Thursday, August 6, 2015

Update so far from 2015.



So I've been a bit lax about updating my blog in terms of my racing accomplishments (or lack thereof) this year.

After Ironman 70.3 California (a couple weeks after, actually) - my family received some bad news that ended up with my wife in surgery.  I won't get into the gritty details of it, but it curtailed my training a bit, cancelled some of the races I intended to do, and really put things in perspective that - regardless of how it feels at times - endurance sports ARE NOT the #1 thing in my life.

Because of that process, and because there just hasn't been a whole lot to report - I haven't been updating here.

However, there are a few things - so I'll touch on them all in one post.  =)

CAMARILLO DUATHLON SERIES - RACE 1:

This was a duathlon in April that was supposed to be one of three duathlons that I participated in.  One of the goals for 2015 was that I would do four to five duathlons and become an All American in that discipline and also qualify for Duathlon Nationals (and hopefully qualify to represent the US in Duathlon Worlds).  It ended up not being the case for me (races 2 and 3 in this series were cancelled and this race didn't go so well) and I kind of scrapped the idea altogether (or pushed it to 2016, who knows?).

Anyway, the race itself is a small but very competitive duathlon that is incredibly well run by Bill Escobar over at Elite Sports in Ventura, Ca.  It's a 5k run, followed by a 20 mile bike, with another 5k run.  There's no bells and whistles in this race (i.e. it's not an Ironman type of race) - just a simple, easy, local race that is fun for everyone involved (pro or beginner alike).

Transitioned up and ready for the duathlon.
My plan going into the race was to take the 1st run somewhat easy - but stay with the front of the pack.  In my mind, this would allow me to really push the bike and then go all out for the final run.  Everything was going good as I was the 4th runner in - about 20 seconds behind the first runner in.

On the bike, things were going very well, as I moved up to third place rather quickly with both the first and second place athletes in my sights.  I was gaining up ground, almost in line with the second place guy when - at about 15 - POP!  My front tire just exploded.

I immediately pulled over and tried to change it - but it was to no avail.  I couldn't get the tire off of the rim and I didn't bring tools to remove it (I did have a spare tubular).  With about 4 miles and some change to go - I elected to just walk/jog my bike in.  

Nearly everyone passed me during this time and this race became a "throwaway" race for my goal of qualifying for Duathlon Worlds.  Once back in to transition, I racked my bike and decided I would run the last run leg as fast as I possibly could (seeing as how my legs were completely fresh anyway).  I managed to place the fastest run split of the day - with just a 16:23 (although it was 16:08 by my watch).  Was pretty happy with that and I left the race telling myself the only reason I wasn't on the podium was because of a flat tire.

WRIGLEY RIVER RUN 5K:

This is a pretty great event and was one of the first 10ks I did when I decided to get back into running and doing regular races. Back then, I wasn't a father, so I was running solo.  But now - I have a little munchkin that does all of my running races with me.  

For some weird reason, strollers aren't allowed in the 10k - so I ended up doing the 5k with my son.  

The race goes through neighborhoods in Long Beach with a small stretch on the Wrigley River Bike Path - which is pretty scenic for what it is.  There's plenty of twists and turns, but - for the most part - it's a fairly flat course which makes it a good stroller course (as you're not going to lose a ton of time).
Brucie ran his own race after the 5k.  And, by "ran" I mean he "got sleepy and grumpy and refused to move unless someone was holding him".  *shrugs*  Kids.

 I was able to line up at the front of the race and take off with ease.  They had a guy on a mountain bike pacing the race and I was right behind him the entire time.  For 5ks, it was pretty easy - I held about a 6:00/mile pace for the whole thing and felt pretty good throughout.  The weather was perfect for a race - slightly overcast, a nice, slow, cool breeze at all times.  Perfect running conditions.

Pushing my son throughout the neighborhood

Finding some time to goof off for the camera a bit.

As with any race - the final push to the finish line yields some rather unflattering facial expressions.

The race went pretty well and nothing to complain about.  The only slowdown was having to weave around the people from the 10k who were finishing up (the 10k took off before the 5k and there were people still running on sections of the course where the two races overlap when the 5k took off).  That's to be expected though and wasn't too big of a deal.  Overall, no complaints at all.
Pushing it down the finish line in the home stretch.
I finished with an 18:02 and crossed the finish line first.  The timing company had two people ahead of me after the fact (a few days later) - but I figured that was an error as no one was really close really when I crossed the line.

We ended up in first place overall - and got a cool trophy for our efforts.  On top of that, we got free pizza! (which, to me, is WAY better than the trophy)

Bruce and I on the podium with his trophy for a race well done and an overall win.

Writing this post - I realize that I have just given away one of my biggest secrets - the tablet!  When I race with my son - I usually load up a tablet with some of his favorite cartoons (Monsters Inc, Bubble Guppies, etc) and turn it on for him at the beginning of the race (Pro Tip:  Make sure to "lock" the screen so he can't change it).  This usually keeps him busy throughout, which avoids any unnecessary stops.

GRIFFITH PARK TRAIL MARATHON RELAY:

This was the second time doing this race for me and I had a blast - just like last year.  Everyone had a great time at the race - with a lot of people saying it was the funnest race they've ever done.  Really good event put on by A Runner's Circle.  

Before I get into the race, I want to issue a HUGE THANK YOU to Josh Sprague over at Orange Mud who put this thing together and got the guys from the Orange Mud team together to race this.  He put up the entry fee, really organized everything, and pushed us all along.  Super awesome act by a super class act guy.  Speaking of which, without turning this thing into an entire sales pitch, if you have any needs that are hydration pack related - I highly suggest checking them out.  They are, without a doubt, the best hydration equipment I've ever used and I can't recommend them enough.

So as we were preparing for the race, we were in a Facebook chat and talking about the various things involved with a relay when some dumbass (me) decided to make a joke that got WAY out of hand.  Basically, the aforementioned dumbass (me), posted this picture:

Speedos.
And that snowballed into "Sure!  Why not?  Sounds like fun!".  I'm 99.9% certain that everyone except for Jake "The Perfect Body" Jackson was kidding and being sarcastic when they agreed to it - but a few weeks and several "in store modeling pictures" from Tim Christioni and Alex Suchey later - we were all in speedos and ready on race day.

Great picture during the National Anthem.  

The race is a relay style race - with each person doing the same 5.5 mile course.  There are 5 people on a team (Tim, myself, Josh, Jake, and Alex) and they combine the totals and call it a marathon (even though it's slightly longer).  The course is no joke.  It's all uphill for the first 2 miles or so, then undulates for the next 1.5 or so, then it's a steep downhill stretch with various undulations the rest of the way.  To top all of that off, it was ridiculously hot outside.  By the time Tim went out on the first leg, the sun was out and beating down on everyone.  

Then there was also a guy who was attacked by a swarm of bees - which is insane (and I head he ended up okay afterwards).  

In any case, Tim went first and I would stand there, patiently waiting...

It's embarassing to post these pictures, but I do look like Captain Cool Guy here.

It's hard to tell if Tim just did a Jimmy Walker "DY-NO-MITE" right before this was snapped, or if he's just about to pass out and drop like a rock.

Me taking off with the baton to start the second leg.
Well, the run went okay.  I didn't really push too hard (mainly because I COULDN'T - I just didn't have the legs for it) and my energy drained really fast going up that initial hill.  I managed to finish my leg in 40 minutes or so (which is more or less where everyone but super fast Jake finished), which I'm ok with.

Coming in and dropping the baton off to Josh for him to start the 3rd leg.

Winding up to give him a bit of extra motivation as he starts his leg.

Never in the history of asses has there been two less appealing asses side by side.

As a team, we finished in 3rd place in the Open Division - which is pretty damn good.  If we, as a team, were to focus on this race - I'm pretty confident we could break 3 hours and make a strong push for the top spot.  Maybe next year???

Alex and Tim.

Alex and Josh - If you're thinking that Alex didn't move and the background was just changed - you'd be right.  

Alex with Jake.

The team after Alex finished and we confirmed our 3rd place finish!  If you're wondering why I'm not wearing speedos - it's because, by that time, they were completely soaked and considered hazmat.  Also - the Park Ranger came by and told me I had to put a shirt and pants on because I was scaring the children.



So that's basically where I've been race-wise up until today.  The main race left on my schedule is Ironman Lake Tahoe in September and the Long Beach Marathon in October.  Due to how my training has been leading up IMLT - it's turned from a race with specific goals to "just finish with a time you'll be happy with" type race for me.  For Long Beach, I'm intending on breaking 3 hours while pushing Bruce in a stroller - which will take some creative planning.  I'm more worried about keeping him still and avoiding a pit stop than I am with my ability to reach the time.  Outside of those two races, I'm going to be doing the Renegade Racing Holiday Series - which will be a 10 mile, 5k, and 10k race - all while pushing Bruce in a stroller.



Goal for those is simple:  Podium or win outright all 3.  We'll see if it happens, but that's the thought.  Also - if you're interested in any of the Renegade events - be sure to use code BRYANDISCOUNT to save a bit of money off of the end price.  It won't work on the deal for the Holiday Series - but if you want to race any other event, or just a single race from the series - feel free to use my code.




Product Review: Powertap P1 Pedals

The Powertap P1 Pedals on my Tri bike.


First off, before I get into this review, I'll say up front that this isn't going to be a review that details the ins and outs of everything this power meter can and can't do.  If you're looking for a review like that - head over to DC Rainmaker's Review - where he goes into mind numbing detail (in a wonderful way!) on these pedals (and pretty much anything else that is electronic and endurance related).
My review will be much more simple - basically just touching on my thoughts on the pedals, how I feel they work, and what I like and don't like about them.

So with that said - here's a bit of background that eventually led up to the purchase of these pedals for me.

I've used a variety of powermeters since I've started competing and training for triathlons.  Very early on in my triathlon life - I saw the value of being able to calculate the amount of effort I was putting in on the bike and using that data from everything to training, to pacing myself, to testing equipment, etc.  Not only did it allow me to quantify any gains I was making, but it also allowed me to have a bit more fun with my training because it allowed my inner nerd to have a good time playing with numbers.

Anyway, my first power meter was a Quarq Cinco - which worked fine but had a few issues.  The biggest of those issues is that it was married to my tri bike (I'm not a very skilled bike mechanic and I don't have the real estate in my garage to have anything resembling a work space for bikes - so swapping a crankset from one bike to the next is something that wasn't realistic for me).  Eventually, the lack of ability to transfer from one bike to the next (and some other issues with data recording) led me to sell that and get a Powertap wheel.
The Powertap Wheel was a great powermeter that I never had any real issues with other than having to change the battery (which was kind of a pain - even with the included tool).  Not a deal breaker, and not a huge deal.  The biggest problem I had with it was that I was stuck using that wheel if I wanted to record my power.  That meant using a disc cover if I wanted to race with it, or switching tires on the wheel if I wanted to record power on my trainer.  Eventually, that become cumbersome and I, yet again, jumped ship to another powermeter.
This time I purchased a Stages powermeter and, without getting into the details, was not happy at all.  At first I loved it, but the data it provided did not work for my needs and being married to a particular crank length didn't work for me.  I ride different lengths of crank from my road and tri bike, so my attempt to change the length on one bike to get the Stages to work ended in failure.
This lead to me going back to the Powertap G3 wheel - which had the same issues as my original Powertap wheel (except the battery was a bit easier to change out).
I played around with the idea of the Garmin Pedals when they were first released, but was turned off from a friend who had a ton of issues getting the correct data from them and seeing him struggle with that (and the day to day installation), turned me off.

That's not to say that any of the above powermeters wouldn't be a great choice for somebody - they just weren't a great choice for me.  I needed something that provided accurate data that allowed me to work and train the way I needed and use the numbers in the way I wanted to use them.  I needed something I could swap from bike to bike without having to have any real bike mechanic skills.  I needed something that I could put on the bike and just ride with.

Enter the Powertap P1 Pedals.

When I first got wind of these pedals, I was immediately impressed and wanting a pair.  They seemed to fit everything I wanted in a powermeter.  While I've ridden Speedplay type pedals for pretty much the entire time I've been competing - it would be a small sacrifice to make in order to get power on my bike without any of the issues I had with previous devices.  I was really excited, and managed to maintain that excitement through the various delays that happened.
The one thing about the guys over at Powertap was that when something was delayed - they would explain it.  "It's not quite where we want it to be accuracy wise" - there was always an explanation (and usually a video on their social media channels to accompany it).  It made the wait a bit easier to handle because there was a face explaining things to you (not to mention Powertap's sterling reputation in the powermeter and cycling world).  There were other powermeters I considered - but most of those seemed to go "dead air" and ended up being vaporware.

Once the P1 Pedals were made available for pre-order - I immediately reserved my pair (I actually did it in the first seconds of the pre-order going live on the site - as I was afraid that they would quickly backorder).  They shipped, I received them, and - to make a long story short - I couldn't be happier with the pedals.

The Powertap P1.

Top of the pedal where you put the cleats in.

Bottom of the pedal where the battery port is.

Engaging mechanism on the rear of the pedal.

Front of the pedal.


THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THE P1 PEDALS:

First and foremost - the best thing about this pedal is the ability for it to be swapped from bike to bike with absolute ease.  As I touched on earlier, I'm no skilled bike mechanic.  In fact, I think it would be a stretch to call me an "unskilled bike mechanic" - I'm not even that.  Beyond changing a flat tire - I'm pretty much useless for all things bike repair.
Which is why I love these pedals.  The installation (and uninstallation) process on them is literally the easiest thing I've ever done.
All you need is an 8mm hex wrench, the pedals, a crank without pedals on them, and - oh - about 20 seconds of your time.  I'm serious.

The only tool you'll need is a 8mm hex wrench.  You don't even need a fancy one - the one on my multitool works just fine.  No torque wrenches, nothing to calibrate, nada.

Simply put the pedal into the crank arm, then put the wrench into the socket and turn.  Voila!  That's it.  You turn the wrench,, it tightens, and you're done.  To remove, simply turn the other way.
Once you have it off of your bike - you can now put it on any other bike.  In this example - we're tossing it on my road bike.
Same process - put it into the crank arm - turn, and you're done.  Now - just a note - for carbon cranks you're supposed to use a spacer.  I'm too lazy to get the spacer out each time and these cranks aren't really carbon (they're aluminum with a carbon coating or something like that) - so I don't bother with it.

Repeat the process for the other side and you're ready to roll!
It's an incredibly simple process that bike mechanic simpletons like myself can really appreciate.  

Another thing I like about the pedals is that the communicate in both bluetooth and ANT+.  This is great for me (well, kinda) because my multisport watch is a bluetooth watch (the Polar V800) and my bike computer is a Powertap Joule GPS.  While I can't see myself using anything but the Joule GPS when riding my bike (it - like just about any other dedicated bike computer - just has more data fields, functionality, and ease of viewing than my watch does) - having the option is still pretty nice.  Except, I don't really have that option.  Not yet anyway.  The V800 will recognize the P1 pedals (with a bit of effort), but it won't record any data off of them.  Apparently this is a Polar issue (as, from my understanding, they're using a bluetooth protocol that is somewhat dated and doesn't exist in the mainstream "cycling data marketplace").  However, indications from Polar is that they're coming around on this and will make it so the V800 supports third party powermeters (specifically with the P1).  While I'm not holding my breath on that - the potential option is a nice thing to have.

The battery life from these are outstanding.  Powertap quotes the battery life at about 60 hours - and I got just a hair over there until it went completely dead (~64 or so) - so that's pretty accurate.  In addition to having great battery life - having a AAA battery as the battery is a great idea.  I'm a father of a 2 year old who has more crappy electronic toys around the house than I can shake a stick at - so I have a whole army of these batteries around the house.  It really works well for me rather than making a trip to Radio Shack every time my bike computer says the battery is getting low.  On top of that, swapping out the batteries (which I've only had to do once), is as easy as can be.  No complicated tools (just a hex) and the battery goes in without an issue.  It's literally one step above changing out batteries in a remote control - it's that easy.

I also like having access to my right/left power data - even though I'm still playing around with this and getting it to work the way it should.

The best thing about this is that you simply plug the pedals in and play.  Easy as that.  There's no complicated "zero-ing out process" or weird calibrations that need to be done before you ride or anything that needs to be changed from ride to ride due to the powermeter.  You simply turn on your head unit, hit the zero offset button (which takes 5 seconds on both the Joule GPS and Garmin 500 units - I'd assume it's similar across the board for most head units), and ride.  Easy as that.

THINGS I DONT LIKE ABOUT THE P1 PEDALS:

While it wasn't a deal breaker, and while it isn't the end of the world, I'd be hesitant to say that I'm kind of bummed this wasn't compatible with a Speedplay style cleat.  I've gotten so used to just clipping in wherever my pedal was (i.e. not trying to find the "top" of the pedal to click in).  It's a very small, very minor annoyance - and it's something I knew 100% going in - but it's still something.

Another very small annoyance is that the cleats for the pedals are proprietary - which means that in order to use the P1 Pedals - you HAVE to use the P1 cleats from Powertap.  That's not a huge deal - but it does eliminate the possibility of buying multiple "cheap Look style" cleats for my various cycling shoes to fit in the pedals.  As of now - I only have one set of cleats - so I'm using my tri shoes for all of my riding (regardless what bike I'm on).  I intend to get some more cleats - but it was a slight bummer that I couldn't just stock up on the $5 clearance cleats at my local bike shop.

On that note, however - I felt I would do a bit of testing and compare and contrast the P1 cleats to a "Look style" cleat (I have no idea what brand the other cleats are).  I did this with my shoes and my wife's triathlon shoes (she has a generic "Look style" cleat on her shoes).

At first glance - it looks like there is no difference between the P1 cleat and a standard Look-style cleat.

Side view of the P1 (yes - those are Crocs with Socks - keep hatin')

Side by Side view with a standard cleat reveals some slight differences.

Again, from a different angle - you can see some slight differences in the cleats.
For what it's worth - I snapped my wife's shoes into the P1 Pedals and they clicked right in.  While I didn't pedal with them outside of moving them with my hands - they seemed to work just fine.  With that said, I've read reviews that claimed that some Look style cleats would work, but as the cleat started to wear down, it would slip out of the pedals.  

Another complaint/concern I've read about is whether the pedal (with its increase in "pedal height" for lack of a better term) would cause cornering issues.  I can attest that, for me, it hasn't - and I've done plenty of tight cornering on it with my road bike.  I ride 172.5 cranks on my road bike and haven't had a single issue - so no complaints there.  I think that it isn't a problem at all, and think that people may have "eyeballed" the potential problem and just assumed.


All in all - this is the best powermeter I've ever owned and I couldn't be happier with it.  The negatives on it are very minor things that aren't a big deal and it checks all the boxes when it comes to what you would want in a powermeter.  I couldn't be more pleased with the P1 pedals.

Having the ability to race with power the use the equipment I want is great.  Loving the way they work on my bikes!


Another shoe of the P1 Pedal.







Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Snap Laces speed lacing system.

As a triathlete, I've always loved any kind of laces that allow me to easily slip on a pair of shoes without having to go through the hassle of having to tie them over and over again.  Actually, scratch that.  AS AN INCREDIBLY LAZY PERSON, I've always loved the convenience of just throwing on a pair of shoes and not having to worry about the laces.

Outside of the aforementioned ease of putting shoes on - having laces that allow someone to put a shoe on without having to tie them up do have additional benefits.

- It allows for quick transitions in triathlons.  Having to stop and spend 10 - 60 seconds tying your shoes in transitions can be the difference in a race.
- It allows you to retain the fit of the shoe.  If you are constantly having to tie and untie your shoes - you run the risk of the fit of the shoe "changing" depending on how you tie them - which can have negative effects on your run.
- It completely negates (for the most part) the possibility of your shoe laces coming untied in the middle of the run.  That, in turn, negates the possibility of you tripping over said shoe lace, having to stop to re-tie said shoe lace, or from looking like a dork because you're running with your shoe lace untied.
- MOST speed lacing systems are tight to the shoe - which prevent laces from snagging on things - which can cause trips, falls, and disasters of unimagined proportions.

It's because of these benefits that I have had some form of speed lacing system on just about every pair of running shoes I own.  It's just become synonymous with how I run (there are a few exceptions to this - mostly dealing with shoes that have a specific type of lacing system built in that can't easily accommodate special laces).

The downsides I've had with some of the speed lacing systems I've tried are mainly two-fold:
- Some of the lacing systems have "stuff" hanging off to the side (either the laces themselves which are positioned off to the side or "overfray" from where you cut the laces).  Not only does this (imo) not look very clean, but it also presents the "snag hazard" that I spoke about briefly above.
- Some of the systems rely on a "clamping mechanism" to hold the elastic laces - and that can, at times, put pressure on the foot where that clamp is.  At least, that's been a problem for me on a lot of the laces and one I've actively tried to solve.

With all of that said, enter the latest contender to the speed lacing realm, Snap Laces.

The Snap Laces card that comes in the pack with the laces.
I was fortunate enough to have been offered two trial pairs of these to see how they work for me and give my thoughts and opinions on them.  So keep that in mind with the following review - but please know that I would have happily bought them to try them out (I've paid for a variety of different laces which all have worked and not worked to various degrees for me).

Before I get in to the ins and outs of the system and how they work - I thought I'd briefly give a glimpse to what I thought with them.  I really liked the system.  The clamp didn't put any pressure on my foot (despite my initial thoughts to the contrary), the laces hold firm and don't move (again, despite my initial thoughts to the contrary), and the system looks and feels great.

HOW THEY WORK
Snap Laces are pretty unique in the way they approach how to lace a shoe.  Instead of using one piece of cord through each eyelet of the shoe, they instead use two (or three, if you prefer) separate cords and lace them through eyelets on the shoes.  

The "How to" instruction card that comes with each pair.
Basically, as the card above explains, you loop a "smaller" (compared to a "full" lace) cord through two of the eyelets and attach the cord to their clasp.  Then, you bring the clasp over and across the shoe and attach it to the loop to secure the lacing.  

See below for "step by step" pictures featuring my new pair of Skora Fits.  

Simply lace in the bottom two (or any two - depending on how you want it to fit) eyelets and attach the clasp to the cord.

Closer look at the clasp and how the cords attach.

Once looped through, you want to insert the cord as shown....

.....and pull it through so there's a bit of "slack."  This slack will allow you to adjust the laces so that they tighten to comfort.

Once adjusted, you simply fold the clasp over and hook it to the other side - as shown.  The leftover lace can be cut or tucked as needed, but be sure to leave a bit for future adjustments if necessary.
One option is to tuck the lace into the opposing eyelet.

Another is to simply cut the lace off.


Lace the top loop in much the same way as the bottom. Ideally, you want the clasp working the same way on the top as it does on the bottom.
So, as shown above, installation is a breeze.  You don't even need any other tools (i.e. no scissors or a knife or anything) as tucking the access strap is just as comfortable and easy as cutting it is.  

Once installed, it slides on nice and easy and looks pretty sweet as well.

Laces are tucked for this picture - which I found didn't interfere with the fit of the shoe.

Side view of how it looks with the laces installed.

I opted for the reflective laces for this pair and they really show when you take a picture with the flash on.  You can see I have both shoes going the same way - this was done thinking I could easily "swipe" them off in transition (which I'll get into later).

Showing how they fit once put on.  Full disclosure:  I ended up slightly loosening the laces from this picture.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND RUN TEST

To be completely honest - I had a few negative first impressions of the lacing system when I received my sets.

First and foremost - I thought that the laces would put the dreaded "undue pressure" on the top of my foot.  Just the way the clasps situate seemed to indicate this would happen for sure.

Secondly - the clasp itself looks like something that would come undone fairly easily - resulting in the shoe loosening up and having to stop to "re-clasp" it.  That would kind of kill the point of speed laces.

Lastly, I thought that the way the cord hooks into the clasp would not hold.  It just seemed that - with a bit of effort - the clasp would easily come undone from the cord and would fall off mid-run to be lost forever.

I've put around 120 or so miles in these in the month or so that I've had them (between this pair of Skora Fits and a pair of Skora Phases that another set is on) and I'm happy to report that none of the above first impressions came into play in any real shape or form.  
I've not had a single time where the clasp came undone - and that is with some light trail running mixed in.  Perhaps with some heavier trail stuff (I might lace up my trail shoes with a pair of these to try it out in the future), you may run into sections where roots, bushes, etc will snap and unclasp the lace.
As for the foot pressure - I think Snap Laces has a real solution to people who were experiencing similar issues to me (where the tightening mechanism on other speed lacing systems would produce a "pressure point" on the top of your foot).  Despite the visual evidence which seems to indicate that having two mechanisms resting on top of your foot would produce pressure - I actually found that to not be the case.  In fact, I didn't feel the clasp at all (no pressure, no extra weight).  They're an extremely comfortable lacing system.

Here's a video of me running in the laces.  You'll have to excuse the complete amateurism cell phone video.  Unfortunately, this blog's budget doesn't allow for a professional photographer (at least, not until *I* become a professional photographer - which is never going to happen), so we make due with what we have (which is my shoddy attempt at filming a video haha).

I think Snap Laces does just about everything you need in a lacing system.  They're comfortable, lightweight, easy to install, come in a variety of colors (for people who need to match), easily adjustable, and allow for the shoe to come off and on easily without having to relace or re-do the who system.  

It's not really rocket science - they're shoe laces.  But, with that said, there's a whole host of lacing systems out there that don't really fit all of those needs - so it's pretty cool to find one that's a bit different that works absolutely perfectly.

Now, I did overthink things a bit when installing them on my shoe.  I figured that if I put the laces in the same direction - I could simply swipe them off allowing for an easy take off.  Turns out - it's completely unnecessary to do that.  The shoes slide right off without requiring you to mess with the clamping mechanism at all.

One thing I did run into while doing a duathlon was that - if you're not careful - the clamping mechanism can "unclasp" while the shoes are untied.  Meaning if there is no pressure on the shoe and it gets tossed around, the clasp can come undone.  I found this out the hard way as when I came back for the second run, the top clasp on the right shoe was undone.  Not a huge deal (it took all of .25 seconds to clasp it back on), but something to keep in mind.

All in all, this is an outstanding lacing system that will grace just about every pair of racing and training shoes I own.  I couldn't be happier with it and would recommend it to anyone (runner or triathlete) who is in a need of a speed lace system.  To top everything else off, they're not expensive either.  So that's always a bonus too.

Check them out at https://snaplaces.com/ and see if they're right for you.