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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The best thing about the TomTom GPS watches is their size. They are nice and slim, so that you don't walk around feeling like you're wearing a brick on your wrist. I also think they look pretty neat, but that's very subjective. Generally, the watch is intuitive and easy to use, the display is crystal clear, and everything works as is should. Bluetooth syncing with your phone is (finally) working pretty smoothly on both Android and IOS devices. Only real downside is that the ~9 hour battery life is not enough for long ultra races. However, that's plenty long enough for most runners training and competing in most events. The optical heart rate measurement works very well nearly all the time (even HR straps have hiccups and occasionally produce bad data), but does require that you cinch the watch fairly tight to your wrist when you're exercising. The TomTom MySports website is somewhat basic, especially when compared to Strava or Garmin Connect, but provides functionality to auto-sync your data with most other athletic sites, so I don't consider that a problem.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'll be upfront: I got a pair of these shoes in March 2013 as a gift. I didn't pay them much attention at first, as this sort of shoe is not really my taste. I like lighter, more stripped-down shoes like the Montrail Rogue Fly and FluidFlex. The heaviest shoes I normally run in are Brooks Pure Grit. Instead, I started wearing these as casual shoes for walking around town.

However, one day I got to the trailhead and found that I'd left my running shoes behind, and went for a run using these. I guess I've been using minimal shoes for too long, because it was a revelation! I was able to charge down rocky trails without any real concern for how I placed my feet. These have a ton of cushioning, and I really enjoyed the contrast, the comfort, and the freedom to relax.

The shoe is similar in feel and protection to the Brooks Cascadia. Plenty of midfoot support, and a reasonably roomy toe box.

These are not shoes that I would wear in races, but they are still reasonably light -- very light for the cushioning they provide. However, they make an awesome training shoe, and I have taken to wearing mine a couple of runs per week. They are very pleasant to wear on extra rocky trails, or when my feet feel tired, and need a rest.

No issues at all with durability so far...

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The best thing about the TomTom Runner is the hardware: the watch is light, slim, moderately sized, and comfortable to wear. It's not a huge brick on your wrist like most GPS watches. The display is really clear (nicest LCD display I've ever seen on a watch), and the user interface is very nice. I really like the separate navigation controls on the strap. Touching the screen itself triggers the light, and works very well.

I've had the TomTom Runner for about six months, and early versions of the software were pretty clunky. There are still a number of quirks, but TomTom appear to be putting out software updates and fixing major issues. One problem that annoyed me early on was that it was too easy to pause/stop the timer accidentally, just by brushing the navigation control. A recent updated changed this so that you have to hold down the left button for several seconds. There are still a number of quirks: for example, when charging there's no indication of how charged the battery is: it just shows a 'charging' icon, and then a 'fully-charged' icon. Would be nice to know what percentage battery is at.

In my experience, battery life is not fantastic. I tried to use this watch in a 50-mile race, and found that it died around 5 hours in (using the HRM chest strap). I've been told that recent firmware updates improve this, but I can't see this being a good option for ultra-runners. That said, 5 hours is enough for almost everyone else, including slower marathoners, and I think most customers would rather prioritize having a smaller, sleeker, better-looking watch.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on April 8, 2013

5 5

I have run almost exclusively in Montrail shoes over the last few years. I thought the Rogue Racer was a breakthrough in providing great feel and cushioning at an astonishingly light weight. The Rogue Fly, which I also loved, felt like an incremental improvement, shaving a little weight with no discernible loss of performance. I wore both shoes in 20+ trail races. My only criticism was that the forefoot protection felt just a little too minimal (not comfortable over sharp rocks!) and the heel stack felt just a little too high.

Maybe Montrail were listening to me. Or maybe they got the same feedback from a lot of athletes. Because the FluidFlex is an *awesome* shoe that remedies these issues. The forefoot sole is thicker and provides more protection, but still retains remarkably good trail feel. The heel is dropped slightly, giving a flatter, lower-profile, more stable platform. And the weight remains feather-light, not discernibly different to the Rogue Fly.

After using the shoes in only a couple of training runs, I felt comfortable enough to race a 50k in them, and a 50-miler two weeks later.

I still have absolutely no complaints. These are close to perfection.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I *love* Rock n' Roll lube.

It lubricates really well (although perhaps not absolutely as little friction as the best conventional lubes) but it lasts and lasts, and keeps your chain nice and clean. I ride mostly in dusty conditions, and find that the regular wet, oily lubes are like a magnet for dirt.

I've tried other waxy lubes (Pedro's Ice Wax and White Lightening) and think this is way better. Pedros seems just to turn into sticky gunk, and the White Lightening interacts horribly with other lubes.

The blue, "extreme" version of Rock n' Roll is intended for mountain biking in nasty, muddy conditions. But I've found it works well in all conditions. So unless you a a major bike geek, and keep a library of lubes for different days, this should be your go-to choice.

It comes in a giant 16oz bottle, along with a much smaller (empty) bottle with a drip nozzle, so you can decant some into the more convenient size.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What makes a good shoe is highly subjective. I like to run in lightweight shoes with minimal structure. I also race regularly, and as much as possible, like to to train in the shoes I'm going to use in a race.

My favorite race shoes for the last couple of seasons have been Montrail Rogue Racers. However, these are definitely not for everyone: they are ultralight with minimal structure and with very little protection from from rocks in the forefoot. And as races get longer and/or rockier, I find they're not even for me, either! At the end of a particularly rubbly 50k, I my feet were tired and aching. And my brain was tired from the effort of placing my feet carefully.

So for longer races, casual training, and just all-round use, I love the Mountain Masochists. They are only a little heavier (680g vs 505g), but provide much more support, more rock protection, better traction, and more durability.

The Mountain Masochist is a well-rounded thoroughbred of a trail shoe that I would recommend to almost anyone for any use. The only exception I can think of is if you have narrow feet. The MM runs a little wide.

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