Sunday, June 09, 2013

Gear: Headlamps and Shoes

Recently I bought a couple pairs of Brooks Pure Grits (last year's model), but returned them. Instead I ordered my second pair of Altra Lone Peaks (last year's model). I wore them for miles 1-61 of the Bryce 100 and they felt good, but it was nice to switch to something a little beefier for the finish (a pair of Brooks Cascadia 6). I was worried I'd set off something in my knee, but they felt great. So I just ordered another pair of Cascadias, this time model 7. I also ordered a pair of New Balance MT110, solely because they were $40, and they have free shipping and free returns if I truly hate them.

So for right now, I'm pretty happy with my trail shoe situations. I'll start States in my new-ish Altras, then switch out to the Cascadias about halfway when the pounding is making the dogs bark.

I stopped at the Las Vegas REI on the way to Bryce looking for a 200+ lumen headlamp with a rechargeable lithium battery. Nothing fit that bill, but the salesperson suggested I try the Black Diamond Revolt, a 110 lumen with NiMH rechargeable via USB AAA included. I used it for the race, but was underwhelmed. It claims 12 hours of battery power on the high setting, and I have no major dispute about that, I just want a light that is bright. One that makes me think "Good lord this light is bright! I better haul ass, because if I don't, I'm a total tool for carrying a light this powerful when a dinky little 2-LED Tikka that only cost $35 would do the job."

For training runs I carry my Light & Motion Urban 550, which is nearly perfect. It doesn't need a mounting bracket on my bike, and it fits perfectly in the palm of my hand for running. It only gets 1.5-3 hours of battery life, however, but it recharges via USB, so that's fine for bicycle commuting or moderate training runs. I just need something with more battery power for overnight races.

I think my options are the Light & Motion Stella 300, the Petzl Nao, or the Petzl Ultra Rush. I'm leaning 1 or 3. The Nao is "reactive," meaning it adjusts brightness depending on the ambient lighting, which seems stupid, especially since I don't put my headlamp on until well later than most people.  I like the Stella because I could hold it in my hand--I'm not much of one for actually putting a headlamp on your head, despite the name. The angle of the light when I do that seems to destroy depth perception and even make me a little queasy after a while. Now, that's at 50-75 lumen. Would the same be true at 150-300? I've never tried that.

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