Madness Adventure Racing has managed to pick up some pretty cool sponsors, and those sponsors have been kind enough to give each Team Member some pretty cool gear. Sponsorship gear is better than regular gear in a couple of ways: It being free or reduced cost (of course); but also because it says that these companies, that make gear for the type of racing we do, think that we are worthy enough to carry their names out in front of thousands of people at the races we run.
We, the members of East Coast Madness Racing, have received or will soon receive gear from three of Madness' sponsors: Hi-Tec outdoor/adventure footwear, Gargoyles sunglasses, and Nuun nutritional supplements. It is still early in the year, and the training conditions around here have been abysmal as of late, but this is my preliminary performance review of the gear which I have received and had a chance to test on the trail.
Hi-Tec Multiterra Targa HPI
I got a pair of these amphibious trail shoes from Hi-Tec, and I love them. I understand that some of the other members of Madness had some sizing issues with Hi-Tec, but mine fit great. They are light-weight, airy, and I think that they will dry fast on the run. The day I received them I threw them on and took them for a quick four mile run. The soles are a little more solid than I'm used to in a running shoe, but will be great for running through creeks and rough trails. They are a slip-on style with a quick cinch instead of laces which will be nice for transitioning from one shoe to another during a race. Admittedly, I haven't tried many amphibious trail shoes, but my first impression is that these will work great. I like Hi-Tec's corporate attitude, not just their willingness to sponsor us, but the companies overall outlook, and I look forward to a good relationship with them throughout my racing career.
Gargoyles - Firewall
Gargoyle was generous enough to send me two pairs of glasses, a pair of these Firewalls and a pair of Rovers (go to Gargoyles website for pics and info). Unfortunately, I haven't really had much of a chance to wear the Rovers yet, but I have worn the Firewalls out for a good training session. A seven mile trail run followed by a ten mile bike ride in snowy/icy conditions.
The Firewalls are comfortable and light, I hardly even noticed them. It was very cold, and they never fogged up, and the polarized lenses completely cut out the snow glare. I hope that I like the Rovers as much as the Firewalls.
Nuun - Active Hydration Tablets
On that same seventeen mile training session, I used the Nuun Tri-Berry flavor tablets in my Camelbak. Following Scott's advice I mixed it weak, only using two tablets for 100 fl oz, and I have to say that was good advice. Early in the run I thought that the mix seemed a little weak, but the farther I went the sweeter it seemed and by the end I wouldn't have wanted it any stronger. All in all, the flavor was good, and I'm sure the additional electrolytes helped me stay hydrated.
Don't expect this hydration additive to really serve as fuel however. The only other fuel I used was a ClifBar between the trail run and the bike ride, and by the end I was almost totally out of gas. That was the closest I've ever come to Bonking, and I will definitely fuel accordingly in the future.
So, in review, all three products that I've received as sponsorship have performed well for me, and I look forward to testing them all harder in the future. I'm also on the look out for better performance fuels to try out, so if you've got any suggestions I'd love to hear them, and try them out. Stay tuned for more product reviews as I get the change to test different things during training and races.