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postheadericon How to be comfortable, safe and look good when cycling in extreme events

How to be Comfortable, Safe and Look Good When Cycling in Extreme Events

Recently I took part in an organised cycling event called The Exmoor Beast.I managed to  complete the gruelling “short” course (70 miles of extremely hilly cycling over Exmoor) and during the 6 hours I was in the saddle, I had plenty of opportunity to observe what other cyclists were wearing and now feel well qualified to comment on appropriate wear for such an event. 

There were over 1000 competitors for this challenging event and so I had plenty of opportunity to see a vast variety of clothing worn by my fellow cyclists.  Being an Image Consultant I was interested in colour as well as the technical value of the kit on display.

Some of the elite athletes taking part wore specialist cycling clothing in an array of bright coloured jerseys. These outfits are designed specifically for cycling and make the rider more aerodynamic as well as warm and comfortable.  There is such a wide choice of colours that everybody would be in a position to find their perfect colour.  This type of clothing is available from specialist cycle shops and from the internet.

 The lesser mortals amongst us, such as me, were dressed in a variety of comfortable and heat efficient clothing and some were just wearing shorts and an anorak.  The single most apparent colour amongst the competitors was florescent yellow.  Although it is not a particularly flattering colour for most people, it does make the wearer highly visible. 

When competing in endurance competitions such as the Exmoor Beast, wearing sufficiently warm and comfortable clothing is essential.  Probably the single most important item is a pair of padded shorts!  The weather on Exmoor can change dramatically, but on Sunday we were lucky.  It was a dull day, but dry and not too cold, except when exposed to the strong winds.  I wore three thin layers, the inner one being a sports specific t-shirt that keeps you dry how ever much you sweat and the outer layer being breathable and waterproof.  The outer layer was the perfect turquoise blue, that suits my auburn hair and made me very visible, another essential on a dull November day as mentioned above.  I have to admit to my socks and inner two shirts being a perfect red for my colouring, even though they were not visible on the day, I just can’t help it! 

As I am an amateur cyclist, I was just pleased to have completed the course before it got dark and enjoy the comradely atmosphere of so many people enjoying a day out.  I can hardly express my admiration for the elite cyclists, who completed the 100 mile course in less than 5 hours and just hope that I can improve on my time next year.  My comfort is that I may not be the fastest cyclist but I was wearing colours that suited me!

Whilst safety and comfort are ofcourse essential, there is no reason why you cannot look good wearing flattering colours that suit your natural colouring.

postheadericon Five essentials for skiers and snowboarders

Five essentials for skiers and snowboarders

Have you been skiing in 20 degree weather without your gloves? It can be a memorable and painful experience. If you’ve been there and done that, it helps to have a checklist of things to remember when preparing for a day of skiing or snowboarding. Otherwise, you expect to pay too much money when you get to the pro shop at the ski lodge. For example, consider paying $21.99 for gloves instead of the traditional $1-$10.

This article describes five essentials for skiers and snowboarders.

The first three items are meant to protect the snow enthusiast from the elements. You need a good ski cap that covers your ears and a pair of warm mittens or gloves. Each of these items should be waterproof. For skiers, it takes a good pair of gloves that fits well and still enables you to adjust your boots and unhook your skis. The ski cap should be warm and long enough to cover all of your hair.

The next item is a good pair of snow goggles or sunglasses. When you are up on the mountain during daylight, the sun can create quite a glare on the snow. A simple pair of sunglasses will give you some protection, but a wider pair of snow goggles will protect your eyes and the upper half of your face from the sun. If the goggles are held in place by a wide elastic band, you will also be less likely to lose them on the slopes.

The final items are things that you will need after leaving the mountain. Remember items like a change of dry socks and well-insulated shoes to put on after removing the boots from your tired feet. Some people also find it comfortable to change into fresh pants and a shirt.

When you prepare to hit the slopes, follow this checklist for the most basic things to protect yourself from the severe weather of the snow-covered mountain. Then focus on other items like ski gear or snowboarding gear, boots, sun block, and lip balm.

A final tip is to choose ski pants that have plenty of pockets. You will need places to put your keys, money, locker key, receipts, and other small items while on the slopes.

Have fun in the snow with the added peace of mind that you arrived well-prepared!
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postheadericon Choosing the right carabiners for your climb

Choosing the Right Carabiners for Your Climb

Before going on any climb, you’ll need to access what kinds of equipment you’ll need for your trip and be able to pack your necessary gear accordingly. There are several different types of carabiners that you can choose from that vary according to size, shape and gate size. Having the right carabiners for your trip and understanding how to use them are very important, as your life may be depending on them. Here are some quick tips for choosing the right carabiners for your climb.

Consider Your Needs

Before choosing any kind of carabiner for your trip, you need to consider what you will be using them for. Different styles of carabiners are designed for different tasks, so you’ll want to ask yourself what kinds of climbing you’ll be doing, as well as the kinds of protections you’ll be clipping into. If you’re just starting out climbing, you may want to get the assistance of an expert or experienced salesman for some help.

Explore Your Options

Once you know what kinds of carabiners will be best for your trip, take a trip to the store and look at some examples of carabiners they have there. Try to get a feel for how they work, how easy they are to clip into, and how smoothly the gates work. If you’re looking at getting some locking carabiners, try to get comfortable with locking and unlocking the gate with one hand. You’ll find that different people prefer different models, so choose some that are easy for you to use and operate smoothly.

Does Weight/Size of the Carabiner Matter?

While it’s always best to climb light, be sure to consider the weight of your carabiner as well, as light weight carabiners aren’t always the way to go. Super light carabiners can result in lower gate-opening strengths and eventually a lower life span for your carabiner. Plus, narrow carabiners can harm your ropes as well. The size of your carabiners should really be based off yoru personal preferences. Larger shaped carabiners can be easier to handle and hold a lot of gear, but take up a lot of space and add extra weight to your gear.

Check Your Carabiners

It’s always important to continually monitor your climbing gear to watch out for cracks, sharp edges, corrosion, and other signs of excessive wear and tear. Even a small hairline crack in your carabiner makes them extremely dangerous and should be trashed. If one of your carabiners has a fall greater than 20 feet, it should also not be used.

Climbing is unique from many other sports in that a fall may severely injure or kill the climber. If you have any questions or are unsure about a piece of equipment, be sure to consult with an expert.