Colorado Mountain Club: The Voice of Colorado’s Mountains

America’s public lands received a veritable threat in April when President Trump issued an executive order to review the national monument designations. The order mandates the Secretary of the Interior with the task of reviewing all designations (or expansions of designations) under the Antiquities Act made since January 1,1996 where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, or, “where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.” From the slickrock spires of Grand Staircase-Escalante to the turquoise depths of the Pacific Remote Islands, the order places at least 20 – and as many as 40 – monuments on the government’s hit list.

We at Ibex (along with over 70 other organizations) have added our name to an open letter to Secretary Zinke urging him to listen to the will of the people; luckily, our voice is bolstered by the efforts of our friends putting in hours and miles at the ground level. The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC), one of Colorado’s oldest advocacy and recreation groups has always been an active advocate for protection, access, and stewardship of public lands on a local, state, and national level; as the “voice of Colorado’s mountains,” these days, the CMC is speaking louder than ever.

“Primarily we represent human-powered recreationists – specifically hikers and mountaineers – as well as backcountry winter users (skiers, snowshoers, etc.) through our Backcountry Snowsports Initiative,” says CMC’s Conservation Director, Julie Mach. “We weigh in on policy and legislation that affects public-land designations, funding and management such as Wilderness proposals, agency budgeting, and the transfer of federal public lands to state control. Our members and supporters receive regular updates and action alerts on advocacy issues, we host public meetings and letter writing campaigns, and we engage volunteers in testifying to support public lands in Denver and Washington, D.C. We also work closely with a broad network of regional and national conservation and recreation organizations (including the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance) to elevate the voice of our members and unify the broader recreation community in support and protection of public lands.”

Founded in 1912 by 25 charter members, the CMC showed, early in its history, the power of like-minded people in passing and defending important land use legislation. The club was instrumental in helping to establish Rocky Mountain National Park, and as the official record keepers for 14er, 13er, and other list completers, it’s “had a hand in naming, protecting, and enjoying the state’s high peaks for more than ten years,” says Jeff Golden, CMC Marketing Manager.

By serving as a modern day database, the CMC is an excellent resource for visitors or Coloradans who are spending time in the mountains. It also provides numerous opportunities for people to teach, learn, and grow in the Rocky Mountain playground.

“In 2016 alone, we had over 600 volunteers dedicate their time to the CMC; we led 1604 trips; we taught 174 adult courses, clinics and schools; educated 7000 youth through our Youth Education Program; and totaled 95,708 human-powered miles,” says CMC’s Membership Manager, Lauren Shockey.

The experiences that CMC facilitates contribute not only to Colorado’s outdoor culture but affect people’s relationship with the outdoors far and wide; when people have access to sustainable recreation, they are far more likely to act as stewards of the places where they play. The three tenets of CMC’s mission — education, recreation and conservation — operate in tandem to create an involved, engaged, and active constituency.

It’s more important now than ever for the outdoor industry to present a united front in support of public lands. Because of shared beliefs, Ibex is proud to share an area code with the CMC. Opening our doors in Denver puts us squarely in the middle of Colorado’s vibrant recreation scene, one that’s as active in civic centers as it is on top of 14,000 foot peaks.

4,000 miles in 14 Days with Ibex Advocate and Photographer Nelson Brown

Having a 9-5 job leaves me only with three weeks of vacation time each year. With limited time off, I strongly believe in the importance of traveling to new places and getting out of my comfort zone when I can. This year, my girlfriend and I set a two-week time frame to explore all that the West has to offer.

We had a general idea of the places we wanted to see, but never set an exact itinerary. Because for us, the adventures are ever-changing. We chose to travel without a set destination because it allowed us to go with the flow and to live in the moment. We drove through six different states, all of which were unfamiliar places, totaling 4,000 miles in 14 days. The best part of the adventure was chasing the sun to our next campsite where we would set up camp only to get a good night’s sleep, knowing we could do it all over again.

In my opinion, car camping is the best way to travel and see the country, but you’ve got to be equipped with the right gear in order to appreciate the journey. Packing light is crucial when traveling with limited space. All Ibex Merino wool items can be put through the ringer and still come out smelling pretty… even after 14 long days. My travel wardrobe consisted mainly of Ibex apparel that was versatile enough to wear in all terrains: mountains, rainforest, desert, and urban.

Throughout the trip we made stops in Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Each state had their individual cool spots and destinations, but I’d like to share with you a list of my personal favorites along the trip and why they should be on your bucket list.

Utah – Dixie National Forest

Utah’s State Parks and National Forests are what make Utah one of my favorite places thus far. Just south of Bryce Canyon National Park lies The Red Canyon in Dixie National Park, Utah. Here in Red Canyon we found breathtaking rock formations and less traveled trails to discover. Maybe the light snowfall drove people away, because we did not see a single person at this location. I highly recommend hiking Cassidy Trail while you’re in Utah.

Travel Hack – save some money by camping in National Forests versus a designated campground!

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What Dogs Think of Take Your Dog to Work Day

Ibex honors Take Your Dog to Work Day every day. We’re 100-percent committed to the boost that dogs bring to our daily satisfaction, productivity and humor. We love our dogs of Ibex (you’re going to want to click that link. It was a barely concealed ‘plant’ to something that will make you smile).

Back in 2013 we even won the Purina Pets at Work Award for 2013.

Today is national “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” Whereas human-centric holidays are celebrated with free time, love, flowers, presents and beer, Take Your Dog To Work Day is celebrated by doing the thing we complain about the most.

This is the holiday we create for our best friends? Work.

We all have words we spell out in front of our dogs for fear they’ll get over-excited if they hear the real thing. “Rex, wanna play F-R-I-S-B-E-E? Gertie, wanna go on a W-A-L-K?”

Oddly, you never hear: “Who wants a S-T-A-P-L-E-R? Who wants a C-O-P-I-E-R?” Dogs are smart. Dogs are unmoved by the allure of strategy meetings and quarterly reports.

And yet, there we go. We load them in the truck or alongside the bike – giving the illusion that we’re off to a super–sweet new adventure. Their minds are already firmly entrenched in their happy place: streams to splash in, tennis balls falling from the sky, dog biscuits growing on trees and mud puddles just waiting for a good splash.

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5 Ways to Maximize the Summer Solstice

Banks and bosses may not recognize it, but outdoorsy folks have their own official holiday in June. Sandwiched between Memorial Day’s kickoff to summer and the Fourth of July’s family-friendly festivus, the Summer Solstice serves up the year’s earliest sunrise and its latest sunset, inspiring a season of feel-good, frenetic fun. Let the seemingly endless daylight of Solstice be a model and a guide: here are five ways to celebrate the season.

1) Make your work day work for you

Chances are, you won’t get the day off, but since the light is long, it’s easy to pretend that you’re playing hooky. Rise with the sun and lace up your shoes for a hike or a run. Throw your bike on the roof rack. Arrive at work happy and sun-kissed, don’t waste an idle minute web-surfing or staring at the copy machine, and when the clock strikes five, change into your chamois. Depending on which line of latitude you call home, you’ve got until at least 9pm to pedal away the working blues (which, let’s be honest, were impossible to even have today).

Advocate Tiffany Mannion bikes in the Ingrid Skirt

2) Plant seeds

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator appears to stand still, which is recognizable to us mere mortals as the first official day of summer. Mark this monumental event by planting a solstice garden. Whether you’ve got a big backyard, a cracked pot or two, or a lonely strip of dirt outside your front door, growing food and flowers can be as simple as 1-2-3. Late June is a perfect time to plant carrots, beets, radishes, and greens, and when the days grow shorter as summer goes on, your harvest will be a sweet and savory reminder of the sun standing still up high.

3) Connect the spots

Some days, all we can do is squeeze in a workout or happy hour between the responsibilities of real life. Summer’s warmth and light beg us to stop making excuses and make it all – or as much as we’d like – happen. Have a favorite fishing hole? If the answer is yes, then ask – can you bike there? Now, since you’ve ridden to fish, are you hungry? Ride from the riffle to the brewpub or cafe. Satiated? You can go one of two ways from here – a local park for a snooze in the sun or a trailhead to burn off the calories. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, there is no wrong option, and since you’re blazing your own trail, you can follow it until you get too tired to add another destination.

Ibex Advocate Vince Svejkovsky takes his W2 Sport Hoody on the river.

4) Set up camp

Camping is one of those things that, given a touch of bad mood or business, can seem like more effort than it’s worth. But, how many times have you regretted setting up a temporary home by the babble of a brook or under a splatter of stars? Whether you have the time to drive 500 miles to a different ecological life zone or you’re RV-ing at the state park a few hours away, the long days of summer lend the task of creating a temporary home outdoors the air of a ritual rather than a chore.

5) Find sweetness

It’s hard to resist summer’s charms; no other season can persuade us to sleep less, work less, and play more quite as convincingly. Maybe it’s because summer reminds us of being kids, and we’re all too aware that a childlike sense of wonder is the food group conspicuously absent from our adult dinner plates. Also missing from our grown-up diets? Sweetness. The sticky popsicle stick, or don’t-let-the-scoop-topple off the cone, ‘Yes, I’ll have the whipped cream’ variety. Whether you’re in the company of children or not, remember that the spirit of summer is freedom and fun, and that means saying yes to dessert every time it’s on the menu.

Ibex Summer Solstice from Ibex Outdoor Clothing on Vimeo.

Join Us In Defending Our Public Lands

Nearly one million people have spoken out in support of our national monuments. We (along with over 70 other organizations) add our voice to theirs in an open letter to Secretary Zinke urging him to listen to the will of the people and continue our conservation legacy.

Thank you for joining our efforts in defending public lands!

Watch: A Brooklyn Trail

Sometimes you just need to get off the beaten path to discover those truly magical places that can transcend you to another dimension.

For athlete Ben Clark, that special place was a hidden trail in the heart of a concrete jungle. Watch his story below.

A Brooklyn Trail from Ibex Outdoor Clothing on Vimeo.

Why You Should NOT Wear Summer-weight Merino Wool

Summer-weight wool is not for the uninformed.

********** ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 26, 2013 **********

It’s been said that wool is a gateway to the heavier stuff. Start out wearing wool in the summer and before you know it, you’ll be sporting balaclavas at afternoon barbeques and parkas long before Labor Day.

Yeah, it’s true. Wool can lead you to a life of warmth, which sad to say, can be overdone.

It’s a treacherous line we walk when we start playing fast and loose with traditional fabric designations. Man, you’ve got to keep your head on straight. Just like the best things in life, wool in summer is a game of education and moderation.

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(Photo: Archer)

Summer-weight wool is not for the weak. Your average oily…err… synthetic short sleeve women’s technical top weighs in around 4-oz. An Ibex women’s, short sleeve Seventeen.5 Merino wool shirt packs on an additional 0.64-oz. That’s the equivalent of carrying an extra 2-3 grapes on your back (grapes, as in wine, snacks, yumminess).

Summer-weight wool is not for the adamant anti-fashionista. If you want your clothes to scream, “I’m an outdoor athlete, as you can see by my technical seaming and boxy silhouette,” Ibex summer-weight wool is not for you. The texture and drape of Merino wool, together with Ibex styling, mean people won’t know if you just came from the coffee shop or from flashing a 5.13. Sorry, we do things more like this.

Summer-weight wool is not for those who don’t sweat. Since wool has natural anti-bacterial qualities, wool gear fights off odor like Wonder Woman fighting off death rays with her bracelets. If you always smell like sweet honeysuckle pinched from the vine – even after a 10-mile trail run – you don’t need us.

Summer-weight wool is not for the uninformed. Technically, this isn’t really true. But before you open the door to summer-weight Merino wool, it’s helpful to know that not all wool is created equally. To maximize comfort and understand the moderation curve of which wool to where and when (…wow!), here’s what you need to know:

·      Micron: This is the diameter measurement of the individual wool strands. Summer-weight wool will clock in around 18.5-microns and under. 17.5 is crazy low and is as soft as your well-worn cotton t-shirt.

·      Quality: Here’s where it gets tricky. Not every strand of fiber in 17.5-micron wool will be 17.5-microns –some will be larger (more coarse) and some will be small (booyah!). Bottom line: there’s a sliding scale of quality even among similarly named wools. Find a manufacturer you like and trust.

If you want the wool (as most sane people do), you’ve gotta make sure you can handle the wool.  Start by visiting this page: http://shop.ibex.com/Why-Merino-Wool-In-The-Summer

Ibex is Biking to Work in May

May is National Bike to Work Month for most of the nation. That sounds auspicious indeed, but for lots of folks around the country, special calendar designation doesn’t factor into their daily routine. These are the folks who get out of bed, get ready for the day, and always throw a leg over the bike for the ride to work. To get a better picture of what it’s like to opt outside on the way to work, we asked our own Ibex employees what factors into their decisions to ride to work versus sitting in traffic.

Lisa-Marie, Ibex Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s Burke Gilman Trail

What has influenced your choice to skip the car commute? I live in Seattle and parking is awful to say the very least. I hate trying to find parking before or after my day at work, so riding or running just seems to make sense for me. I now live less than two miles from work, so when I ride I tend to take a fun detour on my way…like 12 miles out of the way! LOL

The Indie top is an Ibex favorite

Do you have some favorite layering pieces when you’re bike commuting? Well because I wear Ibex at work, I just toss on my Izzi tights and an Indie…I love, love my Indies! I have three now and have only been working here 3-ish months. If it’s raining, which it does like every day from Nov-April, I don’t always ride as much and just run to work wearing the same pieces. If it’s just light rain, then I have a rain shell I toss on.

What does your ride to work look like? To work, it’s on road and with traffic, but Seattle also has amazing bike lanes to make biking a little more road-friendly. We also have a trail called the Burke Gilman Trail which is right behind the store. After work, I can jump on that to get in a fun, longer ride and then hop back on the road to head home.

Sean Malone, Ibex Denver, Colorado

When and why did you start bike commuting? I have commuted by bicycle for many years. I started riding to school as a young teen, later in high school and then in college when I didn’t have a car. As an adult, I started commuting to work and realized how enjoyable it is; no traffic, the opportunity to be closer to nature and the city, and the additional benefit of exercise. What can you tell us about your ride to work? My commute right now is right about five miles, which in reality isn’t too far. Sometimes I will extend the commute to get a bit longer ride in. Other times I’ll stop for a coffee or run a quick errand. Fortunately, Denver has great bike paths, lanes and routes making interaction with cars minimal, however I do ensure my safety at busy intersections by making myself visible and by making sure drivers acknowledge my presence. On occasion, I will change up the route in to see other neighborhoods and for a little variety. What keeps you riding the bike vs. hopping in the car on a daily basis? By commuting to work and other places like the supermarket, coffee shop, etc. I have made a choice to reduce how much gasoline I use, but more importantly, it enables me to get additional exercise. Quite often the commute by bike is faster than driving. Also, it’s just plain cool to ride a bike!

Michael Logan, Ibex White River Junction, Vermont

Ibex headquarters in White River Junction, Vermont

Can you tell us about how you started riding your bike to work? I started bike commuting to Ibex in April 2015. There are many reasons why I started, including my desire to lessen my footprint, getting daily exercise, self-reliance, fresh air, some “me” time, and the fact that I only live nine miles away from work. To sum it up, I commute because I want to reduce my impact on the environment, get exercise, and, in my mind, it’s the right thing to do.

The Trio shorts are a three-season staple

Why do you ride your bike instead of driving to work? I’m going to be honest: I don’t commute via bike every day. There have been times when I’ve ridden five days a week, but that’s not every week. Why do I stick with it? Because I can do it. There are certainly days when I don’t want to ride, but once I’m on the bike I immediately start feeling better.

Vermont can present some interesting weather conditions. What kind of clothing selections work best for you when you’re bike commuting? I pretty much bike exclusively in Ibex. My go-to layers for three seasons are the Trio Shorts with an Indie Full Zip. I also have another Ibex half-zip jersey that I like a lot for when it’s really hot. I pair these with our leg and knee warmers when it’s cooler (30s for knee warmers, 20s for leg warmers), and when it’s below 20 degrees, I wear the El Fito full length tight. If it’s in the single digits, I pair those with a Woolies 1 Bottom, or layer them over a pair of leg warmers. I do have a simple nylon shell for extra coverage in light rain, or to just take the chill off of the initial morning ride.

 

Vermont presents interesting road conditions in mud season.

Outdoor Recreation—Shaping Economies of Tomorrow

Stewardship is part of the Ibex manifesto and we believe deeply in environmental conservation and protecting our wild places. Being outside exploring the natural world is engrained in who we are as people as well as what we are as a company. The ability to wander a wide-open landscape is not something we take for granted and it is the reason that Ibex stands up for public lands protection.

We recently opened a new store in Colorado, the only state in the nation that has a designated Public Lands Day, coming up on May 20. It’s also one of only a handful of states that has an office in place to act as a liaison between the outdoor recreation economy, public lands protection and the communities of people who live there.

The State of Colorado aligns itself with the outdoors

We were fortunate enough to speak with Luis Benitez, the director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office to learn more about lands protection, how it relates to the outdoor recreation industry, and how participation in important economic and environmental conversations can affect positive outcomes for all of us.

Can you tell us what you do in your role with the State of Colorado?

I work for the office of outdoor industry for the state; it’s one of three states that have this role, (Utah and Washington state are the other two.) There are six others that are considering the inclusion of this role. Ultimately the reason my office exists is that it’s a direct reflection of just how much the outdoor recreation industry brings to our economy, our culture and our communities. We focus on economic development, conservation and stewardship, and education and workforce training.

What happens on Public Lands Day in Colorado?

Well, it’s a campaign to really make sure people are getting out and recreating on public lands. We’re going to be focusing on that, so admissions (to parks and monuments) will be either discounted or free of charge, then ultimately trying to get kids outside. Really, it’s a concerted effort to make sure people understand what our state public lands are and how to utilize and recreate on them.

Why does it make sense for a brand like Ibex that is passionate about public lands protection and environmental issues to be in Colorado vs. another state?

My goal is to grow the overall outdoor recreation economy. When it comes to locating in a state like Colorado, I think we’re kind of at the forefront of the conversation for the outdoor industry, for their stances on public lands, to innovation and entrepreneurship, to having the kind of community and population that’s deeply invested in and connected to the outdoor recreation industry. We want anybody who would look at our state and say, “gosh, if we’re involved in this industry, we’d like to be on the leading edge of what’s possible and we should really consider going there.”

The Outdoor Industry Association recently released some impressive numbers relating to the outdoor recreation economy. How do you reconcile these with historic economic drivers and enter the conversation of the economic, environmental and social impacts that industries are creating?

I think what we’re asserting here in Colorado is a blended economy. I think the reality is that we’ve drawn too many hard, fast lines in the sand for too long…I think that’s myopic.

I believe the responsible approach is to say this (the outdoor recreation industry) is a significant portion of our economy. It drives a lot more than just GDP; it drives health and wellness, it drives manufacturing, and it drives talent development. It drives all of these things, so I think the important thing is that all the different economies talk and figure out what’s best for their state.

States in the West have the most public land, so it makes sense that the issues of outdoor recreation and lands protection are top-of-mind talking points in states like Colorado. Do you get the sense that this is a conversation that resonates across the country, not just the intermountain West?

I think it’s being focused on a little bit more and will continue to be, just because of the fact that people are paying attention to the numbers that are coming out and want to know what it’s about. So, right now the Outdoor Industry Association is releasing those numbers, but ultimately what you’re going to have is the Department of Commerce researching those numbers. And when that happens, there’s going to be a different story. That will be a deeper understanding of what goes on.

Is there a closing message for those who are in tune with this debate of lands protection and outdoor recreation, trying not to frame it as outdoor vs. other industries? How do we take the momentum that so many voices have gained in the last year and move it forward?

I think you really hit the nail on the head. The big piece of this will be what happened with the outdoor industry tradeshow. People will start voting with their feet and start moving things around in the interest of the communities that are most important to them. That will be something that people will continue to pay attention to and continue to look for.

Laurie Strongin is Truly a Mega Mom

In anticipation of Mother’s Day, we thought we would reach out to our Ibex community and ask a simple question: Who would you like to nominate for special Mother’s Day recognition? We got a lot of responses suggesting some super moms out there, but of all the nominations, there was one that truly stood out. Her name is Laurie Strongin, she is a mother, and this is her remarkable story:

Can you tell us where you live and who you are?

I live in Washington, DC. I’m the Founder and CEO of a nonprofit that is reinventing how hospitals care for seriously ill kids and their families through innovative programs that entertain, reduce stress and empower kids to be active participants in their own care. I’m also the mom of two amazing boys: Joe is 15 and Jack is 20.

You have an inspirational and moving story as the founder of a charitable organization named Hope for Henry. Can you tell us a little about it?

In 2002, my seven-year-old son Henry Goldberg died of Fanconi anemia, a rare and fatal disease. The following year, my husband Allen Goldberg and I created the Hope for Henry Foundation. We considered tackling the disease that took our son’s life. Instead we found inspiration in Henry’s upbeat attitude and channeled our energies into promoting the transformative power of a poorly understood phenomenon we had witnessed first-hand – play and fun in the life of all children facing fatal illness.

Since 2003, Hope for Henry has improved the lives of more than 25,000 children at hospitals in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and other cities around the country.

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The Mechanics of Mud Running: 5 Tips

1. Comfortable Kicks

Shoe companies will tell you there’s a shoe for every occasion and weather. Things like lug pattern, water proof-ness and drop. But in my book there’s only two: shoes you feel fast in (lightweight, low drop, and a badass color way) and “SUVs” (cushy, durable, built for the long haul). As you might imagine, running in bad weather and mud (or snow) is for SUV shoes. It might sound counterintuitive; a light shoe will make you more fleet of foot and help you step more quickly—instead of sink—in mud and muck. This approach actually does work…for maybe the first 1-2 minutes of your run. After that, no matter how light the shoe is, it inevitably becomes heavy and stout just like the durable SUV shoe. My suggestion: save the fast shoes for dry days when you’re ready to fly on the trails and run the SUVs on days they’re intended for: the slow, muddy slog.

DSC09700

2. Sweat Your Socks

Point #1 illustrates that when mud is involved, any shoe – no matter the size or weight – will essentially take on the environment (pun intended) and be neutralized. But where there’s mud there is usually snow or puddles. These elements will eventually saturate the shoes’ upper and soak your socks. As the wetness sets in, it’s your sock selection that will have a bigger impact on your running enjoyment. It’s no wonder we’re partial to wool, but in muddy conditions it’s a fiber that is blister-preventing and softer than a synthetic running sock. Use a tall sock or one with a 3-5” cuff rather than no-shows to get extra abrasion resistance to your ankles and legs.

3. The Unusual Sore Spots

Trail running, compared to road, comes with demands on DSC09694different muscle groups. Muddy trail training adds another variability since balance and foot fall is so inconsistent. But the soreness and muscle activation is worth it! The sensations you’ll feel—typically in your feet, ankles and calves—will wake up proprioceptors (the stimuli your body gets from impact and agile motion) that will help with balance and injury-prevention when conditions are normalized in the drier spring, summer and fall.

4. One Less Layer

When you’re in muddy conditions you’re probably going to be working harder than a dry run so aim to dress for higher-than-average sweat rate; and even though the air temperature might be chilly, shorts or 3-quarter length tights are recommended over pants. Combined with tall socks (see #2), you’ll move through the muck with more ease while keeping the abrasion-factor low.

5. Ankle Weights = Strength

Resistance training in running is not the most common thing, especially in trail running where vertical gain in the landscape comes with the sensation of resistance all by itself. Some runners (usually racers) might wear a loaded-up pack or run with poles to add resistance weight or better distribute the energy to the arms when training for an event. But running in mud adds an accumulation of weight and resistance to your shoes which will make you move more slowly and require more energy. This “natural resistance” is a fast and free way to add leg strength and force you to adopt a new cadence (generally one that adds efficiency since your body will be looking to offset the weight). This is a great way to examine your stride and look for new, efficient ways to move that might actually improve your dry-trail performance, too.