Great news for Scott as this months Trail Running magazine have given their trail shoe the eRide grip the thumbs up. Scott were up against well known brands such as Salomon, inov8 and Asics with their winter trail shoe. 20 different shoes were on test and the eRide won the review over all. The December '12 article confirmed our thoughts of the shoes being 'comfy to wear straight from the box' and ideal for a variety of terrain from road to rock and over long distances. With fresh snow fall today (and more on the way) in the Alps I am looking forward to putting the Scott 'Ice Runners' to test. A shiny parcel is winging it's way to me as I type! So the snow won't stop me from running this winter.
Download the article here for the full report:
Just back from a three week trip into Sikkim in the Indian Himalayas where I was guiding for our friends at KE Adventure Travel. A trek that finished in the shadow of Kangchenjunga the third highest mountain in the world after Everest and K2. A truly remote and wonderful experience in an unspoilt area.
What a trip! Three weeks with KE Adventure Travel guiding a great group into the Himalayan foothills below Kangchenjunga one of the world's highest mountains at 8,586m. The actual mountain is on the India-Nepal border and has name is rather poetic meaning The Five Treasures of the Snows as it is made up of five mountain peaks, with four of them over 8,450m. The 'treasures' apparently represent the five repositories of God, being gold, silver, gems, grain and holy books.
Until 1852 Kangchenjunga was in fact assumed to be the highest mountain in the world, but calculations based on various readings and measurements made by the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849 came to the conclusion that Mount Everest was the highest! It was 1856 before it was officially announced that the mountain had moved from the highest to the third highest. Must have been a bit of a blow for the area. Kangchenjunga was first summited by Joe Brown and George Band in 1955 who were part of a British expedition. The team did however honour the beliefs of the Sikkimese, who hold the summit sacred, and stopped a few metres short of the summit. Nice one guys !
We began by flying into Delhi which is a bit of a culture shock to Westerners to say the least. Yes, the pollution and poverty are disturbing but interestingly the locals told me that now the Government carries out checks on cars to control emissions and, to be applauded, they have banned plastic bags. So any shopping experience is without the ubiquitous plastic carrier bag - just an interesting fact to share ! Not sure it makes life any better for the locals but at least they are 'nodding' in the direction of trying to introduce some environmental measures. The Holy Cows it seems were chocking on the bags :-)
So, off we headed into the foothills and a night in Darjeeling that world capital of a great 'cuppa'. The Brits introduced tea to the area during the Raj and the rest is history. I have to say its the only time I have spent the equivalent of £20 on buying some decent tea.
The following day we set off for Sikkim in three jeeps with I have to say excellent drivers. I had been worried that India would truly live up to its name as the one of the world's most dangerous driving experiences, but just apply the horn and overtake on a blind bend and it seems to work. Probably because the roads are so bad that no one is going fast.
We spent the next 15 days trekking through remote, wild and unspoilt mountains and I think we were all surprised at how few people we encountered. Endless vistas of ridge after ridge of mountain ranges as we walked along high routes amid rhododendron forests. Blimey, they are huge ! I really want to go back in spring to see the flowers which must be amazing, but the weather is wetter at that time of year, so perhaps we had the best of it with stunning blues skis and crisp cold air.
We ended up with Kangchenjunga right in our faces as we watched sunrise hit the highest peak, a really special moment I have to say. After that it was downhill and back to Yuksom, and a bit of shock to see people. I was lucky to have a great group of trekkers who were totally 'into' the whole experience. We also had a great team from Rimo Expeditions who are based in Indian, and a Sirdar, and a team of Sherpas who have three Everest summits between them.
So thanks again to all those of you who made this a great trip. I hope to see you all again in the mountains at some time. Take care.
An amusing and refreshing article reviewing the delights of skate skiing from Fall-Line Skiing and Snowboarding magazine. Travel journalist, Eric Kendal, took to skinny skis in the Swiss Obergoms (the location for one of our beginner ski weeks) for a lesson in 'skating'. Let it amuse, inspire and enlighten your thoughts on cross country skiing! www.fall-line.co.uk
How kit can rekindle your sport!
It's certainly a 'perk' of the job receiving kit to try and test and I can now say that my running 'goody bag' from Scott has now been well and truly tested! This summer I met up with Rhys Henderson of Scott Sports where we went over some of the Scott running clothes and footwear. The Scott running range is fairly new on the market and now is the time for them to perfect their products with a variety or views and opinions. Rhys left me with clothing and versions of both their road and trail shoes.
Road Shoe Test - MK4
I've now had both the MK3 and MK4 women's road shoe, the MK4 eRide being their newest model. Due to my work and home both being in the mountains I have to admit that I am far less a road runner these days however I have been taking the MK4's with me to run in the evenings when I am based in towns or villages with access to easy park trails, pavements and tarmac. (Things we don't have in my village!). And so far my results have not just been positive about the shoes but the change in routine has also rekindled my love for the flats!
As we know, looks aren't everything but they help(!) and the MK4 comes in some fun bright colours (currently a cool bluey/turqouise and pink) but is designed with a technical look which still allows the funky colour scheme to not detract from it being a shoe for serious runners. The sizing is the same as my Brooks or Asics shoes and fitted comfortably on my first outing. The upper is made with Scott’s 'Ergologic Fit construction' - this basically means it fits snugly because it's fully adjustable, maximizing comfort. I found that the MK4's certainly pulls into a close fit but puckers slightly across the width - although this doesn't effect the comfort of the shoe. Next thing, is it's noticeably lighter than other road shoes I've had in the past. I used to think that to have a light road shoe meant a out an out road/race shoe which would then mean you were compromising on support. But the MK4 is made with a low profile AeroFoam midsole and is around 25% lighter than traditional EVA foams. For those that require more medial support Scott now have their MK4+ which again would normally mean a heavier shoe but the Aerofoam means this model is one of the lightest lightweight stability trainers on the market.
But the reason my love for the flats has been 'rekindled' I think has been due to the Scott 'rocker' idea. So this is the science bit... Scott have developed a unique rocker shape in their shoes which creates a very stable 'midstance'....this 'rocking' action encourages you to literally rock from one step to the next, providing you with a naturally faster and more efficient running gait - a miracle cure to shave time off your next PB perhaps!? On the flats I must admit I do 'feel' faster and the natural 'midfoot' strike of the rocker seems to promote a more upright body position and certainly feel nice to run in! The rocker is what Scott call their eRide Technology which features in all of their shoes. As a trail runner my renewed enthusiasm for speed work on the flat has been a positive boost to my off road running again. Reminding me of the importance to cross train, not just between different sports but also within the same sport - road and trail.
So what with ticks for colour, comfort, added speed and enjoyment on the flats the MK4 certainly gets my seal of approval.
Trail Shoe Test - eRide Grip 2
Next up, the women's eRideGrip 2 which is Scott's trail shoe. Unsure of my exact sizing for this model Rhys sent two pairs of different sizes which arrived in the post the day I began working on our September Trail Tunning Camp. As soon as they were out of the box they were on my feet and heading to meet our group for their first test run! That week we ran on all terrains and a variety of distances. We ran easy to steep technical trails, through mud and wet grass, over boulder fields and pine woods and on a mix of limestone and granite rock trails and the Grip2 certainly passed all the tests for traction and grip. As the Grip2 also has the Scott 'eRide' technology too it also means that when you hit the flats you still feel that rocking action and enhanced gait. The 'low profile' fit of the shoe is also really noticeable on technical descents providing a really stable platform to strike from. This coupled with the good traction gives you plenty of confidence to really 'push it' on the down hills! I also really like the idea of the 'drainage' holes that feature on the Grip 2 - for extracting water from those soggy winter runs!
The sizing for these is the same as the road shoe - so the second pair of Grip 2's that I received went to one of our most valued customers and one of my role models, Susie Smith, aka My Mum! She's an avid trail runner, cyclist and walker and at 65yrs she's always very cautious of not getting injured. She too was in Chamonix to run on the Trail Running Camp.
"My off road shoes were definitely past there best but not having had a chance to shop prior to going to Chamonix I came over with my trusty old pair knowing that they would have to do the job. However it was my lucky day, Julia offered me a new pair of Scott trail shoes straight out the box. As we all know running in new shoes is often a bit hit and miss and I didn't want to ruin my week with blisters or worse... but I said I would give them a try. Days later with many ups and downs on alpine trails including our final long run of 26km and 1200m I can say the shoes were excellent! Comfy, supportive, no blisters or sore toes - they even gave me a boost on the tricky downhills". Susie Smith - 1st V3F Chamonix Trail 10km '08, 3rd V3F Chamonix Cross Half Marathon '09
The Grip 2's also get a third tick from Lindsay - she's been using hers for work leading treks all over the Alps this summer and in her words "I can't fault them!". So, it seems that my Scott parcel of goodies has had many positive results over the past few months and it wasn't just in a stylish new wardrobe!
If you are thinking of getting new running shoes and would like to consider Scott shoes as your 'new best friend' then here's how to find your nearest stockist - more and more shops are holding stock across Europe. Perhaps they can give your training a boost too. Next on my order will be the eRide Icerunner for enhanced grip on wet and snow - and that's not just because they are pink!