All I Know

Three Winter Workout Notes: Compression Shirts, Clif Shot Bloks, and DeFeet Gloves

A trio of quick notes concerning working out in the winter (such as it is in NC) before it’s too late:

Long-sleeve Winter Compression Shirt

In the after-Christmas clearance sales, I picked up a couple of Reebok cold gear long sleeve compression shirts at Dick’s.   Now, I freely admit that I am probably the last person on earth to come to this party, but these shirts are GREAT!  I have used them in place of heavy cotton hoodies; I am plenty warm, a couple of pounds lighter, and a lot more aero.  The high teens is about as cool as it gets for me; on these days, the cold gear LS compression shirt, the warm-gear LS polyester T-shirt (loose fitting) and a gore-tex shell keep me plenty comfortable without weight or bulk.  Polypropylene was all the rage a few years ago.  It has nothing on this stuff. #thrilled, as we say on twitter.

Clif Shot Bloks

I am truly grateful to the fine folks at Clif for providing an alternative to gels.  I don’t mind gels in taste or function, but in my zeal to get every last smidgeon of gel from the packet, I invariably get the gooey stuff on my hands, meaning between my fingers, which I HATE HATE HATE. So, Clif Shot Bloks are great.  I think that a foil container would be a little more user-friendly, but the existing packaging works well enough, especially if you get the initial opening done before you roll off.  I like all of the flavors except Margarita (which is positively ghastly, and/but has double sodium), but generally stick to orange and berry, which are both fortified with caffeine.

The trouble with Clif Shot Bloks is that if the temperature starts with a 4 or less, those babies can pull your crowns right off of their moorings[1].  Heck, they might be able to pull out the whole tooth.  Seriously, the amount of force you can produce with a cold Clifblok and an ordinary chewing motion is scary. Maybe there is an industrial use for them.  I really don’t think a warning label would be a bad idea.  If you get stuck on the road with Clifbloks in winter, I recommend that you let it sit in your mouth for a few minutes until it gains a few degrees.  Even then I suggest quartering it with your incisors and swallowing the sub-blok whole.  But that process takes so long you get to your second feeding the minute you are done with your first.  Reluctantly, I am going with gels in winter.

DeFeet Duragloves

I love the hi-viz yellow (yellow green) for cycling.  I think it’s cool.  My shades are that color.  Then, the inaugural issue of Cyclist magazine had an article on all the cool stuff you can get in hi-viz yellow.  I took note of a few things that I might add, including DeFeet hi-viz yellow gloves.  I adore my DeFeet wool cycling socks (even though I can only find them in hideous Lance Armstong charcoal)[2].  So when I saw the gloves at Cumberland Transit in Nashville (now that’s one cool adult toy store), I knew they would have to come home with me.

It was pretty darn chilly in Nashville that weekend we were there.  My wife forgot her gloves, so I gave her mine, and then donned the new DeFeets.  My initial thought really was, “hey, my hands just got colder.  Guess they will warm up.”  They never did.  I was hoping that maybe I was just imagining it, but when I got back home and field-tested the DeFeets against my tried-and-true freebies from the City of Oaks Half-marathon I ran in 2008, it was confirmed: they are really bad gloves.

I see from the website that they are constructed with Cool-Max fibre.  I have examined the issue from every angle, and cannot fathom why you would make a glove from Cool-Max.  All I can say is, it is very effective in keeping your hands cool.


[1] Sorry to say I am speaking from experience.

[2] Along with plaid dress shirts, I think the dark athletic socks look is fundamentally offensive, and with luck will be the subject of ridicule shortly.  This goes beyond fashion; we are talking basic aesthetics here.


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