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Schlagwort: trailrunning

Del mar a la cima

While swimming in the ocean, the apparent question hit me: How tall is the highest point of this islet?

It didn’t take a long time to find out that the Pico de la Zarza is the main peak that Fuerteventura has to offer. With an altitude of 807 meters this appeared to be the plausible center of a day long sea to summit exploit. After a quick google search, a proper planning session began. Heading out from our home base, Playitas, it was a 50 Kilometer bike ride along the coastline to reach the trail head that lead up to the mountain top, just above Solana Matorral. As soon as we found a bike shop that wanted to store our bikes for the time of the run, we were set to go. And properly hyped!

The aim was to travel as light as possible. That meant for me that I planned to run in my bike outfit. The bulkiest chunk of the needed gear were the running shoes. The easiest and safest form to travel with them turned out to be a meek fix on the rear side of the saddle frame. Some old bike inner tubes out of the bike rental trash bin and the actual shoelaces turned out to be the finest and safest combination. Our little DIY packing system turned out flawless and the quest was on. 

Picture: Marcus Hallbäck

As the name suggest, winds on Fuerteventura are quite solid. A strong NE breeze (28 km/h) meant that we had the gales in our favor for the first part of the trip down south. We set of to make it before the bike shop shut down for siesta. Besides a simple puncture, the ride was uneventful, and we literally surfed down the shoreline. After we changed at the bike shop and stowed all our needless goods, the run was on. We treated us to a quick espresso at the local bar and then attempted the scramble straight by the beach. The Strava segment teached us that an average of 10% climbing was waiting for us on the 8 Kilometer uphill. 

Picture: Marcus Hallbäck

Running off the bike is never easy and it took a bit to get into the groove of running. The sharp uphill at the beginning didn’t really help but the clear views to the top made everyone excited about what was ahead of us. We spread out a bit and appreciated the incredible views of the neighboring vales and the mountains. A stony dirt path led us up the mountain and took its toll. Lucky enough the weather was on our side as the sun was not beaming in full effect. We jogged on as the track got more technical and the top closer and closer. 

Picture: Marcus Hallbäck

The diversity of the run and the final technical and precipitous part paid of as soon as we figured out that we hit the very top. What was lying in front of us was a remarkable view of the isolated and less inhabited east coast of the Island. An incredible backdrop with an enormous clip just right in front of our dizzy eyes. The scenery blew us away. I didn’t know what to expect but what we saw was just stunning. We stayed at the top for a while and then gradually made our way back down to the shore where we replenished properly at the local Burger King before altering back to the bikes. 

Picture: Marcus Hallbäck

As we left the bike store, we felt instantly what we already knew was waiting for us. Wind from the front. Strong wind from the front. As we tackled a rolling 50 kilometers back home, we knew we are in for some suffering. And hell, we hurt. But the enjoyable thing with happenings like this is that once it’s over, the simple enjoyment is very hard to beat. As soon as we hit the bike path back to Playitas the spirit was high as we perceived the sun going down behind the mountains. The last day of our little training camp was precisely the epic one we were hoping for.

Tune of the day: Moderator – Midnight Madness

shoeporn: The North Face – Flight Vectiv

Something that these days is part of the shoe business, is the rumor mill. Since months Alameda, California grounded outdoor powerhouse The North Face, was set to drop a carbon plated shoe. Well, it seems that all major shoe corporations are on the outlook to apprise their respective top range models with this technology. But suddenly it was a brand that is not necessarily known for its shoe building skills, that joined the hype.
Since 1968 The North Face distribute and produce outdoor equipment. It all started with climbing gear and then grew into a brought variety of accessories, clothing and footwear. Personally, I have tested more than a few of their off-road running shoes in the past. Although their jackets, vests, caps and technical gear have been a stable in my wardrobe over the last decade, none of the shoes have majorly impressed me and it seems that technical clothing was more the focus then suitable footwear. Now they released a performance oriented trail running shoe that goes by the name of Flight Vectiv, merging a 3 D carbon fiber footplate, midsole rocker geometry and SurfaceCTRL grip into the first trail specific shoe using the prominet carbon technique.
I had a chance to spot the Flight Vectiv last April as Spaniard and The North Face athlete Pau Capell wore the shoe throughout the 2020 version of the Fjällmaraton around Åre, Sweden where he came 2nd in the 100 kilometer distance. Pau was part of the development process of the Vectiv equipment range and mostly this shoe. TNFs VP of Global Footwear, Jean Marc Djian aimed high when the company took on this project. The company recognized that another try into the footwear market had to be an innovative and exciting.
The Flight Vectiv is the top model of the novel TNF shoe assortment. It is the one shoe that contains full-length carbon plate combined with a rocker geometry. This combination is intended to upsurge the energy return and I was more than keen to see how this mix turned out in a shoe that is intended to be used off the road, a setting where the carbon technology is more to be seen in up-to-date shoe releases. On the picture above some details of the carbon plate are teased on the external.
Even though the sock-like silhouette of the shoe looked like a pleasing feature, I was quite staggered how rigid it was to get into the shoe. The opening is rather small and that undoubtedly created some matters to me. As soon as you’ve entered the shoe, there is not a tense sensitivity. It just appears that the entering part of the shoe is pretty close-fitting. After a while I got used to it and know how to enter as the reinforced, breathable-knit upper is pretty strechable. Running this shoe throughout wintertime, I have the feeling that the body-hugging fitting also stops all sorts of muck to enter the inside. To me something that is very helpful particularly with the heavy use of salt and sand on the local streets. Frequently the small particles find a way to enter a shoe. Not so in this one. Generally the one piece upper that is elasticated and hugs your upper foot and ankle is super nice and fits around the foot like a glove.
With the Flight Vectiv, The North Face planned a shoe for the longer and ultra-distances. The company paid attention to durable ingredients such as kevlar, polyamide and matryx materials that they also tested and used in other equipment. This time it seems that The North Face was able to familiarize their extensive knowledge from mountain equipment into footgear. The Flight Vectiv is an overall quality shoe that is very well made. Till now I spend somewhat over 100 kilometers in this shoe and I’m constantly surprised how it tackles different grounds and weather situations. The picture shows the 3D-molded heel counter for a better fit, another nice detail in a well build shoe with a quality finish.
There were times when The North Face allowed their sponsored athletes to use different shoes and switch from their very own models to the ones that the competition offered. This has clearly changed now with the new shoe range. Several athletes have been smashing FKT’s last year. One of my favorite runs has been the record setting Grand Canyon R2R2R-alt FKT effort by TNF legends Mike Foote and Rob Krar. Check their video here. Time for these two to tackle some SwimRun competitions i guess.
Without a doubt, the climax of this shoe must be the so-called 3D Vectiv plate. It offers momentum and in combination with the stability Rocker shape, the foot placement is optimized. The shoe is not super soft as many other carbon running shoes, but this is something that aims the runner while running on technical ground. At the start it feels like the shoe is rigid as it does not provide much flexibly, especially to the sites. Although it feels stable and the feel for the ground is certainly given. Officially The North Face labels the Vectiv technology as “revolutionary soling architecture.” Fundamentally what they are describing are the layers beneath the feet. These are all the different foams and treads that work together to deliver a cushioned, safe and springy sensation.
Despite the fact there is a lot of advanced and new material that has been incorporated in this shoe, the outsole is known from previous models. Grip on wet and dry terrain has been the attention in the development procedure. If you expect a super aggressive and “deep” outsole, you will be dissatisfied. The lugs are well and smartly placed but come in with 3.5 mm which is not a standard in trail shoes. After some sketchy situations, the design and traction really grew on me. To me it is a great mix of traction and control. The lugs are places in proper distance and that means that snow, dirt, or whatever sticky stuff you encounter, will not get stuck. I try to break in shoes on the treadmill. Until now, this tradition has never been used with trail shoes. It was different with the Flight Vectiv. It certainly is a versatile sole.
A detailed look at the outsole construction that protects the 6 mm toe-to-heel offset. This shoe facilitated 14 North Face sponsored athletes to set FKTs wearing different Vectiv prototypes during a nearly race free 2020.
To me, the Flight Vectiv delivers a high level of comfort and proper cushioning that still allows to feel the ground but not the pounding. Combined with the securely sensation of the sock-fit paired with a minor, cushioned padding at the upper heel region, this shoe ensures thoroughgoing comfort and support.
Throughout the punitive dark and slushy time of the year and now, when all the lovely white stuff is about to dissolve, this shoe has really gotten to me. It’s fun to run due to the pleasant and well thought cushion, the ground feeling is excellent and joint with a well-planned outsole, it generates a certain security during the cold season. I ran the shoe a lot on icy and wintry streets but also took it around the local, technical, trail system. I get to treasure a well thought out shoe that I never saw coming from The North Face. Having run plenty of carbon-based road running shoes, I really valued this innovative tactic and the way it was shifted into a running shoe aimed to hit he paths. It can be discussed if it makes sense to issue a trail shoe that has a white upper, but at the end I felt it was enjoyable that the daily run was able to produce the color line. A very philosophical slant to this debate, I know. Its some sort of a minimalistic approach, even from the design. Typically trail shoes do look a bit unlike. The Flight Vectiv seems more like a road shoe. Yet, I have the feeling the shoe will continue in my daily rotation for a bit longer.

Tune of the day: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – It’s Not a Game (Instrumental Version)

Read of the day: Cathal Dennehy: Welcome to the age of the super shoes

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Challenger ATR 6 GTX

Just fresh from the shelves comes an update to yet another Hoka classic – the Challenger ATR in the 6th version with a lovely Gore-Tex top-up. To me, the Challenger has been a go-to shoe, particularly throughout the spring and winter period. Changeable weather conditions enquire some multipurpose capacities. This model is a characteristic “door to trail” shoe and I have been using the prior three versions in the past couple of seasons.
The most substantial difference with this model is the Gore-Tex upper. Gore-Tex is a waterproof, yet breathable material that can resist water even though it is able to let water vapor through. This will allow you to keep your feet nice and dry from the outside. Especially in the wet season this makes the difference. Different shoemakers are using Gore-Tex material but, in the past, I had some bad experience. Although you still want the water to stay external, you want a shoe to be breathable. After several tough and wetly off-road kilometers I can attest the Challenger a damn well use of the material. It is not too thick and consequently permits some sort of air circulation.
The design of the outsole remains the same. From what I could find out after about 250 kilometer in the ATR 6, the performance and robustness is the same as it was in the preceding versions. As detailed earlier on, the sole performs on a wide vary of undergrounds but is not a specialist at one. If you expect a companion for technical trails, then this shoe should not be your choice. Although the ATR performs great on trail you will feel the lack of an aggressive outsole design, the more technical and demanding the terrain gets.
The Gore-Tex version of the new Challenger ATR comes in a stylish black, yellow and red colorway. If you want to get your hands on the Gore-Text type then this is the only choice you have, at least in the male variety. There is also a really nice all black version of the ATR 6 around, but then again deprived of the distinct shield that Gore-Tex provides.
Smooth operator – commonly I break in a pair of Challengers as soon as the weather turns bad and unpredictable. This shoe is game for whatsoever is coming along thru the worser part of the year, at least when you are based somewhere in the northern hemisphere. I also like that it is not exceedingly soft and offers a nice spring paired with a proper cushion.
The development of the material that is now known as Gore-Tex was a happy accident, born partly of frustration by Bob Gore in 1969 and has since been used in several outdoor garments such a shoes, jackets and trousers.
Some raw details: Heel height comes in with 31 mm and the forefoot is 26 mm high. This creates a 5 mm Heel-Toe Offset.
The focus of this update was to provide a smoother feel and a softer, more comfortable upper. Hoka One One also modified the rocker’s design for an enhanced heel-toe transition within the 6th version of this shoe.
The Stinson is Hoka One One’s max cushioned trail shoe, I would put the Challenger one step beneath this model. Personally, I like the volume of provided underfoot padding as this shoe, to me, is a daily trainer and mileage eater. Therefore, I think this is the right amount of cushioning without taking the ground feeling, especially off road, away.
Inside look – While on the road, the midsole sends some nice return that pretty much surprised me. I strike with the middle and forefoot and this part of the shoe is well and proficiently designed to be reactive.
Having experienced the earlier models of the Challenger ATR, there is no major update when it comes to feel and ride. The biggest change in the sixth version is the more flexible upper material made from secondhand yarn. It feels more stable and comfortable then the previous version. Also, the lacing has been restructured and adds to the steady approach of this shoe. The Challenger ATR 6 endures to build its legacy as an exceptional versatile training partner.

Tune of the day: DJ Stylewarz – 2360 feat Toni L + Esa X Four Tet – Parallel

YouTube of the day: Mount Fuji Women’s Ekiden 2020

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Torrent 2

Another update Hoka One One fans were highly anticipating. I might not run as many trails as i used to do, but i do cherish my Torrent model that i had on rotation. I was intrigued when the news broke out that an update is about to happen. If you want to ping point one of the central updates, it has to be the upper. Hoka came up with a completely new engineered mesh upper, that is made out of recycled polyester fiber, that fits was better than the initial one.
So what makes the Torrent so special in general? It is a pretty supportive, well-cushioned, and lightweight shoe made to run fast on unpaved footways. While the Hoka’s Speedgoat is probably the most known and liked trail shoe in the assortment, the Torrent is the slimmer and less bulky brother.
The weight difference between the first Torrent model and the 2nd version is not really there on paper. But what is really obvious is that the new version feels lighter. Several weeks of running in the shoe, i have no idea what it is. I weighted both models and they are nearly identical in weight with 268 grams in US 13.
If you ask me, there is no faster trail shoe in the Hoka One One assortment than the Torrent 2. I used it for several SwimRun sessions, off-road training sessions and a full trail marathon through a varied terrain in the north of Sweden. Im completely sold on the 2nd version of this shoe.
A low-profile cushion construction makes sure that the foot is close to the ground. A pretty essential feature for technical trails. Despite the proper cushion is the material firmer to provide a more efficient kick from the ground thanks to the Profile midsole.
The upper feels thick but comfortable and even though the material is a bit thicker, it is pretty breathable and created no issues for me. Plus it does not scratch off opens up during rougher runs. After a few weeks of rough use, the upper are still fine.
A close up of the new upper and the toe box that is slightly tighter then the previous model.
The new overlays wrap nicely across the forefoot and toe boxes for proper support and protection during challenging trail runs. They not only look good, they work amazingly fine.
Detail – The forefoot section of the Torrent 2.
To praise proper cushioning in a Hoka shoe is an understatement. The Torrent has plenty of cushioning in the midsole area and provides an amazing energy return. But it is by far the trail shoe with the least cushioning in the Hoka range. This makes it the absolute go-to trail racing shoe for me.
A core element in a trail shoe is the outsole. The lugs of the Torrent are not overly deep but well placed. Mud and deep trails are not a massive problem but wet stones are not the best friend of the Torrent. Overall i liked the comfort and the reliability that the sole provides.
An updated sole design make the Torrent 2 more comfortable than its predecessor. With a Lug depth of 4mm and a better placing of the lugs, Hoka did a great job. The marbled sticky rubber outsoles with its multidirectional lugs provide a grip that can face a lot of challenges.
Besides all the technical features, the Torrent is a pretty good looking shoe i must say.
The new Torrent in its natural habitat. Mud and dirt is what this shoe likes and where it feels home. A proper update the Torrent line that i cherished now during the last few weeks. A shoe that moves fast and gives a great feel for the trail combined with cushioning that saves the legs. A delicate combination on technical trails well executed.

Tune of the day: Logic – Soul Food II X Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song

VIDEO: From Flemingsberg to Handen

It has been a while. And it did not take me long to rekindle my love for proper trail running.

A great day out on the Sörmlandsleden. A 1.000 kilometer hiking trail that hits the south of greater Stockholm. Saturday saw some remarkable Trail Jogging with the lads (Strava evidence)

We went all the way from Flemingsberg till Handen. Fellow jogger and talented videographer Otto Norin visually summed it up.

You gotta love some off-road jogging.

Tune of the day: The Deli – Sunflowers

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