Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bike Month Essentials: Detours Madison Rack Trunk Bag

Detours Madison Rack Bag - bike commuter ready.
May has a lot of bicycle related events, namely Bike to Work Week. I'm always up for the next best bag for my commuter bike so the Madison by Detours really caught my eye. One of the repeating features that I like about the Detours line in general are the quick release clips on the bottom of their bags. It makes taking the bag with you a snap (literally).

Detours D2R has the same quick release clips as the Madison.
What this means is a worry-free, secure ride for the rear bag. I always take my D2R bag inside with me because it is so simple to get on and off the bicycle. I have a Blackburn Rack with a center shelf and the clips adjust for a perfect fit. If you are cycling or commuting in an urban area, this is a very important point to consider.

The diagonal strap system of the Madison.
Strap One On
The diagonal strap is easy to wear and has a comfy adjustable shoulder pad. The carry straps stow inside the slip pouches during your ride and pop out easily. The Madison therefore looks great both on and off your bicycle!

Madison comes with Blinkie loops on both ends.
Madison Features
One of things I've come to expect from Detours bags is their attention to detail. I really like that the Madison has light loops for your favorite blinkie, (I've got my Portland Design Works DangerZone clipped in), so it is a full on, road ready bicycle bag. So important if you are routinely riding in traffic.

Other Madison Rack Trunk Bag Features Include:
4 Adjustable quick release buckles
Reflective Details
Lots of interior organization & key fob
Exterior slip pockets
Removable, padded shoulder strap
Side compression straps
Rain cover in secret zip pocket under the bag

Rain cover tucks secretly away under the bag
The Detours Madison Rack Trunk Bag would make a great gift for any commuter who uses their bicycle to travel to work or to play. It's quick release straps allow for a quick on and off the rack execution while looking amazingly chic during your ride. Like most Detours bicycle bags, the Madison has a built in rain cover that stows away in a secret pouch under the bag. Genius! Personally, I think the bag itself can take a spritz or two but for a downpour you'd want the extra visibility of their day glow rain cover. Thanks to their clip and stow system, the rain cap is always with the bag. Just the right size, I can tell this is going to become one of my favorite rack trunk bags for Bike Month.

Check out more essential gear and Bike Month bags for your ride at Detours.us

Friday, April 11, 2014

XTreme XTraining's Top Spring Fitness Finds

Some new gear to help you get your game on this spring!
Warmer weather is finally here so if you are a weekend warrior, here are a few new items you might want to add to your fitness arsenal. Now is the time for an upgrade so that you can get the most from your workout.
Here are a few of my favorite fitness finds for spring training this year:

Gripad Cancer Awareness Edition
Gripads
Whether you use a weight machine or free weights, grip is everything. I've been using fingerless cycling gloves for years but finally got fed up with the lack of control I had on the lat bar.

Gripads alleviate that by providing a firm but flexibly padded bar grip. Slide in just three fingers with your thumb and pinky free. Excellent grip with just the right amount of cushioning from Gripad.com


Enduracool Towel & Eco Vessel
These two cool characters will help you chill out in a hurry:

Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel is made with special polymers which cools the towel down from 95-59 degrees in one snap. Reusable and easy to pack in your gym bag it also has a UPF of 45. Check it out at MissionAthleteCare.com

Eco Vessel is a stainless steel triple insulated water bottle which keeps water cold for up to an amazing 36 hours. Good idea since drinking ice cold water increases your metabolism by up to 30%. With two removable inner straws, it allows you to drink comfortably without tilting. Great non-slip powder finish and cool colors. Eco Vessel donates a portion of each sale to Water for People. Visit Ecovessel.com/waterforpeople

Enso Muscle Roller & Zim's Max Freeze
In the pain relief zone, I'm really liking the Enso Muscle Roller right now. After just one use I got almost immediate relief in my glutes and quads. You'll spend more days on the road and less recovering with the Enso Muscle Roller. 

Zim's Max Freeze Spray gets to those hard to reach spots often missed by creams and lotions. It has a quick vanishing scent so no one need know you're hurting! Made with arnica, tea tree and aloe, it's incredible for tense muscles and sore joints. Visit Zim's Online

Fits Sock Co. - Merino Wool Done Right
These ultra comfy, breathable wool blend socks are made right here in the USA. Fits have a Dynamic Toe Cup, Heel Lock and Full Contact Cuff for a custom fit (they also come in 5 sizes).

Just the right amount of cushioning and absorption, these socks stay put during running, walking or hiking. Very soft with no chaffing! Check them out at FitsSock.com



Time to Refuel
The Athlete's Cookbook by Corey Irwin and Brett Stewart (Ulysses Press) offers deliciously healthy menus such as: Mussels Marinara for increased glycogen. Walnut-Parmesan Chicken for maximum protien and Peanut Butter Crunch Bars for healthy fats.
This book also offers a meal timing schedule and lots of recipes with a twist on flavor and ingredients such as Red Beans and Black Rice. This substitutes the usual brown rice with a Chinese black rice which is very rich in antioxidants. Another favorite of mine is the Hot Quinoa Cereal which is a powerhouse of nutrition and protein. Available at Amazon.com & other top book sellers.

Pro Bar Selections - My favorites from this line of delicious energy wonders are the Meal and Fuel Bars. Made with natural ingredients and sweeteners (organic date paste is used a lot), the Fuel Bar offers a full serving of fruit per bar. Their Meal Bar is just that, made with real whole foods and raw ingredients like grains, fruits, seeds and fiber. These offer 10 grams of protein while their Core Bar has a whopping 20 grams. Absolutely delicious and very easy to digest on the road. See more varieties at ProBar.com 

Corazonas Snack Bars - These are SO good and made with heart healthy oatmeal giving each at least 15 grams of whole grains, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per bar. Oatmeal has been found to lower cholesterol so these are a no-brainer to include as par of a heart healthy diet. Corazonas means "hearts" in Spanish so these are appropriately named! My favorite flavors? The Banana Walnut for sure. See more delicious varieties at Corazonas.com

FitTea offers a pretty painless 14 Day Detox in loose tea form. One teaspoon steeped in hot water per day and you're good. Contains organic green tea, Oolong Wu Yi, organic Rooibos, ginger and pomegranate.
Can be enjoyed hot or cold and taken every morning before a workout. It's really delicious and needs no sweetening as it has honey powder and Stevia added to the mix. See more at FitTea.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NEW CatEye Padrone Bicycle Computer

CatEye Padrone Bicycle Computer
May is Bicycle Month! Simplicity is the order of the day when it comes to bicycle computers. I can't tell you how many bicycle computers I've used, (or tried to), that were so complicated, I could barely find the mileage. CatEye does it right with an improvement on it's Urban Wireless bicycle computer. The Padrone is thinner than it's predecessor, but offers a larger, cleaner screen display.

Comparison with the Urban Wireless
CatEye's Urban Wireless is one of my favorite bicycle computers so I was really excited to see this upgrade based on the simple installation and operation of the original unit. As you can see below, the Urban Wireless has a large long bar to click through the displays. The difference is that the Padrone's whole display is clicked in the bracket similar to the Strada. Just like the Urban Wireless, the Padrone was super fast to install but offers a sleeker profile and larger numbers on display which are SO much easier to read at a glance. Just like the Urban Wireless, however, the key essentials are there for everything from a bike commute to the mountain bike trail.

CatEye Urban Wireless on a Schwinn
Responding to Customer Requests
The Padrone came about in response to customer requests for a quick & easy install with a larger numerical display and access to stats. I have to say the Padrone nailed it on both fronts and has become one of my favorite cycling computers.  Below are the specs for the new Padrone. See what else is new this spring at CatEye.com
 
Padrone Specs
Current speed: 0.0(4.0)~99.9km/h [0.0(3.0) - 65.9 mph]
Total distance: 0.0~99999.9km [mile]
Trip distance: 0.00~9999.99km [mile]
Elapsed time: 0:00'00"~99:59'59"
Average speed: 0.0(4.0)~99.9km/h [0.0 - 65.9 mph]
Maximum speed: 0.0(4.0)~99.9km/h [0.0(3.0) - 65.9 mph]
Wireless transmission: Speed [analog sensor]
Clock: 0:00'~23:59' [1:00'~12:59']
Auto power saving: Yes
Auto mode: Yes
Tire size: 100mm~3999mm (default:2096mm)
Battery: Computer : CR2032 X1 Sensor:CR2032 X1
Battery life: Computer:approx 1 year (1hr use per day)Sensor:approx 10,000 km [6,250 miles] in total distance
Dimension: 67.5 X 43.0 X 14.5mm
Weight: 31.5 grams

Padrone on my foldy. Perfect.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

On the Trail: Mountainsmith Focus MD Binocular - Camera Bag

Focus MD: Take your field glasses or camera along on your next hike.
Mountainsmith Forged in the Rockies
The weather is finally breaking here in the northeast and if you are like me, you can't wait to get out and do some hiking. Last year I joined some guided historical tours which had some scenic views along the way. I packed a small pair of field glasses but really should have brought my binoculars!  I'm talking about serious, full sized Vivitar UV Coated Optics with 7 x 50 magnification. The case that they came in was ultra thin so I seldom took them with me hiking.

Focus MD in Anvil Grey has just enough padding to protect your lenses but not too much to be bulky.  It has a cover flap with a side release buckle and a front panel with an expandable mesh pocket. The shoulder strap itself is detachable with comfy sliding shoulder pad.

My full sized binoculars fit inside the Focus MD with ease.
The back of the bag has a rear notepad sleeve for small tablets like the iPad Mini & Kindle units.The bag has water resistant exterior fabric panels in case of a few showers. Also included is a removable microfiber lens cloth to keep your optics clean. Space-wise, this bag is perfect for bird watching, hunting or scenic hikes. The main thing is to be able to access your field glasses quickly and protect them while on route. The Focus MD does both beautifully. This bag could also double as a lens bag for your SLR camera or a slim point and shoot camera so the options don't stop there.

Padded protection!
So the next time your hike calls for more sight seeing and photography than camping, consider packing lighter with just a pair of high powered binoculars and a protective, lightweight bag like the Focus MD. I guarantee you'll enjoy the scenery and the hike that much more with gear better suited for the expedition. Mountainsmith makes a large assortment of camera bags so visit them online to get a look at their current selection this spring at Mountainsmith.com

Friday, March 21, 2014

Chocolate Week Goodies You've Likely Never Tried

The antioxidant properties of the cocoa pod are varied and powerful
I'm kicking off Chocolate Week(end) with a bang! Talk about friends with benefits, chocolate, especially the dark kind is a super food for athletes and cross trainers alike. Runners and cyclists who consumed a mere 8 ozs of chocolate milk after exercising were found to have less inflammation and faster recovery times. If you live in the northeast, you will have most likely visited Hershey, PA and taken the factory tour. They take you through all of the harvesting and processing of the cocoa pods. Chocolate was the drink of kings, especially Montezuma leader of the Aztec empire. They found chocolate mixed with chili peppers give them a lot of energy and stamina.  They needed it! Not having domesticated animals to ride means YOU will be hoofing it.  So here are some of my modern day chocolate inspired favorites:

Emmy's Choco Chili & Dark Cacao Macaroons
These raw food, vegan coconut-choco chili macaroons are about as close as you are going to get to Montezuma's recipe.  These are so light and fluffy, this recipe includes raw cacao, sweet vanilla bean, organic ground cinnamon and hot chili peppers. Each macaroon is 100 calories but trust me, the hot chilies will up your metabolism big time.

Emmy's cocao infused macaroons
Beauty Bursts in Chocolate-Mint by NeoCell
These tasty chews are loaded with easy to absorb Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C. These are perfect before and after a workout, especially if you suffer from joint pain. One serving of only 2 soft chews gives you 2,000 mg or 2 grams of both Protein and Hydrolyzed Collagen. Made with natural flavors and real cocoa, you get some of the antioxidant benefits inherent to dark chocolate.

Beauty Bursts in Mint-Chocolate

Pure Inventions Pure Cocoa Antioxidant
These chocolaty liquid drops are very easy to take with you or add to your morning water bottle, coffee or protein shake. They really have a delicious chocolate flavor. 1 dropper full is all you need as it contains a proprietary blend of cocoa extract and cocoa powder along with Lo Han fruit extract. This is probably the best way to get an instant boost of antioxidant power into the blood stream.

Pure Inventions Cocoa Antioxidant
Emmy's Chocolate Sauce Original Dark
This is the BOSS of the chocolate sauce! Drizzle it over frozen yogurt or fruit, it contains  organic raw agave, organic raw cacao powder and wild crafted vanilla bean. This is serious stuff that will definitely boost your energy level on the spot.

Emmy's Chocolate Sauce

Natural cocao pod and beans c/o CocoWell

Monday, March 17, 2014

Heat & Sun Awareness: Upgrade Your Sunscreen

Springtime & sunnier days are just around the corner!
While we need sun protection all year round, now is the time to upgrade your solar guard.  Why? Well, the days are getting longer and brighter. That plus the warmer temps means we will be spending more time outdoors and exposing more skin to the harmful rays of the sun. While I'm not a fan of looking like a ghost, I know from walking, running and cycling that burned skin looks even worse! Still, I'm a fan of tinted moisturizers and airbrushed tans for a Victoria's Secret model glow and NO they don't tan either..

Sunscreen Issues
One of the problems I've had with sunscreens is that even the ones for the face are often greasy and cause your makeup to slide off or pill up. I hate that! I've purchased Bobbi Brown's Brightening SPF 50 UV Protective Face Base and found it to be good but at less than 2 oz in a tube, (1.7 to be exact), you'd go through it very quickly. What I like even better is G.M. Collin's High Protection Cream SPF 30.

Favorites for the road: SPF Tinted Moisturizer, Lip Moisturizer and Sunblock

High Protection Cream from G.M. Collin - Paris
This sunscreen comes in a convenient 4 oz twist dispenser topped bottle. Using natural sunscreens like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, it uniformly blocks both UVA & UVB rays by creating a gentle, transparent physical barrier. It is SO light that it doesn't mess with my makeup application. It leaves behind no white film and does not block pores. This super SPF 30 sunscreen also contains botanicals like Cassia Alata Leaf Extract to protect DNA from UV damage and antioxidants like vitamins E and C.

I wore it under my makeup while marching in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade this year and was very comfortable. My skin didn't get burned even though it was quite sunny along the parade route. High Protection Cream can be used on both the face and body. So rather than just settling for a high SPF, get sun protection that is more complete and actually good for your skin.

Get a jump on this season's best bets for solar protection and avoiding heat exhaustion at the Heat & Sun Awareness Project on Pinterest.