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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean

Utah, Maine, New Hampshire, VT, Sierras

Courtney Dean's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Yoga
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Courtney Dean's Bio

I like to Ski, but I can get distracted with Ice and Alpine climbing. Especially in the Northeast where scratchy snow skiing can get a little uninspired during the frost/freeze cycles. I'll do just about anything fun in the summer, but always try to find an opportunity to climb and camp. Gear is expensive and even more so when it doesn't get used.

Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 31, 2015

Hot java on the go
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used insulated coffee mugs and thermals in the office and home with mixed success. Usually the lids get lost, or loose and are quickly abandoned. And no coffee vessel experience is ever completed without the periodic spill.
The Highland Autoseal surpasses those also rans.
It's got a good fitting, tight seal that feels reliable at the point of engagement. It screws on tight in two turns and DOES NOT LEAK. This is key.
Tip it
Drop it
It's not going to leave a leaky mess on your desk or the conference table.
The push-button open is accessible for anyone with fingers and an opposable thumb. It sits on the back side so you can activate it with your index finger while you drink. You can even stick your pinky out, you aristcrat.
The lock is easy to activate and will hold in place despite bumps and knocks.
The insulation keeps my beverage hot through the end. Granted I've not carried it up an ice field in sub-zero temperatures, but I've not had a disappointing sip yet.
At 16oz, it's great to get me sufficiently caffienated during an early morning drive to the slopes or trailhead - and to reiterate - pleasantly so with heat to the last sip.
I was pleased to discover it fits into a bicycle bottle cage nicely. I gave this a shot on my morning commute and was thrilled to enjoy my piping hot snooty french pressed morning joe instead of the questionable sludge pouring out of the office cauldron.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

First thing I did when building my bike was check weights of every item and look for alternatives. Most items sold at Competitivecyclist.com are solid, and reliable and come from quality manufacturers. So you can trust that x vs. y should be safe alternatives. That being said, I am also a novice roadie. The latter worked in my favor as I went with frugality, choosing aluminum over carbon purely because of costs. TUrns out that's a good thing as these handlebars are pretty light on the aluminum scale and the other carbon advantages appear to be largely negated.
The bars do have a deep drop and that was a little offputting for me given the bulk of my riding experiences were on a mountain bike. But i quickly adapted and can now crouch into a comfortable sprint.
I also like the flats on the top for a comfortable climbing grip.

My only beef is i wish i'd gotten them in 48cm. I think i would've liked the slightly wider set.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 27, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I like the tube. It shows up without holes in it. I put holes in it. Unlike the lucky gentleman, Matheus, I rode only 100 miles on mine before getting two flats in a week. sucks for me. THe first was a blowout as evidenced by the abrated sidewall of my rear tire. The second is still a frustrating mystery as it stranded me last night (as of this writing) on the side of the road with a crap hand pump. THumbing for a ride in front of a grocery store would SEEM easy, right? in the dark, wearing a bib, no problem!
I'm lucky i bought three of these, but i am wishing i'd picked up about 8 more. As long as my route has construction and a graded (read:being repaved) road, i'm probably going to experience this joy a few more times in the coming weeks.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

There are far fewer road wheels with discs, so options become a bit limited. Factor in costs and if you work for a living like me, your options are further limited. Enter the Mavic One. It's not carbon. It's not ultra light. The spokes aren't made of titanium, gold, platinum or paladium. It's a wheelset that rolls true, fits a 160mm rotor and handles a beating. Everything a fat guy could wish for.

There's no bling or otherwise noteworthy feature to the wheels. They're pretty understated. At 2000 grams they're pretty hefty. You could definitely shave 3-500 grams or more with a 2x - 4x investment. I need another sport climbing rope and my kid needs diapers. So I've gone the economical route. These wheels are saving me $5/day in gas and my disposition is better for the movement. I'm thrilled with that and I don't know that shaving a pound off my rig would make that experience any sweeter.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

for an unpredictable world. These breaks were the main reason I built a bike instead of bying one. I heard great things about TRP and wanted them on my CX/commuter. I got them and couldn't be happier. This isn't a high end hydraulic brake. It's an affordable hybrid that will do exactly what a rider like I need it to do: stop.
Solid, consistent closure on the rotor and a good action. They look to be easily maintained, though I haven't touched them yet. Set screws are accessible and the cable actuator can be manipulated by hand.
They stop under any circumstances. In city riding or even on a busy urban path, they're necessary. Traffic doesn't always respect bikers and in a confrontation - I'm not an odds maker - but the biker will always lose.
On the trail, I face walkers, walkers with strollers, walkers with walkers, couples, couples with strollers, joggers (yawging?), other bikers, rollerbladers and every other manner of lomomotion you can think of. It's a two way path so I am constantly setting myself up to pass or hold. With brakes like these, I don't have to worry about a collision, even if I'm caught off guard.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I am not in a position to pony up for a top end drive train. This is perfect though for what I hope to be a year round commute. The crank is solid, the chain rings are nicely geared and it'll stand up to crap weather and abuse. I ride terrible roads and will put a lot of wear and tear on the bike in the next couple of years. The 105 should live up to the challenge.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is my first road frame and my first build (er..., the first build i had Competitive Cyclists do). It's an awesome frame, feels great, responsive and handles the terrible Boston are roads like a champ. On economy, you're doing well with the Niner RLT. I have not taken it on gravel/fire roads yet. I know it's truly a magnificent CX frame, but I am just not there yet.

There's some inspiration stamped on the top tube for just when your legs feel like spagetti. "Peddle Damnit" Awesome.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Much lighter than some higher end stems, this carbon wrapped aluminum core gives me pride. I like the look of it and it's rigid and solid. Looking at other reasonably priced stems, it is very light and long enough for my gorilla reach.
My only complaint is that the torque requirement isn't printed prominantly on it. 4.5Nm is probably the magic number but always nice to have confirmation.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 10, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

It seems the viscosity of milk and kind of looks like it too. Like Brock's review, i've lost a bit through the bottle's screw on applicator. that's annoying. it gets everywhere when it leaks through the threads. I've only applied it to two bikes very recently, so i cannot comment on how well it holds up, but the bottle's recommendations are for liberal use EVERYTIME you ride. that just screams gooey mess. Every other chain lube i've used suggested sparing use and the evidence to support that is a functional but very dirty chain many, many rides later. I'll put it in my car/travel bag. but it's not going to be my go-to lubricant.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 6, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 215 lbs
Size Purchased: L

I love my Patagonia Alpine Guide (though the zipper stitching came out in one pocket...). But this jacket is the bees knees. It's got a hood, which is always a bonus. It stretches tremendously. It has long, long sleeves, which is critical for an ape like me. It fits sleek and doesn't have any floaty torso material to catch on tools, screws, or other stuff. Let me clarify:
I bought this for ice climbing and alpine climbing.
Ice climbing and alpine gear should fit tight. This isn't park rat tall tee activity where a flutter looks cool on your Go Pro. Wind catches, tool catches, anything that sags or fits loosely is a liability. And doesn't look good...

So this fits tights, conforms to the body and stretches as you move. Everything you need in a jacket. ONe unexpected perk is the headphone channel. Nice for cold commutes, but i haven't quite graduated to sensory deprivation in the backcountry. I suspect it'll be great for mellow ski touring though..
My only complaint would be the color is a little more muted than the pictures suggest. I got the Red and thougtht it'd be a little more candy apple (for my flashy, candy a$$). The color is actually a bit duller.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 5, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Did Osprey change the hose diameter after some time? i have an old osprey hydration bladder from a few years back when they first came out. it's own magnetic bite valve leaked on me on mile 1 of my honeymoon hike in Patagonia. I bought this as a replacement and it's too small to lock into the hose. i even checked for the hose's stretch due to wear. Cutting off that little bit didn't help.

if it fit, it would be great... back when my original bladder worked, i was the envy of all in my hiking group. My reliable on/off switch and powerful magnet made hydration a pleasurable experience. NO leaks, no wet shoes, no carefully trying to curl the hose up and around in the back of a hatchback hoping to avoid a leak during the drive to the trail head. But when it fails, it fails dismally.
Thought this would make me an Osprey fan again, but so far, it's failing to attract...

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 5, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 215 lbs

I know this is a classic desert look, but it's still flappy and funny looking. But the kid wears it and that's what counts. It's plenty long to cover a baby's non-existent neck. And the visor reaches out to catch descending sun rays before they blind your boy.
We got it in baby boy blue and he's been quite handsome in it.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on August 5, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 215 lbs

I'm a patagonia fan. I respect their products, their philosphy and their prices. So i was able to justify purchasing an expensive sun hat for my child that would last him only one summer.
And glad I did. While it won't fit forever, the pictures we've gotten with it are awesome. My wife was tickled to death when she first saw it and has been dressing him in it from day one.

My only complain is, consistent with every hat we've bought for the baby, the chin strap doesn't work. Babies don't have necks. the chin strap is impossible to get in place and keep in place. So the hat takes a lot of falls. It's durable. It's Patagonia.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on June 26, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I expect this to get my wife and I back into the woods with our son and enable much more activity.
The Poko Plus apears to be pretty great. It's lighter than other options with more storage. I do wish i'd paid more attention and gotten the Poko Premium as i think the extra 600 cu in. would be vital, but the option to put a Day Lite pack (700 cu in) on the back should be fine. I want to stowe diaper bag contents as well as sport crag kit and maybe some food/water.
It's relatively easy to set up and adjust though some clips have stowaway capabilities that make them less easy to adjust but hide them from little hands. The drool pad is awesome for a teething 5 month old. The hip pockets are pretty small. Maybe fit a knife, compass, small snack or two, but little else. The cell phone pocket on the shoulder is a bit small for most smart phones. Probably better for a point and shoot (do people still have those?)
The best feature is that it's adjustable so my 5'8" wife and I (6'3") can trade duties.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on June 2, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Holy cow, I'll say that again. These are far superior to Yak Tracks (Trax?). I knew this before i bought them, but here's a story anyway. I picked up the Yaks several years ago because they were cheap and i knew they'd be a nice thing to have in the bottom of a pack in a pinch. But NOvember 14 i went with a group to tackle early ice in New Hampshire (Lincoln's Throat). It features a long approach up a river on rocky/snowy terrain. The Yak's deteriorated over the course of the up to the point where i was just trying to get some of the spring coils under my boots. Sure, i could've put on my crampons, but i would've crushed them and the conditions weren't that bad. I also could pack alpine crampons. But the Microspikes are so handy for their weight and the all metal bottoms mean they survive a bunch of adventures.
I was fine on my trip with the lesser product, but i wasn't as happy as the other folks in my party.

Get these, keep them in your pack in the winter and have no regrets.

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