"Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Destination Races, Santa Barbara Wine Country Half as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Run all the miles, drink all the wine…if this is your race motto, then you definitely want to add this to your bucket list.
Destination races brings a well run half marathon race to Santa Barbara Wine Country. Taking place in the Santa Ynez valley, the course starts in Santa Ynez, heads up to Los Olivos and ends in Solvang. It’s a picturesque course, will the last four miles of mostly downhill, and views that sooth the workout your quads are getting.
My weekend started with a drive up to Santa Barbara region from LA on Friday afternoon. Passing the ocean front views, heading over the mountains, I made my way to the valley town of Solvang for packet pick up. Solvang is a quaint little town with a heavy Danish influence. There are Danish bakery’s, more windmills than I could count and did I mention wine…yes so many wine tasting shops. The city park was transformed to the race day staging and pre-race expo. Packet pick up was very easy and without stress, there was even free parking in the city parking lots (major perk of small town races). The town was filled with tons of runner energy. Everyone was walking up and down the cobblestone streets, exploring shops, taking selfies with windmills and sampling wine.
Since this was an out and back race, they offered shuttles from the finish line area to the start. Since my hotel was closer to the finish area, I took advantage of this shuttle. Anticipating a large crowd, I arrived early so that I would insure I made it to the start line with plenty of time to grab some coffee and relax before kick off. To my surprise, there were numerous shuttle buses race morning and I was headed to the start line about 5 minutes after I arrived. One of the coffee shops in the town were the race began was open for runners, serving coffee and light pastries. This was another huge perk, as it we all know how hotel coffee just doesn’t cut it for race day. After my coffee, I made my way to find other Bib Rave pros to wish them well. I found them easily, as well as a couple other friends from the Oiselle Volée team.
The race began just as the sun was rising, and wow, what a beautiful start. The first 7 miles were an uphill climb. The course ran by numerous farms and vineyards, any many of the owners were out cheering for the runners. I saw cows, horses, and even goats. There were plenty of aid stations on the course. All were stocked with water and about every other one had Nuun hydration (yes another big perk). Then I hit an area referred to as the corkscrew. Don’t let the punny name fool you..it literally is a winding hill that goes round and round until you reach the top. However, once you reach the top, you realize you are in the most beautiful vineyard with a completely surreal view. From there the majority of the course was downhill straight to the finish line.
Now to the wine or aka the good part…the finish line fest. As the race finished, runners were guided through post race water and refreshment areas, and received their medal (which doubled as wine glass holder). I easily made my way through gear check then headed to the post race fest. Since the fest was held in a large park, there was plenty of room to hang out and talk to race sponsors at their booths, sit down and enjoy some lunch or head into the wine tasting area. The wine tasting party, had about 13 or so local wine vendors sampling all sorts of wine. The vendors were patient and seemed to enjoy the opportunity to tell a bit about their wine with each sampling they poured. For those not into wine, there was also a beer vendor with a few flavors of brews to sample. The festivities got packed pretty quickly, so once I sampled what I was interested in I headed out of that area. However, there were groups of friends who were hanging out, sampling wine and all seem to be having a great time despite the growing crowds. There was also a band keeping the spirits high and plenty of room at the finish line to go back and cheer runners in.
Overall I loved this race. It was very well organized, great energy among the runners. Even though it got crowed, I also thought the post race wine party was absolutely great. I will definitely be adding this one to my running rotation and next year hope bring a group of friends to enjoy a runners version of a wine tasting weekend.
"Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Mini as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Previously I reviewed the Aftershokz Titanium Trekz and if you recall I mentioned they were a tad big for my head. Even though the fit wasn’t the greatest I really liked the headset, so when I heard they were making a smaller version aka the mini, I jumped at the chance to give that version a try.
For a refresher, Aftershokz headphones use something called “bone conduction technology” to transmit noise to your ears. The buds are not placed in the ear itself; rather sit on the temple bone just outside the ear canal. Using this patented technology the noise from the headset is then transferred via the bone to the eardrums. The result is quality sound, without compromising awareness of your surroundings. Sounds a bit odd right? Well trust me it isn’t..its actually perfect for outdoor activity.
If you haven’t noticed, I like to run trails. On the trails, being present is just as important as being hydrated. You need to be aware of cyclists on the trail, animals, (especially during snake season) and other noises that will alert you to bumps in the road. I used Titanium Trekz on my trail runs and I swear they were perfect. I could clearly hear my music, but also felt comfortable being aware of my surroundings.
I also tried the Trekz on the road, primarily the beachfront path near where I live. The path gets quite busy and with that, a lot of noise. I found the Trekz were great during quieter times on the path, but not so great during peak hours. The external noise made hearing my music a little more challenging. Don’t worry though, aftershokz packages their headphones with a set of earplugs. By wearing earplugs with the Trekz, you completely block out surrounding noise, while allowing the noise from the headphones to transmit. Keep in mind though, using the earplugs makes the noise from the headphones a bit muffled..in my opinion.
As I mentioned, I used the mini version this time around, and was pleasantly surprised with how much better I liked them. The fit was much nicer for my head and thus created a better sound experience. I was easily able to wear them with a hat or headband. However, my favorite feature of these headphones is the amount of using time I could get with each charge. I honestly used them for about 6 hour long runs and probably could have went longer on that same charge. Bonus, even though they utilize blue tooth technology, they didn’t drain the power on my phone.
If you are looking for a headset to provide great sound quality while staying present to your surroundings you for then you must try Aftershokz. If you make a purchase from this link http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/ you will receive a high quality drink bottle to keep you hydrated on those long runs.
Disclaimer: I received Eagle Creek Pack It gear to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Trail running can sometimes result in dusty shoes. (yes I bet you thought I was going to say muddy, but we don’t have rain in LA ) After a run, having a place to store those dirty shoes is key. Once I discovered Eagle Creek Pack It Sport set, let’s just say I found the key to my clean car success.
The Pack It Sport set is a 2 piece set of storage for your gym bag, suitcase or even the trunk of your car. The set consists of a zip “locker” for your shoes and another small bag big enough for a set of running clothes. The beauty of the compact size is that it fits easily into a gym bag.
What makes this product stand out? First off, the material is flexible, yet pretty durable, and comes in a variety of colors. I got the black color, but the bright colors are a fun option too. The shoe locker zips and has plenty of room for most sizes of shoes, plus dirty socks. The small bag has two pouches but doesn’t hold much more than a top and bottom. (squeezing a jacket in there too, might be a bit tight). Secondly, it is washable and sink proof. Yes, the material has special antimicrobial treatment which prevents odors from lingering. Thirdly, there is a lifetime warranty.
I tested the items out for a few different workout options. I used it to pack clean workout gear for an afterwork yoga session. I loved the fact that the compartments fit nicely into my work bag, and prevented me from bringing another bag on my work commute. I also tried it for my sweaty clothes post trail run. This was my favorite option. After my run, I could easily store my messy shoes without getting the car dirty. I even started storing my trail shoes in the bag, to keep my closet floors fresh.
Eagle creek has a full line of gear, prefect for outdoor use, or even traveling. Based on my experience of the quality of the fabrications I will definitely check them out when I shop for a new back pack or other travel gear. Another fun fact…they are located in Southern California, and shopping local is a big plus for me.
Overall I really like this product. While I wish the small tote was a little bigger, the shoe locker was outstanding.