Saturday, 27 June 2015

GSP newspaper feature

Once you made the Heilbronner Stimme there is no turning back!

Great piece about the GSP in a German Newspaper. Click the pic for a direct link or read the english version.

http://www.stimme.de/heilbronn/nachrichten/region/Gemeinsam-am-Limit;art16305,3399302



Thursday, 18 June 2015

shoeporn: Merrell - Bare Access 4

Once Randy Merrell set up his shoe trade in 1981 he rapidly gained recognition through characteristic and long lasting trekking boots. The scenic green mountains territory of Vermont, USA was an impeccable backyard to test new developments and generate a mindset for superior outdoor equipment. A major move in an innovative dimension was the usage of the then all-new Gore Tex material back in 1981. Randy played his cards right when he steadily boosted the product-line to the desires of the increasing outdoor community.

Nowadays, a mere of 30 years later, the brand still drives the market. Further types of shoes are being developed and the running market seems to be a new major focus. The understanding of shoe technologies comes into play with their up-to-the-minute assortment of models.

As I'm always drawn to the minimum approach of shoe styles, the Bare Access 4 held my attention. With a shiny Vibram sole and a slender design this 181-gram lightweight surely glances speedy. The initial jog down the street gave a first sign of what's going to happen - pace. A very direct sense with an efficient 8 mm cushion and the absolute highlight: 0mm Drop (Applause!!!) . With its low cut and comfy thin material this kick is undoubtedly entertaining if you want to get reckless.

As I continue around my traditional trial-circlet that leads from concreted lanes to wobbly trails plus off-road episodes from side to side of my local forest, I get to appreciate a fine made shoe that essentially offers a structured build with a dynamic response. Through several runs the Bare Access supplied a negligible mood without being to stiff and damp. A great all-rounder that worked on the track, while swimrunning plus on the daily training jaunt along the local boulevard. If you would like to run relaxed this shouldn't be your choice. I catched myself several times speeding as the sprightly gait asks for dynamic workouts.

With a retail price of only 100 EUR the Bare Access in its fourth version is a serious contender for some of its costlier competition. There is a lot to like with this one. I look forward to take this one out for more running. Let the fun commence.

Looking slick and fast - Bare Access 4
A blue and beautiful zero drop shoe
Vegan friendly footwear. Hello Aline!
The pretty Vibram outsole
Traditional lace closure
0mm Drop & 8mm Cushion & 13.2mm Stack Height

Tune of the day: Handbooks Debut Record "Thank You". A beast of a record!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Little Big City

A run around around the Slovakian capital. The so called "Beauty on the Danube" - Bratislava


Monday, 15 June 2015

Checked: Meter Magazine Issue #01

By now it should be more then obvious. Once Matt Taylor decides to do somewhat running related is going to be distinctive.

After managing athletes and working in diverse segments of the industry, he started his own apparel company Tracksmith based in Boston. The result is pretty different and rather fresh and sole to the sometimes boring running bazaar. Tracksmith is the equivalent to cycling’s Rapha and takes on the streets with quality styles in an unique old-school way.

But not enough.

He also decided to set up a magazine dedicated to running in its purest and most stylish form – Meter Magazine. Once you get over the dear price of 12 USD you will sense a uncommon publication that stands out to the rest. Meter delivers “great stories and celebrate the competitive spirit of the sport“. Combined with a sense of grace, design and photography, this creation is a collector’s item and a joy to read.
“I’ve been running my entire life and I think it’s one of the most important things someone can do every day. Eat an apple and go for a run.”
Matt Taylor







Sunday, 14 June 2015

Running with the Tide

"I guess the only thing that didn't grow out of this is a baby! Actually, I'm not a 100% sure..." Henning is laughing and takes another sip out of an ice-cold jug of Astra beer. It's close to 11pm on a Wednesday night and a crowd is chilling in the bar of the trendy Superbude hostel in Hamburgs St.Pauli district. Nothing out of the extraordinary for this eventful part of town. The only strange thing is that this crowd is a bit sweaty and covered in running clothes. They call themselves Tide Runners

We just finished a 15k run around Hamburg. Michael was the guide tonight and he took a bunch of about 70 runners across some suburbs. It's a mix of all sorts of types and characters. If there is just one thing that unites this crowd it's running. As simple as the activity is the approach. Old fashioned Running clubs are getting more and more dense and people looking for different sorts of running meet ups.

The New Yorks Bridge Runners were the first running crew that did not really had a social approach. Just a couple of open minded people meet on a defined spot and go for a leisure run around their town. Beers to finish of a nice run around is standard. Exactly that fascinated Lars when he shot the Bridge Runners for a German magazine. He came back home to Hamburg and started the Tide Runners with two friends.

As I'm looking into plenty of happy faces it's more then obvious that the idea is also working outside of NYC. As people drink and talk, the first runners are leaving with a smile, most of them will meet again. Next week. Same place. Different route. Lots of fun!







Tune of the day: Stephan Bodzin - Odyssee

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Checked Thoni Mara

Local made apparel is pretty rare these days. Local made running gear to me is something I never saw.

Fabrication of running gear is a global thing these days. Not so with German brand Thoni Mara. Hailing from the minor eastern village of Jahnsback (Erzgebirge), the sourcing and production is carried out with attention to detail. As athletes themselves the Thoni Mara crew knows what runners need. Paired with a slick and simply design they deliver quality gear “Made in Germany”.

I had the chance to train in their newest Long Tight as well as the LA Shirt. Very comfy and practical gear that I instantly enjoyed, because of the quality material and the perfect fit.

That’s proper german engineering to me!







Monday, 8 June 2015

On point with Nicolas Remires

Two weeks ago SwimRun rookies Nicolas Remires and Julian Dent were the first team to cross the finish line of the Utö competition. A week later, at the Borås race, not one team was able to catch them again. To find out why an Australian Orienteer and a Frenchman pair up to dip and jog around the Baltic sea, I asked team member Nicolas Remires some questions.

Picture Credit: www.catarinaaxelsson.com
RUNssel: You and Julian put on quite a show in the last two weeks. Winning Utö and then Boras a week later. I hope you are tired now!
Nicolas: We are very tired! Especially after Borås.

You stated that you did a course Reece on the island of Utö. Did you do the same for the competition in Boras? What are the key variances amongst the two courses?
As the two of us are living in Stockholm, we didn't do any reckon for Borås, but I did this race last year and I knew the course quite well. We also spent lots of time studying the map (elevation, distance, nutrition station places).

As both of you been living in Sweden since 4 years, what was your initial thought when you heard about SwimRun?
The last few years I spent some time with multisport and adventure athletes. They all talk about ÖtillÖ. I was looking for a new motivation to train hard again and follow a training plan. Julian is a world class orienteer who can swim. He is my best friend and we thought it was a great adventure as a group.

Picture Credit: www.catarinaaxelsson.com

How would you describe the sport of SwimRunning to your training mates back home in France?
I will describe that sport as a real team sport. This is a partnership and friendship adventure. You have to know each other to perform. You have to be strong physically and mentally. The most important thing is to communicate honestly with your partner.

I would also describe it as a single activity sport (it is not an aquathlon or a swim and a run). You have to find the perfect pace in the water and on land to stay steady and strong during the full length of the course.

In France there were already a few articles in our sport magazines in the last few years. In my local area, I have been running with my wetsuit and swimming with my shoes last year and my athlete friends are still a bit sceptical. But I'm sure it will evolve. I hope we will see some SwimRun races in France soon. In Australia, I didn't hear anything yet, but I'm sure some great endurance athletes will start something soon.

From triathlon to mountain running, road cycling, MTB and ski mountaineering, you have done all sorts of endurance sports. What made you try this one and what is the one-off factor with this activity?
I needed a new challenge. I never managed to do the same activity too long. What really attracted me is to go from one place to another one, carrying your gear and staying close to your partner. The Stockholm Archipelago is stunning, so going from one island to another one is a great challenge in itself.

Picture Credit: www.catarinaaxelsson.com

What was the best advice you have been given?
The best advice given to me was to never stop. Always move forward even when you are at the drink stations.

Now, after two fruitful jaunts, if you would give away one tip to another team, what would it be?
I would recommend the following points:
- Spend time training with you partner. It is important to figure out the best settings, especially for the swimming.
- Run in the forest, because in many of these races, there are some technical sections and you can lose a lot of time or injure yourself.
- Get used to run after swimming (especially in cold water). Your body has to be ready to switch from swimming mode (breathing, kicking) to running.

Leading up to this season, how did a normal training week look like for you guys?
We are running almost every day (as much as possible in the forest). I have been swimming 4-6 times a week following the plan of our great Italian coach Luca Mazzurana. We are trying to increase the distance in both disciplines the closer we get to ÖtillÖ.

The last 4 weeks before the first race on Utö island was also important to get used to the water temperatures and to use the specific racing equipment.

Via merit selection you guys are already qualified for ÖtillÖ. How will you approach the build-up and the race?
For the preparation, we have 3 months to get ready to race the distance. It is a big challenge. We will spend this time discovering our 8h race pace in the water and on land. The training block on the ÖtillÖ course is starting this week. We will increase the training durations and also try to recover a lot between the long sessions.

Anything else I should know? Any individual competitions coming up? What is next for you?
For me it is 3 months of training in the Stockholm area but also in France for 4 weeks. Julian has a few orienteering races planned. We will race the Ångalöppet in August then finally ÖtillÖ. Full focus on some proper training now.

Picture Credit: www.catarinaaxelsson.com

Friday, 5 June 2015

Racereport 2015-08: Utö Swimrun 2015

Possibly around 80% of this 4:39:06 Hours competition was spend in ache. Occasionally you just don’t feel it on race day. The body does not do what it did weeks and month’s prior in various training sessions. I felt flat from the start. I didn’t really get in the smack of things during this 4:39:06 Hours.

Perchance of about 80% I would have dropped out and called it a day. But I did not.

“This was a team-spirit booster!” We unbolted another ice-cold bottle of ÖtillÖ beer in the warm midday sun. Fabian hit the note. SwimRun is a team game. There is not a good or a bad partner. There is only a team.

The team racing character intrigued us. That’s why we formed our notorious “The German Sparkle Party” over a year ago. In our third SwimRun getaway we did not perform to the level we probably could have but we executed a team performance that sticks out. Notwithstanding the troubles, we never argued. Positive thinking was top of the agenda. Just as it should be.

Looking back our 18th place was far from bad. We finished just about 11 minutes out of the top 10. Viewing at the distance and the comparably weak running performance we can be pleased with everything that went down during the 3rd running of the Utö SwimRun.

I must have written it a couple of times, but I’m not getting tired by the beauty of this sport. The outing around Utö was another proof of how scenic Swedish landscape is and of a unique spirit that this sport creates. Last September we came to Sweden as vacationer. This year we left as friends. Credits to each and everybody for their positivity. Lets keep this sport exactly this way! See you all in 35 days down in the Engadin valley.

If you want to read more about the race you might check my article over at slowtwitch.com, read a full report on the German Sparkle Party website, have a glimpse at the race pictures or head over to read some article from a german newspaper.


Tune of the day: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf and the amazing "Men of the Rás" by Nathaniel Rosa. Great work!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

#utoswimrun15

The season is about to start this Sunday, May 31st 2015 with the race around the island of Utö, Sweden.

You might follow the race live starting at 10:20 CET via the official UTÖ SWIMRUN Live Website.

We are Team Number 29 - “The German Sparkle Party floating with HUUB”

Thanks for all the support!

http://yourgsp.tumblr.com/

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Neckarhalde

Some snaps taken in and around my local pool, the Neckarhalde. Despite being 75 years old one of the best 50 meter outdoor pools around.










Thursday, 21 May 2015

shoeporn: Haglöfs - Gram Comp II

In February 2014 I had the chance to practise with one of Haglöfs initial trail running shoes – the so-called Gram XC (LINK). Immediately I was charmed by the characteristic quality, light weight, varied functioning as well as the unique chic. Now, a mere of a year later, Scandinavia’s major seller of outdoor equipment is back with an improved version – the Gram Comp II.

In July 2010 Asics bought Sweden's Haglöfs and a good bit of Japanese knowledge can be found in the current shoe. A visible sign for Asics involvement is the sole. It is hard to overlook the "Sound Mind, Sound Body" famed symbol. The sole of the Gram Comp II is made out of a material called AHAR+, which stands for “Asics High Abrasion Resistance Rubber”. The rubber they used with this shoe is pretty versatile. I used the first model on the roads but mostly on trails. I did the same with the Gram Comp II and I found the performance and the variety of qualities to be even further improved. The qualities of this shoe matched my needs for daily training pretty much impeccable. As I run a range of easy and wide forest alleyways, a good portion of rocky and technical trails as well as simple paved roads, Haglöfs featherweight in the running shoe collection, seems to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Initially made for trails, containing a proper Rock Protection plate that protects the foot against rocks and branches, the shoe is also pretty comfortable on the road. The nicely designed cushion gives a good feel. Tempo Runs and even a track workout (...as I forgot my flats at home) were handled pretty effectively. A big seller to me is the weight of 26g. Together with the proper cushioning this is something not to overlook for a daily training shoe and even for a great trai racing shoe on moderate not to technical terrain. The grip oft he sole is good but during rocky terrain it needs some experience to guide the blue Swede around the passages.

Not only because of the matchless glance this shoe should not be ignored. With the second episode of the Gram series Haglöfs made the jump and shaped a truly great running shoe. Following the noble presentation of the former models I thought this was hard to top. They did it by improving the frameworks, striking skinny tongue, a lightweight midsole infused with the Solyte technology as well as the minimal stitch count that ensures a suave upper.

Haglöfs, what are you going to improve with the next shoe?

All-rounder - off the beaten path or on the street.

Wet Grip Rubber with rice husk for improved grip in wet conditions.

The orange Asics Fell Racer wet grip sole.

Water repellent structured polyester

More Asics knowledge - GEL rearfoot cushioning

Scandinavian Styler

Wet Grip Rubber - trail grip and compfy on the road.

Just looking good.

Distinctive style that sticks out.
Tune of the day: MoTrip - Mathematik