Cannondale C3 Stem 100mm Weight

There is only one Cannondale C3 stem. However there are two different faceplate types that have a difference in weight. I borrowed the posts from two weight weenies to show the difference of grams between the two types of faceplate.

Cannondale has four level of stems...
C1 (lightest and strongest)
C2 7000 series aluminum
C3 6000 series alumnium
C4 (heaviest and weakest)

Let's take a quick look...
Thanks to prendrefeu's post on weightweenies forums and choiboi's post on roadbikereview forums.

Cannondale C3 100mm stem with dual arm face clamps and steel bolts: 114.6g

Cannondale C3 100mm stem with full face plate clamp and steel bolts: 132g

To compare...

There is one difference between the C2 and C3 stems:
1. The C2 is made from 7000 series aluminum and the C3 with 6000 series aluminum. The 7000 series is stronger due to a higher proportion of metal in its properties but the strength overall between the two in cycling applications will not be noticeable to a rider if it's the frame or stem. Aluminum bikes are often made with 6000 or 7000 series aluminum and no one notices a difference in the ride or strength of the frame or parts.

Conclusion: The C3 with dual arms (not the full face plate) at $20 - $25 is a good stem, good weight, at an excellent price. It's even decent with the full faceplate which is about 9g heavier. I just received my stem, new stock and it weighed in at 141g as you can see below. So I think the stem above may have Titanium bolts which are nearly 10g less than the steel ones or it's a shorter stem.

C3 100mm full faceplate = 141g

Weight of Cannondale C2 90mm Stem with Steel Bolts

119g with rusted steel bolts with dual face clamp arms. 


Want DirectTV Now on Xbox One? Google TV will have to work for now.

UPDATE: DirectTV Now for Xbox is currently in development.

I currently switched over from the Amazon FireStick and Chromecast with SlingTV to the Xbox system with Google TV and Amazon Prime, I haven't looked back since. The ease of use, stability of stream, and perfectly executed features have won me over.

We live in an area where the local stations OTA HD signals don't reach us from Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles, so I was interested in the DirectTV Now offering. HOWEVER, they DON'T HAVE AN APP FOR XBOX yet! So....   I went with YouTube TV being and have been impressed overall.

Firstly, the streams are high quality HD and will adjust if there's latency on a mobile device. But you get live local stations, has a great DVR and Library features, and using it is fairly intuitive. This is how TV should be. One feature I would like to see is the ability to enter channel numbers to go to a specific channel instantly. I currently have a Talon Media Remote for the Xbox which I use for watching streaming TV. I also watch it on the go on my Android phone and have my wife as a user on the account.

You can have up to 6 family members with their own account.
There can be 3 concurrent streams at one time.
The DVR features and functionality is one of the best.
The Library is useful for accessing all of your media, favorited/saved shows and movies.
Available in 39+ markets (click here to check in your area).


Best Phones of 2017 - Samsung S8 and iPhone X followed by Pixel 2, LG V30, and OnePlus 5T

I finally retired my Moto X (Gen 1), which is hands down the best mobile phone I have ever owned. I've had a number of different Nexus phones and Motorola phones, but the original Moto X is one I'll remember as incredibly well designed with a minimal but customized take on the Android OS's behavior. It was the best Android phone of 2013 and likely 2014 with the 2nd and 3rd Gen phones. My Moto X still works great but I had an itch to scratch...

First came the Samsung S8 and S8+. Right now I think it's the phone in the perfect price point. It has a great screen at 5.8" edge to edge screen, wonderful technology like iris, face, and fingerprint recognition, heart rate monitor, great camera, and did I mention the screen? It is also at a good price point of $620 on Amazon. It comes with 64MB RAM, Qualcomm 835, 4GB RAM, and expanded memory slot up to 256GB. How far ahead is Samsung? Google Pixel 2 just released with the same specs but without a micro USB storage, without headphone jack, AND only a 5-inch screen using a Samsung OLED available to $749.

If you want the bigger Samsung S8+ with the same, it's only $723 on Amazon (prices back to $800 as of 1/26/2018. The Google Pixel 2 XL is $849 for the 6" model.

Samsung S8's large screen, minimal bezel, and Samsung's OLED are really tough to beat. Samsung wins hands down in the design category as well. It has elegant and user friendly design, edge to edge curved screen, minimal bezel on the bottom and slim one on top. I have no idea why people complain about the fingerprint scanner location, because I think it's perfect. The location of the fingerprint scanner is great, perfect for when I'm reading or watching the screen and need to unlock it constantly. I use it combination with the Iris Recognition unlock feature and it works great. The S8s also have a heart beat monitor on the back (next to the camera lens) and health software to keep you on your toes and guess what, the GPS will work overseas as well since it not only supports North America positioning satellites but Asia's as well. Also, bloatware is minimal, but I also think they can all be useful. I thought I was going to disable most of them but I've kept them around since I'm new to Samsung's ecosystem. They also have themes, selfie masks, customized icons and background themes, and lots more.

Then comes in the iPhone X... A phone I would have considered if I bought into the Apple ecosystem. Don't get me wrong, I love the hardware but I personally feel iOS (and Android for that matter) are just OK. It's not very customizable or open for creativeness when it comes to adding personality to your phone. Don't get me wrong, I think the iPhone X is the best phone that Apple has ever made and it's the only iPhone that I have considered. I think as Android (specifically custom versions from from Samsung, LG, and OnePlus) and iOS start to diverge on features and UX design behaviors, it'll be easier to switch between the two but for now, the price point of the iPhone X is astronomical even if it has the biggest design change in years and captivated the iPhone audience. It is one cool and beautiful phone.

I'm not going to even link to the other contenders this year because these two phone make the other phones seem boring. If not considering a Samsung S8 or Apple iPhone X, try Motorola. Their Z series phones are modular, adding some gimmicks and additional usefulness, such as a projector,  JBL speaker, battery case, and 360 camera.

Google Pixel 2 - like the others in this final list are dated looking. The tech features or gimmicks are not as fun, there's OS originality but no personality. No fun.
LG V30 -  which has an amplified headphone jack for you audiophiles is a big draw on top of the excellent version of Android.
OnePlus 5 - with the Oxygen Android OS is better than stock Android, which is releasing in a few weeks according to rumors and at a fair price point, delivering spec that are sometimes better than the big players at lower prices.


Best of 2017 Compact Car- Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid - Save tons in gas money (and help out the environment too)

If you are considering a new compact car, you should take a close look at the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid. The world is running out of reasons to only sell and supply hybrid and EV vehicles as cars like the Ioniq come along that are better than most hybrids and regular compact cars such as the Corolla, Elantra, Civic, and Focus.  With the Hyundai Iconiq, now anyone can buy a reasonably priced, fuel efficient compact car. Please note, I do not own any of these cars but have driven all of them, I currently drive an Audi.

In 2017 the Hyundai Iconiq Hybrid, Chevy Volt, and Toyota Prius are the top hybrids, but, with a tip of the hat to Hyundai to produce the first hybrid to feel and drive like a real car, it is also one of the best compact cars on the market as well. A similarly equipped Elantra or Focus is only $1000-$1500 less than the Ioniq Blue (base model) which starts at $22,200. You can save about $1500 a year in gas so your investment will return positive value in 2 years!

Hyundai Ioniq (hybrid) has been touted as a Prius killer at 58 MPG combined city/highway with a total range of 690 miles in the Blue model all at $22,200. The Chevy Volt (plugin/hybrid) claims up to a 420 mile range and 42 MPG combined but starts at a hefty $34,095. The Chevy EV Bolt gets 238 miles to the full charge! So there are lots of choices out there as automobiles are switching over to electric tech. The Ioniq also comes with Android Auto support, now with Waze integrated into Android Auto. The only car more affordable than these two hybrid is Toyota's Prius C at $20,630.

The Ioniq feels and drives like a car using a dual clutch transmission instead of a CVT, it's the first hybrid to look and feel like a regular car since the Chevy Volt approach. They've also perfected the combustion engine to electric engine transitions, they are seamless and quiet, you cannot tell when they switch. The Ioniq also has decent combined horsepower at 138hp combined, only the Volt has more at 149hp combined.

Hyundai also has a full EV car though not as advanced as the Chevy Bolt EV or Testla Model 3 EV. Hyundai is also bringing a plug-in hybrid in September 2017 to rival the Chevy Volt (plugin/hybrid) with battery capacity for 26 mile range just running on electric.

For 2017, there are a lot of 2nd placers and they range up and down the price scale. Mostly reaching 40/45 MPG in the sedans and SUVs returning around 30MPG combined mileage.

Ford Fusion Hybrid 
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Honda Accord Hybrid
Audi eTron
Acura MDX Hybrid
Lexus GS Hybrid
Porsche Cayenne Hybrid

Coming Soon:
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Testla Model 3

Spirit Airlines vs. United Airlines - economy seating legroom: Spirit Airlines wins

I am not tall by any mean, 5'6" so typically legroom isn't an issue as is the seat size but had two varying experiences on a budget airline and one of the big name airline.

United Airlines - Economy - 737 Boeing
Cons: Last October, I took a direct flight on United Airlines flight from LAX to BOS on a 737 and squeezed into the economy seats.  On both the outbound and return flights my knees nearly touched the front seat and the poor fellow next to me was at least 6'3" in the middle seat who put on a contortion act for us. Even worst, United allows these seats to recline just the slightest creating even less space between the seat in front.

Pros: United had LCD entertainment monitors with content you can purchase during the 3-4 hour flight

Spirit Airlines - Economy - A320 Airbus
Cons: Just last week I took a direct flight on Spirit Airlines from LAX to LAS on an A320 Airbus. The only downside I can think of is that their seats did not have any entertainment centers in the seats. Being a very short flight it wasn't necessary.

Pros: I had ample legroom, at least 2 to 3 inches compared to the longer flight to Boston on United Airlines. The price of the ticket more than reasonable while the seats were wide enough and had ample leg room even at rows 27 outbound and 20 inbound.

I thought I would hate flying on a budget airline such as Spirit Airlines. However, Spirit Airline has really keyed in their product with a young fleet of jets and exceptional pricing for the bare flight. For short flights I would absolutely use them again. I have a hard time saying the same about United Airlines economy. One thing they do have in common is that it's easy to add on extras such as booking larger seats (cheaper on Spirit typically) and paying for carryons or checked luggage as well as snacks on both flights.

For budget economy legroom and pricing, Spirit Airlines tops United budget economy.  

Uvex Race 5 vs Kask Mojito

Trying to decide on which best cycling helmet to buy? There are lots to choose from but as a quality analyst I tend to be pickier and more analytical than many. Coming from a Uvex Race 5, an impeccable piece of German designed and manufactured equipment, I've decided to try a Kask Mojto (without MIPS). Some may say the KASK Vertigo would be a more equivalent comparison which is a fair statement.


Firstly, I am very familiar with the Uvex Race 5 product. Having worn one for the past 3 years. Designed and manufactured in Germany, the fit and finish is superior. To my great pleasure for things of highest detail, there are no rough edges in any of the vents, has a great sizing and strap system that can be customized to fit perfectly with vertical movement of the head band, an adjustment knob, and easy to use button clip, as well as clips for easily adjusting the left and right ride where the ears are. The antimicrobial padding system is very comfortable and can be removed to be cleaned.

Wind tunnel tested? I can attest the aero influenced helmet slips through the air with very little drag when speeding 40+MPH down a hill or against the wind. It really is a pleasure to use in any weather, while not a perfect climbing helmet, there are enough vent to let heat escape and get some wind flow. Not to mention, the helmet is light in weight.

I simply love the fine finish, excellent customizable fit, and flexible adjustment system. After 3 years and over 10,000 miles in it, some of the rubberized parts are finally beginning to show signs of age but still fully functional.

Enter my next choice in helmet, the Kask Mojito (without MIPS). Designed and manufactured in Italy. The helmet is stylish looking, fits like a glove, and comes in a popular assortment of colors as well as team colors. The fit and adjustment systems are excellent. It also adorns the vertical adjustment hinge for the rear band. The padding is ample (which helps with the glove like fit) and enough vents to let good airflow. The helmet also includes removeable pads that can be cleaned between rides. Something like this makes a good climbing/summer helmet.

The KASK Mojito lacks the fine finish I see in most helmets on the market. There are rough edges in the vents and in the helmet I received, there is a bit of lip lip on the right inner vent on my helmet where the polycarbonate shell isn't perfectly molded onto the foam core. Otherwise the sleek look, glove like fit, and flexible adjustment system is very appealing.

The adjustment mechanisms are pretty similar enough and flexible enough to be an even draw between helmets. The padding is a bit more ample on the KASK Mojito which gives it the glove like fit. Where the KASK Mojito gets the upper hand is the Italian styling, glove-like fit, and the availability in a greater number of color combinations and team colors also.

However, where the KASK Mojito doesn't meet the impeccable precision of other helmets on the market. With the rough edges in the vents and the polycarbonate not set into the mold well on the center vent on my helmet, quality control may be an issue.

In reflection, the ultimate perfect helmet would be the combination of both KASK's styling with Uvex's wind tunnel tested finish which is probably the Uvex Race 1 model. Here are additional links to reviews of the Uvex Race 1 and the KASK Mojito. In addtion here is a link to their Uvex Race 5 review.

FOLLOW UP: After visiting some local bike shops and comparing low cost to high cost helmets from Giro, Bontrager, and Lazer helmets in shop, I couldn't find one with any problems with the finishes that I have with the KASK Mojito I received. I will be returning it and trying a different supplier to see if the issue persists across the model or if I had just gotten a bad helmet that simply got past quality control.


Is MoviePass penalizing its most loyal subscriber base? Offers more expensive take it or leave it plans to existing customers.

My wife and I both have MoviePass subscriptions but I somehow am the only one to receive a take it or leave it option to more expensive plans, they also don't offer me the lowest priced subscriptions currently available.

I am confused and disappointed by the way MoviePass has decided to treat me, one of their most loyal customers. We don't watch more than 5-8 films a month and sometimes during cheaper matinee shows. This experience is disappointing being supportive subscribers with MoviePass for the past 2 years and talking it up to friends and colleagues.

The strategy they are using is to track their subscribers usage (and perhaps average ticket price) then force the subscriber to pay more for less. Part of the problem is likely that the theaters and production companies may not find MoviePass's user data all that valuable, so the only way for MoviePass to be profitable is to hope that their subscribers watch 6 or less movies a month for $40.

In light of this change, I've considered if my funds would be better used to subscribe to HBO Now, Amazon Prime, and/or Netflix. A subscription to HBO Now and Netflix is only about $30 to $40 a month compared to the $75 for two subscriptions to MoviePass.  We can also get tickets online through AAA for $8.50 that are good for any 2D movie at anytime, even peak weekend hours. We may go out the movies less but we'll be saving money not just on movies but eating out as well. Eating Thai delivery and watching the latest episode of Homeland or Game of Thrones doesn't sound bad at all.

*Some subscribers claim only being offered $45 to $50 for (6) movies a month or only the $99 a month plans which may be due to the area they are located.

Still want to experience more?
View this email in your browser
Dear John,

We started MoviePass to make it easier to see more movies in theaters and encourage the exploration of cinema.  We constantly strive to provide the best service to make this possible, and as a result, we are making some adjustments to our membership plans.  
Below we have 2 new plans to choose from.  The Premium Plan now features any large screen format.  In addition, we now have a Standard Plan that offers a total of 6 2D movies per month.
Once you’ve had a chance to review plan options, as well as read and approved the updated Terms and Conditions, please select your new plan, which will begin on the next billing cycle on 07/26/2016:

Your plan will take effect at the start of your next billing cycle. You also have the option to cancel at no charge.  If no decision is made by your next bill cycle, your account will be placed on hold.  We look forward to providing you the best theatrical subscription service on America’s largest theater network.

For more information check out our blog post here.
Select Plan
Thank you for your continued support and love of cinema.

The MoviePass Team
Copyright © 2016 MoviePass, All rights reserved.

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Uber, greatest thing since sliced bread but be wary of new Uber drivers, includes Lyft too.

My wife had a flight booked from San Francisco to Los Angeles, she gets on Uber and an Uber driver is just around the block who accepts the request for service. HOWEVER, the driver then claims the ride as being picked up and then continues to drive away from her to downtown San Francisco. My wife watches helplessly as the Uber driver drives into San Francisco while on the phone with my wife, and all the while collecting the fare.

At this point, since the driver seemed crazy or lost, and it looked like my wife may not be making her her flight. So we decided to request a Lyft. After 20 minutes of requesting a Lyft, the original Uber driver shows up (Lyft where were you? Late?), who then continues to tell my wife they would keep driving after they dropped her off as to offset the fare? WHAT?

A prompt email and call was made to Uber about this experience. Especially the part about the driver starting the fare as "picked up" when she wasn't in the vehicle. Otherwise, we've had good experience with Uber and uberPool.

Sling TV, HBO Now, and other apps unstable except on mobile devices sums it up.

UPDATE: 2016

SlingTV and HBO Now are fairly stable on Android and iOS devices but on the Amazon FireTV Stick, it seems to be a blackhole of freezes and resets somedays. I've come to the conclusion that Amazon FireTV is good for one thing and that's Amazon Prime and Amazon provided content. Third-party apps seem unstable consistently.

However on Chromecast, when casting from my iPad or Android phone it works flawlessly. One caveat however, I believe that your mobile device needs to support HD 1080 video for it to cast HD video to Chromecast.


Cutting the cord with the Sling TV app and Amazon Fire TV Stick Review (Sept. 2015)

I recently decided to cut the cord to cable TV. I purchased an Amazon Fire TV Stick for Amazon Prime and subscribed to SlingTV. However, the only caveat is that SlingTV isn't the most stable on the Amazon Fire TV Stick but good enough. SlingTV works very well on mobile devices.

Amazon FireTV Stick
Mobile devices iPad and Android phone

- Cut cable bill from $155/month for 300Mbps with cable TV to $65/month for 100Mbps/5Mbps only internet connection. HUGE savings. Netflix and Amazon Video only need about 25Mbps for an HD stream. Amazon Prime is $99/year.
- Sling TV Orange subscription includes log in for WatchESPN app in addition to it's 20+ channel line up and additional subscription packages. $20 a month, you can get the Blue subscription for $25/month or both for $40/month.
- Amazon Prime is now on the 56" TV and nearly flawless, there are many TV shows and movies available, as well as kids content.

- SlingTV is not perfect on the Amazon Fire TV Stick, but just good enough or I'll switch over to my iPad.


I'm saving nearly $90 a month and getting all the content I could possibly want to watch. Amazon Prime on Amazon Fire Stick works nearly flawlessly for all of Amazon's content and included Prime TV and Movies with their yearly subscription, as well as rentals and purchases. I have SlingTV for live TV such as CNN, ESPN, Bloomberg, HGTV, History Channel, etc.

SlingTV is pretty good, a little slow sometimes and unstable on the Amazon Fire TV Stick but good enough for me. It works nearly flawlessly on mobile devices such as iPads and Android phones. They have an Orange subscription for $20/month which includes ESPN and ESPN2, as well as some content available the WatchESPN app. Their Blue subscription for $25/month includes NBC, NBC Sports, Fox Sports 1 and 2, as well as other sports channels but no ESPN. You can get both for $40.

2013 - Mavic Aksium Wheels seams that look like cracks

I  noticed that there are cracks in the wheels directly across from the valves. I first thought they were broken and possibly manufacture defects. However, I found out they are simply non-welded seams. One of the seams are a little uneven but they are smooth on the brake pad side. Apparently they are there by design just in case you were wondering they were too.


Sparkle Athletic (Team Sparkle) Virtual 5k for Rett Syndrom Awareness

I am a little late to the game but help support my friends and their efforts to help find a cure for Rett Syndrome and raise awareness.

Participating is easy:

1. Sign up for the #TeamSparkle virtual 5k. Registration is open 2/9/15 – 2/24/15.

2. Run/walk/roll at least 3.1 miles (5k) anytime between now and Saturday, April 11th, 2015. However, we’d suggest you complete the 5k the weekend that we are running Ragnar So Cal (April 10th-11th). YOU will be receiving a real, actual bib AND a beautiful, sparkly, die cast #TeamSparkle medal the week of April 6th.

3. Share your pictures with the rest of #TeamSparkle on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags #ragnar4rett and #TeamSparkle. Post pics of your #flatsparkle (the clothes & gear you are rocking), your medal, your run, and anything else you want to share. Although you may be racing virtually, by posting your pics to our Facebook page, or using the hashtags on Instagram and Twitter - we can cheer everyone on! -

See more at: and sign up!

2014 - Asics vs New Balance vs Brooks and more

I ran 500 miles in few months this year and put some miles into some shoes. It's been 3 years since my first examination of Asics vs New Balance and my observations haven't changed. This time I'm adding in Brooks and Merrell Barefoot shoes into the mix.

Asics use gel soles with some of their Blur series using light, supple foam. Uppers are still ample and high quality. 
New Balance uses their Abzorbz Foam technology with light, durable fabrics in their newer and light shoes.
Both still do the job well, both offer a range of supportive to neutral running experiences. When comparing their newer lighter offerings, they become similar in many ways.

Asics still provides subtle gel-cushion, protective shoes with lighter than ever materials while keeping their snug wrap around feel. The latest Asics Kayano 20 are light, supportive, and probably the best rendition of the Kayano I have ever tried and I've been a fan since the Kayano 16s. I have a problem with pronation so after about 120 miles the cushioning became lopsided. I'd recommend these for 150 miles of running. Might last longer for those with less pronation or suppination (landing on the outside of the foot). They are on the higher end of shoe prices but the technology speaks for itself. You can often find last year's models on clearance. They still make the ultra cushioned and supportive Cumulus and Nimbus for those with a need for more cushioning.

New Balance 890s are still a public and triathlete favorite with a generous heel and nice mid-to-forefoot rake. I'm more of fan of the RC1400 and RC1600v2. These are minimally cushioned, flatter, neutral running mates. They do come in a little narrow so you'll need to try them on. I found them to be ultra light, provides just enough cushioning (my best 1/2 marathon of 1:46.43 was in the RC1400), and they are more neutral as they don't have an aggressive heel-to-toe rise. It's subtle and feels natural.

This year I ran 208 miles in a pair of Brooks Cadence 2. They are into their 3rd version of the shoe and they are cushioned, light, and the integrated tongue is great so it never drifts to one side. These shoes lasted me about 200 miles on pavement before I had to stop wearing them. The tread was still decent but again with my weight bearing on the outside of the foot, it wore it down at about 175 miles into them. Fresh and new, these are a great set of shoes and I can see why people love Brooks.
Brooks Cadence 3
Merrel Road Glove 2

Recently I started running in Merrel Road Glove 2 minimalist shoes. Been loving it, only running about 12 miles a week.

Merrel Trail Glove 2

I also ran the Wild Wild West Marathon/50k (3rd oldest trail marathon in the USA) in a pair of Merrell Trail Glove 2.

New Balance RC1400 Glow
I'll be running next week at the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland (10k+1/2 Marathon) in a pair of New Balance RC1400s (the glow in the dark ones).

So go out there, try on some shoes. Have fun and let your feet and body be happy.


Goodbye heel strike! Hello neutral strike and good running form!

I've been hampered by a hamstring strain since October but kept running on it and finally got my gait checked out and been seeing a physical therapist for the past 3 weeks. Since October, I've turned to a high veggie diet, started working on core strength, hip strength, leg strength, and foot strength.

First was watching a video of my bad gait. My right foot obviously landing oddly. Then last week the PT found my left foot is pigeon toed. Foot strengthening and ankle strengthening is supposed to help correct this issue. With the hamstring, increasing hip strength, glute medius and maximus, while increasing core strength is supposed to aid in this new running form I'm trying to adopt.

I'm learning it takes time, lots of practice, and many hours put in running to develop the muscle memory and the muscles in the right places to support a good running form. It's actually more work than I thought which has made me realize how inactive so many other muscles were in my bad running form.

I'm also reading the Cool Impossible by Eric Orton (He coached Christopher McDougal who wrote Born to Run). The book is filled with feet, leg, and core strengthening exercises all aimed at strengthening running. It's been almost 4 weeks, I'm feeling a little stronger, a little better in form, and running isn't painful anymore, just hard work! One my moments of realization was landing each step with the core and starting the knee drive from my feet to my core and hips. So much to work on...

I've also switched to zero drop shoes. I'm feeling a little weakness in my feet but slowly strengthening. I'm running in Brooks PureFlow2 which are cushioned zero drop and RC1400 racing flats. My next purchase may be a pair of Altra which run about a half-size small.

Richard Diaz of Diaz Human Performance giving me a gait and VO2 analysis.


The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend- 2014 Dopey Challenge - 48.6 Miles COMPLETED!

Last weekend me and my girlfriend completed the Walt Disney World - Dopey Challenge which consists of a 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, and Full Marathon on consecutive days. The total is supposed to be 48.6 miles but with the extra walking to bathrooms, pictures, and side things it came out to about 50 miles on my Garmin.

Firstly the events are fun and if you stay at the Disney World Resort at a Disney Hotel they provide the transportation to the hotel/resort and all the events, including the runDisney Expo. Also if you stay at a Disney World hotel you get to their new MagicBands! This becomes your room key, park tickets, credit card... nearly everything!

Transportation from the airport

Magic Bands!

We arrived Tuesday night, had a nice dinner at The Flying Fish on the boardwalk (took a taxi). Great food, we really liked this restaurant. It was the best fine dining experience we had all weekend.

On Wednesday, took the shuttle to the Disney World ESPN Sports Complex to pick up our runner packets, drop bags, and jersies. We also picked up a Dopey Challenge commemorative pin and a couple other small items. It was all really well run and in the lines were smaller and moved quickly in the other buildings compared to the main expo center. They had a lot of new runDisney themed shoes too. Notice the little Mickey symbols inside the shoe!

Wide World of Sports

runDisney booth

runDisney Expo

runDisney New Balance shoes

We stopped and talked with our friends at Sparkle Athletic where my girlfriend picked up a pair of their Shwings (little wings that attach to your shoe) and also picked up a pair of Altra shoes where they had a nice expo price for them. We had a late lunch appointment at Fulton's Crab House in Downtown Disney and then tickets to Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba that evening so headed down there.

Fulton's Crab House is the boat

La Nouba theater

So... the running events... waking up and going to the 5k was not so bad. We got these cute pluto medals made of rubber. We spent the day at Animal Kingdom and returned to our room early in the evening. We went to bed as usual and made it to the 10k the next morning a little tired. After completing the 10k we headed to Epcot and spent the day there. We made it a point to return to the room early and get to bed by 8PM and wow it worked wonders because we were getting up at 3AM each day for the events.

1/2 Marathon start

We ran the 1/2 Marathon without issue. It went through Epcot and Magic Kingdom, ended early enough and we spend the day napping for a couple hours then headed off back to Epcot for the Pasta Dinner Party, we started walking back around 8:30 (since it opened at 7PM) and it started to pour! Wow! We got drenched and made it back into bed by about 10. Next time we are going to skip the pasta party since we really need the sleep to get up at 3AM each day, so we learned something. Excellent! However after getting our pictures with all the characters, we got back a little a later than intended. We only got about 5 hours of sleep before waking up to go to the full marathon.

Pictures with all the characters each event is themed with

The full marathon was grueling but not as bad as anticipated. We ran through all four parks and I was tight and a little sore from the 1/2 marathon the day before. So I went it at a slow pace but it was great running through some incredibly cool areas of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. I tried all I could to keep up with the 4:45 group but ended up finishing at 5:11ish.

Walt Disney World Marathon start

Disney Speedway (we got to run around the whole race track and they had lots of cool cars to take pictures with)

Overall we had a great time running the events, it is really well organized and the bling was worthy of every minute running. We got to visit all the parks and even spent time with a friend, all on this trip. Will I ever try the Dopey Challenge ever again? I really don't think so but it was a wonderful experience to run the Inaugural Dopey Challenge and the Inaugural 10k to get those limited edition keepsakes. Thanks runDisney, Disney World, and all volunteers and workers that made this a really cool event!

Epcot during the 5K
Thanks for the magical memories!


Are New Balance 890 v2 and v3 good?

New Balance improved the 890 models with the v2 making them possibly the best triathlete running shoe for 2012. I personally feel they are one of the top running shoe choice out there right now.

The New Balance 890v2 includes huge improvements upon their previous v1 models. New Balance has improved the tread and the shoes are especially designed for neutral runners with little heel to toe rise. The treads are grippy and more durable, the shoes feel lighter, and somehow they encourage neutral gate running. Also they are well cushioned and their light weight let's the legs cycle through easily.

With the release of the 2013 890v3, which are just as good if not better than the v2s, you can find bargains on the v2 models at stores now.  On a side note, they do fit like they are 1/2 a size smaller but they break in over time fit snuggly like an extension of foot rather than over supportive clogs. They definitely are my current favorite running shoes.


2013 Asics vs. New Balance - Running Shoes

Asics Gel-Cirrus33 2
Asics use a gel like cushioning they call Gel. They are well known for this and many people prefer them. New Balance uses a foam based cushioning which is just as effective and most of the time, feels lighter. Other brands include Nike, Brooks, Saucony, Reebok, etc. but this article is about Asics vs. New Balance for 2013.

My shoes from 2011 kept up so well during 2012, I didn't have a chance to write about anything new in 2012! However in 2013 it's a different story. Just a reminder, I link to the men's version of the shoes most of the time but they are available in women's models as well.

The 2013 Asics Running Shoes  product line includes a whole line of Asics 33 standard shoes. Remember they started off with the Blur33 and Rush33 in 2011? Now they have over 12 combinations of Asics33 models. They still have the Blur33 but now in the company of the Cirrus33, Lyte33, Neo33, and Excel33. No longer is the Rush33.

Asics GT-2000 GTX
The second generation or 2.0 models of the Asics 33 Collection still come with the gel like cushioning and good quality uppers. The Cirrus33s provide maximum cushioning and flexibility while the Lyte33s offer a lighter and faster option. These shoes work for me really well with bare feet, that is without socks on.

Asics continues to manufacture some of the most popular running shoes in terms of support shoes and cushioned shoes. The Nimbus 14 and Cumulus 14 continue to be the their highly cushioned shoes.

New Balance 890v3
For support shoes, the Kayano 19 and GT series are still the meat of their line-up. My favorites are the GT2000-GTX series with trail friendly GoreTex and treads since I'm on the trails and run in wet weather. The GT-3000 series are for serious over-pronators and the GT-2000 are solid as always, they are just a tad lighter than the Kayano but still provide that keen support. The Kinsei 4 is an even lighter alternative at 11.4 ounces. Asics continues to selection of trail and cushioned shoes as well on the Asics Running website.

So what about New Balance? They've been busy too, in addition to the 890v3, the 3rd version of my favorite mid-support shoes and they've also been evolving their Minimus line as well. 

New Balance Leadville 1210
Some of my favorites are the specially themed shoes, like the Men and Women's limited edition 990 NYC shoes. Still available are the Women's Leadville 1210 editions.

New Balance uses foam technology that does a great job and to me, perhaps not to everyone, have a lighter feel. My 890s are some of my favorite mid-support running shoes, the 890v3 are essentially the same rendition on a great model. The 860, 990, and 1080v3 models remain popular choices as well.

New Balance Minimus Trail 20v2
Back when New Balance revived their athletic shoe status with the Minimus brand a few years ago in the cusp of the minimalist running movement, they gained popular traction with runners everywhere and they continue to evolve the Minimus brand with the 10s, 20s, 20v2, and Zeros. Also in the line-up is the Minimus Ionix 3090. For those who want minimal to very little padding, these are the most popular and well received shoes in the minimal category next to five-fingers.