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    Richard Ussher (Former World Adventure racing Champion, among other things) regularly trains and races with our gear, in particular inov-8 shoes. He has been testing out some gear for us.

    Inov8 Terrafly - hybrid off/on road shoes

    These shoes are clearly based more of a road shoe than a off road shoe but both Elina and I felt they performed even better on the road than the dedicated Inov8 road shoes.

    This was mainly due to two points; the first being the added grip which mean the shoes didn’t slip on small amount of gravel or smooth pavement which was something I had found with the 255 especially when wet.
    Secondly the cushioning of the hybrid shoe seemed to be a touch more than the road versions which I really liked being a bigger runner. It may have been also a factor influenced by the more raised grip on the sole.
    The slight cut-a-way on the rear of the shoe is great for promoting mid – fore foot striking and also for more stability when running down hill as any heel strike happens lower to the ground and with less force.

    Off road the Terrafly performed well on dry trails, the sole pattern felt secure under foot and it was also reasonably grippy on roots and rocks. The pattern is not overly large and so if the trails were wet or muddy then a more dedicated off road shoe would be a better option. The sole is also ideally cushioned to avoid underfoot bruising from rocks penetrating through the shoe and would make an ideal summer long distance racing shoe for events such as Kepler, as long as the condition of the track was relatively dry

    Both Elina and I do most of our running from home and subsequently most of our trail runs have an element of pavement as well. This shoe means than rather than chose between on and off road shoes we can use a shoe that is great on the road and is also a reasonably capable off road shoe. It is great on-road, gravel, and any dry off road conditions and gets at least a pass mark on wet rocky trails.

    For runners looking for one shoe to do it all this would be a great option especially if they have a high mix of trail and road in their day-to-day running. The shoe is also easily light enough to be a good race shoe and when travelling will save the need for multiple pairs of shoes for different runs.

    Nordsen Jackets

    The Nordsen jackets are a very similar weight to the top end Gore-tec pack light offerings from the likes of Marmot and MHW.
    We used the jackets during some training in some hideous conditions and again in several AR races where they performed at least as well as the Gore-tec equivalents.
    The material did seem to stay less waterlogged after long periods in the rain than most of the jackets I’ve used in the past meaning less weight and better protection for longer.
    The best feature on the jacket as far as design goes is the hood which is close fitting and moves with you when you turn your head eliminating the blind spot you often get as you end up looking into the hood its self. The hood obviously isn’t designed to accommodate an alpine helmet, which is one of the reasons it fits so well and for the vast majority of people this would not be an issue.

    The design is simple and clean, the pockets work well and the sizing is good, reasonably fitting but still with enough room for layering up in colder conditions

    JR Gear - Waterproof map bags

    The map bags come in several sizes and the material is very clear making it easy to read detail through them. They are also quite robust so the chance of piercing them accidentally is probably unlikely.
    I found the clips in each corner really handy for attaching to my pack straps meaning no additional strings to get caught up and having connections in each corner also meant I could clip the bottom on the map onto the waist strap of my pack when windy to stop it flapping around.
    The cases proved to be extremely waterproof with no water getting through even when repeated submerged during kayaking and rafting sections
    The one issue I did have was the zip lock closures on the cases got very stiff when the temperature was colder and they were often very hard to close – especially with cold hands. This also seemed to get worse over time.
    Overall great map cases, if you close them carefully you shouldn’t have any issues with wet maps but maybe not the best option if you are planning trips in predominantly colder climates

    JR Gear -  IPhone case

    A simple easy to use case with an easy to use and effective waterproofing system. The clear sides transmit touch through to the touch screen effectively and sound is also fine for talking. Photo clarity is also quite good with photos taken with phone in the case. The tones aren’t as loud and the vibrations is dimmed somewhat meaning it is much easier to miss the fact your phone is ringing though!
    Great for protecting your phone from the elements while keeping it functional.

    Richard Ussher Bio 

    Richard has amassed an impressive resume of achievements, both as part of Adventure racing teams such as his own Adventure Sport NZ, former NZ team Seagate / Balance Vector, and Nike USA as well as on an individual basis.

    With wins in every edition of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 2007 - 2010, World Adventure racing Champion in 2005 and 2006 along with wins in Wulong Outdoor Quest 2008, Primal Quest 2004, Balance Bar 24 hour series overall Champion 2004, Outdoor Quest 2003 his status as one of the premier Adventure racers in the world today are unquestionable.

    Richard has also won the Coast to Coast World individual multisport championship in 2005, 2006, 2008 and after a self imposed break of two years again in 2011 and has dominated Multisport racing in New Zealand and internationally when ever his AR team and Tri racing has allowed him time to compete in these events.