Monday, March 15, 2010

Advance Week Day 1: Apparel and Bags Testing

Let the running begin...

Day 1 of Advance Week kicked off this morning with some of the world's best trail runners hitting the trails at the base of Mt Ventoux! Oh don't worry, I'm far from considering myself as one of these select few, but I am feeling VERY fortunate to be one of the promo runners invited to attend! So let's put it in perspective...Just how good are these athletes? As the Global Footwear manager mentioned in the intro meeting this morning..."Under this roof today, there are literally a few hundred course records holders!"

I attended Advance Week 2 yrs ago for it's inaugural year - joining a total of 12 core runners from a few select countries. After missing last year (skipped AW to compete at the Rock and Ice Ultra where I received a very good handshake for finishing 2nd place - instead of a $7K diamond for first! - not bitter...at all.) Anyways... This year I'm back once again with Flight Crew teammate
Jen Segger, representing the 'voice' of Canada as part of a group of 32 athletes from 12 countries - impressive. For Salomon, this is a great opportunity to refocus on R&D, and pick our brains in all 3 categories: footwear, apparel and bags.

It's interesting for me being here as I suddenly feel immersed...uh, wait a second...I shouldn't say "feel"...I AM immersed in a very elite world of trail runners, all of them very focused on their running objectives...I on the other hand simply hope to survive the week - injury free if all goes well - and hang on for dear life as I build back my running 'fitness'! Uh...I wish I was kidding...

But regardless of where I actually 'fit', I'm taking my role here very seriously...seriously! Not only do I get the opportunity to take part if the testing/feedback process, but over the course of the week, I'll get a chance to get prepped for my new role with Salomon Canada as Trail Running Community Manager - to sum up, I'll the be link between the brand, and the 'trail running community'.


My running partners for the day: (From left to right) Ricky Lightfoot - UK...You don't have much of a choice to being a runner with a name like that! Francois D'Haene - France, Andy Symonds - UK...Won the 2009 TransAlpine Race, Nikos Kostopoulos - Greece and Bernd Weberhofer - Austria. Others will join our crew tomorrow...


The Exo Crew - Ricky, Andy and I sporting next years Exo Short/top prototypes - The purpose of this morning's run was not only to 'wear' the proto Exo gear, but to be conscious of the products' performance in varying terrain. Immediately following the run, we were debriefed by the apparel/bag crew, providing 'constructive' feedback on the gear we tested.


Andy and Bernd cruisin' up some sweet singletrack at the base of Ventoux! Don't ask me how I got ahead of them...


It's not all play out here...believe it or not, we did have to put in a bit of 'work' after all the running fun! I joined the 'french' focus group for discussions on the S-LAB 3 vs S-LAB 4 versions.


Check out the Grip-mobile: Germany's Community Manager, Stefan Repke, knows how to travel in style!


A sneak peak at a proto SpeedCross - Ricky Lighfoot (UK) was sporting this lower profile model of the current retail version. But the word on the street is that Salomon is coming out with redesigned version next summer...

So that's it...the end of Day 1 nears...and although I tried not to overdo it, I think I might have push it a bit too much - kind of hard not too when you're surrounded by such like-minded personalities. Today started off with a brisk morning walk/run to get the kinks warmed up, a hearty euro breakfast was followed by a fast 1h25 with Andy and Bernd - Lunch, a bit of real Monday (weekday) work and back out we went for a painful 53min with Andy and Ricky a.k.a Pedal-to-Metal Lightfoot. All in all, it wasn't a huge mileage day, but long enough to make me feel like I'm just one of those 'lucky' guys.

Looking forward to a good night's sleep...

5 comments:

Tom Craik said...

Brilliant, Phil.

I love those low profile Speed Cross. I was going to say a while back that Salomon should look into a racing flat for the trails. Can't wait to try it out.

Have fun and keep the blogs coming.

Sunshine Girl said...

Tell 'em all good Banff and Canmore Boyz and Girlz want baggies instead of tighties! Think knee length...

Phil said...

Tom: Yeah, lots of cool proto-shoe testing this week, some good, some bad, and some that are just plain ugly! But a low profile SpeedCross seems to be on the radar very soon...

Sunshine Girl: Unfortunately for us, the tighty euro look is getting more and more trendy...and the theme seems to be airing towards the full Exo body suit- yikes!

Anonymous said...

Phil, some of the exo is sick some less (the full body), but I really like the beige exo shorts, are those available anywhere in Canada ? (sorry I don't get out much).

Phil said...

The Exo products shown on the blog will be available next spring in shops - One of the goals of Advance Week is to test the gear and provide feedback to Salomon's R&D dept. They take note of our comments and tweek the gear if needed before it hit the shelves.

There are 2010 Exo products available in shops now - Exo Calf (socks), Exo shirt, Exo short tights and Exo 3/4 tights. The products purpose is two-fold, providing muscle support (biggest benefit for me) and increased blood flow by compression - so the gear needs to fit somewhat 'snug' to get the benefit - but not necessarily too tight.

Canada didn't bring in too many units of each so if you want to know which dealer near you sells the gear, you can email me at: phil.villeneuve@salomon.com