AndyM

AndyM

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Andreas's Passions

Alpine Touring
Road Running
Trad Climbing
Camping
Backpacking
Trail Running
Hiking
Mountain Biking
Alpine Skiing
Sport Climbing
Bouldering

Andreas's Bio

AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on August 10, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I picked up this jersey for weeks when I ride more often than I do laundry. ;) On paper (or the screen I guess), it looked like it checked all the boxes: breathable, not too garish, glasses wipe, drop tail, and a good neck design. Unfortunately, after my first ride, I noticed the fabric is snagged all over (chest, sleeves. I'm not sure what from, since I didn't crash and it was more or less just an XC ride. I was pretty disappointed as I've worn my TLD Skyline jersey a good dozen times, subjecting it to worse abuse, and it looks as good as when I bought it. Luckily, Backcountry has an awesome return policy.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Like other reviews here, I started with Gu's and Clif's gels. I was turned off by Gu's use of fructose, Clif's funky aftertaste in any gels with caffeine in them, and the thicker consistency of both. I love the more syrup-y consistency of the Hammer gels, the lack of nasty aftertaste, and the flavors taste more like real fruit. I've tried the apple cinnamon, huckleberry, raspberry, and vanilla, and loved all but the vanilla. The apple cinnamon tastes like pie. :) The vanilla is OK - sort of like cake frosting, but I wouldn't buy a whole box of it, unless you really love frosting.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm all for slamming gels while biking or skiing, but after an hour and a half or so my stomach starts to feel really empty. I haven't been a huge fan of other bars while working hard because they're so hard to get down, and feel like so much at the time. The Fuel bar has none of those problems: it's fairly soft, but slightly chewy with just enough texture so it's easy to eat while your heart's thumping but not disgusting, it's not too much (2-3 bites), and tastes delicious (I have the cran-raspberry).

Only con is that the price/oz is probably higher than other products, but on the other hand, I know I'll never be tossing any away because I avoided eating them long enough that they expired.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

As I already tried and loved the Injinji CoolMax Mini-Crews, I decided to try a pair of the new Run 2.0 ones in "No-Show" height after I lost one of my originals in the wash. I've been pleasantly surprised that these newer ones seem to breath a bit better than my older ones, either due to slightly different fabric or the lower ankle (I'm not sure). The kind of puffy back tab on the ankle does a great job stopping the sock from slipping down in your shoe. My only complaints are that they're already starting to slightly pill around the toes (where I rub most) after a half dozen washes, and they definitely get funky after a single use (as opposed to wool socks). That said, I'll be buying more of them, and would heartily recommend them to anyone having issues with blisters from running.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I've been experimenting with different gloves as I get into mountain biking, and this was the first pair I tried. I've also tried the POC Index DH and the Fox Reflex Gel (both of which I liked less).

What I like:
*they have the most padding around the outside wrist area of any glove I've found. This is important to me, as I find myself catching my falls there. I've had one over the handlebars crash onto concrete due to me being an idiot, and while I severely bruised my wrists, I'm convinced I would have broken my right wrist if I wasn't wearing these gloves.
*they breath better than you'd expect - the sides of the fingers are a very thin open nylon mesh that vents really well, while keeping a durable palm and back.
*wrist closure is adjustable from both sides (the thick outer piece is one big velcro patch), ensuring a good snug fit

What I don't like:
*no lighter color option
*I melted the touchscreen rubber on the index finger on my brake rotor
*it'd be nice if there was a sweat wipe on the outside of the thumb

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I've been experimenting with different gloves as I get into mountain biking, and this was the first pair I tried. I've also tried the Fox Reflex Gel and the Giro Remedy X (both of whichwhich I liked more).

What I like:
*they fit true to size
*they feel pretty durable
*wrist is non-intrusive

What I don't like:
*the gel padding is so minimal it may as well not be there. The areas covered are tiny, and the amount of gel (even if VPD) is so small it doesn't feel like it would do anything in a crash
*the material is thick and doesn't breath well
*only available in black
*cost about twice as much as other decent options

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I've been experimenting with different gloves as I get into mountain biking, and this was the first pair I tried. I've also tried the POC Index DH (which I liked less) and the Giro Remedy X (which I liked more).

What I like:
*they breath extremely well
*good selection of colors
*wrist is non-intrusive

What I don't like:
*the gel across the palm doesn't really do any good
*the gel across the base of the hand is better than nothing, but doesn't go far enough around the outside and down to the wrist to provide serious impact protection. I had one good crash on a hairpin and bruised my hand pretty hard through the gel.
*the dotted texture on the fingertips comes off easily, and doesn't work on smartphone screens.
*initially the fit was quite true to size, but they seem to have stretched out to be just a hair looser than I'd like.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I picked this helmet up as my first mountain biking helmet, and have ridden with it several times.

What I like:
*white color option helps a bit with the heat
*size XL fits my enormous head well
*the big vents let in a good amount of breeze when I'm downhilling
*it seems to have good overall coverage

What I don't like:
*the side straps tend to shift position easily if you take the helmet off hang hang it by them
*the only thing securing the chin strap tightener is a rubber band
*the brow pads don't do a very good job of keeping sweat out of my eyes (it's been a hot summer!)

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on July 16, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

This is my third pair of La Sportiva Solutions, which I got to replace my previous pair while they get resoled. I wear them on average 3 times per week bouldering at the gym. I prefer the Solutions over other aggressive shoes I've tried (Miura VS, Shaman, Blackwing) because they fit my wide-ish flat feet well, in addition to having an extremely precise toe and snug heel.

The 2014 version (marble pattern) appears to have made a few minor changes: the top of the heel rubber dropped slightly (a few mm), the straps got slightly thicker (probably to address breaking issues), and the rubber overall seems either slightly softer or thinner. The result was that when I tried them on, they immediately felt as good as my old, worn in pair.

Sizing: I wear a size 9.5-10 running shoe and wear a size 41 Solution. I could see maybe going down another 1/2 size with the 2014 model, as it seems less stiff than the 2013.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used this bag for one trip to Europe and two trips to SLC, and it kept my skis and boots nicely protected from the baggage handling and TSA cretins. Durability seems good, and the wheels are great for the long walk from the long term parking lot. My only complaint is that I wish there was an intermediate size... the 190 has about 8" of flop on my 174cm skis, but since I also have a pair of 178s I didn't want to go with the 175 length.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I got these because I needed a pair of nice sandals for a friend's wedding in Kauai. They certainly look great, but the first day I wore them walking around all day I got horrible blisters on the top of my foot (from the strap) by my pinky toe. That said, once they're broken in they're pretty damn comfy.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This season I put on my big boy pants and upgraded from Fritschis to Dynafit Radicals, and it was a world of difference. Just as everyone says, all of the sudden you're not lifting your entire binding with every step.
What I like:
*lightweight
*not a frame binding - tech toe is way more efficient
*easy to step in
*easy to use heel risers
What I don't like:
*release is kinda hit or miss... early on I had some early release, but raising the release setting fixed that. But I still feel like the lateral toe release isn't as good as it could be
*brakes are functionally worthless. Twice I've released from the ski only to watch it continue on down the slope with the brakes scratching little grooves in the powder, or skittering on hardpack

For my new pair of skis, I bought a pair of Speed Radicals instead with an aftermarket leash fuse (for release in avalanche), so I save weight, and don't have to count on the worthless brakes.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I've got about a half dozen of the Fezzman shirts in various colors, and am crazy about them. The patterns are mostly great, the fit is awesome for me (5'10", 150lbs), and they almost never wrinkle. I've worn them for everything from work, to nights out with the girlfriend, to vacation in Guatemala - absolutely no complaints. The best part is I've never ironed them, and the pockets/sleeves/collar/button areas haven't developed permanent creases/wrinkles like every other shirt I've owned.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I snagged these on end of season sale (although it looks like I should have waited longer) based on excellent reviews, hoping for a lighter, more walk friendly boot than my Scarpa Maestrale RS boots. The catch for me with all ski boots is that I have very flat feet, resulting in a midfoot that's as wide as my forefoot. Every unmodified ski boot I've ever tried pinches there as a result. So far I've stuck in custom footbeds, had the liners heat molded, and the shell's midfoot punched twice (and will probably do it once more). I've skied them 3 days backcountry and 1 day at the resort before the snow disappeared, and really am excited about their potential.
What I like:
*fantastic range of motion in walk mode. I boot backed over a mile already and they really made that easy compared to any other boot I've tried (BD Factor, Scarpa Maestrale RS)
*super light weight
*cool walk mode system - just flip open the top buckle and loosen power strap
*nice progressive flex with the green tongue - stiff enough for the control I need, but not jarring
What I don't like:
*ridiculously narrow - anyone with wide/flat feet is looking at serious shell work.
*liner is OK, but not as moldable or warm as an Intuition Pro Tour
*crazy expensive (unless you get them on sale) in comparison to other good light tour boots (Maestrale RS, La Sportiva Spectre)
*dealing with the tongues is kind of annoying, but not awful

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I already had a Patagonia R1 Hoody, but didn't like that because the combination of the hood, half zip chest, and slim fit made it impractical for layering where you change layers often (backcountry skiing). The R1 Jacket version solves all these problems and improves on them. It has a fantastic fit, is easy to take on/off, adds handwarmer pockets, and maintains some of the great features of the Hoody version (thumb loops, long hem for staying tucked in). In addition to being great for skiing, its wonderfully cozy yet breathable as a warmup jacket for biking or hiking, or just wearing casually. Great color too (glass blue)!
What I like:
*trim, athletic fit works great for layering
*thumb loops for keeping hands warm
*full zip means easy to take on/off when layering
*handwarmer pockets
*long, snug hem for keeping tucked into ski pants or under climbing harness or hip belt
*R1 material keeps me warm but breathes extremely well
What I don't like:
*that I didn't buy the Jacket version instead of the Hoody first!
Bottom line is this is easily one of my favorite all-around pieces of gear.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I picked these up for a daily wear and occasional park run shoe, and returned them immediately. I just didn't like how cheap the construction felt. Most of the sole was foam, and felt like it would wear extremely fast. The shoe outer had tones of thin plastic detailing, which also felt cheap and like it would peel off quickly. I have no idea whether it actually would - but they just didn't feel like the same quality of other shoes in this category.
On the positive side, they did seem true to size, and were very lightweight.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I picked these up for casual wear and occasional runs in the park, and returned them because they were so uncomfortable. I have pretty flat feet, which results in a wide midfoot. The plastic trim on the outside of these shoes really was uncomfortable, pressing into the outside edge of my foot. The forefoot sole felt really harsh when running on asphalt & hard packed trails with a forefoot strike. Finally, the low drop put a lot of strain on my achillles when just walking in them. The lacing system seems cool in concept, but ends up being kind of fiddly. For a no-knot system, I prefer just using elastic Lock Laces. I replaced these shoes with a pair of Brooks Ghost 6s. About the only thing I really liked was the color.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I picked these up for running, figuring reducing recovery time would be nice. I tried them on my normal run circuit for a couple weeks, and really noticed no improvement. If anything, I actually felt more tired since I was warmer and they felt a bit restricting to my movement. I kept them figuring that they'll be OK for running in the winter, but have otherwise stopped using them. I do have a "natural form" running style (forefoot strike), resulting in most of my work being in my calves, so perhaps these are just unnecessary for me.
What I like:
*fit seems accurate
What I don't like:
*no noticeable recovery improvement
*feels slightly restrictive to movement
*keeps me warmer than I'd like - I can't imagine wearing these in the summer
Sizing: I'm 5'-10", <32" waist, ~150 lbs and the medium fit well.

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a review of on April 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

already had a GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 210) that I used for running, and got this for the ability to see current Lat/Lon coordinates (for finding trailheads), navigation, and ability to see altitude. So far it's met and exceeded all of those! I've used it backcountry skiing once, mountain biking once, and running a handful of times.
What I like:
*customizable displays for my sports
*really fast GPS lock (5-10s usually vs. 3-5 min on my Garmin)
*ability to set white on black display
*no fuss sync & updates
*Movescount website has nice display of my data, including map & graphs, plus a nice interface for customizing watch
What's not awesome:
*battery life is only about 8hrs with detailed GPS running
*watch itself is pretty big (face + GPS nub)
*watch menu system has a bit of a learning curve, but works well once you figure it out.
Overall, I'm very pleased with it so far, and will be getting rid of my old Garmin!

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AndyM

AndyM wrote a question about on April 4, 2014

Are these compatible with a Dynafit TLT6P boot? I ski mostly backcountry with my TLT6s & Radical bindings, but I have an old pair of K2 Obsethed I'd like to use as a resort ski (without "tech" bindings). Currently those skis have Fritschis on them, but I hate the extra height vs. a normal alpine binding. From what I've found, the TLT6s are compatible with frame AT bindings (i.e. Fritschi), which are DIN ISO 9523, which the STH 2 is supposedly compatible with.

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