Monday, August 31, 2009

Angeles Crest 100 canceled!

I am getting a distinct sense of deja vu! Twice this year my 'A' race for the year has been cancelled! First Twin Peaks 100k in January and now AC100. I am, to be perfectly honest full of mixed emotions; disappointment; obviously, frustration at potentially three months training and basically a summer away from my family; even my eldest has asked will I stop running after my race? Thankful; for the firefighters, literally risking their lives; two died yesterday, and to be honest a little relieved; how hot and punishing a race was it going to be really, a point only reinforced after blowing up on yesterday’s run in where the temperature was 110f and while I still had water I found myself dry heaving for the last 5 miles…isn’t this supposed to be fun?

Right now what’s next is unsure, some internet research some talking at home, some figuring stuff out, at the outset this was not meant to be my 100 mile debut year maybe that’s how it will finish?

The Station Fire stated Thursday, in four days it has consumed over 105,000 acres of Angeles National Forest, an acre is roughly the size of a soccer pitch or 168 square miles. It has a fire-line that is estimated to be somewhere around 20 miles long, much of it in inaccessible canyons which have not burnt for over four decades and are full of dry fuel. 3600 firefighters are on the line, over 20 aircraft are water dropping during daylight hours, 84 homes have been burnt and as I write this 5 people are trapped; they refused to heed the mandatory evacuation order Friday. Mt Wilson is under siege from three sides, it contains multiple TV and radio antenna for nearly all the stations that cover Los Angeles as well as for the CIA, FBI and Secret Service, additionally it is the site of the Mt Wilson Observatory. The smoke and water vapor is creating a mushroom cloud that is over 30,000’ high, it is so large it is generating its own weather pattern. The fire is currently 5% contained, best estimates are that it will take another week, it could reach 500,000 acres by then.

Fire is part of nature’s regeneration but like the smallest of flame it can cause a lot of pain.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Grab-bag!

I am woefully behind; here’s a Grab-bag of stuff!

* Haven’t run since last Sunday!
* But I ordered some cool new running togs during the week!
* Haven’t biked either!
* But I did go into a bike shop and had a good nose around; SRAM Red and Dura Ace 7900….yummy!
* I am resting my knee; it’s still not 100%
* Started new job on Monday – yay! Have a 110 round trip commute – boo!
* Start work at 7:15am – yay! Supposed to finish at 3:45pm – yay! Hasn’t happened yet- boo!
* I have one more long run on AC100 course this weekend then taper baby – phew, just in time; 3 weeks of tapering!
* There are two fires burning around the course; keep your fingers crossed
* Good luck to Ray and Erin both are racing at Ironman Canada this weekend, and anyone else of course!
* If you listen to my random podcasting there’s a twofer coming this weekend…hopefully!
* I do plan to catch up on the 341 unread items in my Google Reader and comment, honest!
* Today’s my Birthday!
* Still in the same age group; which is good but no extra time for a BQ; which is bad – yeah I am thinking about it!
* And planning out next year’s stuff already; I’ve got some crazy adventures on my radar!
* Thank you everyone who wrote on my Facebook wall or Tweeted me; you guys rock!
* Going to see new Tarantino movie tonight then dinner with my beautiful wife!
* Ok that’s more than enough exclamation marks. I’ve more work to do….HaGW/E!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review; Drymax Trail & Trail Lite socks

Never one to try and fix something that’s not broken and in much in the same vein as the XT Wings vs. Oboz Ignitions review I was a little reluctant to try another pair of socks, my turn-to’s for the last couple of years have been from Darn Tough out of Vermont, you can read my initial review here. However I was curious to try the trail offerings from Drymax of which I had been sent, from the good folks at Wilderness Running Company, the Trail and Trail Lite, especially after reading Donald’s and Rick’s reviews.

Typically for my reviews I copy and paste some info from the company website, usually I find anything that ranges from a few bullet points to half a page, not so with Drymax, these folks are serious about socks. Their website contains a wealth of info about the technology, much of it proprietary, which means you’ll not find it anywhere else, including videos, in depth explanations about what ‘wicking’ actually is, the requirement of padding, correct sizing, antimicrobial factors, blister causes and the list goes on. So my suggestion is to check it out yourself, it’s not overly technical and easy to understand.

And so to the socks. Both socks rely on the same technology the only real difference is that the Trail Lite has less padding making it more suitable in warmer climates or of course for during the summer. The sole of the Trail sock is well padded. Drymax makes a big effort to emphasis they use ‘dense’ padding rather than ‘thick’ padding and the Trail sock is rated as a Medium Dense+, as stated the Trail Lite has less padding and is therefore cooler. On both pairs there is some nice padding around the ankle creating a snug fit which reduces the entry of dust into the sock.

I’ve worn both pairs of socks on long runs and I would agree with the premise of the Trail vs. the Trail Lite, the Trail is warmer and will be great for the winter. So for the summer the Trail Lite’s are perfect. I am fortunate to not suffer from overly sweaty feet even so the wicking is excellent and I think this adds to the cooling effect of the sock. Even in Southern California wet feet can happen; there are some minor streams that need walking through even in Summer. The Dual Layer Moisture Elimination System removes sweat, sweat vapors, and water from the skin through the inner Drymax layer to the outer absorbent layer. The double welt top is made of Drymax fibers to repel water, so when you splash through water, the top of the socks stay dry.

The dense padding is noticeable and does provide some degree of cushioning which is my preference and also allows for a snug fit with my shoes. The sock’s fit is improved with a inseam band that hugs you foot and the seamless toe which minimize any possibility for blistering from friction.

The socks are available in five different sizes to ensure the best fit and come in sensible trail colors.

So in conclusion once again I’ve been reminded to have an open mind, originally reluctant to try them the more I wear them the more I like these socks and they do do everything that is on the box! One other incentive is that that are a good $2-3 cheaper per pair than the Darn Toughs (which you can also get here from WRC if you want to 'run' your own comparison). Add to that the discount that can be had from WSC of 10% and you can snag a pair for under $10, just click here for the Trail socks and here for the Trail Lites, use ‘Quad10’ to apply the discount when you check out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It is what it is!

To be honest I am absolutely wiped, so to make my life easier this is my entry in SportsTracks from yesterday’s run:

Topanga Canyon thru to Kanan Dune. Started later than hoped due to driving around and dropping off stash bags. Had hoped to run whole trail but today was not the day, late start, heat humidity and overall tiredness from prior night(s) lack of sleep. Decided to start at Topanga and go as far as possible. Left knee heavily taped and strapped with ITB strap; held up well. Pace dictated by terrain; lots and lots climbing, this is the hardest section of the BBT by far. Met two rattlesnakes on the way! Run out of water around M21 (Castro Peak) rationed thru to Latigo Canyon and then replened from someone's hose - not great but needs must, Conclusion 20 miles of water is max I can carry. Got to drop stash at Kanan to find someone had taken water and food! Had called for pickup beforehand anyway so this reinforced it was the right decision. Disappointing overall but it is what it is!

This photo, with my marking, shows the middle 13 mile section, click to enlarge:

Here is the Garmin Connect Player and a short slide show, you can see all the photo's here:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yeah but it’s a dry heat!

A slow week for my blog posts (and reads), but hey I am on vacation. Last weekend we loaded up the car and roof box and unloaded it and reloaded this time making it all fit, strapped the two kids in along with our nanny and her cousin and drove the 300 or so miles to Las Vegas; we have a big car. The idea being that the nanny gets a vacation as well and she had never been to Vegas so she looked after the boys in the morning and one day all day and the rest of the time she was off and we hung out as a family, other than having the car towed (long story) it’s all worked out pretty much. We’re not here for the gambling but totally enjoying the pool and of course the weather, the heat here has been a bit warm even for Vegas, the thermometer in the car topped out at 123f! There have been heat advisories on the radio and average temperatures are well into the 105-110f range each day.

This week being a down week I managed to get some training done under the heading of ‘heat training’ with three runs up the Strip, the first one nigh on killed me and from there I seemed to acclimatize to the heat better, slowing my pace right down and stopping multiple times to refill my water bottles at McDonalds etc and with a couple of walk breaks towards the end of the longest; which was about 14 miles. I was feeling the heat finishing around noon, what is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen! We also spent a morning at the spa/gym at the Venetian (we’re staying off strip) and I used one of their Expresso exercise bikes which places you in a race; very cool, and then had a run on a treadmill; my first ever training ‘brick’! Of course it was followed by a massage and lunch on the ‘Grand Canal”.

Today we’re winding our way back to LA and the inevitable kit explosion that will ensue once we get home! Sunday I have my penultimate long run and my longest run yet, I’ll be running the Backbone Trail from end to end which is measured out at around 70 miles, so it’s an early start Sunday morning and no doubt a late finish, I am estimating something around 17-18 hours.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Racevine; Zagat for Raceday!

I first came across Racevine via Twitter, the premise is simple, you run a race you love (or hate) you write a review, you want to run a race you read the reviews, think of it as Zagat or Expedia or even Amazon for you Sunday morning adventures. Do you want to know where the secret potta-john is, which race has the best SWAG (Stuff We Always Get) or which race never-ever to attend; this could be the place to look; such is the beauty of actual user commentary. In its early stages with more races to be reviewed than are reviewed this will be a great addition to your favorites toolbar especially if you’re planning on going on a destination race and could be investing a lot of money into your trip and race entry.

Registration is easy as is the actual reviewing, you can write as much as you like and then there are 10 or so consistent factors that you rate i.e. refreshments, SWAG, spectator support etc and voila that’s it. You can also search by zip, city and/or distance. Currently focused on 5k through to Marathon and on Triathalons (and only within the US) I have been told that ultra events will and are being added.

Check it out at RaceVine and if you register, and review a race you’ll be entered into their current competition where you could win race day entries, some new running clothes, race fuel and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting the Tweet for the KT on the ITB!

Alternative title; A Handful of Halfs! Neither of which are great but it’s been a long week! So after last Sunday’s disappointing run I took Monday off and iced, stretched and rolled my legs. Tuesday I hit the streets on my bike for a reasonably easy 30 mile ride, later in the day while on Twitter I saw a post referring to KT Tape, I followed the post, checked out who they are and before I knew it I was in Sports Authority purchasing two rolls, what the hell I thought! I tweeted thm on Twitter and they sent me instructions on how to tape my ITB by email.

I’ve taped in the past on the suggestion of my physio therapist but with medical bandage and not with sports specific tape. Wednesday morning I was on the West side of LA (by the beaches) and I had thrown my running kit in the car to see if the tape would hold up; that is prevent the pain. I followed the instructions in the box and actually taped for Runners Knee not ITB and set off, a little over two hours later I was back with 14.5 miles on my Forerunner and no pain…ok I thought, let’s see;

* Thursday 13 miles in 1:59, pain free; felt a bit tired and under fueled
* Friday 13.1 miles in 1:46, pain free; felt great and just enjoyed the run
* Saturday 13.1 miles in 1:56, pain free; another good run, deliberately at a slower pace

That’s 54 miles in 4 days and a smidge over 74 miles for the week, my second highest week ever! OK so now I am convinced!

The tape is really easy to apply although guys may want to consider getting the razor out for a cleaner “sticking” area. The packaging says it will last up to 5 days; mine is pretty shot after 4 days (6 showers, 8 foam rolling sessions and 6 stretching sessions) it comes in four colors and more are on the way and it’s pre-measured so you don’t need scissors. They have videos on their website on how to apply it and oh yeah and it looks pretty cool as well!

Quite possibly the cheapest thing you may ever buy for running at $12.99 a roll you can get it from Sports Authority or click on the Amazon Widget to the right, below my race reports and order yourself some!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review; Oboz Ignition II

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love my Salomon XT Wings for trail running, you can read their review here.

With that in mind I am reluctant to try new shoes, working under the maxim of ‘if it ain’t broke etc’ well after some discussions with the good folks at the Wilderness Running Company they persuaded me to give something new a try and, well, I just may have found an alternative; the Oboz Ignition II

First some info from their website; The Ignition II is an updated version of the shoe Outside Magazine calls "Rookie of the Year". The dynamic bootie construction wraps around your foot to keep trail debris out while the forefoot cage locks your foot down to provide a secure fit.

* Synthetic Leather and 3D Air Mesh Upper
* Dynamic Bootie Construction
* Floating Forefoot Cage
* 3 Part Midsole
* Dual Density EVA
* EVA SupeSkin Plate
* Nylon Shank
* Ignition Outsole; 2 Density EVA Midsole - higher density heel perimeter for stability, lower density elsewhere for cushioning
* Underfoot EVA SuperSkin for torsional stability and stone bruise protection under the metatarsal heads
* Heel TPU clip for stability and upper/outsole integration
* Multi-directional high friction outsole
* Graded nylon shank for lateral and torsional flex control
* Strobel Lasted
* 3D Injection Molded Asymmetrical External Heel Clip; our external heel counters are 3 dimensionally injection molded. Unlike a flat molded heel counter common to most outdoor footwear, they provide long term support, motion control and heel lock. The heel counters are engineered gender specific to account for the differences between men's and women's feet: different heel-toe/heel-ball length ratios, different forefoot/midfoot girths, different Achilles heel attachment points, and different feet entirely.
* BFIT Tri-Density Footbed; our B-Fit insoles are designed with multiple densities of foam, providing support throughout the plantar fascia, and a defined and formed heel cup, these are after-market quality insoles, installed as original equipment.

And so on with the review. I have over 50 miles on these shoes now, not so much but as a guestimate about 10-15% of they’re useful life of 400 miles, and here is my initial review, I'll do another as the mileage increases.

Gender specific, the shoes are well constructed; they have a ventilated mesh upper which is composed of two different types of fabric. Rather than eyelets for the laces they have loops which are located on the top of the eyestays that are secured around the quarter panel to sole of the foot and heel cup. There are four eyestays that extend under the mudguard that rises up from the outsole of the shoe, the final loop at the toe end of the shoe removes the option for gaiters which initially was a deterrent, given my love for Dirty Girl Gaiters; the idea of a gaiter is to reduce debris from entering your shoe and causing irritation/blisters. There is a solid toe cap which seems to be double layered for extra protection. I sized up half a size to an 11 and they fitted great out of the box, there is a roomy toe box and despite their narrow look they fitted my foot very comfortably. The heel is not restrictive and the cupping is nicely supportive without pinching anywhere.

The most unusual feature of this shoe is that there is no tongue. The opening for the foot is a elasticized opening that is designed to envelop your foot.The top of the ‘tongue' sits at the approximate height as it would do normally and it is soft enough to roll/fold with the motion of your foot, there are well secured loops (I gave them a good tug) on the tongue and heel to allow you to get your foot in.

The sole has a solid grip pattern and is perfectly comfortable when walking on concrete and tarmac, I wore these around the house etc for several days prior to taking them to the trails, you can see the sole pattern compared to a retired pair of Wings, as you can see plenty of grip and a nice torsional shank. Not overly cushioned, the ride quite low, something that might appeal to anyone who is trying a more minimalist approach to running, they keep you in contact with the trail nicely and you can feel your way along with exposing your foot unnecessarily but provide you enough protection to absorb the narlier of obstacles. The weight of the shoe is well within the usual ranges that you’ll find for trail shoes at 13.5oz.

Of specific interest was the shoes ability to resist dust and sand entering through the uppers, typically after a long run my socks and feet look like I have been running without socks, and while I do often take photos of my icky feet; see here, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they resisted, I wore these on Sunday night and fully expected to see the usual dusty dawgs once I removed my shoes, well not so this time. After removing my shoes my socks and feet were actually remarkable clean! This is a great feature as debris in your shoes can be an absolute nightmare as most trail runners will tell you, however this may mean that they are a little warm although this is not something I have specifically noticed.

Untested were their water resistance or drainage; southern California in the summer, water about a lot - they're ain't!

So in conclusion if you looking for a pair of trail shoes and thought of parting with $120, the current price for a pair of Wings makes you blanche these could be a great pair for you. Comfortable out of the box, gender specific, great at keeping trail muck out of your shoe, not too bright if you’re looking for a more neutral color and grippy on the trail, what’s not to like?

Of course I want to share the love and the good folks at WRC are running a special for you, order a pair following this link and you qualify for a free pair of Bridgedale socks (which are excellent; see my previous review and will save you $14-16) add the ‘Quad10’ discount at checkout and qualify for 10% off the normal retail price of $85.00 as well as free shipping and handling in the lower 48, you can be on the trails in shiny new shoes 'n' socks for a smidge over $75.00!…like I said what’s not to like?

See previous gear reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Creepy and Crawly!

After all the excitement of last week, this week I just wanted to get back into my training groove and move forward. Having written off the last few training days and taking Saturday as my regular rest day, I had a planned 35 miler for Sunday night. With that in mind Sunday night came and I hit the trails around 8:00pm, my expected return time was sometime between 3:00-4:00am; it’s quite amazing how quickly your pace drops when the sun goes down. I was running local trails at Cheeseboro Canyon which I have run many, many times although never at night, it's a nice mix of climbing and downhills, some fireroad and single track, there's so great views in the daytime but I was expecting nothing much at night. The moon was waning and wasn't due to be high until really late and I would be running on it's lee side anyway.

The course was a figure of 8 which I planned to do twice, re-plenning at my car halfway round and after making sure I had parked ‘outside’ the park gate I set off. An uneventful first loop and half with the exception of bumping into the little (about 4") guy above who was out doing his own trail creeping at night; we gave each other a wide berth! Halfway through the second loop I felt that familiar little tingle which rapidly escalated into the usual nagging, grimacing, squinting, crap I have to walk pain of my ITB!

Yes back by popular demand an irritated ITB, this is my Achilles heel of sorts. Despite my stretching and rolling it has decided to rear his ugly head, again; see here and here for previous episodes…gah!

So without fanfare and discretion being the better part of valor I stopped after the fist loop crawling in with just over 20 miles on the clock…well Forerunner in four hours.

Back to rolling twice a day and stretching twice a day, I am pretty confident I can shake this off; I had it earlier in the year and shook it off, given that it only comes on when I am in the late teens my weekday run top off around 15 miles I should be fine.

Ho hum…there’s just never a dull moment! Here's the Garmin Connect data, see how my pace falls off after mile 17!

And so here's some humor on the topic of Achilles' heel...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

72 Hours!

Well what a difference 72 hours makes! Nice scabby knees, elbow, hands and shoulder a’la school playground, face is almost back to normal, chin’s a bit scabby, but I managed to shave today; a goatee really doesn’t suit me, as is my left eye and upper lip, my nose looks the worst but it’s fine really. The swelling inside my mouth is almost gone, I’ll spare you the ‘oral shot’, suffice to say it’s several delightful shades of black and blue, biting is delicate but doable and a straw for drinking is optional, time to put this little incident behind me and move on.

It's things like this that make me glad I am a quick healer!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Well, that was the week that wasn’t!

And so with this week’s long run falling into last week, my knee giving me issues on Tuesday and my trip and fall yesterday this week is just a write-off! That being said I did manage to go to the, wait for it….pool! Yes you read that right a very ungainly 800 yards; yeah I know it’s not far, in 25 minutes or so; yep not fast either!

Oh well some days you just have one of those weeks. Looking forward, hopefully, I’ll be set for my long run Sunday which kicks off next week’s training plan, it’s a night run on the trails so I’ll be taking a few flashlights, maybe the LAPD will fly over me and highlight the trail?

As for my face, well, firstly thank you to everyone for you kind words, I think yesterday’s post is now my highest commented one which is testament to the solidarity of the running community (ok that’s enough soap boxing), but seriously to everyone who took the time to comment here on Facebook and Twitter (c’mon I have to milk this for all it’s worth!) thank you. Everything is slowly scabbing over so now my face has taken on a kind of crunchy feel, the swelling inside my lips has started to go down; although biting is a real no-no for now; my diet is softish food and I am drinking through a straw which sucks; literally. I am so so grateful for not smashing my teeth, nose, jaw, eye socket you name it, all things considered I got off lightly. Taking a shower is interesting; note to self do not use Tea Tree body wash on road rash; stings like a mother…Oh yes and I can't shave my chin, so I am now looking like some undertrained enforcer!

As you can see, fortunately, my sense of humor retains intact, unfortunately this weekend is my wife’s birthday and we’ve had to cancel our dinner plans! Maybe we’ll go to mall where I can scare small children or tell inquiring parents about my UFC career! We’ll see, have a good one and watch out for manhole covers…little bastards!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Running is a contact sport…

Well it is when you decide to headbutt the sidewalk. So there I was merrily minding my own business thinking that my knee was feeling better, plodding along at a sensible pace and wallop I am down, errant man-hole cover! I’ll spare you the list of road-rashed body parts but suffice to say I won’t be going to the ball at the weekend! Of all the bits that hurt the most annoying is that I have managed to mash up the inside of my lips and now they’re really starting to swell…oh yeah that and the fact the brow of my nose won’t stop weeping! From memory I seemed to literally have swallow dived into the pavement face first, with the forward momentum of running I had zero time to put out my hands and thereby I broke my fall face!

Of course this does make for an interesting blog post…this was one my earlier thoughts, after, phew all my teeth are there and good, my nose is not broken.

A kind Samaritan stopped and gave me a lift home, thank you whoever you were.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shut up and listen!

This is the message that my body has been telling me since Sunday. My response; "must complete workout", "must complete workout"! 15.25 miles Friday, 27.75 miles Saturday, Endless running round after children Sunday, 15.01 miles Monday, 11.2 miles; should have been 25 miles bike Tuesday, (to clarify all the rest was running), left knee/quad – FAIL! Stopped after one lap and climbed back into bed; it was only 5:45am. Achy, tweaky on/off soreish…grr - body fail! Time for RICE and I ain’t talking carbs!

Unscheduled rest today, lets see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giant spiders and running in circles!

Target mileage for this weekend; 30, target trail; first 15 miles of the Backbone Trail from the southern end. Success rate 13.5/15, that is foiled by a road crossing at the almost halfway point!

Knowing that my mileage is due to only get longer my wife and I had a heart to heart and she has basically granted me a guilt free run pass on my long runs as the extend further into the day, it was becoming clear that my estimates of return times were becoming woefully inaccurate and leaving the family at home waiting for me was really unfair! If you were to look up supporting and/or understanding in the dictionary you would see a picture of my wife! I had switched my long run from Sunday to Saturday and so this would be a reversed back to back from Friday’s 15 mile run.

Starting at a major State Park; Will Rogers, I had to wait until the park opened until I could park my car at 7:00am and shortly after I was on the trail. As always the trail heads up and this close to the coast into the fog, the coolness was welcome and meant a delay to the heat of the day which would be along soon. I passed some mountain bikers on the trail and at this point I realized that I was the first person out the trails that day, cobwebs the size of dustbin lids lay across the trail! There were also hundreds of webs on the sides of the trail which were picked up by the dampness, there are tarantulas and black widows in the area so I left these things well alone and headed towards “The Hub”. Talking of dampness, high grass gave me a real wash down!

The Hub is nothing more than a junction of trails and is where one park; Will Rogers meets another; Topanga. The trail wound its way along towards Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock so called, I understand, due the shape of it looking like an eagle's head rather than the number of birds you'll see. Taking this trail is slightly off course but is a more scenic route. From here I headed down into the next canyon towards Dead Horse parking lot and it was from here that things came unraveled.

Two road crossings lay ahead, Topanga Canyon and Old Topanga Canyon from where I would pick up the Fossil Trail through Hondo Canyon, the NPS website states that these are 'exceeding obscure' trails….oh yeah! Up down, down up, left right, right left ; could I find it - could I heck and to use the vernacular of the old country; bugger! At this point I turned around and headed back the way I came, an uneventful journey back to my car left my mileage short and so I took a couple of laps around the polo field to bump it up to within 10% of the scheduled 30.

On the way home I took a detour in the car to try and find the missing crossings and managed to find the ultimate destination crossing which was quite easy to find it’s just the mile in the middle that proved problematic, if I have the chance I’ll go back and have another look, if not I’ll just “road it” life’s too short to go round in circles!

Here’s the Garmin Connect link and some photos including the uber spider webs!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Review; Bridgedale; Bamboo Mens Lo and X-Hale Multisport

As part of the ongoing sock post reviews from the goodie bag…well actually rather large goodie box that I received from the good folks at the Wilderness Running Company today I review two offerings from Bridgedale; Bamboo Mens Lo and the X-Hale Multisport.

I’ve put 50 or so blister free trail miles on each of these so while early days it’s certainly sufficient to give me an idea on how they are going to perform as the miles accumulate.

Bridgedale; Bamboo Mens Lo

From the website: This cool, comfortable low cut sock is knit using quick drying bamboo yarns. Bamboo feels silky soft and keeps feet feeling fresh with it’s naturally anti-microbial properties. Bamboo and Coolmax® wick moisture away from your foot giving lasting, all day comfort.

Fiber Content: 35% Bamboo, 34% Coolmax®/polyester, 30% Nylon/polyamide, 1% Lycra®/elastane

I can testify to their silkiness, they do feel softer than my usual trail socks which are feeling their age. In fact the more you wash them the softer they feel. As you can see in the photo the sock is divided up around the foot, the zones are zoned into ventilation and cushioning, I should say that these socks are light on the cushioning front the benefit of this is that they are on the cooler side, it’s all a trade off. From a ecological standpoint Bridgedale supports “Plant a Boo” which supports the fight against global warming, more info is available here. Whether it is the bamboo on in the general construction which includes Coolmax® they do keep you feet nice and dry and cool. In summary a solid pair of socks that work well if you are in warmer climes and don’t need to have too much padding. These are only available in gray.

Bridgedale; X-Hale Multisport

I was really keen to try these socks as when I planted my sock stake in the ground last year these were in the running (no pun intended) but I was unable to get them in the color I wanted so I passed…anyway I digress. So here is the website blurb:

X-Hale: Targeted impact padding and cooling ventilation. Suitable for Multisports: Hike, Run, Bike, Fitness, X-train.

Light, breathable, cushioned and close-fitting. Light mesh allows air circulation. Cushioning under heel. Ball and toes provides protection and WoolFusion® helps drive moisture away.

Fibre Content: 42% Nylon/polyamide, 28% Merino Wool, 28% Endurofil™/polypropylene, 2% Lycra®/elastane

Not as silky smooth as the Bamboo Los these are much more of a workhorse however they do share the ‘zoned’ areas with a lightweight cushioning underfoot and thinner areas on the top of the foot. Again the zoning works well although I would say that Bridgedale has rated these as cooler than the Bamboo Los but I would say that the reverse is true and to my feet these felt warmer, although there were worn on different days, but this is a southern California and recently it’s been hot with a liberal smattering of hotter! In a similar vein, these are definite worthy of your consideration if you’re looking for a solid pair of socks with light padding. Available in several colors including blue, black and white! (not recommended for the trails).

A comparison between the two is difficult as they are in essence very similar. The X-Hale’s have more cushioning and are a little warmer, the Bamboo Lo’s are silky smooth and are cooler. Both have hidden seams on the toe area which is the place most likely to cause irritation. Both are well constructed and you'll not be disappointed by the quality of either. So really it's a case of you pays your money you takes your choice.

As with previous reviews WRC will be offering a 10% discount if ordered through this review, click on the socks names above to be directed to the right link, also if you use the Coupon Code ‘Quad10’ on checkout you'll receive an extra 10% discount…woot!