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PRODUCT REVIEWS
SWEATING THE DETAILS
By Dimity McDowell S
Sometimes it’s not about the bike. Or the wetsuit. Or the running shoes. It’s about the small things. Gadgets and gear that give you an edge, like letting you know when you’re pushing to a healthy limit or if you’re overtraining. Or providing a light to guide your early morning runs, and, in doing so, giving you yet another reason to not skip your workout. Or counting your steps on that morning run, so that your cadence makes you as injury-proof as possible. Here, we review six new small items — stuff so tiny it can fit in the palm of your hand — that have the potential to have a huge effect on your performance.


 


RUDY PROJECT RYDON SPORT SUNGLASSES
with Freeform Tek Rx Lenses (frames $175; Rx lenses $340; rudyprojectusa.com)
PREMISE: An eight-base (translation: they wrap around the eye socket), lightweight, shatterproof lens that eliminates distortion and is customizable for any prescription. Available in a range of shades, the lenses are put into the ergonomic, sport-specific shape that Rudy Project glasses are renowned for.
TESTER SAYS: She can see clearly now. “When I have my contact lenses in, my eyes often dry out when I’m riding my bike,” says Briana, “My vision becomes blurred.” Her eyeballs were moist when she put on these “lightweight, comfortable glasses that easily adjusted to my face.” While testing the polar brown lens shade, she reported no fogging or slipping issues, and, more importantly, gave a non-distorted, clear view of her surroundings. Overall, a package anybody needing prescription glasses would be advised to invest in. “My vision is pretty bad,” she says, “And it’s so nice to have the ability to ditch the contacts and give my eyes a break.”
RATING: 5


 


GARMIN EDGE 500
($250; garmin.com)
PREMISE: A lightweight GPS cycling computer, easy to install, that tracks a range of helpful stats: distance, speed, location, calories burned and elevation. You also can record courses, and compare finishing times. If you want to geek out further, the unit can be used in conjunction with a heart rate monitor, a speed/cadence sensor or a power meter. Post-ride, everything can easily be downloaded onto a computer for analysis.
TESTER SAYS: Super easy to use. Just attach the unit, which has a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 18 hours, onto your handlebars, roll out of the garage to let it locate satellites, and be on your way. “It was intuitive to learn and not too distracting while I was riding,” says one tester, who recommends setting on the data screen you want to see while you ride before you head out; toggling while riding was a bit too risky for her tastes. That said, the comprehensive numbers and bigger screen it shows them on are a step up from a typical bike computer, so you can see a chart of your elevation gains and losses and see up to five stats at a time.
RATING: 5


 


CHI RUNNING DVD AND METRONOME
($66-73; chirunning.com)
PREMISE: Two tools — an instructional DVD and running metronome, which regulates your cadence — that promote the Chi Running: a technique that combines the focus and flow of T’ai Chi with the power and rhythm of running. Practically speaking, Chi Running promotes a midfoot-strike, a cadence of around 90 steps a minute, and an effortless, fluid body alignment. As a package, they greatly reduce the chance of injury,
TESTERS SAY: “This is the way runners should run,” says Marc. “Allowing energy to flow freely through the body, implementing proper form and then letting gravity assist with forward motion. It just makes sense.” He thought the DVD did “a great job of breaking down running form and describing it in methodical detail,” and would recommend the metronome for any runner. “It helps you run a little faster, and also helps you stay healthy doing it.” Amanda also thought the DVD was ultra-informative but got a little long and monotone for her; that said, she really appreciated the details about the lean principle. “When I fatigue, I can forget that it’s extremely helpful to keep your momentum going forward and your cadence fast,” she says, “I also like the reminders to push my elbows back and keep my shoulders relaxed.” Both found the metronome easy to operate and follow — and were pleased to find they both had cadences already in the 90 steps-per-minute range.
RATING: 4.5


92 USA TRIATHLON WINTER 2011

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