My Blog

Roclite 315, a worthy family member?

The INOV-8 Roclite 315 is new in the Roclite family, how does it compare to my beloved 305’s?

At the beginning of December I was lucky enough to receive a test pair of the INOV-8 Roclite 315. I directly wondered if this new version could be any better than the Roclite 305 which I really like as multi-terrain trail shoe and which was one of my favourite trail shoes this year (together with the Trailroc 285) – see my earlier reviews on the Trailrun goodies review page.

I tested the Roclite 315 these last six weeks, accumulating in total 360 kilometres in very diverse circumstances including snow / sleet and rain, thick / thin / sticky and deep mud, forest / grass / road / gravel and stony paths, short / long and multi-day trails.

With these experiences I feel comfortable to write down my thoughts of the Roclite 315.

Family feeling

In the ever increasing INOV-8 Roclite family you will also find, besides the 305 and new 315:

I have no experience yet with these other versions.

INOV-8 writes that the ‘new’ of the Roclite 315 is in the ‘upper part’ of the shoes. The mid- and out-sole are unchanged compared to the Roclite 305. On close inspection of the shoes I could indeed not observe any differences other than the ‘upper’. For this I will focus my review mainly on the ‘upper’ but first …

First the numbers and data – from the brochure.

  • The Upper, with the ‘new’ in green:
    • X-PROTEC upper for ‘ultimate’ protection and durability.
    • A reinforced hybrid tongue stops all debris from entering the shoe.
  • Just like the 305:
    • On-the-shoe gaiter hooks offer a more secure attachment system that allows you to attach the ALL TERRAIN GAITER to the shoe (it works!).
    • ADAPTERWEB lacing system adapts to the movement and swelling of the foot in motion.
    • X-LOCK system supports and holds the heel in place.
  • Midsole:
    • PowerFlow cushioned mid-sole together with a molded, 6mm footbed creates light underfoot comfort.
  • Outsole:
    • Tri-C rubber compound and multi-directional claw-shaped cleats, each with a wide contact area, providing a good grip over unpredictable terrain and the quick release of debris.
    • Stone protection utilising the Second-generation META-SHANK.
  • Numbers:
    • Fit: 3, which for INOV-8 means: the ‘middle’.DSC_0004.jpg
    • Weight: 315gm. I measured 362gm for UK size 9. So maybe a better name would be the Roclite 360 :).
    • Midsole Stack: Heel 16mm / Forefoot 8mm.
    • Drop: 8mm (INOV-8 two Arrow indication).
    • Lug depth: 6mm (how deep are the ‘rubber points’ of the outsole).
    • Footbed: 6mm

My experiences

I will divide my experiences in positive or negative and make where applicable a comparison with other shoes. Obviously, this is all very much runner dependent. I will describe why I think a feature is + or –  but in the end, as always …

‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ –

Choose your own treat after running on these shoes yourself!

(Maybe Ice-cream or a warm chocolate)!

Positive features

The Roclite 315 keeps the same positive features as a wrote in my review of the Roclite 305, mainly:

You basically ‘stand like a rock’ and feel supported from all sides.

This is a truly multi-terrain shoe.

However, during this wet December month I also experienced that for truly muddy, or snow covered trails the Roclite 315 misses the lug depth and aggressive outsole design of for example INOV-8 X-Claw 275. The multi-terrain feature results in a well thought of compromise which you notice when looking for the limits.

The integrated tongues gave me the comfortable feeling that the shoe is ‘wrapped’ around my feet, leaving no room to glide or cause friction.

The lacing system may not be designed for this purpose but the ADAPTER Web gave me the option to tie the laces quite tight around my feet.

Protection. I noticed that the Roclite 315 ‘new upper’ provides more protection against getting wet feet when running through the early morning wet grass, or muddy trails. This is probably due to the change in the upper of the shoe, the so-called X-PROTECT layering. The protective layering extends a little bit longer towards the mid part of the shoe and both the top part and integrated tongue are made of a more durable and by the look of it more water-resistant mess (see picture below).

Negative features

Wear and tear. After 360 kilometres the shoes are still in good condition with less wear of the upper front mesh as I experienced with the Roclite 305 (see right picture below). However, the right shoe showed breaks on both sides in the protective layer, just at the point where the shoes bends the most when running (see two left pictures below). Maybe it has to do with my running style that only the right shoe shows this wear. I am not sure, but it was not something I expected more over not when the Roclite 315 is promoted as having a more ‘increased durability’.

After contacting INOV-8 UK they were more than happy to change the shoes for a brand new pair, an nice example of the generous after sale support you expect from a premiere brand like INOV-8. They also asked me to post the shoes to them to investigate the problem further with a first reaction being ‘unlucky to get a Monday morning shoe’. I will update this post when I have more information.

Beside what I mentioned above I do not have any other real negative issues with these shoes. The ‘new upper’ seems to protect my feet better against wet grass and mud. They perform well in multi-terrain but have obviously their limits when going into more extreme environments with a lot of mud or snow.

Only other thing, I would suggest to change the name into Roclite 360, this comes closer to the real weight and sounds even more ‘cool’ :).

Summary

I think the INOV-8 Roclite 315 is worthy new member of the Roclite family, keeping up the high standards of this sturdy designed, multi-terrain trailrunning shoe with a very comfortable ‘wrap around your foot’ feeling.

Would I change them now this instance for my favourite Roclite 305’s, not really. But I would buy them as replacement when my 305’s are worn out for the additional protection.

What are your experiences? I would appreciate if you would like to share them.

Cheers!

 

The Trailrunners Belt / Vest / Backpack choice

Overload – Help! – Too many trail packs to choose from. I hope my experiences may help you to make a choice that fit your needs.

FB_IMG_1508699986849Trailrunners are easily recognisable, are they not? Sturdy running shoes, probably compression tubes, double layer short running tights, a colourful running shirt, a Buff and … a trailvest!

BLUF, i.e. Bottom Line Up Front:

I prefer not to carry anything when running, but sometimes it is needed due the distance, the remoteness of the terrain, the mandatory kit list, your own multi-day trailrun plan or the stuff you need to bring into the office for work.

So what are the options? Well in the end probably 100+ if you do a Google search. All have pro’s and con’s and the price range is rather large to say the least!

During my years of trailrunning I ended up with five ‘systems’ of which I use four regularly and one, to be honest hardly ever because it just does not work for me. I hope my experiences will help you to decide what is maybe the most suitable ‘system’ for you.

So here we go,

from small to large and one to four,

adding number five as the ‘system’ I do not use.

Number one: The Compressport Free Belt

freebeltAt first I was a bit hesitant to use this but after a while I really started to appreciate the Free Belt. Main advantage I think is that it is extremely easy in design. does the job, i.e. carry stuff, and in my opinion looks rather cool. I use it for running to and from work carrying my phone, head torch, clean socks and maybe a sandwich. The Free Belt has four equal size spaces and uses stretch to stay in place around your hips and to keep the stuff inside. No zips or buckles that may irritate, get stuck or break. During a weekend trailrun I easily pack my phone, a energy bar and one or two 250ml soft flask.

The Free Belt works for me in the meaning that it stays rather well around my hips and just occasionally has the tendency to creep up towards your stomach area. If this happens all is still well packed and does not fall out.

Be aware is that when you are sweating the Free Belt gets completely wet. That may not be a surprise but you need to pack everything that you don’t want to get wet. The Free Belt dries rather quickly so when you run home in the evening after a day in the office it is dry again!

Summary: Basic, clever designed, not too expensive Belt that can easily carry the essentials for a Sunday morning 3-hours trailrun, looks cool and indeed leaves you as Free moving as possible.

 

Number two: INOV-8 Race Ultra 5 Vest / Pack

race-ultra-5This is a trail pack I really like for several reasons.

As many other trail packs it is lightweight (approx 260 grams) , has a good 5 litre storage compartment which can be compressed with a bungee cord and an emergency whistle. You can use the bungee cord to carry for example a lightweight jacket increasing the amount you can carry.

20170903_130129However, the real big pro’s for me are the two (very) large side mesh pockets and the two separate reservoir zipped pockets wich hold two 500ml soft flask with a 30cm drinking tube.

  • The side mesh pockets are ideal for storing your Buff, mittens, energy bars (or cellophane after eating them – leave nothing but your footprints behind), phone, map etc. They are large enough for all these items and stay secured around your body. Only be careful when you pull off the trail pack because than the mesh stretch does not secure all the stuff anymore that well. These large side pockets is a feature I have not seen on other trail packs. Most have smaller stretch or zipped packs, not the ‘huge’ ones on this vest.
  • The soft flask combination with the 30cm drinking tube allow you to easily keep drinking whilst running and without any bouncing of hard bottles. Just be aware to pull the drinking tube not only through the loop in the zipped pocket but also through the small loop halfway the front straps. If you do not need both soft flasks than the zipped compartments are large enough to fit a 6 inch phone.
For these very good reasons the The Race Ultra 10 litre compatriot was voted best in the performance accessories category by a panel of expert judges and named a 2015/2016 ISPO AWARD GOLD WINNER.
Unfortunately INOV-8 does not sell this type anymore but some other shops do, so please do a search on the internet. There are three successors I think in the INOV-8 inventory at the moment, however be aware of, in my opinion, real downside to two of three.
  • The first two successors are the Race Elite (4 litres) or Race Elite Vest 10 litre, equipped with hard bottles!! Something I do not understand from INOV-8. I think nowadays most, if not all trailrunners (please respond if you do not agree) would select soft flasks to prevent unnecessary bouncing. Also they do not provide the comfort of the drinking tubes. This means you need to get the hard bottle out of the mesh pocket, open the lid, drink, close the lid and put it back into the mesh pocket all the while not really looking where you are running.
  • The third, and in my opinion best successor is the All Terrain Pro 0 – 15 which has the same benefits as the Race Ultra 5 I described. Difference is that you can either have a minimalist Race Vest 0 or a larger Race Ultra 15 by adding a 15 litres pack. How the split between the vest and the 15 litres pack performs on the trails I have no experience yet but it looks a good alternative. This design won a Trail Running Magazine Best Test and reading some reviews on the internet this is a pack I definitely consider when the present is really, really worn out.
Be aware that the Race Ultra 5 come in two sizes. I surely needed the M/L with a regular chest size of 95cm.
Summary: Best Trail pack I have with great a on-the-run hydration system and well sized mesh pockets for all the stuff you want to keep quick at hand.
Maybe we should start a campaign to have INOV-8 put the soft flasks with drinking tubes in all there packs and ban hard bottles :).

Number three: The Compressport ULTRUN 140 Grams Pack

CC Pack frontThis is I think one of the lightest Trail packs at the moment using stretch fabric all around to keep stuff in and save weight. It fits very comfortable and combines a lower clipbelt with an easy to use knotted stretch cord to keep the pack in place.
It has enough room to store the same amount as the INOV-8 Race Ultra 5 but has in my opinion some disadvantages which makes the Race Ultra 5 my favourite when needed to pack just a little more.
CC Pack back
The disadvantages are in my opinion:
  • No bungee cord to add that additional jacket. The Compressport stretch does not need the bungee cord for compression, the design will do that for you. However, you miss that extra storage capacity.
  • Only two small mesh side pockets which hardly fit a 5 inch mobile phone.
  • The pockets on the IMG-20170703-WA0004front straps are just too small to fit two fully filled 500ml soft flasks without the danger that when running and jumping downhill they accidentally drop out (which happend to me in the beginning so now I only fill them to approx 350ml). Also adding drinking tubes is more difficult because there are no loops to keep the tubes in place.
  • The way running poles are stored created chafing at my ribs just where the handle of the poles touch your torso.

Summary: very lightweight and comfortable trail pack. However, the design has some disadvantages with respect to side pockets and soft flask storage. They promote it as a trail vest that will keep you going for 100+ kilometres. I have some doubt with respect to the amount of storage space. I use it for shorter distances or when I do not need too carry too much stuff.

One thing that is really good with this trail pack is the promotion video on YouTube in which they compare a trailrunner with a infantry soldier packing up for field day. 

Number four: INOV-8 Race Elite 24

ultr 24I bought this pack when I planned for a multi-day self organised trailrun with overnight stays in for example a B&B (Ridgeway Trail, Christmas 2016), or a mountain hut on the Etna (March 2017) or in the Spanish Pyrenees (Summer 2017). I also use it sometimes when running to work when I need to bring clean clothing for example.

I like the large zip opening which gives you quick overall access. There is a small zip pocket inside for credit cards etc. The bungee cords enables to compress the pack to the size you want . The pack can be strapped close to your body with adjustable front straps and two straps on either side. The

DSC_0212

front straps also contain two large zipped pockets just like the above described Race Ultra 5. The pack does not come with soft flasks or drinking tubes but you can use them if you want to.

Only disadvantage I have with this pack is that it is really has only one compartment pack. No outside mess side pockets as with the Race Ultra 5. Also no compartments within the large pack itself, for example a mesh zip that could either split the pack in two parts or if zipped open make it one big one. Maybe something INOV-8 can consider with there next design.

At present INOV-8 do not sell this pack anymore but other store do, just take a search on the internet. INOV-8 successor is the All Terrain 25. However, looking at this design it missed the option to pack two soft flask with drink tubes and also does not have large quick stow-away side mesh pockets but two zipped side pockets. In all it is more a small backpack than a trail pack, I am not really convinced (yet). Probably the All Terrain Pro Vest 0 – 15 would perform better in my opinion. A little less volume but all the benefits of mesh side pockets and a on-the-run hydration system.

Number five: INOV-8 RACE ULTRA 1 WAIST HYDRATION PACK

INOV8RACEULTRA1-2I have an older version of the All Terrain Pro 1. My version is not sold anymore by INOV-8 but some shops still offer them besides the new All Terrain Pro 1.

I never really got comfortable with this belt. Main reasons were that it always ended around my stomach area whatever I tried. The belt bounced too much for my liking when carrying two 500ml hard bottles. And there was only minimal room to store stuff like a phone, energy bars etc. Also there was no ‘safe storage’ using a zip compartment of with the Free Belt several stretch compartments.

Looking at the new INOV-8 All Terrain Pro 1 I think this would solve many of the above issues due to the use of soft flasks (which create a vacuum when drinking) and more, and secure compartments.

Summary: A waist pack with hard bottles that does not fit me, sorry. Advise to test it well before considering buying.

Hopefully my experiences are of help, just let me know your experiences!

 

 

Two day trail along the Thames and through the Chilterns

Self organised 77km two day trail through the English countryside.

20171222_102940.jpg
Start of the two-day trailrun at Henley-on-Thames

Just like last year I decided to organise my own multi-stage trailrun around Christmas time. Last year it was a solo three-day trail following the 135km Ridgeway Long distance Path in beautiful cold winter weather just after Christmas.

This year I enjoyed a two day trail together with my friend Wilco Faber just before Christmas in again very pleasant but much warmer (+9 degrees Celsius) weather. Instead of frozen fields we enjoyed a bit of a foggy start in the morning, making especially the second day through the Chiltrens Hills rather mystic.

We started off in the very nice village Henley-on-Thames located , as the name clearly indicates, along the Thames. Before we parked the car for free and safely in a side street (Hop Garderns) we had dropped a bag with clothing and stuff at our B&B in Ipsden. The owner Jill welcomed us warmly and would made sure we could get in if we would arrive without her being at home in order to enjoy tea and Mince Pies. A very pleasant start what would become a great trailrunning day.

25509030_1982344898680422_1866790725_o.png
The route – Following the Thames Valley Path, Chilterns Way, Swan’s Way, Incknield Way, Grim’s Dyke and the Oxfordshire Way.

I had made up a two day trail route myself using several Long Distance Path which I found on the Ordnance Survey Maps. I use the RangeViewer App for my route making, it provides for free already very detailed maps. I upload the route to my GARMIN FENIX 3 watch and together with the App on my rather sturdy but waterproof Blackview BV 6000 phone and the abundant signposting you can not get lost (almost :)).

We started off along the Thames to the West passing locks and fish traps along the Thames Valley Path. After a few kilometres the track climbed up to the Northern scarp slopes / hillsides of the Thames valley following the Chilterns Way. This way I thought to keep a bit away from the more busy part around the city of Reading. The Chilterns are a so-called Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB, and sure it is!) and a great area for trailrunning with plenty of off road forest tracks and public footpaths crossing fields, farms, back gardens and old cemeteries. Lucky me that I live just around the corner.

 

 

There is enough relief, sometimes rather steep but not for long and the tracks are a combination of chalk stones and mud.

Mud was the continuous thread for the two days, sometimes very sticky, mostly OK and fun to run through! 

 

 

At Hartslock we arrived back at the Thames and soon after found a great tea room in Goring and Streatley. The Village Chocolate Cafe was just like how I prefer an English tea room. Nothing fancy, but great refillable pots of tea, good coffee, soups and … delicious cakes, MJAM! Better quality than Starbucks, Nero or Costa and much better atmosphere.

Trailing, just for trailing and not as part of a race is really relaxing. You can decide yourself where to stop for a photo, snack or an hour long stay in a tea room. Or to watch Red Kite birds of prey swirling through the air, wannabe birds, i.e. pheasants trying to take to the air and deer crossing barren farmland. There are also plenty of small resting moments passing all the kissing gates, or you must like to jump over them like Wilco!

 

 

Before we arrived in Goring and Streatley we had covered 30km in roughly two parts. The first 20km in one stretch to the (unfortunately closed) 12th century Mapledurham House Estate where we paused at an old cemetery. Than 13km to Goring and Streatley after which a final 10km followed to Ipsden, to our B&B for the night.

Trailing along the Thames is easy going and the kilometres just followed whilst we chatted away, slipped through some muddy parts and amazed ourselves about the very nice houses build all along the river banks.

Our B&B in Ipsden I found via Air B&B and was just what we needed (‘B&B in Centre of Village, 2 Prospect View, Ipsden’). A warm welcome with tea and Mince Pies, good beds, shower, all very relaxed, a bit chaotic and disorganised, no really meant ‘no worries’ feeling. No problems at all when we arrived just before sunset, all muddy and sweaty. 20171222_184022.jpgAfter a warm shower, more tea and Mince pies we made our way to the King William IV Inn for what turned out to be a great meal. The Inn was full and I think we were rather lucky to find a table for us two. The food was excellent, a little more expensive than the usual English pub but really worth it. Back at the B&B we finished the evening with some wine, cheese and pleasant conversations with Jill and her neighbour who joined us.

All in all Ipsden left us the next morning around 0830 with good memories, including a nice English Breakfast.

The second day was a shorter day (34 versus 44km) but crossing the Chilterns meant some more relief. We followed the old Icknield Way (the oldest road in the UK), Grim’s Dike or Ditch (old demarcating lines) and after Christmas Common (when I saw this place on the map I thought we just needed to go there just before Christmas). The Fox and Hounds Inn was not yet open at 11.00 but after putting on our biggest smiles we could stay in for a rest and warm up from the foggy weather outside and were even offered a cup of tea, how nice!

 

 

It is really great to experience all the kindness of people we met these two days along the trails, in the tea room, the Inn and the B&B.

It felt almost … ‘just like Christmas’.

Because of the early start we arrived already just after midday back in Henley-on-Thames. It was pleasantly busy with people doing there final Christmas shopping. We celebrated the end of our two day trail in the Chocolate Cafe / Tea room with view on the Thames – could not be better!

With these fine memories I already look forward to the next ‘just do it yourself’ multi-stage trailrun …

… feel free to join or provide me with some of your own experiences, cheers!

Almost forgot!

We decided to have a very unscientific test of some energy bars during this trail for no other reason than that I ended up with a bunch of different ones to take along.

 

 

In the end we came to the following ranking – however be aware of the ‘small print’ – proof of the pudding is in the tasting – so ‘just do it yourself’ as well:

Ex aequo:

Followed by

  • (2) Nature Valley Crunchy Canadian Maple Syrup – OK, a bit sweet, great with an espresso, already broken in the package so not useful to eat whilst running. 
  • (3) Powerbar Proteïne plus Vanille: Nice taste but already crumbled to pieces in the package and although meant to eat after a run we still needed to peel the bar from the cellophane, not very practical.  
  • (4) EAT NATURAL Brazil & Sultana. Hardly any taste, does what it needs to do = provide energy.
  • (5) Sultana & Cherry Flapjack – No taste, very heavy. – Flapjack from the local super market is much better, do not buy is our verdict.

And finally some ((not) very useful) statistics:

  • Day 1: 44km, 525 metres of height gain, average 10km/h.
  • Day 2: 34km, 725 metres of height gain, average 9km/h.

 

Sommige dingen veranderen gelukkig niet.

De Schoorlse Duinentrail 2017 was voor mij thuiskomen in een prachtig natuurgebied en een mooi testmoment voor mijn rechterknie, zou de blessure weg zijn?

22829250_10155812384744231_714610842086567630_o‘Nee, ik ga echt niet voor een podiumplaats’ …

… niet iedereen geloofde mijn voornemen om rustig aan te doen tijdens de MudSweatTrail Buff Duinentrail – maar toch was het ditmaal echt waar!

In 2016 werd ik hier tot mijn eigen verassing Nederlands Kampioen Trailrunning. Die overwinning luidde een seizoen voor mij in met vele mooie lopen zoals de Belgische Spa Trail, het Limburgse Koning van Spanje Trailweekend, het Italiaanse WK Trail, Canadese MWK Marathon, de Spaanse Pirineosfit Trailweek en de Welsh driedaagse Ring-of-Fire.

Maar ‘je wordt ouder papa’ … en dat geef ik nu toe, dus toen mijn rechterknie vertelde dat het even genoeg was werd rust het adagium … en de geleerde les … neem echt voldoende rust na zo’n intensieve periode.

Vandaar dat ik de Duinentrail 2017 heerlijk rustig heb gelopen, al kriebelde het zo nu en dan wel geef ik toe. Voordeel was dat ik optimaal kon genieten van de herfstkleuren die van de bomen spatten, slingeren over de bospaadjes op mijn vertrouwde INOV-8 X-talon 212’s (voor de derde maal mijn ideale schoenkeuze voor deze bos, strand & duin trail), lekker even de tijd nam bij de twee bevoorradingsposten, wat kon kletsen met medelopers, het hoofd leeg liet waaien – zoals een medeloper dat noemde – tijdens de ‘epische’ windkracht acht tegen, uit het Noorden, laverend over het smalle strookje strand (Iwan Kamminga jammer dat je er niet was maar dank voor de dijkbewaking), en een beetje kon mijmeren over vorig jaar als ik de punten passeerde waarbij ik langzamerhand begon te geloven in het winnen van het NK.

 

En dan finishen … wederom met een grote glimlach de duinhelling naar beneden onder de klanken van de doedelzakspeler … na de finish een heerlijk koel alcohol-vrij Erdinger biertje van Willem van ’t Veer … lekker bijpraten … sommige dingen veranderen niet …

… ook niet dat Zac Freudenberg wat ‘later’ startte, ergens nog verkeerd liep en uiteindelijk enorm knap tweede werd. Dat lopers wederom de afslag misten op het heideveldje – ondanks het pijltje. Vorig jaar leverde dat mij, achteraf gezien de NK-titel op.

Logo_1Dit alles bij elkaar maakt de Duinentrail uniek. Als ‘oudere trailrunner’ wil ik er dan ook voor pleiten om niets aan de Duinentrail te veranderen … behalve dan dat ik hoop in 2018 (weer op 28 oktober las ik) weer voor een podiumplaats te kunnen strijden – de rechterknie kan het in ieder geval weer aan!

 

Statistiekje

  • 35km in 3.18 uur met 670 m+, 27 overall over de finish.
  • Dat ging in 2016 toch wel wat harder in 2.36.

Wijn en bier geven trailrunplezier

Met MudSweatTrails naar het Ahrtal in de Duitse Eiffel voor een Trailrun-klauter-klim tour.

Oktober Bier und Wein Fest in de dorpjes van het Ahrtal in de Duits Eiffel …

Ideaal moment voor een Trailtour zou je zeggen.

DSC_0017Na een dag rondrennen / klimmen / klauteren over de berggraten rond het dorp Altenahr kan ik dat alleen maar beamen.

Wat een herfstpracht, de bruine tinten spatten van de bomen en zelfs de wijnvelden tonen een magnifiek herfstkleurenpallet. Vanaf de, soms best wel steile, berggraten, uitkijkrotsen en de Burg Are kasteelruïne van Altenahr geniet ik van de mooie uitzichten. Dat alle seizoenen in deze dag voorbijkomen draagt eigenlijk alleen maar bij aan de sfeer en het heerlijke frisse herfstgevoel als je door de ritselende bladeren naar beneden rent vanaf de Steinenbergerhaus. Daar hebben we dan net met de groep, dampend en ‘stinkend’ van de trailkilometers door de regen, genoten van thee, koffie en als je trek had enorme punten gebak (genoeg voor zeker twee personen). De ‘stamgasten’ zaten al aan de pullen bier en Sweinen Haxe of zuurkool met worst, dat was voor mij nog even te veel om 1 uur ’s middags – en pas op de helft van de Trailtour.

Zo’n 40 enthousiaste trailrunners in alle soorten, maten en gekte rennen in verschillende snelheidsgroepjes hier deze zondag rond onder de bezielende leiding van MudSweatTrails. Ik had tijdens de Koning van Spanje eind april – dat lijkt al weer een eeuwigheid geleden – een uitnodiging gekregen van Marc Weening voor deze Trailtour. En alsof het zo moest zijn paste deze zondag in ons gezinsplan om de eerste week van de herfstvakantie van de kinderen vanuit onze tijdelijke woonplaats in Engeland op bezoek te gaan in Nederland. Vanuit Eindhoven is het maar twee uur rijden met de auto naar deze verborgen schoonheid, slechts 10 minuten van de Duitse snelweg 61 die menig Nederlander kent van de route naar de Alpen.

Ik had nog nooit meegedaan met een georganiseerde Trailtour maar het beviel prima. Lekker lopen, kletsen, elkaar een beetje opjagen, lachen en ook uitdagend met meerdere klimmetjes over relatief smalle berggraten. Doordat de groep is opgesplitst in verschillende snelheden komt iedereen aan zijn trekken zonder over ‘de grens’ heen te gaan. Aan het einde van de dag met de hele groep napraten en dampen met een ‘eenvoudige doch voedzame’ Duitse maaltijd. De Erdinger alcholvrije Wiessbier was voor mij een smaakvolle ontdekking – de moderne (trail)variant van het Oktoberfest denk ik dan maar – , paste prima bij de Zigeunerschnitzel en zorgt dat ik nog naar huis mag rijden.

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Na een extra rondje richting de kasteelruïne hadden we 26km afgelegd, met 1400 hoogtemeters in 5,5 uren, en … mijn rechterknie deed het nog steeds!

Dat was namelijk best wel spannend, zou de blessure over zijn na drie weken rust? Het lijkt er wel op en daar ben ik enorm blij mee. Mijn les hieruit: neem na een intensief seizoen dat eindigt met een driedaagse trailrun inclusief mijn eerste 100+km goed rust. Kleine ‘pijntjes’ zeggen dan eigenlijk ‘stop even’, doen dus ‘Meneer Klein’ – gaan we doen volgende keer.

En het Ahrtal, daar ga ik zeker nog een keer naar toe.

Er is een uitgezette route, de AhrSteig, van 110km en rond de 3500 hoogtemeters door dit

‘Rode wijn paradijs’ in de Reinland-Pfalz.

Lijkt mij erg mooi om deze route in de maand oktober in twee dagen al trailrunnend te doen met op zaterdagavond dan lekker genieten van de wijn- en bierfeesten. Wie heeft zin om mee te gaan? We kunnen zelf gaan of misschien een goed idee voor een volgende trailtour van MudSweatTrails?

Ahrsteig

INOV-8 Roclite 305 Review

True, strong designed, multi-terrain trailrunning shoe

The INOV-8 Roclite 305 – a genuine multi-terrain trailrunning shoe

DSC_0191After a 1000 kilometres of trailrunning on the INOV-8 Roclite 305 I feel ready to share my experiences. You may notice in the pictures that I have two pairs, I made 800 kilometres on the red and 200 kilometres on the blue.

The trails I enjoyed where very much what I would call multi-terrain: ranging from easy going dry forest, wet grassland, muddy fields, scree slopes to challenging large boulder fields. So besides distance I can also say something about the best terrain for these shoes.

In the INOV-8 Roclite family you will also find a a little lighter version: the Roclite 290 (4mm drop),  a version with Gore-Tex: the Roclite 305 GTX and a boot-design (both with or without Gore-Tex: the Roclite 325 (GTX)  I have no experience with these other versions.

First the numbers and data – from the brochure.

  • The Upper:
    • Strengthened rubber toe-cap shields the toes from obstructive debris.
    • Integrated tongue gusset keeps all debris at bay.
    • Standard fit ensuring the shoe allows for toe splay while lifting (and a good option for those with a normal to wide forefoot).
    • ADAPTERWEB lacing system adapts to the movement and swelling of the foot in motion.
    • X-LOCK system supports and holds the heel in place.
  • Midsole:
    • PowerFlow cushioned mid-sole together with a molded, 6mm footbed creates light underfoot comfort.
  • Outsole:
    • Tri-C rubber compound and multi-directional claw-shaped cleats, each with a wide contact area, providing an good grip over unpredictable terrain and the quick release of debris.
    • Stone protection utilising the Second-generation META-SHANK.
  • Numbers:
    • DSC_0238Weight: 305gm. I measured 336gm for UK size 9.5.
    • Stack: Heel 22.5mm / Forefoot 14.5mm.
    • Drop: 8mm (INOV-8 two Arrow indication).
    • Lug depth: 6mm (how deep are the ‘rubber points’ of the outsole).
    • Footbed: 6mm

My experiences

I will divide my experiences in positive or negative and make where applicable a comparison with other shoes, especially the new INOV-8 Trailroc 285 which I was able to experience also for many kilometres already this season. Obviously this is very much runner dependent. I will describe why I think a feature is + or –  but in the end, as always …

‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ –

Choose your own treat after running on these shoes yourself!

(Maybe Ice-cream)!

Positive features

Sturdy – Stand like a rock. The Roclite 305 is for INOV-8 a relative sturdy shoe which I liked when running trails in the Spanish Pyrenees this summer, for example during a two day trailrun following the Carres de Foc. But also during the ‘horizontal rain and hard wind‘ day three of the Ring Of Fire multi-day trail on the Isle of Anglesey I appreciated the grip and sturdiness on the small paths along the cliffs.

You basically ‘stand like a rock’ and feel more supported from all sides.

This I would like to compare with the new Trailroc 285 (see my review elsewhere) which is much more flexible in the forefoot, becoming more stiff from the middle to the back of the shoe due to the stone protection ‘plate’.

True multi-terrain. The rocky, sharp stoned trails in the Spanish Pyrenees felt all right, just as much as running through the Chilterns near my hometown Northwood.

I agree with the advise from INOV-8 that this is a true multi-terrain shoe.

Good rock protection for feet and toes whilst also enough lug depth and size of cleats for grip in mud or scree. I would say that the Roclite 305 is more multi-terrain than the Trailroc 285.

Lacing system and integrated tongue. I am a bit of a fan of shoes with integrated tongues (which Salamon is known for) so I was happy that INOV-8 applied this for the Roclite 305. It gives me the comfortable feeling that the shoe is ‘wrapped’ around my feet, leaving no room to glide or cause friction when zigzagging through the forest or running down a scree slope. Also the lacing system I liked. It may not be designed for this purpose but the ADAPTER Web gave me the option to tie the laces quiet tight around my feet

whilst keeping it a bit more loose above the last ‘ADAPTER web’.

DSC_0239Wear and tear. After a 1000 kilometres the shoes are still in good condition with only superficial wear of the upper front mesh.

Negative features

Not really. To be honest I do not have real negative issues with these shoes. They perform as promoted by INOV-8 and what I expected when using them. If anything, they are a bit more sturdy than you may expect when you have been running on INOV-8 shoes before. But that is more a difference than a negative.

Summary

The INOV-8 Roclite 305 is true, strong designed, multi-terrain trailrunning shoe with a very comfortable ‘wrap around your foot’ feeling. A bit sturdy but you really stand ‘like a rock’. For me I will use these when going into more demanding rocky or unknown terrain, leaving for example the INOV-8 Trailroc 285 or the even flexible INOV-8 X-Talon 212 for the faster trails.

DSC_0835

What are your experiences, please let me know!

 

INOV-8 AT/C Stormshell and Racepant Review

Keep Calm … Carry On … Wear the Stormshell and Racepant!

Sometimes you get what you do not hope for …

Horizontal rain for eight hours, from all 360 degrees, 54km long, 1000m+

However, no way better than to test raingear!

IMG_0432I felt very lucky when I received the INOV-8 AT/C Stormshell (Full zip) and matching AT/C Racepant just before I headed out to the Isle of Anglesey for the Ring of Fire three day trailrun covering 216km and 4000m+ . The trail follows the coastline via the stunningly beautiful Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path (see my running experiences on my weblog).

I felt very lucky because I always like to new trailrunning gear, it makes me smile like a ice-cream-aholic (which I am also!) in a all free ice-cream shop.

But the proof of the ice-cream is in the eating and for rain-gear you need

… indeed rain!

IMG_0433Who wants rain when running around Anglesey? Nobody I think. And for two days we were treated with great sunny weather but the last day was different! Horizontal rain from the west with no shelter for in total 54km to go along the northwest part of the Island including a climb of Holyhead mountain, it could not be better test weather.

To be honest to all you who are reading. I received the clothes from INOV-8 UK when I asked them if they wanted to support me in this trailrun. Their response was extremely generous and I really appreciate that, but it does not withhold me to be critical. I do not think INOV-8 UK expects anything else when they promote themselves as the ‘World leaders in trailrunning gear’.

So here we go … what are my thoughts after 8 hours of rain?

First the numbers and data – from the brochure.

  • 20170909_120254.jpg
    Small, light weight (171 gr)

    The AT/C Stormshell Full zip:

    • Designed for lightweight racing and intense training runs in wet conditions – and it was wet!
    • Roll away hood with wired peak and single multi directional adjustment.
    • Packs away small into its own pocket.
    • Lycra bond cuffs with integrated thumb holes for when it is really cold.
    • Pertex Shield: a 2.5-layer waterproof fabric with 20,000 HH creates breathability.
    • Taped seams, full length zip opening and internal stormflap, aquaguard chest zip pocket.
    • 175 grams (I measured 171 grams, size M).
    • Fulfils all the criteria when race organisers rule a waterproof jacket must be carried as part of mandatory kit.
    • Provides 360° reflectivity.
  • 20170909_120119.jpg
    Small, light weight     (175 gr)

    The AT/C Racepant:

    • The two layer waterproof fabric creates the same breathability as the Stormshell.
    • Stretches to all sides.
    • Soft inner for warmth and comfort.
    • Rolls up to a small pack using an integrated loop on the waistband.
    • Knee high zips for easy put on/take off.
    • 176 grams (I measured 175 grams, size M).

My experiences

I will divide my experiences in positive, negative and where I think INOV-8 could improve the product even more. As always, these observations are very much runner dependent but I hope I can describe clearly enough why I think a feature is + or -.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up front)

It does it job very well!!

It does not let rain in, lets sweat go out, light weight, small package, feels really comfortable even on bare skin and the Stormshell has a great hood.

Improvements could be an even more athletic cut and adjustable waistband of the Racepant and securing the hood cord to avoid ‘wind flapping’ of the Stormshell.

Positive features

 

Does not let rain come in and lets sweat get out . It does what it states on the package! Maybe not a surprise but always good to know. During the day it was relatively warm, approx 13 degrees Celsius, which is not the best temperature for breathable clothing whilst you create more sweat the warmer it is. Underneath I had a long sleeve INOV-8 merino wool shirt, short tights and tubes on my calves. I also wore a buff. Enough to keep me warm and due to the breathability not got wet inside.  After the whole trail I still felt warm and dry. The softness of the Racepants ensured indeed that I did not even realise I was wearing rain trousers.

Versatile design.

The hood is really good!

With just one draw-cord at the back you adjust the whole hood easily around your head.

When needed you can fully secure your face when running head-on into the wind and horizontal rain. The full zip can be opened and secured just below the chin with a button, good when running with the wind in your back or uphill when you tend to sweat more.

The design of the Racepant is straight forward, basic and does the job. The zips are indeed long enough to easily put them on and off with your shoes on. There are no zip pockets or anything else.

Both Stormshell and Racepant indeed pack very small and fit easily with all your other stuff in your trailvest.

Negative features

Not really. To be honest I do not have negative issues with both Stormshell and Racepants. They perform as promoted by INOV-8 and what I ‘hoped’ when, unfortunately, I needed to use them fora whole day.

Possible improvements

No negative features but I have some possible improvements to make the Stormshell and Racepant even better, or if you wish to balance your decision what you may like to wear yourself in the end.

  • The AT/C Stormshell Full zip:
    • The single draw-cord at the back of the hood works really well. However, when running into the wind the cord itself begins to ‘tick’ on your head. Not very hard, but like a metronome following your running pace. This can become annoying after a while. I think it is not that difficult to add a small securing ‘band’ which stop this.
    • Inform the customer that when the jacket gets wet it turns from the original colour (for me green) into a greenish / black. It is as if the jackets opens it pours to let the sweat out but at the same time showing the colour of your shirt underneath (in my case black). It does not inflict the utility of the jacket at all but when I noticed it at first I was a bit surprised.
  • The AT/C Racepant:
    • With my length of 1.81m size MEDIUM was good for the length of my legs. However the waist was too wide. Although there is stretch in the waistband for me I needed to fold the top of the Racepant into the top of my short tight in order not to have it slowly ‘sink’ down. I think it would be easy to add a small draw-cord to make the size of the waistband adjustable, especially with most runners probably have a smaller than usual waist size.
    • Although the cut is already ‘athletic’ I would prefer an even more tighter cut. When I was running full in the wind I still felt as if the pants ‘flapped’ around a bit more than needed.

I hope this review helps you to decide if the AT/C Stormshell and Racepant are what you are looking for. I am completely satisfied and will take them with me whenever I think the weather may turn sour or when it is part of the mandatory kit list during an organised trailrun.

What are your experiences, please let me know!