Saturday, 7 February 2015

shoeporn: La Sportiva - Helios

shoeporn: La Sportiva - Helios

The Helios just appeared right on time. As the season got worse and worse, my daily runs got a bit out of control. Snow and frost on the streets and challenging trail situations made up for some dodgy actions while training.

With a fine heel-toe drop of 4mm the Helios could be perceived as the bigger, bulky brother to La Sportiva’s Vertical K trail running shoe. I jogged the Vertical K and treasured the shoe for it’s minimal style and the forceful sole. With the Helios La Sportiva established an additional lightweight (8.1 oz, 231 g) shoe which can be seen as a day-to-day workhorse and light racing shoe for runners who can handle just about the perfect extent of cushioning and nothing more. We are talking about a light and steadfast trail shoe by any means. I found it hard to slow down while cruising the trails with this reliable partner. On muddy trails I found the grips to be utterly astonishing. The inner of the Helios is made up in a sock-like style. Besides a comfortable feeling it helps to pretend from slipping or sliding.

Being a admirer of an minimal approach to shoe design, I have to say that La Sportiva did a fantastic job with the Helios. I used the shoe in rain, snowfall and on dry days, on the road and on the trails. I never was dissatisfied by any means. The comfortable mood stayed with me all the time without loosing the aggressive style and touch for the soil. For me the Helios is a complete training partner and flawless racing shoe for longer trail competitions. Having a wide foot I found this shoe to be a perfect fit. Well done, La Sportiva!

Prego - 231g of italian trail running funk.

HyDrain Mesh on the outside. Feels good.

This sole goes by the name of FriXion. I dont know what it means but i know that it works. Pretty well.

Grip as you need.

Ciao Bella! Another red italian race car?

Straight outta Ziano di Fiemme.

Slick design.

Trail jogging made easy with the Helios.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Racereport 2015-04: 29th Mitja Marató de Granollers

Picture: La Bolsa del Corredor

I first heard about the Mitja Marató de Granollers back in 2008. The late Samuel Wanjiru took the Catalan boulevards by storm to set an Spanish all-comers record over the half-marathon distance in a time of 59:26. This time still stands as the course record and, experiencing the route myself, remains a fairytale. In the past, Legends of the sport such as Haile Gebrselassie, Stefano Baldini, Robert Cheruiyot, Stephen Kiprotich, Wilson Kipsang and Gete Wami took on the classic Catalan competition and shaped an unique image of a world class elite and sub-elite field. The class of the competitors at "La Mitja" (The Half) is astonishing. There are not that many races around that take such a deep competitive field to the streets. To finish inside the Top-100 in this year’s version you want to be able to jog a sweet 1:16:50. There might be competitions around that you could win with that time. That is rad and forms an exclusive atmosphere within the field. All mixed up with the spotless organization and the remarkable support of the proud Catalans creates a race just as I like it.

This Sunday Wilson "2:03:23" Kipsang grabbed the victory in a time that was more than 3 (three!!!) minutes slower than Samuel's course best. The latest New York City Marathon champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon represents an imposing PB of 58:59. That is just a couple of seconds shy of the up-to-date World Best, Zersenay Tadese’s 58:23. Witnessing the course, it is no wonder to understand the comparatively high wining times in Granollers. It is a tricky one!As you leave the town-center the path winds up en route to Les Franqueses del Vallès, continues to slightly, but surely ascents 'til it reaches the town of La Garriga. From there on it is a wild ride back to Granollers. Above and beyond some slight bridges and small road-boosts it is all downhill.

Picture: La Bolsa del Corredor
I started off with a pleasant tempo. I knew the field was deep so it was hard to find some orientation or groups. Usually after some kilometers you find a assemblage you could stick to. Not here. It was all over the place and there never was any real group I could stream. A new experience. The way up towards La Garriga was a harsh one. As the sun and crystal clear skies shaped a striking day, the strong headwind was a unkind and rough one. I knew I was well off target pace so I tried to avoid checking the splits on my watch. Once I checked my watch at the 9k mark I was upset. It was uphill and it was windy, but that still was a leisurely pace on the way up. Fortunately the crowd support was first class so it was easy to switch off and trail some other racers. Knowing the elevation map I knew that there are better (speak: flatter) portions of the course just about to happen. Turning around in La Garriga I was craving for faster running. And it immediately occurred. Some smaller climbs made up for a little variation and snug calf’s. When I was hovering down the motorway I checked my watch and was pretty much shocked to see a 3:15/K pace blinking up.

It just started on the very outskirts of Granollers. People in all places and cheers for all racers. Before the race locals told us only positive things about La Mitja and it turned out to be very much true. Flying down the narrow, crowd filled streets was class and made me forget the suffering. My loose goal was a sub 1:20 finish. With my fuzzy visualization I could identify some 1:20’ish time on the finish line clock. I knew I did not make it but I was content with the race. It is still early and there is enough to improve. A 01:20:52 is a decent start to the season.

We entered a local bar nearby the finish line. Soaked in the sun and some fine beers. As we set in the warm Catalonian February sun we were pretty sure - La Mitja was a total blast!

Monday, 2 February 2015

In Pictures: Catalunya Weekender

Back from sunny Catalunya.

We went to race the annual road clasico which is the Mitja Marató Granollers - Les Franqueses - La Garriga.

Check some visual impressions. Words will follow soon.

Tune of the day: Geto Boys - Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Monday, 26 January 2015

Racereport 2015-03 : 48th Fleiner Cross Serie - 1st Race

I do not really count my competitions, but I highly disbelieve that there is no other race I participated more often then the “Fleiner Cross”. It is one of those races you got to love. Since 48 years it is organised by the same crowd. There is no fanciness at all. No huge crowds. No music. No swanky stunts. Pure XC racing at it’s best.

The Haigern is a plateau just a couple of minutes outside my hometown. The local club, TV Flein, are organising a three race series there. Essentially everyone can run. No matter if you just got your first pair of spikes or you just bought your 20th pair. For every age group there is a competition. As they have some nice loop system, they mix it up from the youngsters to the seniors. Starting with 525 meters up to the main events, the 6450 meters (6 loop) battle.

"They shooting – aw, made you look - You a slave to a page in my rhyme book - Getting big money, playboy your time's up Where them gangstas? Where them dimes at?"
The half in Granollers is just one week away so I played it safe and went for the middle distance race over 3225 meters. As expected it was the so-called “Kotz-Distanz”. I dug in with the youngsters and tried to hold on. The final outcome was an 11:29. Lets see what awaits me next Sunday in Catalonia.

Enjoying the outside. Well, hot wine punch certainly helps.
"Thug girl who fly and talks so nicely Put her in the coupe so she can feel the nice breeze"
Herkert wins the 6k - "King of the town? Yeah, I been that You know I click-clack; where you and your mens at?"
Keeping track the oldskool way.
"What up kid? I know shit is rough doing your bid When the cops came you should have slid to my crib"