Tailwind Rebuild Review

Tailwind Rebuild
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On race day, my pack always has a few standard items in it – Gels (gross), a Snickers bar (because I’m not me when I’m hungry), Honey Stinger waffles, and a few other selections from the roadside service center on the way to the race. In my hydration pack? Water. How boring. Sometimes I may get a little wild and throw some Pedialyte in there for taste, but it wasn’t until last year that I learned about Tailwind. A product that can make staying hydrated on the mountain easier, and tasty, all at the same time? I was all in.

Earlier this year, Tailwind released Tailwind Rebuild – a “patent-pending perfectly complete protein” to help athletes recover after an intense race or workout. Anything has to be better than my tradition of gorging on Wendy’s cheeseburger and fries. So I decided to give Tailwind Rebuild a try after a particularly grueling stretch of races this Spring.

Tailwind Rebuild Features

A “Perfectly Complete” Protein  – Tailwind Rebuild uses organic rice protein, combined with healthy fats and carbs to help shorten your recovery time after a strenuous workout, or race.

All Natural – Tailwind Rebuild is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, soy & dairy free, making it an ideal recovery solution for athletes of any kind.

Great Tasting Flavors – Tailwind Rebuild is available in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. If you’re a fan of chocolate milk – you’ll love the chocolate version. It goes down smooth in a bottle of water, and tastes amazing. Me? I prefer the Vanilla flavor – it’s an easy to drink, healthy alternative to thick shakes, or sugary sports drinks.

 

Tailwind Rebuild Usage

In the month of May I competed in five events, over the course of four weeks – Ragnar Relay Cape Cod, the Boston Spartan Sprint, the Austin Super, Montreal’s Sprint & Super Weekend, and finally the Ohio Beast. Rebuild was in my bag in each of those events, and was a great addition to my race day recovery plan. After my night time Ragnar leg, Rebuild was a quick (and delicious) drink that wouldn’t sit heavy in my stomach for the remainder of the event. At the scorching hot Austin Super, Rebuild over a shaker of ice water was a refreshing treat. And after the Ohio Beast, I was craving chocolate – and Rebuild was a healthy (and yummy) way to cap off a 13 mile sufferfest.

Tailwind Rebuild Durability

Normally I wouldn’t discuss the durability of a consumable – but I do have to give credit where it’s due. Tailwind’s Rebuild and Endurance Fuel packaging is easy to toss in your pack and open mid-race. It’s withstood submersion, and being stuffed in to my shorts pocket, without making a mess.

Tailwind Rebuild Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great taste – If you’re like me, it doesn’t matter how good something is for you, if it’s yucky, I won’t eat it. Tailwind’s Rebuild is delicious in just water.
  • No gut bombs – Rebuild is easy to drink, light, and enjoyable.
  • Healthy – Rebuild is good for all kinds of athletes. Being vegan, soy & dairy free, non-GMO and gluten free ensures that whatever your lifestyle, Rebuild is a perfect addition to your training day nutrition routine.

Cons

  • Rebuild is $3 per serving – It may cause you to decide whether your workout or race is “Tailwind worthy”
  • This isn’t a joke – you may get pulled aside at the airport security line. Apparently they get flagged sometimes under the baggage scanner

 

Tailwind Rebuild Conclusion

Post race binging photos may dominate Instagram feeds now, but consider this – what will make you feel better? Spending $52 on Burger King because you can’t control your cravings? Or a tasty (and healthy) Tailwind Rebuild in an ice cold shaker bottle? For me, I’ve got room for improvement when I finish a race, and Rebuild offers me the perfect solution to one of our biggest struggles – nutrition balance.

 



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Josh Chace

Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Winter Has Come – Greek Peak Spartan Sprint

Spartan’s 2018 season thus far has consisted of races in SoCal, Arizona, Miami and Las Vegas, so it only makes sense that next in line was the snowcapped mountains of western New York – namely Greek Peak Resort, for the 2nd annual Winter Spartan Sprint this past weekend. Both racers and weather alike descended upon the mountain on Saturday, ensuring there was plenty of snow pelted tracks to traverse, as frosty obstacles to navigate.

The day started inside the ski lodge for registration and packet pickup – a welcome change from last year, where the cold weather outside brought registration proceedings to a literal standstill as the electronics succumbed to the weather. Racers were huddled inside staying warm, comparing layers, and questioning whether they actually wanted to go outside and pin themselves between the trials of Spartan, and the tribulations of Mother Nature.

At the end of the day, over 3,000 Spartans took on the challenge of the Winter Sprint in Courtland, NY – with well over 400 Age Group competitors vying for precious podium spots, while the Elite field dwindled down to only a hundred entrants. It seems that Spartan has found what drives competitors, and that’s their desire to compete, but not against everyone, more specifically against individuals in their same age groups, and fitness level. The Age Group category has consistently sold registrations quicker than Elite in 2018, and the chance for a podium presentation and shot at social media fame continues to pay dividends for Spartan.

Course Notes

The course at Greek Peak has turned up a notch from last year. We traversed roughly 4.5 miles up, down and across the resort, including a 400-meter uphill trudge straight out of the Start Line. Running uphill is a standard in any Spartan event, but running uphill in 16″ of fresh snow is a new kind of frosty hell most have not been exposed to in prior events.

Spartan showed no quarter in their lineup of obstacles, just because this was a Winter race. The usual pain points like the Sandbag Carry, Herc Hoist, and newly capped Bucket Carry were all there to punish racers as they navigated the mountain. Particularly difficult in the snow, was Olympus – positioned in a wide open field where wind and snow added to the difficulty. Monkey Bars, a Rig made up of just rings, and the Rope Climb were all there to punish competitors grips in the bitter cold. The Spear Throw seemed like it was positioned further away than in past years, although that may have been because my contacts were frozen over by the time we reached the last few stretches of course.

The course finished over the A-frame, with a short climb, before heading down to a true to name “Slip” Wall, and a “Dunk Wall”, sans water – thankfully, and the Fire Jump, which comically, dropped about 2 feet into the snow as the fire melted the base it rested on.

Summary

Winter Spartan Race events are few and far between. So few and far between that there’s only a single event out there – Greek Peak. Spartan had attempted to elicit interest in events in both New Hampshire and Utah, proving unsuccessful, so they were abandoned. Whether you live in warmer weather or inhabit the Great White North, you’ll most certainly enjoy a Winter Sprint. Some obstacles like the Barbed Wire Crawl are tamed by the snow, where others are made more intense. It’s a welcome difference from the muddy sweat fests we’ve become so familiar with throughout the race year.

Unlike 2017, we didn’t have an event unique finisher shirt, but the new Spartan tech shirts were available in both short and long-sleeved versions and accompanied an event-specific winter-themed medal.

Gear Note: The Inov8 X-Talon 230’s that I recently reviewed here on ORM performed absolutely amazing in the snow and mud. As others were sliding down trails on their behinds, I was confidently upright, with each step. Bravo to the Inov8 team for what will most likely be my main shoe for the 2018 season.

I’ll be bringing you coverage from all of the major players (and maybe a few you haven’t yet heard of)  in the OCR industry all year long, so be sure to follow me on Instagram here, and be sure to check out Obstacle Racing Media’s OCR Recap, now on CBS Interactive’s Sports Live website.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Review

Inov-8 X-Talon 230
4.5 / 5 Overall
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Ask any racer what their most important gear is on race day, and you can be certain the majority will give you the same answer: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And there is no more recognized brand in OCR, than Inov-8. Their proven history of quality shoes, for all running and race types, has culminated with the newest iteration of their original trailblazer shoe – The Inov-8 X-Talon 230. I reached out to Inov-8 for a chance to review their newest release, and was psyched to have them at my doorstep this past week. Let’s see what they’re made of.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Features

PHENOMENAL GRIP

“New industry-leading STICKY GRIP™ rubber delivers better traction than its predecessor over both wet and dry underfoot conditions.” Inov-8 calls these shoes “The next generation of trail running shoes.” They have an aggressive 6mm stud, which made my snow, mud, and ice filled run seem like it was a trail on a sunny Spring weekend. If you’re like me, you are constantly looking for the next solid step when running through questionably steady terrain, the X-Talon’s offer a sturdiness in my step that I haven’t felt in another shoe. When you stop worrying about how each step may compromise your footing, you can truly enjoy your run, regardless of the conditions. The X-Talon’s helped me make easy work of loose mud and snow on the trails.

RENOWNED GRIP

Iconic 8mm studs not only claw through soft terrain but also hold firm on harder ground. The X-Talon’s grip excels on unstable ground, as well as in the gym. Traversing streams, doubling back over trails full of mud, or tackling an 8 ft wall, the X-Talon held on like no other shoe I’ve worn before. And those studs were perfect for climbing a rope.

INCREASED PROTECTION

Second-generation META-PLATE is a rock plate that protects the underfoot from sharp rocks. We’re all kids inside, aren’t we? If you’re like my and my inner child I am constantly jumping from rock to rock as I am out on the trail. The protection built into the X-Talon shoes allows me to save my arches as I mountain goat around in the wilderness.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Durability

Right out of the box, the X-Talon shows off its tough build and durable form. The materials of the shoe wrap around your foot, like it was custom molded for my appendages. It’s flexibility allows for ease of movement while I run, while still protecting my toes from being caught on jutting rocks, or rogue branches hanging off the occasional fallen log. The X-Talon is wrapped in durable materials around the side, and toes, which will hopefully prevent tearing, and blowouts – an issue I’ve had with my wide feet in the past.

Pros

  • Amazing grip on almost all terrain.
  • Much soft, more cushioned steps as compared to past X-Talon releases
  • Sturdy design and durable materials ensure they’ll last me the race season and beyond.

Cons

  • Inov-8’s “precision fit”is a slim design and may not fit all peoples individual footprint. I usually have to go up a size to get a fit that doesn’t crunch my toes together.
  • The X-Talon is heavier than other OCR shoes, weighing in at 230g.
  • Sorry Inov-8, you still haven’t mastered my adesire to run full speed on ice.

 

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Conclusion

In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more. They’ve delivered in the brutal, sometimes menopausal weather of New England. There’s nothing like a clean pair of new shoes fresh out of the box, but the first thing I wanted to do was get these babies dirty. I was in the mud and show as fast as I could lace these shoes up, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I see them becoming an extremely popular shoe for this upcoming obstacle course season. For me, they have the perfect balance of soft landing, with base level protection, grip, and pliability for everything we do on a typical race weekend.



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Josh Chace

Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Review

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves
3.3 / 5 Overall
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With Spartan Race putting their name on a pair of gloves, it seems like there are more and more “OCR gloves” popping up each week. This week, I took WarriorPak’s Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves for a spin both at the gym, and on course for a few races, to see what advantage, if any, these gloves have over the competition.

 

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Features

Sticky silicon palm that gives grip in any condition  – The biggest question about gloves for OCR is their ability to grip in the multitude of elements we face. Will they hold when they’re wet? Muddy? When the bars are slick? If I give Warrior Pak any credit, it’s certainly about these gloves grip in all aspects of the sport. Hanging from rings on the Platinum Rig, hoisting a Wreck Bag, and carrying an Atlas Stone is no issue with these gloves. My big gripe here is that there seems to be extra material in the palm that becomes folded over quite easy when gripping and navigating obstacles. This proved to be quite cumbersome at times.

Fingerless (ends at mid knuckle) to allow for tactile feel during a race – I’m not normally a fan of “fingerless” gloves because of how they tend to bunch up, and cut off feeling to my fingers. These offer a looser fit around the knuckles than most, with good flexibility in the fingers, for ease of movement while wearing them.

Breathable and lightweight – Warrior Pak has a flexible easy to slide on design with a very light fabric on the backside of the glove which does help water exit the gloves more easily than others I’ve tried on.

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Usage

I’ve used the Warrior Elite gloves for a handful of races now. The Ultra Beast in Quebec City, the US OCR Championships and in my OCR gym. I’ve always maintained that gloves will never be a fix-all for grip problems, and it’s no different for these gloves.

They can be, at times, prohibitive to use on obstacles. When I ball my hand up into a fist, as if I am gripping a rope, or bar, the material on the underside of the glove folds over and can actually cause my grip to fail, regardless of how well the material itself can hold on to a surface. The gloves don’t slide on and off as easily as I would like, which is really just more of an inconvenience and not an issue with the design. After one race, I stuck to my trend of using gloves for rope based obstacles, while keeping them in my pocket for Rigs, Monkey Bars, and Walls.

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Durability

The Warrior Elite gloves have put up with quite a serious workload in a short period of time. From 2 laps of the hardest course I have done, in the Quebec Ultra Beast, to the hot, dry terrain of sunny Texas over Labor Day, they have come out completely unscathed. No wear or tear shown at all, even after a trip through the washing machine.

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent grip against a multitude of surfaces
  • Good flexibility in the fingers and wrist
  • Durable and functional in all elements

Cons

  • Excess material in the palm folding over becomes really prohibitive for grip at time

 

 

Warrior Elite II Half-Finger Gloves Conclusion

If you’re looking for a pair of gloves to compliment your grip during OCR’s, WarriorPak has a solid option for you, in these gloves. At $21.95, they’re affordable and won’t break the bank. They come in cheaper than Spartan’s Fit Four ($29.95) options. You may find, as I did, that they may fold up under your hand, causing you to lose contact with obstacles. Their grip against steel obstacles however may outweigh that for you. I’ll continue to use these gloves in certain situations as they prove more durable than Spartan’s options, and their fit around my wrist and fingers seems more comfortable.



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Josh Chace

Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Spartan Race Dallas – A Cold Day in Hell AKA Glen Rose, TX

Texas is apparently about as indecisive with its weather, as I am come dinner time. Labor Day weekend for the US OCR Championships had us succumbing to 95+ degree heat, while this past weekend in Glen Rose (a city outside of Dallas), participants struggled to stay warm, as temperatures dipped under 30 degrees when the first Ultra Beast wave kicked off. Anyone looking for an easy race to finally get their belt buckle was in for a frosty eye-opening.

Ultra Beast numbers continue to surge, as competitors continuously push themselves to achieve new heights – a perfect opportunity for Spartan Race to inflict creative new punishment on a fresh group of willing participants. While certain aspects of this course were punishing, we’re also starting to see a softer side of Spartan emerge as well – A “burpee free” penalty? We saw it in Atlanta, and it popped up again in Texas this weekend.

Something Old, Something New

The irony of asking if you remember the Memory Test, is not lost on me – but do you remember your first time? Echo 430-6620, Killington 2013. It’s seared into my brain, it’s not going anywhere. While the Memory Test obstacle has mostly disappeared at events the last few years, Ultra Beast runners saw it utilized in a whole new way – on an added 1-mile loop, they were told to memorize a token Spartan code: [Army Alphabet Letter] + [7-digit number]. Except for this time, they were required to recite their number to enter the transition area, before starting lap two. A nice touch, as opposed to planting arbitrary volunteers in a dead space on the course.

During the start line speech, participants were told that if they were to fail Olympus, no burpees were to be rendered. In fact, you were unable to even opt-in to burpees if you wanted to! There was a penalty loop added, where failures meant you were adding a half-mile to your Beast distance. A significant addition for the Ultra Beasters, should they miss the obstacle twice. After being dunked in water 3 times before Olympus, failure was a very real possibility for some.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The local Dallas Wal-Mart had no idea what hit them. Based on the number of discarded articles of clothing I saw on the course, I can only guess that racers stopped at their nearest big box retailer and grabbed the cheapest throwaway clothing they could find, to help ward off icy-cold temperatures in, what is supposed to be, a warm Texas! Added clothing may have helped for a short period of time, but once racers were dipped into a wading pond, followed by Rolling Mud & a Dunk Wall that required racers to push aside chunks of ice in order to complete, there were more than a few blue lips in the crowd of green-pinny adorned racers.

Out With The Old

There are only a handful of races left on the Spartan calendar for 2017, and with next weekend packed with a Beast, Super, and Sprint happening simultaneously up and down the east coast, racers are stretching their travel and wallets thin for a chance to podium in what is seemingly the last breath for Spartan’s Competitive Wave. Also unknown is what will truly become of the Spartan Ultra Beast belt buckle, with the announcement of the new Spartan Ultra events. 2018 looks to bring a new look Spartan Race, and hopefully, some warmer weather to Glen Rose in 2018! I know I am looking forward to seeing new obstacles from Spartan Race – more than just an Atlas Ball with a handle on it (womp womp).

Spartan Race Announces 2018 Global Championship Series

While the eyes of the OCR world were focused on the Blue Mountains in Ontario this past weekend for the OCR World Championships, Spartan quietly teased us with details of a possible global competition on their Instagram account.

History will be made. Will you be a part of it? 🌎 #spartanrace

A post shared by Spartan Race (@spartanrace) on

This morning, Spartan Race revealed the 2018 Spartan Race Global Championship. A worldwide competition, leading up to the Spartan Race World Championship in October of 2018. The Championship field will need to battle through one of 15 different National Series events in countries such as the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Northeast Asia, and more. The top finishers in the National Series will be invited to compete in one of five (5) Regional Championships –  North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East. The best of the best will then go on to compete in Spartan Race’s World Championship in October, next year.

Qualifications:

  • Regional Championships: Men and women must finish top 10 in any regular season or National Championship Series event in their respective category
  • World Championship: Men and Women must finish top 10 in a National Championship Series event or a Regional Championship in their respective category

Race formats, dates, and locations will be announced at a later date.

The Global Championship Series also offers open-heat competitors the opportunity to race on the same grounds as
some of the best athletes in the world, along with limited edition medals and shirts.

With Spartan Race’s reach rapidly expanding across the globe, this move will put the top athletes from across the world against each other, for OCR enthusiasts to watch live – it’s a Spartan Race fans dream come true.