Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: GapFit Leggings.

I used to be a Lululemon girl, not because I spent my days faffing about in yoga pants but because that stuff used to last FOREVER and the fit was great. Those days are long gone and now every time I am considering dropping a chunk of money on Wunder Unders I just read the bad reviews and crab scramble out of there. They still have interesting patterns and cute colors but I've been leaning towards Altheta and Lucy more and more. AND, you guys, Gapfit has been killing it lately. I bought these recently:

GapFit gFast Jacquard Legging

They are SO GOOD. These are cold weather tights that are brushed on the inside so they're warm and thick. they're so cute that even the guys at my CrossFit gym love them and say they'd wear them if they made them for dudes. Heh.

But they don't just look cool, they perform well. They don't slide down and are completely opaque. They definitely FIT (meaning, if you're between sizes, go up a size) and they are a bit long on me, so really good for the taller ladies. 

I also tried a few other pairs from GapFit.  This pair of Brushstroke leggings looks cool but I wasn't crazy about the skinny waistband (I like a thick wide waistband) and in a size small they definitely went a bit sheer on me. I think they'd have been better if I'd sized up. I did size up with the fun Twist Print legging and they're a bit too big. They're more of a runner's legging with a wide waistband and inner drawstring so I think I can make them work. I love the red racing stripe! 

So, sizing is a bit hit-or-miss but overall the quality of GapFit is really good and with the 40% off (code GREAT) and 2.0% cash back with eBates they're an amazing bargain. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Cyclebox Review!

I feel like I just got my last box so I was surprised and delighted to find my winter Cyclebox waiting for me on my doorstep. As per usual, it was full of interesting snacks and stuffs and I managed to photograph before I ate (most of) it:

Missing from the photo is a package of Crispy Fruit freeze-dried Asian pears which I ate even though I think freeze-dried fruit is weird. It's tasty but the texture is so odd! It's a nice low-cal snack for when you just want to put something in your pie-hole. 

Here's the whole spread! I'm pretty excited about the little gingerbread Chuao chocolate (so tasty!) and I've been wanting to try the Mad Alchemy Pro+ chamois cream, so that is definitely welcome. The Purely Elizabeth pumpkin fig cereal will be perfect to take to work when I need a mid-morning snack. I'm also really happy with the fleece ear warmer headband! That'll be great for crossfit runs. Ugh, winter. 

RunnerBox is available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and subscriptions are available from four months. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes.  Plus, right now they're offering buy one, get one subscriptions with code GIVE2GET. 

Disclaimer: I am a CycleBox Ambassador. I have not received compensation for my review (aside from the box) and my opinions are my own. I'd never endorse a product I didn't truly like and use!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

And, The Other Cross Thing I Do.

#Crossishere! Okay, for me it's over but despite being an oddly condensed season it was a really good one. For my second season I competing in six races and was on the podium for four of those.

Last year I competed in nine races and was on the podium for three of those which was pretty good considering I just jumped into it without training or having any idea what the hell I was doing. I started out pretty strong but my fitness took a nosedive as the season progressed and I ended up fourth overall in my category (mostly because I did a lot of races.) This year I did a lot of things differently and ended up 2nd overall, which I'm really proud of:

Yay! So, here's the thing. It turns out that the people who are good at a sport are usually good at it because they work their asses off. I was lucky to be part of a group training plan for my bike team that initially freaked me out because when you aren't a roadie and have never trained with a heart rate monitor or cadence/power etc, it's a LOT of information and a damn steep learning curve. This year I learned how to ride on the road and how to train and how to use heart rate zones and that I pedal too hard when I should be pedaling faster and lighter instead. Woof. 

But in list form, here's what helped make me a better athlete this year:

- Become a Roadie. I will admit that I'm never going to love road riding as much as mountain biking, but for building endurance, it's boss. I don't have a road bike but I have a separate set of inexpensive road wheels for my cross bike. Not ideal, but it works. I'm still working on my fear of being run over by a car. Babysteps.

- CrossFit. I've already talked about how CrossFit helped make fitter overall which I needed because a lot of cyclocross is stuff like running up a steep set of stairs while carrying a bike. (See pic above.) Whee! I'm really selling it aren't I? 

- Buy a Trainer. I bought this trainer at the beginning of the season and I hate it like poison but when I need to do a training ride on a dark night when it's pouring down rain? I can now do that at home in front of the TV. I also took my trainer to races and used it to warm up which was a pain in the ass but SO worth it. Going cold into a sprint race, which is basically what I did last year? That is a really bad idea. Doing a proper warm up made a HUGE difference in how I raced. 

- Be Really Boring. Go to bed early, eat your vegetables and protein, don't drink booze the night before a race. Can you hear that sound? That's my social life dying. If you're 23 and in good shape you can probably skip this advice but I'm 43 and I have to go to bed now. 

Other little things that helped me:

Gu Salted Caramel

I have one of these about half an hour before the race because it gives me energy without having to deal with solid food on a nervous stomach. And this flavor doesn't make me gag, which is high praise for a gel.

Stinger Waffle

I have one of these after a race because they're delicious. Really, any treat will do, but an over-priced bike cookie just tastes better. 

Contigo Byron

I bought this because it promised to keep my coffee hot for up to 7 hours and it's really nice to come back to your car shivering after a race and remember that you have hot coffee waiting. This seems really basic but little details can make a difference.

Craft Active Extreme Base Layer

Have I mentioned how much I like Craft base layers? I can't mention it enough. They're great, you should buy one. There are usually some good deals to be had at Amazon, which is where I got mine. There's a good price here for the mesh summerweight sleeveless shirt. I wore my short sleeve base layer under my long sleeved jersey and was able to skip wearing a jacket this race season. I'm generally an over-dressed cyclist so I've had to learn that it's better to be a little cold at the starting line because once you heat up you'll regret that jacket deeply.

Doesn't this look FUN? 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: Fall CycleBox

Yay! My CycleBox arrived. Okay, it arrived a while ago but it takes me a little time to test things out and I like to give an informed opinion. Daniel also needed to give his approval:

Missing from the above picture are the WB Kitchen products because I ate them almost immediately. I was given the Peanut Ginger bar and the Maple Pecan cookies and they were REALLY good. By far my favorite thing in the box! Very simple ingredients, no funny stuff and really delicious. You can see one of them here: 

And then it was gone. I miss them. This box is full of other good stuff - healthy snacks, sport gummi candy, and gels. Adding huge value to the box is the full-size bottle of Proferrin Sport iron supplement which I've been taking (retails for $34.95!) and a 4oz bottle of Pedro's Foaming Bike Wash (retails for $12) which will come in handy once I actually get off my lazy bum and use it. I like Pedro's products in general and was happy to see this. Now, who wants to come over and clean my bike? 

RunnerBoxes are available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and cost $19.95 plus shipping. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes and right now there's a limited edition Pepper Palace Pro Cycling box! Very cool!

Disclaimer: I am a CycleBox Ambassador. I have not received compensation for my review (aside from the box) and my opinions are my own. I'd never endorse a product I didn't truly like and use!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

All The Cross Things.

So! Cyclocross season is finally underway and I have my second race this Sunday. My first race went pretty well (3rd place) but damn, I forgot how HARD racing is. It's so hard! Cyclocross races are 30 minute sprints with some technical sections that require running/hill climbs/jumping over barriers while pushing or carrying your bike. Oof.

But, you know what has made that better? My other cross - CrossFit. CrossFit is still going well and it's lots of fun (except when it's not) and the running, broad jumping and burpees have helped so much with the non-cycling parts of cyclocross. Also, sometimes you're forced to dress up like a superhero and shut up David Bowie is too a superhero:

ANYWAY. I had a reader request that I talk about what I wear for CrossFit. Gladly! First, here's a list of stuff I've bought since I started CrossFit:

Foam Roller. My own personal painful massage tool.

- Lacrosse Ball. More painful massage. This is especially good for smushing your shoulder muscles into submission. And feet! And calves! Ow.

Jump Rope. I read somewhere that in order to master double-unders you should have your own rope. So far this has not proven true but any day now, you guys.

Inov-8 F-Lite 195. These are amazing, you guys. I got my pair on sale from Sierra Trading Post as linked (though has good prices as well) and they're a game-changer for CrossFit. Something about the flat, sticky sole makes me feel much more stable when I'm lifting heavy and they're super light-weight. They're also great for short runs and whatever other craziness your WOD throws at you. Plus they're wicked cute. Definitely check them out.

Inov-8 F-Lite 195

As for clothing? I go to a small CrossFit box that isn't all crazy buff women in booty shorts and Lulu bras. (Not that there's anything wrong with that other than it sounding SUPER intimidating.) I find that I prefer wearing tight fitting capris (these are a favorite) or shorts (love these for the high waist) and wicking t-shirts or tanks. I generally prefer more boob coverage because I hate doing wall walks or squats and feeling like I'm flashing the room. Sometimes if we're not doing something super-sweaty I'll just wear a regular t-shirt which is something I thought I'd never do at the gym again.

I still like Lululemon for the fashion-forward designs (though it's really hit or miss and I fear their quality is never going to be what it was) but Under Armour has come out as a surprising favorite - it's not too expensive and the fit is great. I bought this UA "Fly By" tank at the beginning of summer and was really pleased at how well it performed. 

On a final note, if you're doing CrossFit or thinking about it or just want a fun new fitness-related podcast to listen to on your commute, check out Girls Gone WOD. I have been listening to all their back episodes and it's highly entertaining. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

The World is HERE.

I've been super lame about updating this of late but there's been a lot going on. Cyclocross training for one, but much more importantly, the Road World Championships is being held in my hometown this week! It's completely surreal and I can't even wrap my head around it. It used to be that nothing good ever happened here and now it feels like EVERYTHING is happening here and it's really become a cycling destination. I mean, Paul Sherwen is talking about Richmond! Eep. We're all geeking out hard. I've been posting bits and pieces of it on Instagram:

Team Astana

Lupus Racing Team

To keep things on (blog) topic I should mention that I bought these stars and stripes Defeet socks because I thought my sock game should be tight for Worlds:

My teammate Paula's cool color block socks are by The Athletic. I totally covet them but I don't want to be a jerk and buy her special socks. Maybe I'll get this pair instead. It's important to have the right socks for the World Championships, don't you know. 

More to come! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Summer/Fall CycleBox

Another great CycleBox from RunnerBox. It's always so much fun to get a box full of great surprises. This one was pretty dang good:

Most of the edible bits are long gone. I drank the Organic Valley - Organic Fuel protein shake after a particularly hard ride and it was fantastic. I recommend. My other favorite was the Glukos lemon gummies because they were super zesty and tasty and had no weird ingredients. The bag of white cheddar Ips protein chips were super tasty and basically vanished lightning speed. And oh, hey, look at that in the lower left corner! A postcard signed by Taylor Phinney! Eep! Love it all. 

RunnerBoxes are available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and cost $19.95 plus shipping. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes and right now there's a limited edition Pepper Palace Pro Cycling box! Very cool!

Disclaimer: I am a CycleBox Ambassador. I have not received compensation for my review (aside from the box) and my opinions are my own. I'd never endorse a product I didn't truly like and use!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: Bombas Socks! Best!

Last December I stumbled across a coupon deal for Bombas socks, a company I'd never heard of before. They looked cute and I needed athletic socks so the next thing I knew four pairs were headed my way:

I am really picky about my socks - I don't want them too thick or thin, I hate the seam across the toes, and I don't want them to slide into my shoes. My existing workout socks were a sad mix of cheap cotton blends that basically all sucked. When my Bombas order arrived I was pleased - they were indeed very cute and looked well-designed, with an ankle cushion and no annoying toe seam bump. Also, the company does good work: donating a pair for every pair sold. But the true test was longevity and comfort.  Do your stuff, fancy socks:

And here's what happened: eight months later they're the only socks I wear to the gym. I reach for them exclusively despite having a drawer full of other (lesser) socks. I lift in them, I run in them, I get mad when I don't have a clean pair. They've held up wonderfully and are still soft as all get out. I HIGHLY recommend from the bottom of my heart. Get you some Bombas, people. They come in a bunch of cute colors and a couple different styles and if you click here you can get 25% off your first order. (That's my referral link, by the way.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ride Supplies: What I Carry With Me.

Most of my rides are local-ish and almost all are under two hours so I generally ride pretty light. I haven't used my Osprey Pack in a year! I've switched to water bottles which means I have to carry supplies in my seat pack or jersey pockets. I've definitely scaled it down but not without some thought.

I do have a saddle bag that holds a multi-tool, tire levers, a CO-2 pump and two cartridges. In my pockets I carry a spare tube, my cell phone, a few tissues, my house key and the following:

This disreputable little bag is an official UCI World Road Championships cell phone pouch that I picked up at a bike event swag table. I wish I'd taken more because it's the perfect size for a jersey pocket and much stronger than a Ziploc bag. Anyway, I have shoved this bag full of the little things I might need on a ride. Things like this:

- Ice3 Cooling Towelette. This came in my Cyclebox and is more about emergency poison ivy cleanup than it is about being fresh and cool. I'm really allergic so this will come in handy if I know I've accidentally brushed up against some of the terrible weed. It would also be handy on a super hot ride.

- Gu Salted Caramel. My favorite flavor!  This is the item that gets replenished pretty regularly. No bonking for me.

- SPF lip balm. I'm just a lip balm addict and it makes me happy to know I have one on me at all times.

- tiny mirror. This may seem like vanity until you get something in your eye or you lose a contact lense. Then you'll be really glad you have one.

- velcro loop. This seems weird but it comes in handy if you need to strap down a cable or..something. I don't know.

- spare cleat screw. Cleat screws fall out all the time (the world's an imperfect place) and if your cleat is loose you can't unclip. I always carry a spare.

- hair elastic. Because sometimes they blow out and then you have sweaty hair sticking out all over the place.

- Band-Aids, antiseptic towelette. Mountain biking involves falling and thorns and whatnot. Ouch.

- Park Tools Patch Kit. This also came in my Cyclebox and I love how small it is! I run tubeless so I would hopefully not need to patch a tube, but always handy.

- Spare Contact Lenses. This also goes with the tiny mirror. Every now and then I rub my eye the wrong way and out goes my contact. I am rull blind so I can't just go on my merry way with one lense. Daily disposables are pretty amazing.

- my health insurance card (not pictured.) This is just good sense for when you accidentally go off the side of the trail and plummet into a chasm of rocks and kudzu. Just saying.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sale Report: Athleta and Nordstrom!

There's a good sale right now over at Athleta! They're giving an extra 20% off of sale stuff with code EXTRA20. Also, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale just started and they have a lot of good fitness apparel on sale. I particularly like the (Zella “Live In” leggings.)

Here are my Athleta picks, including some sweet knee socks that would be perfect for cyclocross:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Summer CycleBox.

Ooh, my summer CycleBox arrived last month and I just realized maybe I should talk about it before I've consumed everything. This was one of those boxes where, once I pulled everything out I couldn't believe it had all come out of that little box. It was a LOT of stuff:

So great! I love all the snacks and it's nice to be have a small stash of bars and gels to paw through before I go out on a ride. The Simply 7 Quinoa Chips I ate as a snack one day and they satisfied the salty/crunchy craving. I also ate the delicious Bare Naked Sea Salt Caramel Apple granola out of the package at my desk like an animal. I love snacks.

There's also a tiny reusable TheraPearl ice/heat pack in there! It'll come in super handy the next time I bash my pedal into my shin. (Ow.) It's like a little bag of peas but way better.  It's hanging in the freezer right now with the PowerIce frozen electrolyte bar that I've been saving for a post-ride treat on a ridiculously hot day.

I was also really pleased to receive a Park Tool patch kit. It's everything you need in a tiny little container and it was immediately added to my pocket emergency kit. (I'll be doing a post about that soon.)

RunnerBox also sent me an excellent koozie with a belt loop and clip, which, if I was able to run more than a mile would be very handy. So far I've used it at the beach and the pool with great success. Yay summer!

RunnerBoxes are available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and cost $19.95 plus shipping. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes and right now there's a limited edition Pepper Palace Pro Cycling box! Very cool!

Disclaimer: I am a CycleBox Ambassador. I have not received compensation for my review (aside from the box) and my opinions are my own. I'd never endorse a product I didn't truly like and use!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Stuff I Like.

Oh hey, it's July! I love July. I love riding on the days when everyone else is being a total whiner about how hot it is. Bring it! There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING like riding on a summer evening. It's light until 9, the cicadas are humming, everything is green and lush and warm and BEST. There's one section of trail that's a little dark and when you ride through it all the lightning bugs go crazy. Magic! Oh, and shirtless runners! That part is great too. But yeah, it's hot and there's ample poison ivy and what have you. Here are the things that are working for me in the hot months:

My helmet. It's a Catlike Kompact'O and I've had it about a year. It fits well and vents well and even has little bug netting in the front which is great for when you ride through a spiderweb because otherwise you're convinced that spider is now running around inside your helmet. (This is a bad feeling.)  My only real annoyance with this helmet is that the pads are disintegrating. I wash them pretty often because you have to (please do) and now they're completely falling apart. Why do companies not give you two sets? WHY. I can buy an aftermarket replacement set on Amazon but they're not cheap. Hmph.

Snacks. Clif Shot Margarita Bloks. Ohhh, I love these in the summer. They have salt in them which is just so nice when you're feeling kind of bonk-y and dehydrated. Perfect for a quick trail snack and super tasty. I'm also fond of Payday candy bars for longer rides. They have sugar, protein and salt and are way cheaper and tastier than Clif Bars or whatever.

My booty. Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream is what I've been using and really liking, despite the super-terrible name. It's really good stuff, no parabens and it's pleasantly minty. I'm not going to go into detail but anything that prevents saddle sores is okay by me.

The rest of me. Tecnu Poison Ivy Scrub is pretty damn good stuff. There is a lot of poison ivy on the trails I ride so I scrub down with this stuff after every ride even if I don't think I've been exposed. So far this summer I've been poison-free! I know people swear by Zanfel but that stuff is SO BLOODY EXPENSIVE and this does the exact same thing.

Hydration. I generally just drink water, but I occasionally mix up some Skratch Labs exercise drink mix. No fake sugar, no artificial ingredients or funny stuff and it tastes really good. I also love a cold can of coconut water when I get back from a summer ride. I've tried it in a bottle but warm coconut water tastes terrible.

Now you! Tell me what helps you get through rides during the summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Drink The Kool-Aid.

Back in March I was so fed up. I hated my crappy gym and had stalled out with my lifting program because I knew I was doing things wrong but couldn't fix those things myself. I was sick of my spin classes and sick of waiting in line for half an hour to attend those spin classes on bikes that were half-broken anyway. I was bored with all of it.

And then a friend suggested I check out her CrossFit box.

Wait! Come back. Hear me out. 

First, I promise this isn't going to become a CrossFit-only blog. I just feel like there so much bad press out there for CF and my experience has been so damn good that I want to give the other side. I mean, there's a reason people love it and get all crazy addicted but to get a good experience you have to go to a good box and I do. 

So, with that in mind, this is why I can honestly say I love CrossFit:

1. I walk in and look at the WOD board and think to myself, "Oh, no. There's no way I can do all that." Then, I do it. Sometimes I totally rock it.

2. The hardest part of CrossFit for me is the running. I still hate running. So much. But I'm running. 

3. I was doing things wrong with my lifting and I have a very patient coach who is teaching me how to fix my weak spots. I got lots.

4. The camaraderie. It took a little getting used to because I am of the earphones 'n bitchface school of working out, but man, when you're coming in from an 800 meter sprint and you feel like the last rhino in Jumanji and everyone is cheering for you? That feels amazing. There is a lot of high-fiving. We suffer together and we collapse on the floor together and we tell each other how badass we are.  

5. As part of my Kool-Aid I did the Whole Life Challenge. (Read: no booze, no wheat, no dairy, no soy, no sugar, no fun.) Cleaning up my diet is something I'd needed to do for a while and I felt so much better because of it, both mentally and physically. Did you know that when you can't eat your feelings you have to, like, deal with them? Ugh, right? But it's been good and I really needed the reset. 

I am making this sound super fun, huh? But it's given me such a boost and forced me WAY out of my comfort zone and I've learned a ton. I've learned that I can do 75 wall balls and walk away from it. I can do squats with wobbly weights hanging off the bar:

I can also do regular squats, never fear:

I can do thrusters and burpees and pull-ups with a big rubber band. I can do so much more than I thought possible and it's just getting better. All that said, my bike is in the shop and if I don't get it back soon I am going to lose my MIND. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Spring CycleBox

It's Cyclebox time! Always a fun surprise when my box arrives and this was a GOOD one:

So much great stuff. I was immediately into the snacks (because...snacks) and the Bumblebar was eaten almost immediately. I saved the IPS Egg White Ch(ips) for an afternoon work snack and was really surprised at how satisfyingly crunchy and tasty they were. The Body Armor sports drink was particularly nice because it's made of real ingredients, including coconut water, and nothing artificial. The rest will be definitely be used on a ride (looking at you, chocolate espresso Pocket Fuel) and I'm really interested to try the Fruigees 24 Carrot Orange squeeze pack in place of a gel, as real food is always a better option for me when possible.

Another great Cyclebox full of items that are interesting, new to me and carefully chosen for athletes!  Here's the info:

RunnerBoxes are available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and cost $19.95 plus shipping. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes and right now there's a limited edition Mother's Day box. Very cool.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lady Business.

I'm sure you're dying to know what I've been doing with my time, right? Of course! So, spring finally arrived and I've been riding my mountain bike as often as possible. Yay! But, as usually happens in the spring, my ass is suffering for it. Boo. My current saddle is a Terry FLX which I like okay, but it's not perfect. I'd previously been using a Terry Butterfly which is very comfortable (and very unattractive) but was almost...too padded. I like to be able to slide my weight around easy in the saddle and I felt like the Butterfly slowed me down a bit.

I'm unknowable.

Previous to that I'd been using the very popular WTB Deva saddle but it was complete torture on my mountain bike. Just horrible. However, it was expensive (and I'm stubborn) so I tried it on my cross bike and it's perfectly fine and I raced a whole season on it with no problem. This makes ZERO sense but I'm not going to question these things. Saddles choice is extremely personal and what can you do.

Moving on, I have a confession to make. When Giant came out a few years ago with a women-specific line of really nice mountain bikes, I was unimpressed. Not because the bikes weren't nice (they are) but because they were given ridiculous names like "Lust" and "Obsess." The men's bikes are called "Anthem" and "Trance." Why do the lady bikes get the sexualized names? It bugged me. A lot. And, while I love that Liv Giant bikes are completely designed by women, why did they have to do this to them?

That is a...busy bike. It's purple! It's bright blue! It's got a funky print design! It's lady-friendly! The Lust is a seriously nice bike and if I am going to lay out that kind of cash I want a bike that looks f'ing cool. This does not look cool, it looks like an Easter basket. I'm sorry, it does. 

HOWEVER, I hadn't actually ridden it, so I went to a Giant Demo last weekend and tried out the Lust Advanced 0 and holy shit, that thing floats over rocks. It was SO much fun to ride. I'd forgotten what a nice full-suspension set up felt like (and of course I was riding the super-high-end version with carbon rims, so.) I stand corrected, Liv Giant. I'm sorry for making fun of you. 

Obviously I don't have 8K to drop on a bike but if I did, I'd be tempted. Except, I still can't deal with that color scheme and I wouldn't want to spend crazy money on a bike that wasn't easy on the eyes. Why can't they just make one in black? (<-- please apply this to everything. Thank you.) It's probably a good thing I don't like the colorway or I'd be busy selling off all my possessions to buy one. So, I guess I should thank Giant for not bankrupting me. I guess.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Deal of the Day.

This Pearl Izumi Women's Elite Barrier Convertible Cycling Jacket is $29.57 (size small, black) marked down from $110!

Also a vest. Magic.

That is a really good deal. The blue in medium is $58.84 and in large and extra-large is $54.99 which isn’t quite as good a deal, but still nearly half off. You have to click through the different colors to see the prices, which is annoying, but worth it when you find a good price especially when you consider that it's still being sold full-price on Zappos. Also! That Craft base layer deal I mentioned before is now even better. Right now it's $16.68! Crazy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vox Women!

Oh hey, this is so cool: Vox Women, "The online cycling video channel created by women, for women." I was very amused by this video of Iris Slappendel talking about the new Bigla kit:

“It has to be tight in the right places.”

Amen sister.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Altheta High Rise Chaturanga Tight.

I'm still gym-bound, thanks to the crappy weather so I wanted to post a quick review about a pair of workout tights I bought that have exceeded my expectations. I generally expect most workout clothing to disappoint me, so when something doesn't? It deserves some praise.

I have a couple of pairs of bootcut style yoga pants that are kind of ancient. They're Lululemon from back when they had high quality that matched the high price tag. Sure, I paid a lot for those pants and got (I'm guessing?) five solid years of wear out of them. But they're finally looking a bit shabby so I decided to get some workout tights like all the kids are wearing. I ordered these:

High Rise Chaturanga Tight

I'm pretty sure my ass looks at least that fine in them. Heh. They're high-rise which is basically the best thing IN THE WHOLE WORLD. They come right up to my navel and just suck everything in very pleasingly. There's no slipping, there's no muffining. They're otherwise very plain which is just fine with me. They aren't inexpensive, but Altheta has decent sales/codes so I'd wait for one of those because why pay full-price if you don't have to? I know when a piece of clothing really works for me when I get mad when it's in the laundry basket. These are a win and I am impatiently waiting for a sale so I can buy another pair.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Winter Wool Doldrums.

What is it about February? It's the shortest month of the year, but it feels like the longest. The weather has taken a nasty turn and it looks like my bikes won't get any fresh air any time soon. I did get in a short ride last Saturday, mostly to test out my new winter kit:

I finally bought a team jacket and fleece-lined winter knickers and I will say it helps a lot to have the right clothes for the season. I posted this photo on FB just to show it off and immediately a debate started about the superiority of wool over fleece-lining. It was interesting and I believe it but I...didn't ask? This happens to me a lot, a grown woman. Why do people think I don't know how to dress myself?

Wool is fine if you can stand the itching. I cannot. I do have a really nice wool Road Holland jersey that I can wear over a full-sleeved base layer but I am never, ever going to be able to wear wool base layers. Just never. The only thing I can stand is Smartwool socks and even those are a little itchy for me.

Again, for layering, I cannot say enough good things about Craft base layers. They are warm, very fitted and hold up really well. They are expensive, but you can find some serious deals. This one in white is under $20 right now! Git it!

So, more proof that I'm a summer weather kind of person. I'm super happy with my winter kit (though the knickers are simultaneously too big and too small? I'm sure they'll stretch a bit. The chamois is amazing.) and hopefully it'll do the trick until the glorious death of winter which can't come too soon. Stupid winter.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: New CycleBox!

When RunnerBox asked if I'd be interested in being a CycleBox Ambassador, I didn't even hesitate. It's great! I just received my second box last weekend and I think I like it even better than the first one. It's amazing the amount of great stuff they pack in that little box. Here's the loot:

Whee! There isn't much in here that I won't happily use. I pretty much immediately ate the Good Bean roasted chickpeas and they were completely addictive, a very satisfying crunchy-salty snack. I was also happy to get the Honey Stinger gel in an intriguing flavor (acai and pomegranate.) Honey Stinger is a favorite brand of mine - tasty and natural.

But, the true gem of this box is definitely the AthLights set, which looks like this:

This is such a great idea - tiny powerful light dots that attach to your clothing with magnets. They are super-bright blinkies the size of a dime. I tested them out and the magnets are VERY strong- these will stay put. (Now, if someone can tell me how to avoid washing them, I'll be all set. Seriously, this will happen. I routinely forget to empty out my jersey pockets.) A set of AthLights will run you $9.99 so you definitely can see the amazing value you get with the CycleBox.

RunnerBoxes are available in three varieties - Runner, Tri and Cycle. They come every other month and cost $19.95 plus shipping. Aside from the bimonthly subscription they also offer gift boxes and right now there's a limited edition Valentine's Day gift box. Very cool.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Athleta Fast Track Tee.

Lately I've been spending a lot of my after-work hours at the gym. I lift weights which I enjoy in a solitary way. Of course I'd rather be on my bike but I also dig the challenge of lifting heavy things and I like the peaceful exhaustion from a workout well done.

Like spinning, I prefer my weight lifting tops to be unrevealing and functional. (Like, this one just mystifies me. It's cute, but what can you actually do in that?)  If I'm deadlifting I don't really want to be thinking about how much I'm exposing when I lean over the bar. I am about to pick up something that weighs nearly as much as I do, so I don't really give a shit about looking busty and cute.

I do, however, want my workout clothes to be well-fitting and functional. I don't want to hike up my pants or constantly pull my shirt hem down so I'm always looking for well-designed solutions to these problems. A while back I ordered the Fast Track Tee from Athleta because it made some bold claims and the reviews were pretty good. Also, it's on sale:

Fast Track Tee

It's good stuff. Breathable fabric, flattering ruching business around the middle, and, my favorite detail, grippers in the hem which mostly help keep it in place.  It's also really comfortable and doesn't have any itchy seams or weird tags. This is what it looks like on me in a sweaty-locker-room-sucking-it-in-selfie kinda way:

I was wearing it so often that I went ahead and bought another one in the pale grey color. They have a new version in cute spring colors, but that one isn't on sale yet so, eh. Wait for a sale price, I always say.