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?