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…