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Dr. Miczak's X-Training BLOG
Monday, 4 October 2010
Adventure Medical Kits
Now Playing: SOL-Stay Alive Longer
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If you are cross training, commuting, camping or taking a cycling tour this fall, you should consider having a medical kit on board.  I keep a full on medical emergency bag with me in my car so what about the times I'm out cycling?  Adventure Medical Kits offers specialized medical supplies and gear repair sets that fit easily in my Trek Trunk!

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S.O.L. 3 Survival, Medical, & Gear Aid

Distributed by Tender Corporation, the S.O.L. 3  Adventure Medical Kit shown here is actually three kits in one. Survival-Medical-Gear Repair. This kit goes well beyond traditional bandages and first-aid cream!



We were especially impressed with the inclusion of Tinder-Quik which is waterproof and burns for 2-3 minutes.  If you are stranded and need to keep warm with a wood fire, you'll be very happy to have this along.   Also included is a whistle which can be heard for over a mile, a signal mirror, a 20MM magnetic compass and a 3 ft. sheet of aluminum foil for cooking or to reflect heat from the fire you just started with the Tinder-Quick.



The medical tools included in the SOL 3 Adventure Medical Kit are impressive and include moleskin dressings, assorted sizes/shapes of bandages, gauze, tape, forceps, gloves and more.  Especially useful, you'll find they have even included a mini- medicine chest replete with Ibuprophen, Antihistamine, topical applications of triple antibiotic ointment, tincture of benzoin and providone iodine which can also be used for emergency water purification.  They have even included their own After Bite Sting and Itch Wipes as well as After Cuts & Scrapes Anesthetic/Antiseptic Wipes in with the medical supplies.  We also tested their Natrapel Insect Repellant Wipes and found them to be long lasting and highly effective.  Below is a photo of it and travel sizes of the After-Bite Outdoor Combo.

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Gear Repair:

This is what really sets the SOL 3 Adventure Medical Kit apart from the crowd.  They have thought to include an assortment of UL-rated cable ties that can be used to quickly repair broken gear, clothing or even improvise temporary shelter.  Also included is 40 inches of nylon cord which is tested to hold over 150 lbs, EMT shears which as you know will cut through anything and a set of nickel plated safety pins.

All of these items fit neatly in this waterproof case with a detachable inner pouch.  Each side is clearly marked "Medical Supplies" or "Survival Tools & Gear Repair" and the see through windows let you get a quick visual on the contents.  You can even sign up for Easy Refills and Registration with a bonus discount code at Adventure Medical Kits 

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This Ultralight Watertight .3 Adventure Medical Kit is what I keep on my touring bicycle at all times.  This mighty-mini contains just the medical emergency essentials you'll need for the road.  These supplies will also work for 1 person out for 1-2 days.   Very well thought out and packed.
Bandage Materials
4 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, 1" x 3"
2 Bandage, Adhesive, Fabric, Knuckle
2 Bandage, Butterfly Closure
3 Dressing, Gauze, Sterile, 2" x 2", Pkg./2

Blister / Burn
1 Moleskin, Pre-Cut & Shaped

1 Splinter Picker/Tick Remover Forceps

2 After Bite Wipe
2 Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
2 Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2

Wound Care
3 After Cuts & Scrapes Anethestic/Antiseptic Wipe
2 Alcohol Swab
1 Tape, 1/2" x 10 Yards
2 Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Single Use

REMEMBER to ENTER our Polar Bottle - Eat Clean Diet Cookbook Give-Away going on NOW.  Hurry!  Deadline is 12 midnight, October 24th, 2010.

Posted by Author at 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 4 October 2010 4:15 PM EDT
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Thursday, 30 September 2010
CatEye Strada & Kestrel 4500 BT Reviews
Now Playing: Computers for Commuters
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CatEye's Strada Double Wireless Cyclocomputer CC-RD400DW helps to keep track of your mileage and commute with 9 functions!  Don't forget our Polar Bottle - Eat Clean Diet Cookbook Give-Away on October 25th so ENTER NOW!
There are some essentials you just HAVE to have if you are serious about cross training.  If you are cycling, you need to have a computer to keep you up on basics such as speed, distance, elapsed time and cadence.   If you use your bicycle for commuting, you'll what to know your speed and travel distance is to estimate your time of arrival.
I have had other wireless bicycle computers that were very difficult to program and gaining access to the various screens was a chore.  CatEye changed all of that for me with their Double Wireless Strada.
The Strada and its components are easy to mount and adjust although the included ties could have been a little better for anchoring.  You'll also need to make sure there is the right distance between the unit and the sensors but distance and calibration charts are included.
That having been said, this is a very straighforward unit and quite small but the large digits allow for easy reading.  It offers:
  • Current Speed
  • Cadence
  • Elapsed Time
  • Distance #1
  • Distance #2
  • Average Speed
  • Maximum Speed
  • Total Distance-Odometer
  • Clock
These functions are easy to access by simply pressing the whole computer while in the bracket.   The split screen allows you to see two readings at once and clearing the screen is easy.  Just hold the unit down until the screen goes blank.  The Sleep Mode helps prolong battery life, (batteries are included), and the unit itself can be removed from the brace for safe keeping.

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Kestrel 4500 Pocket Weather Tracker with Bluetooth

If you are planning any time out on the road, you'll want to have one of these along with you.  The Kestrel 4500 by Nielsen Kellerman.  This unit tracks temperature, wind speed, dew point, humidity and barometric pressure plus MUCH more.  However, I think the greatest help to X-Trainers is the Heat Index reading.  This can help to prevent overheating or even hypothermia, (frost bite) when such conditions are present.

Even more important is knowing the present weather conditions, where you are as opposed to relying on a report focused on another area.  I've had storms rise up quickly, not even mentioned in the forecast.  With wind speed, a digital compass,(so it can calculate headwinds and crosswinds) and the barometric readings on the Pocket Weather Tracker,  I've been able to avoid getting caught in many a unpredicted downpour.

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Kestrel 4500 on a Mini Tripod Transferring Data

The Wireless Bluetooth feature allows uploading of data from the unit to my laptop allowing me to track trends in the weather over a period of time.  This can give you accurate readings that will help predict future trends for the season.  Storing this information is easy and the wireless tranfer a snap.

Both the CatEye Strada and the Kestrel 4500 fit neatly in the front pouch on my Terry road bike below.  Compact, easy to use, there is no reason not to have these essential computers with you as you venture out for your workout or commute!

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Posted by Author at 2:40 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 September 2010 2:50 PM EDT
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Monday, 20 September 2010
New Fall Bicycle Lights
Now Playing: Bright Ideas for Commuters
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CatEye's NEW Hybrid gives you clean, renewable solar power with a rechargable battery back-up. Plenty bright enough for dark streets and roads with a flashing feature for riding at dusk or dawn. 400 candlepower.  See the CatEye Hybrid Video for more details. 
Whether you want to extend your cycling season or simply the times you choose to ride, it is important to see and be seen as the days grow shorter.  Many states require lights on bicycles ridden after dark in addition to reflectors.  That's why I had to check in to see what was new with CatEye Cycle Electronics!
Founded in 1946 in Osaka Japan, CatEye was my first choice years ago when I needed the BRIGHTEST most powerful, headlight possible.  They have since upgraded their flagship light to the current HL-EL530 which is 50% brighter than the previous CatEyeHL-EL530model,  producing over 2200 candlepower from a single white LED.

This is possible due to CatEye’s exclusive OptiCube™ technology. The HL-EL530 offers up to 90 hours of runtime on 4 AA batteries.  It features an innovative magnetic switch, side visibility, a FlexTight™ bracket, and is highly water resistant.  Important because you WILL get caught in the rain at some point while cycling.

This is the light I use on my Nishiki Touring Bicycle, otherwise known as my second car!  It even has a slide release feature that allows it to become a hand held flashlight off the bike.  This thing throws a ton of light plus its swivel bracket allows you to aim the center beam where you need it.
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This is a sleek, MagLite like light for a handlebar with limited space.  Here it is at night perched between my Aero Clip Ons and Bell on my Terry Symmetry.  Don't let the small size fool you though.  This little light has big time features such as:

400+ candlepower
OptiCube™ lens technology
Flashing and constant modes
60 hours run time in flashing mode
15 hours run time in constant mode
Runs on 1 AA battery (included)
FlexTight™ Mounting bracket
Water resistant

This light is great for a quick commute or if you get caught out after dark.  The flashing mode is especially useful for riding at dawn and dusk.  You can actually see it more than a mile away.

Now you're looking at tail lights!  The slimmer, brighter TL-LD610 offers 5 LEDs and three modes!  The FlexTight™ Universal Mounting Bracket can be mounted horizontally, (as shown), or vertically.  Highly visible even during the day.  A must have for urban riders!

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  PHOTO below: Reflex-Auto mounted on my touring bike with panniers.

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The Reflex Auto tail light has both optic and motion sensors to determine when to automatically activate the light.  When darkness and motion are detected the light turns on instantly!  This is great because now like my car, I don't have to think about turning my lights on at night.  This light even activates in my dark garage allowing me enough light to guide the bike out. 

  The 5 super-bright modes, over 180 degrees of visibility, and various mount options make this the most versatile tail light ever!  Here I have it mounted in place of my rear reflector.  This light is really bright and actually looks like flashing police lights.   I see how these lights help keep the distance between myself and traffic so they are worth it for the safety perks alone.


- One high power center LED + four 5mm LEDs

- 5 super-bright modes

- Runs on 2 AAA batteries

- Weight: 44 grams / 82.5 with batteries & bracket

- Rear rack bracket included (Reflex Auto Rear)



Posted by Author at 4:22 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 September 2010 6:01 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Breakfast to Go!
Now Playing: A New Twist on Old Favorites
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Studies have shown that those who eat a good breakfast perform better, have more energy through out the day and are less likely to over-eat at other meals.


An estimated 80% of Americans now say they are cooking at home for  "foodie" enjoyment, health and finances.  If you are into cross training as I have been for several years now, you're probably already accustomed to preparing your own protein shakes, egg white - spinach omelets and granola.

Once you get used to working with fresh, natural ingredients, well you just don't want to go back to the prepackaged stuff!  Take pancakes for example.  You can do amazing things with a basic buttermilk pancake or waffle recipe!  Toaster waffles taste like cardboard in comparison and are pretty much the nutrition equivalent to it too.   Buying breakfast out is costly and not a taste treat I would venture to enjoy very often.  Most of it, hash browns, biscuits, hard cooked eggs offer little or no fiber.  Add up purchasing these sandwich croissants for a week and you could have brought enough raw ingredients for nearly two weeks of homemade breakfasts.

Just as you set your alarm to get up early to run, bike or hit the gym, you can set it 15 minutes earlier to fix yourself a proper breakfast.  All you need is a little organization and you're eating in no time!

Here are some old-fashioned favorites with much quicker prep-serving times:


Zingerman's Presents: MaCrooms Irish Oatmeal - This oatmeal is stone ground in County Cork Ireland and not rolled like the Quaker Oats you're probably used to.   Instant oatmeal packets are often loaded with refined sugar and don't taste very good to boot.  You can cook enough Irish Oatmeal for about 4 servings the night before and store it in a container in the refrigerator.  In the AM, scoop some out into a bowl, pop it into the microwave the add a little brown sugar or blueberries & milk.  Voila!   This really stays with you and is rich in protein, vitamins and fiber.  You couldn't ask for better to start your day!


Gourmet Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes - Purchase a ready made "complete mix" with eggs & milk already added.  I add a jar of Wheat Germ and transfer everything to a large zip lock freezer bag.  Toss in a 1/2 cup scoop so it's ready to go.  All you need do is add water & some blueberries, (frozen work fine), and pour onto the griddle. 

Top with a little Naturel Agave Syrup and serve.  A Sunday style breakfast in under 15 minutes!  You can also make a whole batch and store them in refrigerator in containers and reheat during the week.  Another one of my favorites is Buckwheat Pancakes.  Buckwheat is not really in the wheat family or a grass so those with wheat allergies should look into this nutritious "pseudocereal".


Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Spread

A new twist on the old peanut butter on a slice of bread!  This is a real boon to those with peanut allergies but long for the taste of fresh roasted nuts.  Sunbutter is made from freshly roasted & ground sunflower seeds with no hydrogenated fat or gluten.  The Sunflower is native to North America and the Natives packed them along for extended trips for energy and endurance.

This one is a real quickie!  Grab a slice of bread and a jar of Sunbutter.  Spead on a slice of Arnold's Health Nut Bread and you're out the door!

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REMEMBER!  The X-Training BLOG has got The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook GIVE-AWAY PLUS A  FREE Thermal Polar Bottle going on right now!  Click here to enter!  Deadline is Midnight, October 14th, 2010

Posted by Author at 8:57 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 September 2010 3:54 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Polar Bottle & Eat Clean Cookbook Give-Away!
Now Playing: Cool Drink Ideas to Go

Polar Bottle, ready for take-off!  Hot new designs are anything but boring on this 24 oz Red Rose Thermal Water Bottle.  BPA & Phthalate-free yet keeps your water cold for up to twice as long as a standard bottle!  Made in the USA

Cold not only tastes better but studies have shown that drinking icy liquids during your workout keeps you going...longer.   As we discussed in our previous article, drinking sun heated water can even induce nausea.  That is something no one needs on the road.

When I did the Woods Hollow Mountain Bike Classic a few years ago, I wish that I had a water bottle like this on board.  Typical water bottles get hot quickly and do nothing to refresh or cool you off.   During a race like that, (I competed at the Advanced Level), it is quite common to secrete growth hormone which makes you feel quite queasy.  The last thing you want to do is drink a mouthful of HOT water!  Ugh.

Polar Bottle is located in Boulder, Colorado and is dedicated to making the best American water bottles on the planet.  They know their stuff.  This company started out with the goal to create a stay cold water bottle for bicycles.  Now people are seeing the wisdom of ditching the disposable plastic water bottles which are not only costly but pollute the environment.

Right away our favorites are the big gulp 24 oz Red Rose & Rave Designs in the thermals.  These also come in 20 oz versions both of which fit easily in most standard bike bottle cages.  In the Half Twist Stainless Steel bottles we adore the Wood Grain & the Silver with blue logo bottles.  These do not leak and while the stainless steel line is non-thermal, they are perfect for tossing in the car when you head out for errands.  In fact I always keep a stainless steel bottle of water in the vehicle but the Half Twist allows me to sip like a lady with having the contents splash me in the face.   Stainless steel also allows you to be more creative with your hydration.  Add some iced green tea or perhaps a protein shake with Rainbow Light's Chocolate Protien Energizer and some Organic Kelp Powder or Blue Green Algae from Klamath Valley Botanicals for a little extra zing.  You can do it all with stainless steel! Another designer green drink I have been able to take along is All Day Energy Greens by IVL.  I simply mix it with the protein powder, a bit of So Delicious Coconut Milk, ice, twist and go.  Delish!  Drinking organic and clean is part of the new eat-clean movement so we're celebrating with this fabulous give-away.  One US resident WINNER will receive:

  • A Copy of Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Cookbook with loads of fabulous dishes & drinks, 150 in all!
  • A 24 oz  Rave Thermal Water Bottle from Polar Bottle! See both prizes pictured below!

Enter by sending us an email to with the subject header: Clean Diet - Polar Bottle Give-Away

ENTRY DEADLINE: Midnight October 24th, 2010.  


The X-Training BLOG's Rave Polar Bottle & Eat Clean Cookbook Give-Away!  (Sorry picnic hamper, wicker wine cooler, Silver & Green Half Twists not included).  US residents only, please.  Visit DoctorM & Polar Bottle on Twitter and Tosca Reno's Facebook Pages to become a fan!




Posted by Author at 4:35 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 24 September 2010 11:11 AM EDT
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