5 Dec 2010
Orig. Written Sept. ’10
I came home from being out of town for the better part of 4 weeks to a brand spanking new pair of shoes. These are out early to me in exchange for some feedback. Not sure what they are going to do with my feedback at this late date in the game of shoe production but it seems prudent to do my due diligence.
After driving a rental Dodge Charger like a maniac in the Bay Area for a week and getting the chance to catch up with some long lost friends, I somewhat unwillingly made my way home to the NW. No one bothered to alert me to the fact that it’s become fall here in the weeks I was gone. Getting from the Seatac airport to Kirkland was an adventure as I realized I was driving like a crazed NASCAR driver and probably nearly killed several WA drivers along the way. I clearly needed a good hard ride to get out some of that energy (or I have other issues which need dealing with… or I just need a horse tranq to drive here in WA).
Either way, the next day I cleated up my new kicks and headed for one of my very favorite trails within 2 hours of Seattle – Kachess Ridge. Right away the shoe felt good. Nice fit. Plenty of room in the toe box and nicely secure in the heel cup. It was drizzling as I charged out and began the long grind up the 7 miles of sustained climbing that seemed to go by pretty fast. I should have probably gone back down and done it again but I was running out of time. Climbing in these shoes was great. Stiff enough and comfortable enough, I really didn’t notice them at all and that’s what I like in a shoe. If they are telling me they are there on my feet, it’s probably not a good thing.
I didn’t stay long at the top of the mountain because it was cold, windy, raining and downright miserable. I was lamenting the fact that I had been in 90 degree temps just the day before as I jumped the trail and headed up the hike-a-bike section. Coming into the huckleberry meadows of the saddle, I realized I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore but my feet were still happy. Climbing over rocks, trees, and roots at a pitch where you can reach out and touch the trail right in front of your face requires a good shoe and these shoes proved themselves good for hiking. Good news.
After the saddle, the rest of the ride is kind of a blur. With completely frozen fingers, I could not feel the brake levers and I picked my way through most of the ride. Took some of it way too fast and then took some of it way too slow. Not sure when the brakes were on or off, I screwed up most of the trail but still managed to have a great time. I was just happy to be on the bike. The shoes were not an issue which is saying a lot since I have problems with most shoes in general. Always have. Yes, I have retarded feet, but they do ok.
With one ride in the bag, the shoes are really comfortable and being back on the bike is even better.
Update Nov. ’10
Writing a gear report on one ride is pretty lame so I’m back to tell the world these shoes kick ass. Since September I have ridden these shoes exclusively and the full carbon MTB shoes are now officially lost in the back of my closet. The Alp X’s continue to be incredibly comfortable, easy to walk in, and very functional.