Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Plus: Intelligent Nutrients & LA FRESH®

We've done triathlons of Olympic/International and Sprint distances---and seemed just fine with water for hydration needs---with the occasional swig of some of that fruity electrolyte liquid on the run part.

But now that we are embarking on 70.3 Ironmans...that  line of slurping does not work...even for training.

Which had us curious about gels...endurance supplements for on the go motion, easy digestion, sustained energy---not the crash and burn of chocolate bars---that seemed to work when we ran marathons. We had tried gels before---and def. are advocates...but not with the urgency we seemed to need devour them- NOW!!!

Lucky us, we got a box load of GU Energy Gels and Chomps ...

Consider us converted...we tried several flavors of the Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gels (100 calories apiece)--- in assorted flavors---and the long lasting energy surge was so profound, we wonder how we ever did 3+ hour bricks (bike/run) without downing one...say every 45- 50 minutes for us, with water. Instructions dictate having one 15 minutes before exercise too.

The gel syrupy texture goes down easily--- we actually tape the gel packets up on our handlebar, ladder-like, and easily ripped off the top, on the go.

Apparently, these souped up GU gels have a simple/complex carbohydrate packed formula here---with an increased amount of an amino acid called histidine that slows energy sapping acid build-up in muscles.

And more "branched amino acids" as more fuel source to limit muscle fatigue.

Plus-higher levels of citrates to convert the carbs into energy...and a new complex"Ornithine-Alpha-Ketoglutarate---that is supposed to limit the body from breaking down muscle protein for energy---very helpful in endurance activities.  

No sharing with cat either

Flavor wise we favored the Blueberry Pomegranate that managed to taste authentic-not chemically...with a bit of caffeine and sea salt too. Other flavors include Vanilla Orange, Cherry Lime, Pineapple (no caffeine) and Chocolate Raspberry.

Also tried---the Gu Energy gels---that come in 10 flavors! Our fav, the Mint Chocolate and Espresso Love (Dire Straits fans?) and the holiday only, Gingerbread...purpose-wise, somewhat similar to the aforementioned ultra formulas...with a fast-acting fructose that we felt gave us a surge to keep on going. Electrolytes are replaced too ---a good thing now that it is hot out.

And what we like about the GU Chomps---is that we can stick them on our bike handlebars for easy access...and just let them dissolve inside our mouths. Like the gels, there is sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance, and complex/simple carbs for sustainable energy. There's also Vitamins C+E...antioxidants...though post race, we like our vitamin C in a celebratory recovery cocktail.

We cannot emphasize enough how these GU gels and Chomps have made a difference in being able to complete our triath time-sucking training. So much so that we didn't share with or teammates---a single pack...!!!


And now that we are 6x a week gel consumers---we wanted to try out the handy HydraPak Gel-Bot ourselves...that we had seen at an Outdoor Retailer tradeshow.

Easy to use---just fill up the inner cylinder/chamber with gel, and the bottle with water...it all screws shut---and how it works...is that when the nozzle is fully open, we got the water only---but when the nozzle was pushed down,, we could squeeze the gel out of the middle valve.

The HydraPak bottle fit right into our bottle cage on our tri bike---and it was easy to grab the nozzle with our teeth- to push/pull the nozzle on the ride.


NAVITAS NATURALS is a company that so smartly has "the mission" to provide organic "superfoods" ---including powders made from superfruits like ACAI and the GOJI berry that are loaded with nutrients, trace minerals and antioxidants.

Add to smoothies, teas---or in our case, sprinkled on top of oatmeal, our go to pre-exercise meal...
 --- adding a bit of sweet flavor too, besides being healthy---AND are easily, a better way of getting the nutrients we need vs. a vitamin supplement pill of who knows what kind of quality.

Needles to say, we are firm believers in 'you are what you eat'---all we have to do is look at the food our fellow subway passengers inhale---and get why American clothes just get cut bigger and bigger.

Re-sealable packets

TOP Crunch---

We also munched on dried Organic White MULBERRYs ---that are also an excellent source of iron, vitamin and resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. Out of the bag-we devoured them, or they are easily mixed in with trail gorp or added to baking/smoothies...the crunchy texture is an added plus.


The new Maqui Powder that we sprinkle on oatmeal too---is sourced from the organic berries picked exclusively in Patagonia Chile...

With a barely there slightly sweet taste---the maqui berry is packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties AND supposedly prevents the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood AND increases insulin in the body after consumption---so is often mentioned as a weight gain preventative supplement---

IN OTHER WORDS-this superfruit has gotten a lot of buzz as of late.

NAVITAS NATURALS has compound type powders made from superseeds like Flax, Hemp and Chia...and blends of the nuts/fruits for convenient use...all 100% organic too. Look for the products in Whole Foods etc and online.

Good to know-organic, kosher and vegan.


When we ran our first marathon---a NYC one, the start was packed. Besides being a bit stiff from hanging around so long for the start, we clearly remember being slightly nauseated cause we were scrunched in with a bunch of strongly scented, cologne wearing runners.

Cute logo

Well we guess everyone has their pre-race rituals--

Ours, in these hot months include avoiding insect bites---and as it were, we actually went to an Editor's preview of Intelligent Nutrients®---a USDA Certified Organic Bug Repellant Serum and Aromatic Spray---that smells so spicy good, we can see wearing this as part of our pre-race ritual and not making anyone nauseous.

Deet-free and non-toxic, the formulas are made ---with aromatic and purposeful ingredients like flowery geranium, lemongrass, citronella, refreshing peppermint, cedar oil, cinnamon, and spicey clove...for a blend that like perfume, seems to have many exotic layers.

BUT really works to repel gnats, mosquitos, moths, ants etc...

We actually got a dark glass bottle to try---that of course, we broke before we got home. However the packaging was wonderfully saturated with the Intelligent Nutrients® serum---so we stuck it in our closet...

A multi-tasking functional repellant!

AND also free of parabens, silicone, mineral oil, petrochemical derivatives....

FYI: Founder Horst Rechelbacher founded the hair care company Aveda---now part of the Estee Lauder empire.


LA FRESH® seems like a staple in our gym bag, transition bags, everyday hauler---we almost wonder how we ever traveled without some of these natural style wipes---that are functionally focused.

Save this much water using a wipe instead!
At a press launch---we met the Taiwan born entrepreneur who took the 2000 years old Chinese tradition of moist guest towels to cleanse off the dust from travels---fast forward to the modern age with the made in the USA disposable wipes.

Convenience for sure---we are so impressed with the wipes available---including six different fragrance free face cleansers, that are non-irritating and 98% derived with healing/soothing/toning ingredients,

PLUS: a waterproof makeup remover wipe--- that is alcohol free but gets the hard core mascara off and a
healthy hand sanitizer that is triclosan and alcohol free---kills the germs without drying out hands...

AND an instant body soother with refreshing peppermint---great for after race use---or for feet after a day walking the hot dirty city sidewalks...

Amazingly there is also a smells good nail polish remover wipe that will not shred, unlike cotton balls---which we are sure, fellow train/travel passengers would appreciate...

And even deodorant, hydrating lotion, Sunscreen SPF+30, lens cleaning and mosquito wipes.

Love the packaging...color coded...in multi-functional kits/combos and individual packs ($4.99-$9.99)

FYI: free of parabens, sulfates, GNO's, glycols, triclosan, phthalates, PEGs, acetone, dyes, fragrances, and animal-by-products



Outdoor Retailer, SLC Utah

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Twenty-five years of gear-keeps celebrating into Fall 2011 for Granite Gear.

We took in the maker of backpacks/drysacs/dog and canoe gear...and like the Spring 2011 gear---we walked away super impressed.

New for 2011 is the BLAZE A.C. 60 ($199.95)---an ultralight lidless top loader good for long distance hiking---that features G.G's acclaimed engineered Air Current™frame that consists of  molded ABS sheet and molded foam pad...that contours with one's back/engineered to flex when you do---and with integrated air channels---to vent heat and moisture.

PLUS: The arched Line-Loc compression system allows for cinching in all directions---for easy gear attachments to the pack.

AND: Easy torso size adjustable, a swap/switch it hip belt---for a man or woman, a tall spindrift opening--- can cinched down for weather resistance or expanded for more room, stretch side pockets and a tall front center pocket can hold wet tarp/tent..

Weight saving replaceable LineLoc cords instead of metal clips

EVA FOAM padded back

The frame---solid ABS, not uncomfortable/breakable plastic

Air  channels

FYI: Granite Gear sponsors athletes including Gregg Treinish---leading light of the incredible non-profit Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (www.adventureandscience.org)---"...dedicated to increasing the availability of scientific knowledge through partnerships between adventure athletes and scientists."

We concur with the thumbs up

GRANITE TACTICAL GEAR makes technically advanced/ innovative, functional and durable gear for the military using the best USA sourced materials (like Cordura® Brand fabrics and webbing woven with Cordura® Brand yarns, ITW Nexus Ghillie TEX™ hardware, IDEAL® Zippers...etc)---meeting all the compliance requirements including manufacturing and NIR.

We liked the "...how to solve problems..." approach...

There was a lot of new attachable bags/packs/models for Fall 2011, we could barely keep up with the Granite Gear employee who led us around the multi cam packs (with color options in Coyote and Black too).
Composite Hybrid Interchangeable Ergonomic Framesheet (C.H.I.E.F.) available with Body Armor Compatible Harness
Build-able, torso adjustable C.H.I.E.F. able to carry 100 lbs comfortable---connected to belt and shoulder straps via Pivot Point hardware---for maximum flex---

Bungees and attachment straps to haul gear (Flatbed Rope/Tagline/Haul System bags)-designed for speed...and lateral pockets for "flotation stuff."

New Direct Action Medical Rescue Packs/ Systems---with a modular system that allows for customization ---including an armor mounting system, adaptable bungee cinch system inner pockets and or panels that secure to the inside with a hook and loop connection system for easy access...

DA-Med Packs...and pouches.

DA-Med Organizer Panels and CTW Pockets---versatile with adaptable bungee cinch system


Dragster system -collaborative effort with SOF Snipers ---zips open, lays flat shoulder straps and and handles tuck away into zippered compartments ---3 pocket systems-for essentials, including a "place for his chew."


ÜBERLIGHT Cubic Tech® Flexible Fiber Film 3 (CTF3) DRYSACK-with waterproof rolltop closures, stitch free body seams, space saving shapes...

SHERPA Adventure Gear FALL 2011


Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Sherpa Adventure Gear pays tribute to the Sherpa exployers who enabled the rest of the planet's explorers scale the Himalayans.

Makers of technical gear (tested in Nepal) and lifestyle pieces, Sherpa's Fall 2011 included so nice tops, jackets/coats and knits...in colors that we just loved...and the tones we could wear year and year out too.


Accessories, hand knit in Nepal---are indicative of Sherpa Adventure Gear's MO to produce goos in that locale...

From a goat- native to the high altitude Himalayas...Pashmina wool---the softest ever, is wonderfully used in the rainbow color Hima scarf ($110) pictured above...matching hat available too ($45).

Finished well.

Solid tone Pashmina options too.

Hand knit hats....that provide home based work and income for women and their families...in the outlying areas of Kathmandu. Lined with itch-free comfy Polarfleece®

Phurba $18

Rani $19 -Scalloped knit panels-

The Paro Long Jacket $169---made from a wind resistant soft nylon shell insulated with 100 grams of PrimaLoft® Eco synthetic insulation for warmth, high loft/thermal efficiency, even when wet. We like the feminine silhouette, hidden front pockets that don't bulge and keep the princess lines, and dual full zipper to help ventilate from the neck or the hem. Packs down well too.

For gals, the nice ruching details of the Priya Pullover $79---bumps up this basic base---made of cozy Polartec ThermalPro-with over 50% recycled content.

Nice colors

The Kismet Sweater $113 -with a full zip and hood and front warmer pockets---in ribbed wool from the Italian Pontetorto Mills-with brushed fleece inside..

The men's Mukti Pullover $125-semi-fitted textured wool pullover with hidden gunmetal snaps=style and to seal in heat.

KARMA PULLOVER-($125-women's/$135-below/men's-above). Yoke pattern=Tibetan endless knot over a solid torso

Nice side buttons/asymmetrical neck

MANDALA SWEATER-fully patterned ith Tibetan endless knot, high collar, full zip, 2 zippered hand warmer pockets (Men'-$150/Women's $139)

Kismet Sweater $113