at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

Look Closer, Learn More, #GetAtHome In This World

Search results: "spartan"

#GetAtHome in China 8: A Profitable Gamble, Hiking Lion Rock Trail, Hong Kong

My plan in going to Hong Kong had been to seek out the route, more or less along Maclehose Trail, that the Fjällräven Classic’s expansion to Hong Kong will take.

I couldn’t even find out the exact route, though. So, I had already planned to only go on a part of Maclehose Trail, and to detour onto the Lion Rock trail.

Now, there was just one more day left until our flight back to Austria. Forecast for that day: Clearing skies.

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Feuerkogel_Panorama_2017_03_25

Up, from Traunsee Beach to Feuerkogel Peak

If you want a big expedition, this wouldn’t be for you.

Microadventures are finally gaining in popularity, though, and if you just want to see if you can make it up a mountain, as fast or leisurely as you wish, then this may be an ideal trail for you.

If you want or need to go extra-leisurely, there’s even a cable car going up there (or down from there, if the downhill would make your knees suffer too much).

Sure, it is almost too easy a trail to describe it.

Except for a few turns, especially at the very beginning, still in the town of Ebensee, this trail just goes up to the Feuerkogel in one pretty continuous climb.

Feuerkogel Trail

Feuerkogel Trail, as recorded by my Suunto Spartan Ultra (Screenshot from Movescount)

When you’ve reached the top of that mountain, where the cable car goes, you could still go on into (and even across) the Höllengebirge, but are more likely to just turn right back around. Perhaps after a little time in one of the huts up there offering food and drinks…

So, if this is your microadventure, it is very micro.

It is a very pretty little tour, or a nice mountain running session, all the same.
Perfect for me now, on my training path to the Stelvio Marathon.

It is also a trail with easier chances for rests and no problems turning around, with enough roots and rocks to demand attention but no serious climbs that present chances for bad falls.
Perfect for beginners and people you want to show around a bit, but don’t know the experience and fitness level of.

This is exactly why I went here once again last weekend, with a fan who’d taken me up on my offer to get in touch and see if we could do something together.

If you’re wondering why I’m calling this tour “From Traunsee Beach…”: Well, this is where we also went, before our train back came:

Between Traunsee Waters

Next month, I’ll be busy with other things, but you’re welcome to continue to follow along here, via the #GetAtHome Facebook Page, on Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram

ISPO 2017 Roundup, Part 1: Garmin, Casio, TomTom, AxSys,…

Once again, the ISPO Munich was on.

Finally, I went there not just a random blogger who sorta-kinda works with brands willing to set him up with product samples, but as someone turning into a pro blogger looking for serious cooperations.

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A Renaissance of a Run: The Firenze Marathon

Venice was already a city of classical art, if not one of even more historical commerce, to run in.

Florence is the peak of all that.

And where the Venice Marathon provides a good reason to visit that city, but starts quite far outside of it, the Florence Marathon (now in its 33rd edition) started right from the heart of it all, and winds its way back and forth from there in several loops…

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Icebug Acceleritas5 Side View, Slightly Used ;)

Accelerating in Icebug’s Acceleritas5 RB9X. Running Shoe Review

Shoes are at least as exciting for the runner as they are for the stereotypical shoe-obsessed woman – if they are exciting.

Icebug’s Acceleritas5 are.

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Sherpa social media-ized

Outdoors Bloggers, #OutDoorFN 2016

The attention economy, of blogs and (other) social media, of fast fashion and tech, thrives ever more on speed.

The Sped-Up World

Suunto having announced their new Spartan (Ultra and Sport) collection, thus, has everyone wanting to know everything about it already.

This, even though the devices are only coming on the market in August, will need weeks of testing to really get to an informed opinion, given all their focus on training progress over time – and then the Spartan Ultra is due to get major features, including for the same training progress display(s), only in September.

The OutDoor Friedrichshafen only just took place again, and it is one big celebration of novelty that drives attention that drives the market, with the spring/summer 2017 season already in company and trade sights.

Bloggers and (other) social media influencers, of course, are both driven by and driving these trends yet further.

The Not-So-Fed-Up World

Or so, forcing us all into ever-faster news cycles, it all felt while I was caught up in my own ardent desire to put the new Suunto Spartan Ultra through its paces, if only I could get it before I leave for China.

That is only one side of modern geeky and consumer life, however.

Taking a step back to remember that all those new things are there not just to drive sales, but also to help make life a bit more interesting and the outdoors more enjoyable, however, there were great talks to be had.
All the more so as the Friedrichshafen Fair had come around to seeing value in bloggers and worked with the (German) Outdoor Bloggers Network this year, actively bringing them – us – into the fold.

Sherpa social media-ized

Sherpa social media-ized

(Funnily, I still have the problem that my being based in Austria makes most companies’ PR people say that I’ll have to work with the Austrian PR teams – but since I blog and vlog in English, I tend to be of no interest to the PR people who are there to serve the Austrian, German-speaking, market…)

With talks not just with other bloggers but also with sales and PR people of outdoors companies, not just about the new things but also about their experiences and interests, it all got even more enjoyable. Even the new things…

My highlights:

Suunto

Suunto wasn’t really present at the fair, but there were some company representatives to be found, so I managed to wrangle a Spartan Ultra (still only a sales sample) from one of them and finally get it on my wrist.

Suunto Spartan Ultra display Suunto Kailash vs Spartan Ultra Suunto Kailash vs Spartan Ultra side

To me, compared with the Kailash, the fit is great and the display indeed looks promising. Let’s see how it holds up in actual use, whenever I can get to looking at that…

Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx continues to be near-impossible to work with for a small (and not only outdoors) blogger like me, but also to produce innovative and interesting gear, with an attention to detail and function that is very alluring.

Next up in that, an expansion of their footwear into mountain trail running with the Norvan VT shoe, and the return of a Bora backpack with a new “Rotoglide” hipbelt system that promises great things:

Those will be available in men’s and women’s and in standard or Gore-Tex, by the way.

Oh: Their updated everyday/commuter collection is not to be underestimated. Stretch jeans with stylish looks, but also reflector patches that can be folded out or tucked away and a cut and material made for bike commutes, a women’s blazer that closes without a zipper, yet enough to protect against wind and water, and opens to look like a modern take on a standard blazer. – Looks like some of the ideas and approaches of the Veilance line are starting to influence the everyday wear…

Arcteryx commuter clothing

Arcteryx commuter clothing. Yeah, not the official name of the line ;)

Salomon

Salomon will of course expand and update its collection of shoes yet further, e.g. adding an XA Enduro trail running shoe that is like a summer version of the XA Alpine (to be) introduced for winter. It, too, will feature an integrated gaiter, just in a lower and lighter form made for the summer.

For two 360 degree looks at the Salomon booth, check out the two photos on Facebook here and here

Montane

For trail runners, Montane’s VIA series running packs will add a 15 liter model; they still continue with their major models (which I find commendable) but are set to bring out another version of their Minimus jacket in stretch Pertex Shield. Fully waterproof, yet stretchy; I would like to see how well that works and fits…

Outdoor Research

With OR, the major news came in the form of a new jacket with electrospun yarn that is said to be more breathable, yet still waterproof, and with waterproof mid-volume backpacks. Not the worst idea, if rather specialized.

Here, too, I am most happy to see that it’s not all just about new things.

OR Helium II Jackets

OR Helium II Jackets

The Helium II jackets were still being celebrated (rightly so, I’d say), and attention was put on the Active Ice products some of which I have been using since last year and should finally review.

OR Active Ice

OR Active Ice

Strange only, especially in this context, that the Europe team of OR didn’t seem to know anything about a Polartec Delta shirt that is due to come out, which was mentioned in a press release about this new “cooling platform” from Polartec…
Then again, I asked about that material at the Polartec booth, and they knew about it but also didn’t have it with them.

Fjällräven

Not exactly what I typically focus on, given the “anti-travel” writing I sometimes publish, but what interested me most about Fjällräven’s news is that they will be bringing their Fjällräven Classic events to the USA and Hong Kong next.
Hong Kong is exhausting, but just about the most amazing place for hiking and trail running experiences that I know. (And in fact, the last few days of the upcoming trip to China will be spent in Hong Kong.)

Black Yak

After the introduction of Black Yak’s first European winter collection, now Europe also got a look at their first summer offering – and of course, they will continue in style and with what looks to be insanely good quality.

Black Yak booth

Black Yak booth

Black Yak clothing detail

Black Yak clothing detail

I’ll admit, I am also fascinated simply because this is one of the first forays of an Asian company onto the ‘Western’ market, which is very interesting in terms of marketing and access. That said, the looks and details are quite convincing, and I hope to put some of their products through their paces starting later this year.

The North Face

Even TNF is going maximal when it comes to running shoes, and I’m still not convinced by that. Still, more choices here aren’t a bad thing.
Main game in town: We got a sneak preview of the upcoming The North Face Summit Series collection. Nothing we would have been permitted to show, but let’s just say: They really want to relaunch the Summit Series as the top-end, as it was originally intended. And lots of concern are going into not letting this collection be watered down into too many items worn more by hip-hop stars than alpinists this time around.

And lots more…

I could easily go on like this for a while yet, but I’m on the jump to the airport for 3 weeks in China. So, let me just wish you a nice summer, leave you with the few more impressions from the OutDoor Friedrichshafen 2016 above, and promise there’s more to come ;)

Suunto Kailash Review: Adventure Timeline-d [Updated]

Suunto has, for a while already, been right in that area of the sports and outdoors technology market where actual usefulness and luxurious aspiration collide.

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Buzzard

The Adventure Race of Reality

Tough Mudder, The Spartan, and so many more – adventure/obstacle course races have been gaining in popularity and become a great market.

Even trail and ultra running often seem not to be enough by and of themselves any longer. No, it must be done everywhere, jetting around the world to experience more exciting places, participate in better-known races – and producing the  side-effects of the everyday ruinous lifestyle.

At the start in Umag

Start of the 100 Miles of Istria – which was at least somewhat local and of reduced impact…

Running alone has apparently become boring, and it goes the way of so many activities in recent times: towards ever greater action and ever more adrenaline.

People keep falling for such highly-regarded races. Such great challenges, so many world-class runners, all the fun obstacles, the stamina it takes to finish – the very real stupidity behind them is quickly overlooked in all the quick excitement.

“Civilized life has altogether grown too tame, and, if it is to be stable, it must provide harmless outlets for the impulses which our remote ancestors satisfied in hunting.” Bertrand Russell

Of course, it is mean to say so. Why not let people have fun the way they want to?
But that constant permissiveness is part and parcel of the attitude we increasingly follow, the attitude that we’ll just do whatever we can, because we can, ever-faster chasing after ever-more of the same, ever-more-exciting and ever-more-promising but ultimately dissatisfying experiences.
Because they are dissatisfying, we just try to increase the dose, like rats in the cage, pushing the lever that gives them stimulation, faster and faster, more and more.

Even as we can hear more and more on how happiness is in the mind, how our attitudes supposedly determine everything, how we just need to stay positive to “attract” whatever we want in our lives, we don’t work on the only thing that can really give happiness: a better handle on our lives in this world, understanding how things are, living well and truly, with engagement and the excitement – and calm – it brings.

No, we create more and mightier fake obstacles to pile excitement onto something that would give us  all we could want from it, if only we learned to experience it as it is.

Being in this world, moving through it with our bodies and observing it with our minds, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching, comparing over time… – it all would give quite enough, if only we learned to be fully here and now rather than let ourselves get drawn into the constant whirring of the machinery that produces ever more fake excitement for senses that are ever-more dulled by this very same machinery.

Buzzard

Having a buzzard fake-attack you, running through ever changing landscapes… Adventure enough, if only it’s seen.

But, it’s a business, it makes money, it spins out great marketing, so it must be just as great as it says, right?

Are you ready for the ultimate challenge? The greatest adventure?

No, if you fall for the constant spin, you clearly are not. Because the ultimate adventure is life itself, purposefully lived and skillfully ‘performed’, without all the fakery.

If you want more excitement/adventure in your life, quit buying into the fake excitements, the virtual adventures, so that you make room again for the real adventure all around you!

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