Archive for Review
Note: This is the second in a series of posts where I will be reviewing the motocross tracks of New England from my perspective. Remember, I am not an expert racer, but a newly promoted Amateur. These posts are my opinion, just because I like/dislike certain characteristics of a track does not mean riders of other abilities/preferences will like/dislike them.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Even though Hemonds Motocross park is one of the newest tracks in New England, it has already gained itself a reputation as one of the elite motocross parks in the area. Located in Minot, Maine, the track is quite a haul for me and most other New England riders, however, it is worth it. The park features two full sized motocross tracks. The original is a little smaller, tighter, and features a supercross-esque layout. The newer track is wide open, featuring big jumps, fast corners, and long straightaways. Because the newer track is used much more often, it is the one I will concentrate on for the remainder of this post.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Hemond's motocross park has several different types of dirt throughout its layout. For the most part however, the track is fairly hard packed. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of hard packed dirt. I love deep sandy berms, so the dirt at Hemond's is certainly not my favorite. However, many riders like the dirt, and I feel that it suits the layout well. I know that the crew over at Hemond's has been doing a lot lately to make the dirt softer, and their efforts have paid off. The track has improved light years from its original dirt which was absolutely rock hard, unforgiving, and not fun to ride on.
Hemond's has been working hard to expand the track, and in their efforts, they have introduced some new types of dirt into the layout. One of my favorite on the track, the rolling whoops before the finish line, features very soft and sandy dirt. This dirt is perfect for this type of section and gives the whoops a Southwick feel. Unfortunately, because the track cannot afford to water the more hard packed sections without making them unsafely slippery, the sandy section often does not get enough water throughout the day and becomes very dusty by the second half of the day. Nevertheless, this added variety of the dirt makes the track much more interesting, fun, and enhances the racing experience.
While many people view exercise as a dull, monotonous task, the truth is, that with the right entertainment, it can be quite fun. For most of my cycling and other work-outs, I listen to a 1st generation 8gb Apple iPod Touch. While riding my bike at the end of an 80 minute session on the rollers, I began thinking how perfect the iPod Touch is as an exercise tool.
Good music can make or break a workout. The iPod is the perfect tool for providing you with great music for long, intense workouts. Current iPods have more than enough memory to hold sufficient music for days of exercise without replaying a song. My 8gb Touch model can hold 1,750 songs, more than I, and most other people, have in their entire music library. In addition, the playlist features in the newest versions on iTunes make designing a workout playlist easier than ever.
- Manual Playlists: Obviously the oldest and simplest form of playlist available in iTunes, they offer you the most control over which music occurs in your playlist. However, they require that you design the playlist ahead of time in iTunes (unless you use the On-The-Go feature).
- Smart Playlists: These are slightly more complex than manual playlists, but have been a part of iTunes for almost as long. Smart playlists allow you to set up a set of conditions that dictate which music will appear in your playlist. Because they can be based on play count, rating, last play date, etc., etc., the playlist is dynamic and changes every time you sync with iTunes.
- Genius Playlists: The newest type of playlist in iTunes, genius playlists are perhaps my favorite of the three choices. They allow you to choose a song in your library and it automatically designs a playlists with songs similar to that playlist. For exercise, I like to choose an intense, fast paced song, and then design a playlist around it.
The music features of the iPod Touch are its main feature, and its most used on mine, and many other devices. In addition, music is one of the biggest reasons why the iPod Touch may be the perfect gadget for exercise.
Note: i received a review sample of Action Wipes after being contacted by their founder @MarthaVan on Twitter, however after testing them I would not hesitate to purchase them for myself, or recommend them to others.
There is no way around it, motocross is a dirty sport. Whether the track is muddy or dry, coming off the track with a dirty, grimy face is commonplace for serious motocross racers. While most riders choose to clean up with water after a moto, the truth is that there are better options available. One of these options is Action Wipes, a fairly new product From Life Elements, Inc. Action Wipes are a revolutionary new wet wipe designed specifically for high intensity athletes made from natural ingredients. I recently tried action wipes after my daily road bike roller rides, and I have loved them so far. Unfortunately, because it is not motocross season, I was unable to test them for motocross use, but I am convinced that they would perform just as well in a motocross setting.
Although it may seem like a relatively materialistic concern, the packing of a product not only affects users preconceived notions of the product, but also shows the companies attention to detail when designing their products. I used the 5 pack, and the packing was phenomenal. The plastic was very thick and durable, the logos bright and well designed. The best part was that the bag was re-closable which makes it very convenient to store Action Wipes wherever you may need them. The Zip-lock style bag holds in the moisture of the wipes well and keeps the slightly strong scent contained.
A lot of riders prefer not to not wear hard plastic chest protectors because they are bulkier than foam under-protectors. However, I believe that the added roost and crash protection provided by the hard plastic shell of a traditional chest protector is worth its added bulkiness. For 2008, I choose to wear a Troy Lee Designs Body Guard 2.
The build quality on the TLD Body Guard 2 (BG2) is absolutely stellar. Like a lot of the TLD products I have owned, the fit and finish of the BG2 was excellent. Almost every aspect of the BG2 has been refined to near perfection. For example, the shoulder cups are removable, but even the flexible pieces underneath the hard plastic shoulder cups are refined and finished with a carbon fiber esque look to them. In addition, all of the foam pads are removable resulting in very easy cleaning. Another really nice touch is that the side buckles are large and always easy to remove. As opposed to my old Fox Airframe, the large buckles are much easier to undo and almost never get clogged with mud. Overall, everything about the BG2 is very high quality, the brace feels very solid both on your body and in your hand.
Note: This is the first in a series of posts where I will be reviewing the motocross tracks of New England from my perspective. Remember, I am not an expert racer, but a newly promoted Amateur. These posts are my opinion, just because I like/dislike certain characteristics of a track does not mean riders of other abilities/preferences will like/dislike them.
MX338 in Southwick, Mass is by far the most celebrated track in New England. With its long history of AMA Nationals and its ominous deep sand layout, Southwick is a track all motocross riders should ride. The berms are deep, the braking bumps choppy, and the holes big. Southwick is one of my favorite tracks on the NESC circuit, its fun layout combined with great dirt and good lines make it a blast to ride and race on.
By far, Southwick's most famous feature is its deep, cocoa brown sand. The almost beach like terra firma is known throughout the country as some of the best motocross sand around. Fortunately, the dirt at the 'wick does not disappoint, and fully lives up to it's reputation. In the morning the smoothed sand is a highway for riders of all abilities, but as the day progresses, the sand begins to break down. Great lines form throughout the track and huge breaking and acceleration bumps form which separate riders in almost every class. If you like sand, you'll love Southwick. The sand seems bottomless in places, and it definitely takes a certain type of riding style to master. Unfortunately, some of the newer sections of the track seem to have a harder base underneath them which aids in the formation of square edge bumps. These are not traditional for the track at all, and truthfully, I am not at all a fan of them. Overall, however, the dirt at MX338 is excellent. It is some of the most pure motocross sand in New England and the lines it forms make for great racing at the end of the day.