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.