April 21, 2015

Review : Inov-8 Roclite 295

 
    • Type : Neutral
    • Use : Trail running
    • Price : $120-$130

    Introduction
    This is the third Inov-8 shoe I get to run in, and the second I review after the Race Ultra. I've always been impressed with the Inov-8 feel and its extreme expression; when I wear these shoes, I feel like a pro! The combination of grip and responsiveness is only matched, in my opinion, by a few top-of-the-line trail shoes such as the now-defunct Kinvara Trail from Saucony or my beloved (and also now-defunct, dammit) Altra Lone Peak 1.5.


    Trail Test
    This time around, the shoe feels light and quick, much more like the 235's I'd tried the first time. Unlike the Ultra, which definitely feels like it was made for a more cushiony ride over rough terrain, the 295 brings the aggressivity back while maintaining a great level of comfort. The shoe feels slim and long, with a lot of room at the tip but not so much on the side. When you lace up, you can feel how plush the upper is and I immediately thought how great that feeling must be while changing shoes in the middle of a long race.


    Analysis
    While certainly not a minimal shoe, the 295 doesn't overdo it and remains swift and nimble. The extra material between your foot and the ground becomes a great advantage if you're going to run long on terrain that switches from trails to pavement, for example, or if you're looking for a good overall winter running shoe. The grip is as good as always, with the outsole material soft and sticky. If you're looking for a firm grip in a comfortable shoe, this is it.

    Conclusion

    While this is pretty much the bulkiest shoe I'd wear out there, I have to say there's a lot of things the 295 does well. The feeling of sturdiness and protection you get can be a great plus for beginning trail runners or to get yourself back together after some hard distance on rough trails. The 9mm drop is the only thing I wish was different; why does it have to be so steep? I'd give it all A's if it had, say, 4.

    High points
    • Excellent grip as always
    • Nimble and swift despite added material
    • Super comfy

    Low points
    • 9mm drop is just too much
    • Tiny laces make it real easy to overtighten the shoe



    April 16, 2015

    Driving Directions to Urique

    I've been asked many times about driving directions for Urique, in the Copper Canyons, and never really took the time to compile the information into a useful, single post. Well I was asked one more time this morning and decided to finally do it :)

    Driving from the USA to Urique is a great way to truly experience the Copper Canyons in their remote ruggedness. It's a smooth transition from busy North-American cities to the still quietness and grandeur of the Barrancas. It's also an incredible opportunity for adventure, for meeting great people and for discovering one of the most beautiful countries of the world.

    I highly recommend it!

    Here's my favorite route to drive down, from Douglas, Arizona :




    1. Cross over at Douglas / Agua Prieta (basically drive straight out of the border check point, then take a left, then a right, then you will hit a larger boulevard. This is Route 2. Take a left and you're on your way)
    2. Take route 2 to Janos

    3. Take route 10 to Nuevo Casas Grandes

    4. Some minutes past Nuevo Casas Grandes, you will hit a Y-split. Make a slight right to keep following Route 10, direction Galeana

    5. Keep going until Buenaventura. When you come into town, make your way to Av Benito Juarez, which switches into Route 5 out of town. It'll be a right turn.

    6. This takes you into a nice ride to Ignacio Zaragoza and through Gomez Farias, then Babicora

    7. In Babicora, take a right to follow the road to Route 16. When you hit Route 16, take a left to Guerrero

    OPTION - 8A. When entering Guerrero, take a right on main street (Juarez) and keep going straight onto Route 31

    OPTION - 8B. In Guerrero, Take Route 110 to La Junta (less scenic, a little faster)

    9. Both these ways converge to Route 16 again. If you came from Route 31, take a left on 16 and a right at the turn for Creel. If you came from La Junta, take a right at 16 and a left at the turn for Creel.

    10. Stay on that road until Creel. You will cross many towns on the way, the bigger ones being San Juanito and Bocoyna.

    11. When in Creel, stay on the main road until the roundabout at the other end of town. There, take the right leg of the roundabout, heading to El Divisadero, San Rafael, and all the way to Bahuichivo.

    12. Cross the train tracks in Bahuichivo over to the other side of town. The street will end in a T, take a left. This will take you to Cerocahui

    13. In Cerocahui, the road will, again, end in a T. Take a left to Urique / Mesa de Arturo

    14. The road will not be paved from this point. You'll start going up. Don't miss the Y-split in the road between Mesa Arturo on the right, and Urique on the left. Of course, you make a left.

    15. You are on the road to Urique.

    16. Weeeeeeeee!



    Additional notes.

    There are gas stations in most main towns, but if you want to be on the safe side, you can hit Mexico with a full tank of gas, fuel on the way down when you cross gas stations (They are usually Pemex) or plan a stop in Guerrero or Gomez Farias. Then make sure to refuel in Creel before your way down.

    There is gasoline in Urique, bring cash in pesos to pay for it. I suggest you leave town with a full tank, too, just for good measure.

    If you want to draw money from Mexico to avoid the currency exchange hassle, you can do so in most main towns such as Agua Prieta, Nuevo Casas Grandes, Gomez Farias, Guerrero and Creel for sure. Always plan that the ATM you hit might be out of order or out of money. Also think about daily withdrawal limits. You won't get far with a credit card, outside of Pemex gas stations. Beyond Creel, plastic money cards are pretty much useless.

    People in Mexico will be extremely welcoming and helpful, but be advised they seem to not have a great care for giving precise directions. I've been mislead several times by obviously well-intentioned people, but who had no idea what information they were giving.

    You will hit road blocks from time to time, whether manned by army or police personnel. There's at least one outside Agua Prieta, one around Nuevo Casas Grandes and maybe one or two others further down. The guards are typically very curteous. Proper etiquette is to roll your windows down for them to see inside the vehicle. Address them in Spanish at first, even if it's just to say hello. Smile, be calm. The do carry guns, so don't be alarmed. They usually just want to make sure you are not carrying contraband. They are good people to ask directions if you're unsure which road to take.

    If you have to go to a police vehicle to ask directions, park your own vehicle at a respectable distance and walk out to the other vehicle. Wave and smile. This way the police will know for sure you're a tourist looking for directions.

    There is plenty of food on the way, usually delicious, home-made things you will remember a lifetime. If you want to shop for your own food, markets are usually a great option, as they tend to have many local specialty items. Sunday is THE best day to shop around, since it is the mercado, the day where people from all around gather in the towns to sell various goods. They usually do this in or around the zocalo, or main plaza. This is one great occasion to practice eco-tourism and directly benefit local people.

    With eco-tourism in mind, take time to consider when you bargain for goods with locals. My personal experience is they won't inflate the price much, and if they do, really, what's two dollars to you? To them, it might be a better meal, some sweets for the kids or a little gift they can now afford. Think about it!

    Enjoy the trip, enjoy the experience, enjoy the views :)



    If you have further questions, leave them in the comments section below; it'll help me make this post better!


    March 30, 2015

    On The Importance Of Running

    The Raramuri are The Lightfooted Ones. In their heart, in their Land and in their bodies, running flows like a sacred blood which ties them to the Earth, to themselves and to their environment. Using their own feet to transport themselves, they acquire a level of freedom and health that is a true reward and a treasure of wisdom for all of Humanity.

    As part of the so-called Modern World, we are taught that we possess the highest knowledge and technology. After meeting the Raramuri and other Running People, and after spending time with them, I'm not so sure anymore. Rooted deep in their running tradition, there's something more, something better, something that reminds me of what it means to be a real Human being.

    Instead of depending on technology and machines, we could do like the Raramuri and depend on each other. Instead of acquiring ever-increasing amounts of material possessions, we should learn the treasure and value of sharing with others. Instead of traveling with hermetic, super fast machines, we should learn the life-changing experience of foot travel, at a speed that allows discovery and wonder at this world we inhabit. And instead of a fruitless pursuit of body image, we should learn to use our natural movements to keep our bodies, our minds and our souls healthy and thriving.

    Through the simple, humble act of running, I bow to the ancient cultures and traditions of Humans who understood the importance of connecting our body to nature. I make myself available to new experiences that change the way I think, the way I look and the way I feel. By sharing the importance of running, I celebrate crucial ancient knowledge brought to me from time immemorial through the journey of many, often on the fringes of History, who nurtured and acted as stewards of a true treasure. Step, after step, after step.


    ***

    This text was shared as a contribution to The Origins movie, by runner and Mas loco Mikko Ijäs. If you have a couple minutes to spare, I highly recommend you watch the movie trailer.

    ***





    En pratiquant la course, je salue les traditions millénaires d'autres Humains qui, avant moi, ont parcouru les âges pour m'envoyer un message de la plus haute importance. Une foulée à la fois.