a soft sleeve carrying case that doubles as a lens wipe, two pairs of adjustable temple tips, two additional adjustable nose pads with a little pen screwdriver and 4 screws to change them out, and one strap to connect your glasses and wear with more security on your head if needed during various sporting endeavors.

The additional temple tips and nose pads along with screwdriver and bag of screws.

The hard case and strap.

And...finally, the glasses themselves!

The black temple tips and nose pad could be changed out for blue or red with this grouping I received.

At first, when I got white specs, I wasn't so sure, along with the polar grey mirror lens, if I would like them or think that they looked cool enough to wear when I was out, whether running or just for casual wear.  But, I quickly took to them.  (Perhaps my youngest boy commenting on how he liked them helped that along a little bit when he got his first glance one day after school!)

The glasses are made well.  They fit good and are comfortable, stable upon my head, not loose or clumsy.  They come with a lifetime guarantee and are priced very competitively.  Right now you can get 50% with the code XX2iRocks making them a steal!  Hurry though as this code is only good through mid-January 2016!

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