As a cyclist, the search for newer and better gear is constant — there's always something else out there. Premes, Picks, Promos will highlight both the next big thing and the sleeper deal.
It's been awhile since we took a look at new gear — mostly because we've been too busy riding, wrangling kids and whatnot. But there are a couple of items we've been using that are worth mentioning, if only because it's been startling how well they work.
One is fairly dorky. The other is little expensive. Both perform very, very well.
Let's start with the dorky one: A Halo II headband. A few weeks ago, during that first god-awful summer heatwave, I rode when my bike computer was reading 104 degrees. It was as bad as you'd guess, but not from an overheating standpoint. I rode most of the ride sans-sunglasses because I was sweating so much it was constantly running into my eyes.
That's when I was reminded just how little depth perception you have when you're rubbing one eye constantly. By the end of the ride, my eyes were almost bloodshot.
A few days later, I rode in the awful heat with a Halo headband and it worked flawlessly. It disappears fairly well under your helmet, so it's not like your lid will be riding too high when you're wearing it underneath. I didn't like how far it slide down in the back, but that could be a matter of being the owner of an alien head.
In case you didn't click through to all of the promo material on the Halo website, the headband is more than just the standard sweatband. There's a thin rubber bead on the front that creates a seal around your forehead. Sweat is channeled to the sides, thereby keeping it out of your eyes. Here's a .gif that shows how it works. You don't want to be the blinky guy. (Click on it if it isn't working for you.)
The semi-expensive product is up next: Skratch Labs Drink Mix. I mentioned it last time around in GamJams Tech, but I've used it since for a couple of long races — and long race weekends. Here's the scoop: I haven't had any horrible gut rot since I started using it.
In the past, after something like, say, the Nebraska State Road Race at the end of June, which clocked in around 70 miles, I'd feel OK for a bit but then be out of commission for a while. Basically, I'd feel like I had an awful stomach bug, even if I had been drinking Gatorade throughout the race.
At the end of the race this time around, including the last lap, I actually felt pretty great. Had we needed to do another lap, I would have been fine. That feeling was repeated last weekend at the end of an 85-mile road race — no problem. I was tired, of course, but I wasn't crampy and didn't have the gurgle of impending stomach doom.
Yes, it's still $19.95 for a 20-serving bag. That's not cheap. But I don't use it every day so it tends to last a bit longer. Anyway, that's a small price to pay for something that works, but also leaves you actually feeling good after a race. (So far, Lemons & Limes is the best flavor.)
In addition to publishing GamJams Midwest, Bryan Redemske has managed the Trek Bicycle Store of Omaha (Midtown), is a professional writer and a Cat 3 racer. He drinks a lot of coffee.
Sheesh, some of that stuff is expensive. Good thing you get your frames and wheels at Pro Deal pricing. Wait — you don't? You might want to look at November Bicycles. They've got a new racer-specific model designed to strip unnecessary pricing out of the cost of your new bike. It's like a Pro Deal for everyone.
November Bicycles. Race Smart.