3 Ways To Save: Adventure Racing

Adventure racing isn't for those without high pain thresholds, but here's three ways to cut down on the inevitable hurt.
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Adventure racing isn't for those without high pain thresholds, but here's three ways to cut down on the inevitable hurt.

Your Feet | Your Butt | Your Toes & Heels

Your Feet

There's a time and place for built-like-a-tank trail runners, and it ain't adventure racing. Whether you're hammering for three hours or 24, you want speedy, quick-drying shoes that cling to all types of terrain and lace up fast. Enter the Salomon SpeedCross 2, a superlight, snug-fitting racer that aced a winter and spring of sloppy-weather testing in Colorado and Utah.

The cool, mostly mesh uppers dry within minutes of river crossings; the cinch-cord lacing is a two-second operation; and the spiky "winter" tread transitions from rock to snow to mud better than most lug patterns we've tried. The outsole's soft rubber grips well, but soft usually means less durability; we saw wear within the first 50 miles. Best for low- to medium-volume feet and higher arches. $110; men's 7-14 (women's 5-12 due in spring); 1 lb. 6 oz. (men's 9); salomonsports.com. Reader Service #118

Your Feet | Your Butt | Your Toes & Heels

Your Butt

Best way to lose time in an adventure race or triathlon: Waste it in the transition area. Because you can comfortably use them for running, swimming, paddling, and more, wearing Sugoi's RS Tri Shorts will save at least three minutes per transition–often the difference between 10 or 20 places–and a flagrant show of skin as you change pants. The elastic, micromesh fabric on these short tights (7" inseam) is cooler than standard nylon, and its dimpled surface is supposed to reduce drag–maybe something really fast people notice. The key feature, though, is the just-right amount of chamois between your legs. The minimalist pad and gusseted crotch reduce bulk–ideal for running–yet there's enough cushion for a few hours of hard biking. $75; men's and women's S-XL; sugoi.com. Reader Service #119

Your Feet | Your Butt | Your Toes & Heels

Your Toes & Heels

Finally, a blister dressing that sticks for a few days. Adventure Medical Kits's GlacierGel patches got us through a spring of breaking in new boots, working equally well at prevention and treatment. The oblong bandages seal to your skin without the gaps or corners that can hasten peeling, and the breathable plastic lets excess sweat and pus seep out, reducing the slipperiness that loosens other dressings. Placed atop a hot spot or blister, the gel bubble disperses friction and pressure much more effectively–and for days longer–than a piece of moleskin. Because it adheres so well, we also got less dirt in the wound, and less tearing, which speeds healing. Bring extras if your trip has lots of stream crossings; repeated soakings loosen them. $10 per six-pack (three small patches for toes, three large ones for heels); adventuremedicalkits.com. Reader Service #120