Warrior, AL Warrior Dash

Runners are a different breed.
A group of crazies that pay money to run miles and miles in the hot, cold, and everything in between.

However, the folks that created the Warrior Dash series took racing to a completely different level of crazy.

And we went there.

Before Dashing at the Warrior Dash

For those of you who are bewildered, the Warrior Dash is typically a 3.1 mile race filled with crazy obstacles along the way. Competitors scale cargo nets stretching high into the sky, crawl through muddy trenches, even jump over fire, and much more.

That’s right, reader, we did that, and lived to tell about it.

Here are the basics:

Registration Fee: $50– I thought this was rather steep when I registered, but I can’t think of a more memorable way to spend $50. Totally worth it.

Attire:  Participants are encouraged to dress up for this race. While we failed to get that memo, lots of people did — and it was hilarious. We wore old running clothes since we knew we would be getting muddy. Participants are also encouraged to wear old shoes to donate once finished with the course. Take a change of clothes and extra shoes; these items can be stashed away at the bag check.

Wave Time: When registering for the race, you must pick a “wave time,” or a specific time to run. Since no one is checking and it was beginning to pour rain, we ran 30 minutes early.

Course: This was easily the most fun I’ve ever had at a race. Since we had a later start time, the path had already been trampled and was pretty slick. Aside from the first ½ mile, we pretty much walked and goofed off the entire course. Our goal was to get as muddy as possible. I feel like it was achieved.

If you are looking to set a PR or place, run in the very first wave so the obstacles will be clean, the path less trampled, and the line for the obstacles will not be long.

Overall: This is a bang-up race. While the obstacles vary from location to location, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you will be surprised by just how much fun running in the mud can be. The achy muscles and bruised may face, but the awesome pictures and memories will remain.

Do it. Go be a Warrior.
Now look at these pictures.

Warrior Dash Traffic

Pre-Warrior Dash

Post Warrior Dash
Notice that there is nary an un-muddy spot on us.
Mission Accomplished.

The Southern Pass Post Warrior Dash
This is also after we were sprayed off by the fire truck… in 50 degree weather.
It’s a miracle we both still have all our digits.

 

Until next time…

-The Sometimes Runner

Perception Sport Rhythm 11.0

I’ll be honest.  I don’t know how qualified I am to write a kayak review since I’ve only owned 2 in my entire life, but I can at least tell you what I like and don’t like about them.  First up, the Perception Sport Rhythm 11.0.

I tried to do as much research as possible before making the purchase, and the two things I learned were:

  1. Anything under 10 feet doesn’t track as well
  2. Anything over 12 feet becomes harder to turn.

I opted for the best of both worlds and went with an 11 footer.

I’ve owned it for just over a year and the only downside I’ve really been able to find is that sometimes it’s a little hard to keep in a straight line.  It often takes a little work to point the bow straight ahead.  On the other hand, it is pretty fast.  I’ve been on several trips with people who were using 9 foot kayaks and they usually had to paddle twice as often to keep up with my pace.  The 11′ is a great first time multi-use kayak.  It’s just big enough to take on overnight trips, yet small enough to easily navigate small creeks.  It also has a dry stowage area in the back that’s big enough for a tent, sleeping bag and any other overnight necessities.

Specs from the Manufacturers Website:

  • Length  11’1” / 338 cm
  • Width  28.5” / 72 cm
  • Weight  43 lbs / 19 kg
  • Capacity  275 lbs / 125 kg

Bottom Line: You’ll be hard pressed to find a more durable multi-use kayak for the price.  The tracking could be a bit better, but for the price, it’s not worth complaining about.

Tracking: 3

Durability: 5

Storage Space: 4

Value: 5

Overall: 

Cascade Yakgrips

Padded grips for your paddle?  Sounds like something everyone would want, so we thought we’d test them out.

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To begin with, they were nearly impossible to get on. After wetting the paddle shaft, and trying to work them on for about 10 minutes, I finally managed to get them into place.  This was a little frustrating, but I hoped it meant they wouldn’t budge once they became soaked on the river.I was wrong.  The first trip I took these on was over 15 miles.  Over the first few miles, the grips held up fine, but eventually they began sliding up and down the paddle with nearly every stroke.  Once they became soaked, water constantly leaked onto my hands.  The only positive is that they did prevent blisters.  With a little design work these could become a must have.
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Specs:

  • 6 x 2 x 5 inches
  • 3 ounces
  • Comes in 5 Colors
Value: 4Durability: 2 (After only a few trips, the inner rubber coating has already begun breaking down.)Comfort: 4

Reliability: 3

Overall: 3

Mammut SoftSkin Pillow

$30 for a camp pillow? That’s three times what my actual pillow cost that I sleep on every night.  $30 is more than just a little pricey.  What you’re really paying for, is the convenience it provides on backpacking trips.  If space/weight is an issue, then this pillow solves a lot of your problems as it can be rolled up tightly and weighs in at just over 5 oz.

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As far as comfort, the outer covering feels pretty nice after a long day on the river or a long day of tripping over roots, and the pillow can be inflated or deflated to your desired level.  It is a bit on the smallish side, but this does help when it comes to packing it into small spaces.
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Specs from the website:·         Weight: 5.2 oz/150 g·         Dimensions: 16.5 x 8.6 in / 42 x 22 cm

·         Material: StretchTX

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The quality you expect from Mammut is here, but I can’t say I’d recommend this pillow to the average camper based on the pricetag. But if you’re planning on spending several consecutive nights outdoors, it will save you from a few headaches.Value: 2Quality: 5

Weight: 5

Comfort: 4

Overall Rating: 4

Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack

Searching for the elusive Sasquatch.

About a year ago, I was looking for a really solid backpack I could use for weekend trips and excursions into the nearby Sipsey Wilderness.  I did endless research online and came away pretty bummed at the prices.  For a quality 65L pack, I was apparently going to have to shell out between $200-$400 dollars.

If I was still a bachelor, dropping a few hundred on a pack wouldn’t even faze me.  But there’d be no way to camouflage a $300 dollar online purchase from my wife without raising some serious red flags.  One of my last online stops was amazon.com where I searched for “Internal Frame Backpack.” The first few packs were all from a brand I’d never heard of, Teton Sports, and they ranged in price from $59 to $89.   After looking over several, I decided on the Explorer 4000, which only costs $65 including shipping.  I figured at that price, even if it wasn’t a great pack, I could probably resell it online and lose only a few bucks on the deal.

After getting it in the mail, inspecting the pack, and taking it on several trips, I don’t see how Teton Sports is making a profit by only charging $65.  The pack is as durable as any other I’ve seen, and at only 5 lbs, it’s LIGHT.  One of my fears with this pack was that I was sacrificing value for extra weight, but at 5 lbs, it’s the same weight as another pack from a well-known brand that retails for $400.

Here’s the specs from the website:

  • Rugged, internal frame backpack with 4,000 cubic inch capacity
  • Dual aluminum stays adjust to the contour of your back
  • Full-length adjustable torso and adjustable shoulder straps for a more comfortable fit
  • Padded shoulder straps, padded waist belts and padded lumbar area for maximum comfort, with airflow system to reduce heat
  • Separate sleeping bag compartment
  • Includes a bright yellow attached rainfly and is hydration system ready
  • Height-adjustment shoulder straps accommodate a wide range of torso lengths

Durable 600D Diamond Ripstop Shell

What do you look for in an Expedition Pack? Let’s go over my checklist:

Lightweight? Check

Durability? Check

Storage Capacity? Check

Quality Material? Check

Price? Check

Plenty o’ Pockets? Check

The bottom line:  Everything you look for in a pack is here and it’s only $65.  Don’t waste your time on a $300 pack when you can pick this one up on the cheap.

(BTW, if you purchase this pack, it will not come with the awesome patches you see in the pictures.  You’ve got to earn those.)

 

Rating (Out of 5):  

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