Life as a triathlete, Vehicross's and off-roading

Posts tagged “trail

First impressions…Brooks Pure Grit

I had special order me a pair of the new Brooks Pure Grits (they carry the rest of the Pure line). I had been running in the Brookd Cascadia’s (very happy with the 5’s, not so happy with the 6’s) prior. I have been wanting to try a more minimalist shoe so decided to give these a try.

Out of the box.

 I immediately noticed the light weight. The Grits weigh in at a hair under 10 oz., where as the Cascadia’s are just over 12 oz. The outsole is wide for a stable platform. The upper is a mesh type material. The Brooks stripe on the side is reflective for low light safety. The insole is soft and spongey to the feel. The Grits have a great fit. The toe box is wide and the heel fits snuggly.

On the trail.

 Once on the feet the “spongeyness” of the midsole disapears and has a firm feel. My first run was a 9 mile run on desert trails…dry, hardpack, rocky, sand, and gravel with 1500 feet of accending and descending. During the run my feet stayed firmly in place in the shoe. I had no blisters or hot spots. The lug pattern of the soles had great grip on the varying ground surfaces. The soles offer much more flex than typical trail shoes. The uppers left my feet cool in the late morning heat (85-90 degrees). The minimal heel drop is great for mid/fore foot runners. The split toe is actually functional as I could feel the movement it allowed of the big toe. The wide sole is very stable. Rocks were not an issue…the soles offer plenty of protection. Overall, these are one of the best trail  shoes I have worn. If they wear well this looks like my new favorite trail shoe!

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Brooks Cascadia 6…a bit let down

After having great success with the Brooks Cascadia 5 running shoe I didn’t hesitate to purchase the Cascadia 6.

I have been running in the Cascadia 6 since January (3 1/2 months). Terrain has been desert trails…hard pack, sand, gravel/loose rock and large rocks with only a small amount on pavement. I have been using this particular pair 2-3 times a week in my rotation for longer runs. I abused my Cascadia 5’s for a full year (rotating 2 pair) and they are still used for short runs so I was expecting big things from the Cascadia 6’s. Not to be however.

The only noticeable difference was the color (now red versus the green 5’s) and the tread pattern on the soles. The uppers and midsoles have performed and held up great. The problem is in the sole. First off Brooks changed the lug pattern on the bottom from a triangle pattern to circles. I noticed right off that the new pattern did not bite as well on the trail. The shoe slipped around on the surface more than it’s predissesor. Not sure of the lug pattern is the cause or if Brooks changed the compound on the sole but the sole wears out FAST. The lugs were worn down quickly and the sole has now worn through and is separating from the midsole. Not at all  what I was expecting after my great success with the 5’s. Lets hope that Brooks can fix this in the 7’s.

However next up to get beaten on the trail will be a pair of the Brooks Pure Grits.

365 days in the Brooks Cascadia-long term review

365 days ago I purchased 2 pair of Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes from These where my primary training shoes. I ran on average 6 times a week totaling 40-60 miles per week. I rotated the shoes on a daily basis. 90% of my runs were on trails with hard packed, rocky and sandy terrain in the Arizona desert. These shoes are beasts.

The uppers…I have had no complaints. They look as good today as they did the day I purchased them. They have held up extremely well. The materials show no wear (except for being a bit dirtier) and the seams are still completely in tact.

The soles/mid soles…The soles wear well. Being a mid foot striker, the heel area still looks new and the mid/fore foot area, though worn, still has some lug surface left. The midsole held up well. I began noticing breakdown of the midsole at around 11 months.

Overall this is a very solid, long wearing shoe that I would recommend highly to anybody that spends a lot of time on the trail. Not a light shoe by any means but a great trainer.

I am replacing these with another pair of Cascadia’s and trying out a pair of the new  Brooks Grits.

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3 Vehicross’ reunite on Bull Spring Road

9 year ago I organized the first big get together for Arizona Vehicross owners. It was an off-road outing that attracted 8-9 VX owners. The trail was Bull Spring Road. Back then we thought that was a pretty hardcore trail…now after tackling some truly hardcore trails Bull Spring Road is a pretty easy, although scenic, jaunt through the desert mountains starting south of Green Valley that leads to the town of Patagonia.

So, this year I threw the invite out to the VX crowd to reunite some of the old gang and get some of the new out on an easy trail followed by some great food. Things were looking good with 9-10 people saying they would be there and another 5 or so on the maybe list. As the trip date grew nearer the bailouts started to fly…bummer. Oh well, their loss!

Sunday December 11 arrived and it was show time. I was joined at the designated meet place/time by Bob in  his victory white Ironman edition and Victor in his ebony with Prashant riding shotgun. My wife accompanied me in my ebony.

We rolled onto the trail with the temperature climbing into a near perfect 70 and the sun shining. We had a great view of Elephant Head to our backs.

Our first stop was the Glove Mine. We were fortunate enough to have access to the mine for a little exploring. Bob gave us a tour through the dark shafts and educated us on the history.

From there we climbed through the desert mountain landscape and had several opportunities to catch a glimpse of Whipple Observatory perched on top of Mt. Hopkins.

We made a stop at the ruins of the old post office which during the heights of the mining boom was home to some 1000 P.O. boxes for the miners.

From there it was a short jaunt into the town of Patagonia and the tires hit pavement again.

Lunch called for a stop at the Velvet Elvis for some great pizza of the likes you will find nowhere else.

After lunch Bob parted ways. Victor tailed me for the scenic way home through Sonoita and Box Canyon. Then the day drew to an end with me heading home and Victor heading up I-10.

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Training down time…go hiking!

With the end of my racing season comes the winter down time. Rest, relax, and mental/physical recovery. Last weekend I took the family for a hike. Nothing overly strenuous. Just some nice desert scenery in the Tucson Mountain Park. I run these trails several times a week, this time I actually got to enjoy the views. Along for the trip was my wife, daughter, mom and my aunt and uncle from California. We started with the Rock Wren trail, to the David Yetman trail to the Bowen House. The weather was perfect…low 70’s and sunshine! Was a great day.

A slideshow of pics…

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Training camp part deux.

This weekend, as part of the TriFest weekend at, Team Trisports had a training camp. This camp was not the intense camp like the Accelerate3 camp a few weeks ago and had a little more social aspect blended in. Of the 29 sponsored athletes, 25 converged from all parts of the U.S. …Arizona, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Mexico and California are a few that I remember. The weather was fantastic…clear, mid 80’s and devoid of the winds we had earlier in the week. 

Thursday…day 1

This day was our check in day. We met up with our sponsor coordinator Jaclyn to pick up our new team kits. The new fit and design were awesome. I then hit the trails for a 50 minute run on the Morning Wren, Yetman, and Hidden Canyon trails in Starr Pass. I had also gotten in a 2 hour bike ride earlier in the morning.

Friday…day 2

The team was up early meeting at TriSports for the 7:00 roll out for the Mt. Lemmon ride. This ride was open to all so we were joined by 150+ others. The ride from TriSports to the base of the climb was an hour of “no drop” pace to keep everyone together. From the base it wasa free for all… everyone was welcome to pick their own pace and climb up as far as they wanted. The group stopped at the base to strip off excess clothing since the climb was long and the desert sun was warming things up. As the group got rolling I was caught towards the rear. I worked my way forward to find that the group had already split and the faster guys were already up the road. I made an attempt to bridge up to the group but made little progress. So, I settled in in no-mans land between the two main groups and set my own pace. I slowly picked off a few riders as they dropped from the main group. We were given support by the Sram Race Support vehicle and I saw several with flat tires keeping those guys busy. At mile 11ish we were greeted by the smiling faces of the TriSports staff with there big ‘ol truck sagging…the cold water was welcomed as there is very limited water on the mountain. I filled my bottle and soldiered on until I reached my planned turn around point at mile 18. Did I mention the weather was great! The descent was a 40mph romp to the bottom. Then I returned to the start point at TriSports. A great lunch awaited the team members. Yummy.

After a few hours of relaxing the team them met at the Tucson JCC for a swim workout. After a short warmup we threw down a 100, 200, 300, and 400. That was followed by 4 fun 8 minute sets. The first one was heads up swimming. Next was several differant sculling drills. That was folowed by a game of catch…teams of 2-3 would start off in the center of the pool in opposite dirrections…you circle swam until one team caught the other…repeat until time was up. The last one was tug of war…2 swimmers teathered together with strech cords swim all out in opposite directions until one reaches the wall. After that we had to pick our fastest swimmer to do a get-out swim. If she completed a 100 in 1:00 minute we got to get out…if not we got to swim more. Fortunately she hit the wall in an awesome :59. After a shower and a little rest the team then met again at TriSports for a catered dinner (yummy again), introductions, some TriSports history and a tour of the facility which is quite impressive.

Saturday…day 3

Another early day as the team met at TriSports for a  mystery workout (we had packed a bag and turned it in the previous night for this event). We departed on our bikes at 6:30 and rode to the designated mystery workout location…the JW Marriott resort in Starr Pass. The resort graciously opened their doors to us for a “mini race” with a few twists. This race doubled as a photo shoot for the team and our new uniforms. The race was a blast. We started in time trial fashion…one off every 20 seconds. The start was a blast down the resorts water slide into the “lazy river” pool. We then swam a little over 2 loops in the lazy river against the current (to make it a bit harder). At a few spots there were water fountains that disrupted your breathing! After exiting the “river” we mounted our bikes, exited the resort grounds and rode 2 loops through Starr Pass. The loop consisted of non stop rolling climbs. One final hill back to the resort “transission” area and we were off of our bikes, slipping into our run gear and off for a run through the Hidden Canyon trail. The first half is a long climb before the downhill 2nd half. The whole trail is rocky and technical. Upon exiting the trail I missed a course arrow and led a few others to a premature finish, cutting off about a 1 mile loop around the resort. OOOPs…good thing this was just for fun! After the race we jumped on our bikes and took a “leasurely” ride over Gates Pass before returning to TriSports. Upon our return TriFest was in full swing. The parking lot was full of tents filled with vendors for the expo. We were also treated to taco’s…again, yummy! A little down time to get rested and cleaned up was followed by the TriSports VIP party. Another fun filled ending…food, band, beverages, poker and great people!

Thanks to Jaclyn, Sarah, Seton, Debbie and all the others that assisted in putting this all together! It was a great weekend.

Here are  pics from the Team Presentation “Race”.

Here are pics from the TriFest Mt Lemmon ride.

(Pics curtousy of Tom Demerly) blog on event

Day 4…the end of the road.

Day 4 of camp is now complete.

Started off the day waking to an inch of snow…in Tucson’s valley!

Threw on the cold run gear and headed to the Yetman trail for an hour 40 minute run. My legs were feeling the fatigue from the weeks activities. The hills felt WAY bigger than normal. I dropped off the pace of the rest of the group and finished off the run at a slightly reduced pace.

I then took a short rest then it was time for a short ride. The ride was an easy spin of an hour 20 minutes through Starr Pass. 15 minutes from finishing and it began to sleet. Strangely I smiled through it…must of been the fatigue…and the knowledge that some well deserved rest was just around the corner.

A few days of couch surfing and easy recovery workouts are on deck!

Tucson snow…

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