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This week’s picks are proof that we’re all getting a little creative when it comes to staying sane through the pandemic. No racing? Let’s buy a road bike and go hiking instead.
Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0
It took me 13 years, but I finally upgraded my Frankensteined Cannondale road bike to a Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 as my “recovering from ACL surgery” reward. It may have been my best decision of 2020. The electric blue color alone makes me smile, but really it’s the upgraded functionality—disc brakes, smooth Di2 shifting—that makes every single ride better. Plus, I swapped to 32mm tubeless tires so I have (finally) started exploring more gravel.
—Jené Shaw, contributing writer
jallraven Absiko Lite Trekking Trouser
Ok, so yes, this is a pretty pricey pair of pants ($175), but as someone who has done a lot of backpacking, I can tell you a good pair of pants is generally worth its weight in gold. And as someone who does mostly warmer (>60 degree F) hiking/backpacking, I struggle finding a pair that won’t make me sweat myself silly but still provides some protection against rough SoCal scrub. If you can somehow navigate the inscrutable Fjallraven clothing line (another editor called them “the Ikea of the hiking world”) and land on the right pair for your needs, you’ll probably use their pants like five times for every one use of another pair you own.
For me, the Abisko Lite (after literally a week spent decoding their styles) is perfect for it’s stretchy and crazy ventilated fabric across the back of the legs, crotch, and oddly enough the upper butt, but it has strong abrasion resistance where you’d come across brush through the front, lower legs, and lower butt. Zippable side vents may not look cool when your pasty thighs are popping out for the world to see, but they’re amazing for when the grade gets steep. Best yet, you can wax them for light rain and wind protection.
—Chris Foster, senior editor
Plant Works Protein Supplement
It’s not always easy to find a decent protein powder that both tastes good and is packed full of all the magic stuff, but this past week I’ve definitely been digging the Plant Works chocolate flavor protein powder. It’s really easy to mix into any smoothie and has a mega 20g of protein per serving as well as all nine essential amino acids and 5g of BCAAs (branch chain amino acids). We’ll save you the heavy science here, but suffice to say, these are all the wonderful things your body needs to help expedite recovery after exercise. There are a ton of protein powders on the market nowadays, but finding one that actually tastes good is not always an easy task. Both the chocolate and vanilla flavors of the Plant Works protein work well in most any smoothie I’ve made, but here’s my go-to this week: two scoops chocolate flavor Plant Works protein powder, almond milk, one overripe banana, one tablespoon almond butter, squeeze of honey, sprinkle of cinnamon, water, and ice as desired. Happy recovery!
—Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor