As you’ve probably caught on to by now, we’re gear geeks and keen observers of companies’ engagement of the trail running and ultrarunning communities. Traditionally, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (Summer OR) is where some of the biggest trail running gear and news announcements are made. With OR kicking off on Tuesday, July 21, we’re putting out a list of items and announcements that we’d love to see at this OR or in the near future. Please feel free to leave a comment with your own gear dreams.
In addition, at the bottom of this post we list of many of the companies with which we’ll be meeting. If you have a question for any of them or want us to keep an out for something regarding these companies or other OR attendees, please leave a comment.
Be sure to check in over the next few weeks for a run down of iRunFar’s favorite actual new products and announcements at this year’s summer OR. We’ll also be covering some of the many events that occur at OR, such as the Uphill Challenge. (iRF’s coverage of last year’s Erik vs. Kyle Skaggs Uphill Challenge showdown) This year, iRF’s Bryon Powell will be squaring off against Trail Runner Magazine editor Garett Graubins in an all-writer 15-minute battle.
Hydration Monitoring Bladder
Long ago, A Trail Runner’s Blog’s Scott Dunlap dreamt of a CamelBack fluid intake monitor and we think that the time of such a device is nigh. Since last OR, we’ve had a chance to use the HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle, a water bottle that monitors fluid intake via a small turbine built into the bottle’s straw. While the HydracCoach is a bit too difficult to suck fluid out of to make it a useful tool during trail running, the information it provides, such as the rate of fluid intake and total fluid intake would be quite useful while running. The HydraCoach will even calculate a goal fluid intake based on a number of factors.
Our research shows that HydraCoach has developed a hydration pack unit, now its just a matter of seeing when and where the unit is implemented. Given the breadth of Camelbak’s hydration pack line, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the company be the first to implement the HydraCoach hydration pack unit.
Trail Running Shoes with Boa S-1 Technology
Just last week, we saw Tour de France rider David Millar showing off his Specialized S-Works shoe (pictured right) with a Boa lacing system in a TV interview [broken link removed]. During the interview, Nic Sims, the head of Specialized Global Marketing, debuted Specialized’s spring 2010 elite cycling shoe with a brand new Boa technology, the S1 reel system. Unlike the current Boa lacing system, which tightens incrementally but must be fully released to loosen the lacing, the S1 is a “lefty-loosy, righty-tighty” system, as Boa Technology’s Marketing Manager, Garett Graubins describes it.
We’d love to see the S-1 reel incorporated into a trail shoe! The ability to loosen the shoe in slight increments would be great as feet swell during long runs due to pounding, blisters, sprains and strains, bruising, high altitude, electrolyte and hydration issues, wet running socks, and any number of other potential causes. It would be great to be able to quickly lock down a Boa-enabled shoe at the top of a technical climb, and then also to be able to loosen the upper if your feet start to swell after a few thousand feet of descent. We think the incorporation of the S-1 could be a big boon to the first trail shoe company to use it in an ultra-centric model.
Revised Montrail Ultra Cup
There have been calls for Montrail to revise its Montrail Ultra Cup (MUC) for some time. For instance, we pointed out some of MUC’s faults back in July 2008. Well, after much discussion with its sponsored athletes and other stakeholders, Montrail will be announcing significant revisions to the Ultra Cup at a media event being held at 4:30 p.m. MDT on Thursday, July 23 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.
It appears that Montrail will address concerns regarding at least two aspects of the Montrail Ultra Cup. On the Friday before Western States, the Montrail booth displayed a MUC 2009-2010 sign with all but two races covered up. (pictured below) Those two races were Western States and the Where’s Waldo 100k. This suggests that Montrail may be including more races outside of the American River valley as well as longer races in the race series. Based on the Western States sign sighting, a runner only needs to compete in two races to be eligible for awards, only races longer than 50k will result in qualifying slots in the Western States 100, and the 2009-10 Montrail Ultra Cup will include 11 events, beginning and ending with the Where’s Waldo 100k and the Western States 100, respectively.
Be sure to check back with iRunFar.com on Thursday night for more details.
As usual, we’ll be meeting with many of the companies with which trail runners are most familiar. If you have a question regarding any of them, please let us know. Companies on the iRunFar schudule include:
- La Sportiva
- New Balance
- Patagonia Footwear
- The North Face
- Mountain Hardwear
- National Geographic Society