January 17, 2008

No Snow...Finally!

So this morning was the first morning, in what felt like months, that I opened up my blinds to find that there was not a stain of snow on the ground! I haven't been on my mountain bike in at least four weeks, in fact it might even go back as far as The Beast at the beginning of December. The trails have held more snow this year than ever before, and it was such a waste of time to even try biking in the snow that I have been planting my butt on the stationary at the gym for a few weeks now.

Tonight was the weekly night trail running clinic that I host, and we had nine people out for it (all loving their Princeton Tec Apex headlamps I might add!), which ain't too bad considering the temps were near freezing! As we were running such local favorites as Crumpit Woods and S&M Connector all I could think was "WOW, I wish I were biking this right now!"

As soon as we finished our post run stretch I burned home in my car to grab my bike and my dog. I was outfitted and out the door within twelve minutes (including a quick 'dinner', and some vitamin I to help alleviate my back which is still a bit 'tired'). I love my dog for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I would never, ever consider doing this solo at night. It's not like Roxy is gonna administer first aid or call an ambulance if something goes wrong, but she is gonna help keep the wild animals away. Just two weeks ago my trail running partner came within thirty feet of a Cougar! A FREAKIN COUGAR!! His words summed up the whole experience quite well,

"Of all the animals on the planet that you might want to see in the wild, the Cougar, while out running by yourself, is NOT ON OF THEM!!"

I texted a friend to tell him of my route and expected return time and was off like it was a race! The excitement associated with getting to play with one of my toys that I haven't seen in awhile is a truly primal...well maybe infantile is a better description (is that even a word?)

The best part of the ninety minute ride was that I was finally getting a chance to test out the best x-mas present of the season...my brand new Princeton Tec Switchback 3 Bike Light...sorry Ma and Pa, the shoes are great, but I absolutely love this light!!

I simply can not say enough about this product. I will do a proper gear review in the coming months as I get more time to play with it, but my initial thoughts,


-The first time I drained the battery it took a full 8.5 hours...that's 8.5 hours on it's highest beam!!!!(they advertise 6.5hr) That blows away anything I have seen from another bike light set up. Not only did it last this long, but it still had a bright enough beam to ride with when it finally did take a rest!
-With a tri-bulb design, the brightness of this light rivals any 'Light in Motion' set up that I have ever used
-The light itself removes from the attachment on your helmet, meaning you never have to fumble with taking the entire light set up on and off (or just leaving it on all the time) again!
-The light has a short cord so that even if you are riding with it on your helmet, while not in use, the cord is not dangling away waiting to snag on something. There is an additional extension cord to attach everything together.
-All wires have locking ends! FINALLY! You will never have to worry about pulling a wire out of the battery while riding again...never a fun experience!!
-It has a rapid charger that fully recharges the battery in just 2hr! AND, it can also be plugged into your car! Great for adventure races where an actual outlet may not be handy.

These are just the highlights that I have noticed from the start. If you're looking for a nice bike light this season, look no further. Team Helly Hansen-MOMAR will test these to the max this year and give a full gear review from each team member in a few months time. Until then, pray for snow...just 1000 feet higher than it has been falling so far this season!!



Jason said...

Nice review. I'm going got be running PT lights this season (SB3 and an APEX backup most likely) and it was nice to see some feedback on them.

Watch out for those cougars. They'll cut 'ya. Yikes!


Gary Robbins said...

Yeah, I usually try to run with at least one slower person, but my current training partner is much faster than me...I'm always ready to trip him if it comes down to it!!
Good luck with your racing season, I'll check in on your blog to see how it's going!

Anonymous said...

yes infantile is a word and suits quite well actually!!!!! Just kidding Gary. Don't get your panties in a bunch

Sherri (not that you wouldn't know who it was from)

Gary Robbins said...

ALWAYS look forward to your comments Sherri...and you rarely have to sign your name, for me to know it's you!!!

Nell said...

If one was looking for the bike light you talk about, where would one go?? I have had a frustrating time trying to find a light lately. The ones available to MEC always seem to have "technical" difficulties and I end up with another cheapie light that lasts forever...
Thanks in advance.

Gary Robbins said...

Hey Nell, thanks for your enquiry!
Here is the info straight from the Princeton Tec rep:

MEC sells the Switchback lights at really good pricing!

The SB III - $334.00
(I am truly astonished at what you get for this price point, highly recommend this light set up!!)

The SB I - $174.00
The SB II - $229.00

Good luck!

Nell said...

Thanks Gary, I didn't see them in the Victoria store so will look online. I tend to try buy canadain-made so might have overlooked them if they are an american product.

Happy Training!

Gary Robbins said...

Hey Nell,

I guess like most things these days they are made in China. Their head quarters are in the States and the Canadian reps are out of Vancouver...so at least there's local jobs involved in the process I guess!

Happy Training to you as well!