Winter sunshine training – and kit testing
Every winter I like to break the chills of a Scottish winter with a sunshine break. For the past few years, it has been a holiday with Glasgow Triathlon Club to the Canaries.
These past few days in Fuerteventura we have relished the blue skies, warm sunshine and long days. We have enjoyed indulging in our favourite activities of swimming, cycling, running, chatting, eating and drinking with good friends.
It’s not all easy, however. There are the notoriously strong winds that usually blast the island. While the wind is a delight when it’s blowing you along on the bike, for the other half of the ride it is frustrating (because cycling into a headwind is hard work) and scary (because a side wind while cycling downhill is a very scary thing indeed.)
Multiple training sessions can be tiring. And trying to stay awake while you enjoy a few drinks and some simple seaside food (the best is the grilled fish) can be very challenging!
And then there are the hours that I need to sit in the sunshine on the balcony of our apartment writing blogs and keeping up with my general work and emails.
Even with all these stresses I am still managing to have a fantastic time!
Kit testing while on holiday
The warm weather training has also given me the opportunity to test a few outdoors and fitness products. (You see, I am working while I am on a “holiday”.)
* The 2Toms Butt Shield has worked a treat on two longer bike rides.
* Another product by 2Toms called Blister Shield proved to be a skin saver during a hot and sweaty nine-mile run. I usually find that my sports bra rubs under the arms while running in the heat. This time I dusted on the powdery Blister Shield (it’s like a drier talc) and enjoyed chafe-free skin. The powder is excellent for preventing blisters, especially on hands and feet. I also popped half a small sachet into my running socks and found that my feet remained dry and blister free.
* Jack Wolfskin Hamrock 16 rucksack. I usually run with an Inov-8 rucksack but mine has began to fall apart. This holiday offered the perfect opportunity to test a new brand and style. The Hamrock 16 is a stripped-back rucksack for lightweight activities.
The rucksack has a main single chamber where you can add a few essentials and a camelback style hydration system. There’s also a zipped front pocket for keys and valuables, two mesh side pouches and a clipped outer storage area for a helmet or perhaps a jacket.
In addition, there is a rain cover that is stuffed into a lower zipped pocket and, usefully, this can be removed altogether form the rucksack if, like me, you are overseas where there is no chance of rain.
Other features that I Iike are the small strap at the back for attaching a light, the chest clip that doubles as a whistle and the lightweight fabric of the rucksack.
Running with the pack is very comfortable and while I expected some rubs from the straps because I was wearing only a vest and shorts, I didn’t actually suffer at all.
The Jack Wolfskin Hamrock 16 rucksack is on sale at outdoors retail shops including Cotswold Outdoor, where it sells for £45.
* Garmin Edge 810 bike computer. I will be writing a longer blog on this gadget when I have tested it further but so far I have found it easy to fit and easy to use. The large display is perfect for seeing how fast you are going, even at a glance and in direct sunshine. I like the map, so that I can see where I am going, even if many of the roads on the island look the same! The map function will be excellent for future reference, when I download my routes on to my MacBook.
There are lots of functions to explore but so far I have been impressed by how much better it is to have a larger bike-specific Garmin as compared to the watch that I normally attach to my bike handlebars.
* Oakley Ladies Radarlock Edge. I have chosen to wear contact lenses during the daytime on this holiday so that I can make use of the sports sunglasses. And I am delighted by the decision. The female-fit glasses are super lightweight and hardly feel as though they are on my head. They are ultra comfy on the ears and nose and offer excellent shading from the bright sunshine. I could change the lenses for alternatives to suit other weather conditions if I wished but just now the purple-mirrored lenses look great and do the job perfectly.
I also notice that wearing cycling specific glasses means that I have better vision. The sunglasses sit a bit higher on my nose so that when I am bent over in a cycling position I have good eye coverage. The wraparound style keeps the wind out of my eyes.
Life is good!