Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crisp & Cold, I Will Continue

Tell yourself,
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on,
walking, hearing the same tune
no matter where you find yourself 
- Mark Strand
Well winter has arrived in the Green Mountains and the cold temperatures, ice, snow and wind may make me whine and slow me down, but it will not stop me from exploring.  New conditions demand altered gear, more layers and a different sense of humor.  The amount of ice and overall slippery conditions have recently caused me to take many nasty falls, hence it was time for me to go "New England" on my shoes.  My first line of defense for running slippery roads and local trails is screws.  In previous years I have opted for sheet metal hex screws, which are very cheap and easy to find. This year I received some Icespikes as a gift.  These screws are much more expensive and brag to be: simple, lightweight, effective (will not shift, break, fall off, get lost or left behind) and durable. 
Before I  headed out on a long mountain run George installed my new Icespikes into my Salomon XT Wings.  He began inserting each screw with the provided tool, although quickly lost interest with the labor intensive process and completed the job more efficiently with his drill.  Straight off just running in the parking lot to the trail head I could tell that I had much better traction on the packed snow and ice verses no screws at all.  I couldn't feel the screws protruding into my feet because the Salomon outsole is thick enough, so that was an added bonus.  I knew the true test wasn't the parking lot but rather the six mile ascent on the Bamforth trail that is very rocky, rooty and icy.  I found myself confident on my feet on the first two miles of trail, although once on the steeper/long rocks I was sliding backwards and had a hard time getting the screws to grip.  I was just praying not to fall down the side of the mountain or pull a muscle.  Realistically, it was no huge surprise that I was playing Bambi, as a thin layer of ice on a incline is difficult to dig into, especially when you cannot have your weight over your feet.  After arriving at the top, and before beginning the descent, I checked my shoes and I had lost a few screws.  I guess I proved Icespkies claim of "will not shift, break, fall off, get lost or left behind" to be incorrect. Nick, who also had Icespikes in his shoes, had lost a majority of the screws.  To play it safe I decided to put on my Kahtoola Microspikes, which make me feel like a Mac Truck with Hakkapelitta tires.  

I wore my Microspikes for the entire trail decent, even when the ice had dissipated and they didn't bother me under foot.  The only reason I can ever tell that I have them on is because everyone wants to know what they are since I can navigate the conditions so confidently while they are scrambling.  Here is me stating the obvious and I know this from experience, if you catch your ankle with a Kahtoola spike it does hurt.

What works for me?  I wouldn't spend the $24.95 for the Icespikes unless I won the lottery and wanted to be trendy.  I would rather support my local hardware store as I feel better off losing a 4 cent screw rather than an 78 cent screw. As for the Microspikes, from the first day I wore them years ago till this day I have adored them.  In my mind a great investment.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info!! I'll have to check out those microspikes! I need some for our snowy dirt roads! I remember back in the day Scott used to make us studded mtn bike tires for the winter.