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Wired magazine has a neat spread of high-tech Olympic gear, including a track shoe with liquid-crystal polymer threads, an $8,500 road bike from Specialized, Speedo's controversial LZR Racer swimsuit, and a pre-race ice vest made to keep marathoners cool while battling Beijing's baking August heat.




The pre-race ice vest was made to keep competitors cool while waiting to run.


The aforementioned track shoe struck me as most intriguing. According to the Wired piece, the Nike AeroFly shoes weigh 6.6 ounces and have uppers strengthened with "criss-crossed cables woven from Vectran liquid-crystal polymer threads -- the same stuff used in the Mars rovers' airbags." The Wired article says Asafa Powell, a 100-meter world record holder, will sprint with the Martian spikes next week.




Nike's AeroFly shoes.




Click to "Play Like You're an Olympian With This Gold-Standard Gear" here. . .



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In the business magazine Inc. this week writer Robert Andrew Powell

profiles the Boulder, Colo., company Newton Running, a Gear Junkie[ Top 10 pick in 2007|]. It’s a nice article +(click here: “Keep Running”) +with some background on the innovative business and its unlikely

trajectory to success.






But then I got to page No. 4 where the writer sideswipes the ol’ Gear Junkie here.



The questionable journalism starts in a section of the story where Powell

is looking to play the negative angle on Newton. He glorifies the

innovators for a few hundred words then segues into his own hesitant

experience with the shoes, writing in an ad hoc review that “The

Newtons did not make running any easier, as far as I could tell, but

they didn’t seem to cause damage, either.”





A couple sentences later he continues: +“I noticed that the Gear

Junkie columnist who ranked the Newtons No. 1 in his gear-of-the-year

column said the shoes kept him ‘feeling faster’ in the Twin Cities

Marathon. And then I saw that his finishing time of four hours and 36

minutes was 46 minutes slower than his time in the same race two years




Powell is right that I ran a slow marathon in

the Newtons last fall. But he did not phone to ask why. Indeed, the

weekend of the marathon I was attempting an endurance feat

of sorts, as I raced in (and won) a 12-hour adventure race on Saturday,

got a couple hours of sleep, then arose early to run the marathon on

Sunday. Blogged on the epic here:



In addition to that oversight, it’s strange logic for Powell to assume or

suggest that the shoes I wore for a particular event would affect my

time so dramatically. A 46-minute difference should have been a red

flag to Powell. Any number of factors might slow you down on a

marathon—an injury, the heat or weather one year versus another, your

health at the time. But your shoe type causing a 46-minute gap? That’s

a stretch.



Anyway, my message to Powell is: Next time call and

get the full story straight. Readers, thanks for listening to my rant.

Signing off now to go take a training run. . . in my Newtons.






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