Atayne Tackles the Mojave Desert – Installment #1

This post turned out a bit long, so I broke it up in three installments for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy and stay with the story.

A few months ago, I was making some retail visits to scout competitive products to the Atayne line. I remember looking at the hang tag on a particular shirt and reading how testing at the Human Performance Laboratory proved that the shirt I was holding performed better at moisture management than a cotton t-shirt. Oh really? Hasn’t every sports apparel company been telling us that for the past several years?

But at the time, I did walk away thinking I would need to conduct this type of testing for Atayne products. It would be very important to the success of the company to scientifically show that the Atayne line, designed and produced in a sustainable manner, performs just as well as the current, environmentally harmful offerings.

As time has passed, my feelings about doing this type of laboratory testing have lessened. The change in my mindset has nothing to do with my insistence on proving the high performance of Atayne products, but rather my thought on how you actually measure performance.

A question for all the active souls out there: when is the last time you had a race or trained in a laboratory? I am guessing 99.9% of you are saying never (I am leaving that 0.1% in case someone from the study referenced above is reading this entry). The reality is we do not perform in a lab. We perform outdoors – where weather, terrain, and other unexpected surprises impact our performance. I guess if you train on a treadmill or stationary bike you might approximate the perfect conditions of a lab, but if you are anything like me, you avoid any form of hamster wheel training like the plague.

I decided that to truly test the performance of our products, it needs to be done in the harshest conditions that one might find in nature. And this brings us to the first true test of Atayne products and the latest adventure of my good friend and soon to be business partner Mike. On June 28, 2008, Mike took off (donned in an Atayne top) for a 13.1-mile journey through the Mojave Desert in the blistering sun and 110+ degree temperatures. How did Atayne perform? I will let Mike tell you himself. I hope you enjoy the story, because I sure did.


“Never Limit Where Running Can Take You.”
– Bart Yasso

I had the pleasure of meeting Bart Yasso a few weeks back while buying a new pair of running shoes at Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago. For those of you who don’t know of Bart, he’s considered by many to be the Mayor of Running. He has been a long time staple in the community and has recently released his first book My Life on the Run, which reflects on his life, adventures, and philosophies. Already eager to read his book, it was an unexpected surprise to run into him that day. He signed my book and inscribed the above quote on the inside cover. How appropriate that a couple weeks later running would take me to the Mojave Desert to participate in the Running with the Devil Half Marathon – thanks Bart!

You might be wondering how I got myself into this little adventure. I was sitting at home thinking about my upcoming business trip to San Diego and plans to spend the prior weekend in Vegas with a few work friends. All of a sudden, an email pops up from Jeremy with a “great idea.”

In exact words from the email, Jeremy wrote:

Hey Mike, check out this race on June 28th near Vegas – you’re going to be out there that weekend, right? I think this would be a really great test for Atayne and great experience for you. Why don’t you run it? Check out the description below – it’s supposed to be a “spectacularly scenic course” and I’ve heard a lot of fun.

“Most race organizers go to great lengths to ensure their races are held in ideal running conditions; 40 degrees, light breeze, overcast. Many aim to make their courses flat and fast, or even downhill to facilitate runners to smash their PR. Not this one! Held in summer in the middle of the day thru the dry Mojave Desert, athletes will be challenged to contend with extreme heat and unrelenting rolling hills as they traverse this spectacularly scenic course.”

What do you think?

Interesting how he pointed out the scenery. All I remembered after reading the description was MOJAVE DESERT, MIDDLE OF THE DAY, EXTREME HEAT, and UNRELENTING ROLLING HILLS. Oh, and nowhere did I see FUN EXPERIENCE. That said, Jeremy knows I love a challenge and oftentimes commit to things without fully thinking them through – so of course I welcomed the opportunity to challenge myself and field-test Atayne in the most extreme of circumstances. Real smart Mike…

22 responses to “Atayne Tackles the Mojave Desert – Installment #1

  1. Woohoo, finally, the Mojave Desert Chronicles!

  2. Yeah…no lab training for me. And awesome that you got to meet him!!! That is so cool!

  3. Pinkcowgirl – yes, it was cool. Bart was on his way out from an appearance at Fleet Feet when I nabbed him. Of course, he was more than willing to take a few minutes to sign my book and chat. I read his book in under two days – amazing read, but it does make you feel a bit lazy given all he’s experienced. Buy it. Read it. Then sign up for a gazillion events. That’s what I did. Then share with us your experience.

  4. You young Bucks can have the desert. I believe this old man will stay with his hamster wheel.

  5. Hey Janimal, you could probably handle the Desert of Maine.

  6. Great stuff. Can’t wait to read the rest! Had a running friend recently, unexpectedly end up sitting next to Yasso at a dinner in Boston and had equally superlative things to say about him.

  7. Jeremy,
    Had the Desert of Maine under my feet in the 70’s.

  8. Paige Shredder

    Can’t wait to hear the rest!

  9. This run sounds like it may have been very interesting-can’t wait to hear more… I’m with Janimal; the hamster wheel is all this old lady can handle! I sure am proud of you young boys- keep up the great work.

  10. Not sure where I could post a review ,but I wanted all Atayne fans to know that I got to “lab” test one of the women’s Atayne shirts this weekend at a 10k trail race in Illinois. The race consisted of rain, very high humidity, wicked hills, and more mud puddles than one can imagine on a single course. The shirt held up great, if not better than any of my handfuls of other running shirts. The best part: it managed odor really, really well! It was comfortable, very lightweight, and it didn’t stick to my skin the way other shirts do in wet/humid conditions (plus it has a really cool iPod pocket on the side that I didn’t notice until after the race!). The fit of the shirt was just right (and I loved the blue color), and has a really nice cut for us ladies 🙂 I can’t wait to own 2 or 3, or 12, of these shirts, seriously!

    Motto of the weekend? Anything for Atayne!

  11. Lassy Lassiter

    Why can’t the government just give more money to atayne?

  12. I wish the government would give even just a little bit of money to Atayne. The one disappointing lesson I have learned with Atayne is the more you try to do the right thing the harder it is to be successful. Higher costs, higher risks, less investors willing to support, etc. I don’t think there could be a better example than the billions of subsidies that are available for the petroleum companies. But thankfully, it comes down to people. When people are willing to pay the true cost and support companies doing great things, they can be successful. Stonyfield Farms, Honest Tea, Burt’s Bees and many others have proved that. If people continue to believe in Atayne and spread the word, there is not doubt success will come. Thank you all for the continued support.

  13. Jeremy, your product sounds great. I could really use some atayne gear. One time I got into an accident with my van and had to run to my friend’s mother’s house for like 4 miles. By the time I got home, literally all of my clothes were purple. Between the damage to the van and my clothes, I had to hit up all my friends for dough. Had I been wearing atayne gear, this never would have happened. When is it coming out?

  14. Thanks for the story Rick. Product should be available on the web the second week of August. I will be sure to let you know.

  15. Paige, That’s great you got to “lab” test one of Atayne’s shirts. Plus I am happy to hear how well it worked out. I am a 100% supporter of Jeremy and Atayne. Somehow we’ve got to get the whole world in on this wonderful company and product! I just wish I knew of some magical way to achieve it.

  16. Hey Linder! Tell your friends, have your friends tell their friends, and so on… Mathematically it should work ; )

  17. I also had the pleasure of testing a woman’s Atayne shirt yesterday during a 10k in Chicago. It was very humid and warm, about 75 degrees I think. I was wearing the same shirt that Paige described above but I was a little skeptical since Paige is quite a bit smaller than me and when she finishes running she looks cool as a cucumber and I look like I just jumped in Lake Michigan.

    First off the shirt fit great, the shaping on the sides are such that the shirt is comfortable even when worn by different size people. Taken in a bit at the waist so there is not a lot of extra fabric but not so skimpy that I felt like I had to keep pulling in down like some shirts I own. The wicking was super. At the end of the race I was drenched as usual, but even though the fabric was a little thicker than my other shirts it was not sticking all over me and it didn’t feel cold and clammy when the wind hit. I would imagine that this would be a very comfortable base layer when it gets cold. The fact that the shirt is ecologically friendly is like icing on the cake, and maybe sprinkles on top too.

    Overall I was very impressed with the shirt, and I shaved exactly a minute off my 10k run from the weekend before. Maybe it was the shirt?:) I will definitely be buying some Atayne when it is in stock.

  18. Thanks for the wonderful review Rebecca. Soon you’ll have the real deal ; )

  19. So I finally got my turn at tryng out the fabulous blue women’s Atayne shirt that Paige and Rebecca described above! And, lucky me, I got to wear it twice last week. The first time was during one of our regular 3 mile beer runner runs on an extremely humid and uncomfortably hot day in Chicago. I also wore it the next day when I ran the Run for Gus – a 5K that raised money for kids with brain tumors. It was a little less humid that day, but still warm and sticky.

    In comparison to my other running shirts (and I own several random brands of shirts), it had, by far, the best wicking ability I’ve ever experienced. On those humid days, I was sweating quite a bit and was impressed to find that shortly after my runs I was completely dry, not shivering like usual as the wind hit wet skin. I also completely agree with Paige on the odor control – I wore it two days in a row without washing it between runs (didn’t have time!) and you still can’t tell that it has even been worn. (But don’t worry Mike, I will wash it before giving it back to you!) I also really appreciated the fact that the shirt did not ride up as I ran, unlike the shirt I wore today that I had to keep pulling down every other minute of my 9 mile run. Even though the Atayne shirt was a shorter cut than some of my other shirts, I still felt that it fit well.

    In general, I thought the shirt was great and can’t wait to have one of my own! Didn’t have any PR’s while wearing the shirt, but perhaps that is something I can look forward to this fall. 🙂

  20. environmentally speaking, what stops one from creating all clothing out of similar recycled material? it seems that “performance” clothing alone would not be as bad to the environment, compared to all other clothing out on the market. anyhow, hope all is well, and looking for a quick-hitter vacation…cheers, jib

  21. Hey Jeff, thanks for the comment and we definitely need to catch up. Your point is very true. There are a ton of opportunities for recycled clothing. The technology is there for polyester, nylon, cotton, and wool. At the end of the day, clothing with the lowest environmental impact is the clothing that is already made. Goodwill and the Salvation Army are the new green boutiques.

  22. Pingback: 80% of It is Out of Our Hands « The Story of a Red Shirt

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