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’ :).


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.



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


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.


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.

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.

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!



  • 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.


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?


Great Trailrunning in the Spanish Pyrenees

Enjoying the trails in the National Parc Aigüestortes

DSC_0219Two weeks holiday and trailrunning in the Spanish Pyrenees came to an end with a great two day trail through the Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. Inspired by many day trailrunning trips and a family three day / two night Refugi experience I set out to run the Carros de Foc trail.

croquis_carrosdefocThe Carros de Foc Trail is a high-mountain route (most Refugi are above 2000m and the highest pass is around 2700m) with a circular itinerary of approximately 55km connecting nine mountain Refugi. There are many options and most people will take three to seven days starting at any of the Refugi.

Conclusion: Carros de Foc = Perfect for a two day / one night Refugi trailrun.

I choose to go counter clockwise based on my starting point, Camping Sol I Nue at Espot (great campsite by the way – relaxed, clean and very friendly staff) and advice that the 2700m mountain pass between Refugi Ventosa I Calvell and Estany Llong could best be approached from the West in order to climb (instead of descent) a very large big boulder field.

The reservation for the Refugi Ventosa I Calvell, more or less half-way meant that day one would be a little easier in distance and height than day two. This suited me fine because you need to be at 19.00 at a Refugi for evening dinner. With day two a little longer, ending at the campsite I was not in a hurry other than be ‘home for dark’.

Whilst evening dinner and breakfast was included for only 45 euros I could pack minimally …

DSC_0179… only taking summer running clothes, rain trousers, wind jacket, warm jacket, extra pair of socks, poles, rescue blanket, some plasters, head torch, phone, charger, extra battery pack, about twenty muesli bars, some electrolyte tablets and motivational Dutch candy, i.e. ‘dropjes’. It all fitted easily in my larger 24 litres Race Elite INOV-8 Trailpack. Good thing about running in the Pyrenees is that there are enough clear stream to take drinking water so I only needed a half litre soft flask.

DSC_0165Of I went at 0615, using the gravel road for the first slow ascend to Refugi Amitges DSC_0164(2310m) in time for a breakfast coffee, enjoying the ‘quietness’ of the sunrise only disturbed by multiple deer crossing the road. Although people use the trails, filling up the Refugis with about seventy persons every evening and many more day walkers I still enjoyed most of the two days in total tranquillity …



… enjoying many times the ‘noise of nothing’ during a break or a single ‘Olla, Buenos’ when passing others.

DSC_0213Via the Colomers and two mountain passes of 2600m I ended the first day at the Refugi Ventosa at 1300. A bit early maybe, but it gave me the opportunity to relax / read in the sun, enjoying the beautiful views and just experience how nice ‘boredom’ can be when completely disconnected from the outside (social media) world.

DSC_0196All Refugi have a strict rhythm of evening dinner at 19.00, lights out at 22.00 and breakfast from 06.30. The quality and luxury differs quiet a lot with Ventosa being a ‘little harsh’ with no warm water, only one shower and two toilets for approximately seventy guests. As usual you sleep like ‘sardines in a box’ in a row of 35 people. Luckily I slept near a window because it becomes very warm with all those bodies in a small place. Dinner consisted of soup, followed by a salad, than chicken or a sausage and yogurt as dessert. All right but definitely not high cuisine and ‘just enough’ for hungry mountain walkers / runners. Breakfast was a good buffet with enough calories to get you going again for the day.

DSC_0212The next day started with a challenging climb through a very large boulder field and some snow patches to a 2740m mountain pass. I enjoyed my lightweight pack and flexible trailrun shoes (INOV-8 Roclite 305) scrambling my way upwards, feeling a bit sorry for any with more heavy backpacks and amazed by some younger children making their way.

This day I experienced both steep, rocky trails through large and small boulder or scree fields surrounded by rocky peaks and also nice forestry trails along lakes passing meadows with mountain cows grazing. Sometimes the trail followed ‘a path for giants’, i.e. rough tracks made to build the several hydroelectric dams and pipelines.

DSC_0207The extreme differences in terrain and views after every new mountain pass was what I enjoyed the most and inspired me to keep going!

These two days proofed again the adagio that trailrunning in the mountains resembles walking for inpatient people with an overall average speed of just 5 km/h (excluding long breaks, but including many photo stops!).

But who cares about time, no race, no finish, just yourself deciding when to run, walk, stop for a break.

DSC_0213Already having tasted the Spanish Pyrenees during the PirineosFIT 2017 Jaca Trailweek in June 2017 I would like to advise everybody to also enjoy these great mountain trails.

The Carres de Foc makes for an easy to organise yourself multistage trailrun, at a pace you like, with no ‘pressure of competition – just following your heart beat’ …

… according to my rough scale:

  • extreme = one day;
  • a bit strange = two days;
  • ‘normal’ people = three days.

Whichever category you fit in, I hope I inspired you with this story to also come and enjoy the Spanish Pyrenees, I am sure you will find and enjoy the trails.

Some final statistics (for if you are interested):

Day One:

  • Distance: 24km
  • Running / Total time: 4 / 6 hours
  • Height gained: 1500m
  • Height lost: 1100m
  • Highest point: 2600m

Day Two:

  • Distance: 38km
  • Running / Total time: 8 / 11 hours
  • Height gained: 2000m
  • Height lost: 3000m
  • Highest point: 2740m


Multi-stage trailrunning

The ‘Secret’ of recuperation

I was asked a few times how I recuperated during my participation in the six days mountain marathon multi-stage trailrun of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek. Combined with talking that week with other runners and triggered by a article about multi-stage trailrunning on the MudSweatTrails website I thought it may be interesting to write about my own ideas and hear your experiences.

So what is my ‘Secret’? Not really earth shattering but summarised:

Anticipate – Recuperate – Prepare

FB_IMG_1499455171453ANTICIPATE. It all starts already during the trailrun itself. You need to keep yourself well hydrated and energised. This will save your body to overcome first the shortages of that day before building up for the next day and it will also help your result of the race itself!

For this reason I ate approximately seven energy bars and four gels (from different brands, pending the appetite I preferred one or the other) in order to during the long days in the mountains and drank 1.5 – 2 litres of energy drink / water (depending the mountain streams available). This may sound a lot but consider what you normally eat during an 6 – 8 hour period a day.

Good and motivational moments for me to eat and drink where climbing not to steep parts and also promising myself a treat when reaching the top of a mountain or when reaching a mountain pass.

I had time to unwrap bars (leave nothing behind) and allowing them to digest,  drink something and maybe switch water soft-flasks – even adding some electrolytes tablets when I felt that I drank too much only water without any needed salt / minerals. This is all much more difficult when going fast down hill or really pushing your body. When i felt I needed something in those stages I took an energy gel (also from different brands pending my taste at the time).

RECUPERATE YOUR ENERGY SYSTEM. After finishing, besides celebrating the completed challenge of the day with the other trailrunners, recuperation was on directly on my mind. Focus was on drinking to first of all get rid of the build up body wastes and secondly to reload ‘a mountain of proteins and carbons’ by whatever I liked at that moment – indulging & motivating myself a bit.

I drank approximately 1,5 litres of sports drinks directly after finishing and continued drinking through the rest of the day / evening with a mix of carbo and protein drinks. The proteins drinks are needed to support the recuperation of the muscles. That is probably one of the most important things to do when recuperating. On average you need at least to take in 1,5 times your body weight in proteins grams. Just check the packing and you will find out that this is difficult to get only out of food in the few hours left before going to bed and be ready for the next day, also because just after finishing I am not always very hungry, although I really enjoyed the cold pasta salad they served at the finish.

I personally use a in the first few hours fluids to reload. At first TriSportPharma RECUPRO (an specific, optimal mix of proteins / carbons / Leucine especially made for quick recuperation) and later a mix of Vitagro carbo with tasteless Bodylab 100% whey

mix – these brands are OK for my stomach but everybody has to find out themselves what serves best, as long as it contains a high level of proteins and carbohydrates (check the links for more specific information).

Ice-cream = MJAM!!

Solid food I like is the Icelandic SKIR yogurt or cottage cheese, both with a lot of proteins, together with fruit muesli, fresh fruit etc. And for my ultimate motivation I spoil myself with a large 1 litres Ice-cream with fruit! Maybe not the healthiest part but inspiring for an Ice-cream addict like I am.

RECUPERATE YOUR MUSCLES.  Besides the motivational Ice-cream, I took a nice long shower cleaning my running clothes from the sweat at the same time – I do not have sixsets of running gear -, put on after-sun cream, massaged and creamed my feet and self-massaged and foam-rolled my legs. I always felt a bit ‘reborn’ after these actions!

Deze diashow vereist JavaScript.

Feet in the air – relax

PREPARE FOR THE NEXT DAY. Rest, drink and eat. For me that meant … feet up on bed, sleeping (with my calves lifted via an additional cushion under the mattress), reading, looking at the great pictures that where made during the trails, drinking carbohydrate / proteins drinks, eating and an occasional stroll in and around the hotel using the stairs or stroll through the town to stretch and loosen the muscles.

I ate quit a lot in the evening – things I liked where: Ice-cream, yogurt with muesli, sandwiches with cheese and chorizo – allowing my body to recuperate and reload during the night. The additional advantage was that I only needed a small breakfast of two coffees and two slices of toast with jam. I had breakfast around 0600, much later than for a one day (road)race. Normally for an 0800 start I would have breakfast around 0400 and don’t drink anything anymore after 0500. It also gave me two hours more sleep every night, which was really welcome!

The slower and relaxed pace at the start of the multi-stage days, literally be ready two minutes before the start (!), I used to warm up the muscles and let the digestion to continue – maybe with a ‘wee’ break. This is impossible in a road race where you have to go ‘max’ from the start.


Pedro Marques

OTHER OPTIONS. My Portuguese roommate Pedro Marques did more or less the same but also had some interesting ideas. He finished in third place overall at the end and is a experienced ultra-runner so at least it works for him.

  • He used baby milk combined with a protein drink after the finish. This went well with his digestion system.
  • He ate some handfuls of nuts and tablespoons of honey.
  • He also ate some baby food products like fruit mixes. Again very light on the stomach and relatively inexpensive when compared with specialised sport supplements.
  • He made some ‘energy cakes’ in the microwave.

During some multi-day trailruns in the Netherlands I also really enjoyed the cakes directly after the finish together with the alcohol free Erdinger Beer. Both I think are good for general carbohydrates reload and motivation (!) but more specialised drinks and food are needed to fully and quickly recuperate.

There is no magic solution but some options are better than others – experiment, investigate, discuss … enjoy!