So Much More Than Just a Watch!

The HUAWEI GT3 RUNNER Reviewed

Avid trail runner, open water swimmer and photographer by profession, Barbara Cole, was more than willing to test the new HUAWEI WATCH GT Runner and share her views on it with us.

Unboxing & First Impression

The watch really has a super-premium look and feel, and it really struck me how light it was when I first took it out the box. Wearing it around my training crew only reinforced my first impressions, with so many comments of how slick it looked, and again, how light it was. You don’t realise you are wearing a watch until you look at your wrist. The only wish-list item I would ask for is that the watch came with interchangeable watch straps, so you can change it to match different looks, and add some colour, but that’s just me.

Design

The watch looks great, but it is still tough enough to handle some proper wear and tear, showing that it is manufactured using premium and robust materials. I love that you can tailor-make the face of the watch with multiple faces that you can download off the app, and I had a lot of fun with this feature. I also love that one of the watches features like your heart rate analysis are a simple touch away off the main screen, while your current heart rate is shown all the time.

The only problem I experienced, which is more of a pet-hate for me, was that I had to deliberately lift my arm every time I wanted to see the time. Personally, I would prefer an option to show the screen all the time, albeit on a dimmer light, but still playing around to see what I prefer.

User Experience

I absolutely love the user experience of the watch in terms of the touch screen. It’s amazing, and makes it so easy to navigate between settings, as well as being super responsive, too. With one button on the side of the watch to access the main menu of options, it was super easy to navigate between all settings. You very quickly get used to how the touch screen operates. And if you’re like me, you aren’t a manual reading type person, you will still easily be able to find your way around the watch.

I found the set-up incredibly easy, downloaded the app to my phone, and linked the two easily. The only issue I did have was linking the device to my Discovery App in order to track my activities for Vitality, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s a Huawei issue.

Workout Modes Used

I’m currently nursing an injury, so not actively running, and thus I used the following modes:

  • Indoor Swimming
  • Indoor Cycling
  • Open Water Swimming
  • Outdoor Walk

What I loved

I loved the open water swimming mode! It picked up my heart rate so quickly and read it accurately, even in the water. What was super interesting here was that it recorded my distance in steps, too, adding to my daily step goal, so I’m definitely not complaining! I am concerned about long-term wear and tear from the salt water, but this watch seems to be built for it.

The detail in terms of each session that you can look at on the watch after a session is incredible, and then the extension into your app on your phone is there if you want to find out more, giving you a wealth of stats and figures after a workout. The options in terms of workouts available is also pretty impressive, with just about every activity I could think of.

Battery Life

This was excellent! They say you’ll get 14 days on the lowest energy mode, and on average my battery life was around 10 to 12 days, including workout modes, which I used most days. So, using all the features of the watch, still got me to just under two weeks. What was also great is that it charges very quickly, going from 5% to 95% in an hour on the wireless charger.

Health Integration Features

Sleep Tracking: I really like this feature, and although I am not one to sleep with my watch on, when I did so, the watch was very accurate in terms of sleep time and patterns. It was also insightful for me to see the level of detailed feedback you get from the watch when downloaded into the app, explaining sleep cycles and how much REM sleep versus Deep Sleep you get, and what this means.

Stress Management: This is not really a feature I would normally pay much attention to, but it was interesting to see that it did correlate to times where I was more stressed. I think the extension of this is how you then manage your stress levels, so that your Central Nervous System is not stressed continually at a level that is detrimental to your health.

GPS Accuracy: The watch supports five satellite systems, which should make it very accurate, but when I did compare it, in one open water swim, to another watch, the readings were slightly different. That said, the Huawei does recalibrate all the time, so I would imagine it would be more accurate overall, and the important point to note here is that it did accurately track the route I followed.

Fun Features I Enjoyed

  • Barometer
  • Compass

Last Thoughts

Overall, I really love this watch! The one obvious drawback, though, is that it’s not supported by STRAVA, and I think that’s pretty important, particularly with who their target market might be in terms of being performance-driven. Hopefully this is something that is addressed in the near future. The other drawback is that some features don’t work with an apple iPhone system, and the watch is better with an Android system.

On the whole, I think a watch like this can contribute to one making better decisions for yourself in terms of your health, as well as being more aware of how your body is reacting to daily situations, and what steps you need to take to counteract any negative impacts on your health. If a watch was a motivator to get moving, this would be it!

Best Trisuit I’ve Ever Used!

I already knew the great reputation of 2XU products, but I was still blown away by the new 2XU Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit. Here’s what I found after putting it through its paces, in swim, bike and run tests. – by Alistair Cronk

You don’t just claim to be the World’s Best Technical Sportswear brand for nothing… and the latest Trisuit from 2XU pulls out all the stops! The Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit has all the features a triathlete could ask for, and nothing has been spared to provide athletes with the best possible trisuit on the market. The manufacturer has used an array of different fabrics to give you the best possible fit, feel and comfort while still providing you with a world-class product!

The 2XU brand, pronounced Two Times You, has been around since 2005. Launched in Melbourne, Australia and starting out as a specialist run and triathlon brand, 2XU is particularly renowned for its compression wear, but all its technical gear is top class, and thus I was really excited to be asked to test this new trisuit.

At First Glance

In life, I have always believed that if you look good, you feel good. Holding this trisuit in my hands for the first time, I could just feel the quality. The entire suit has been designed and manufactured to the highest standards, and I could not wait to try it on.

I will admit that I was a little sceptical about the compression at first, wondering how I was going to get into the Trisuit, but boy, what a fit! It feels instantly comfortable thanks to its panelled cut and flatlock stitching. Also, it’s supportive without being restrictive, and offers more freedom of movement than you might expect. With the jacket top and full zip, it makes getting the suit on and off even easier, especially for those ‘nature breaks.’

The Suit Essentials

Part of the Trisuit is made of Swiss Vent fabric, which was designed and created in accordance with 2XU’s testing by RMIT University. This material’s matrix knit allows the Trisuit to breathe while using Coldblack technology to offer protection from the sun on those hot South African race days.

Italian SBR Vent fabric is used on the suit’s arms and chest, designed to provide cooling while still being aerodynamic, with elbow-length sleeves that also give extra protection from the sun. When worn under a wetsuit, I found little to no difference to my stroke, with no pulling on the shoulders giving you that restricted feel. There are two easy-access open pockets on the back that will hold your race-day nutrition.

While the top is already enough to blow your mind, it’s when you move down to the shorts that the real difference comes in… The breathable, aerodynamic material selection is complimented by the added feature of compression, provided by the latest 105D Power Mesh, which allows for greater power output and less muscle oscillation, and thus reduced muscle fatigue during all three legs of a triathlon.

Secondly, the pad is always an important element of a trisuit, especially on those longer races, and the inclusion of the PRO LD Chamois, which is a multi-layered design with low water-absorption foam made in Italy exclusively for 2XU, gives this suit still better performance!

Put to the Test

I was impressed with the Trisuit in the water, both with and without a wetsuit. There was no feeling of drag and hindrance during the swim, and the compression around the legs in the water opened a whole new world, allowing me to deliver a stronger kick. So, when those races with the “no wetsuit swim” come round, this trisuit will deliver, allowing you to glide through the water without the usual feeling of drag or speed-loss.

On the bike, I found the pad to be comfortable for those long sections while on the bars, and although the compression felt a little restrictive at first while in this position, it soon loosened up a little to allow me to perform at my best. On my runs – and once again I can’t stress this enough – the compression around the legs made me feel like I can go harder for longer.

Testing it during the hotter days of early spring, I found the Trisuit kept me cool, and I have no doubt that it will be great to race in it during our hot summer days. I know this because I tested the suit in the heat of the day, and found that I never experience that overheating feeling, but if you are one of those athletes that runs a little on the hot side, the full zip allows for extra cooling.

The correct size of suit is always important, and I found this snug-fitting suit to have no flapping, but it still felt comfortable at the same time. Furthermore, the cleverly designed panelling makes this suit both fast and comfortable. Chaffing was non-existent, as the suit panelling, stitching and the soft edges of the pad and all designed with the athlete in mind. I am not saying you should throw the ‘speed grease’ away, but test the Trisuit for yourself and you’ll see how smooth and comfortable it is.

My Takeaways

I have raced both long- and short-course races, full and half Ironman events, and I have not come across a suit to top the 2XU Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit. This is by far the most comfortable and rewarding trisuit I have tried. Of course, in order to properly review a product, you do need to point out any downsides, and the only one I could find was that I think the pockets on the back could be a little bigger, especially for the brands that offer bigger gels.

But after having tested the 2XU Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit, I would not hesitate in recommending this trisuit to all levels of triathlete. The 2XU diehard fans have probably got their Trisuit on order already, but for those looking for a new trisuit, this would be the one. With its technical and protective fabrics, the comfort and outstanding compression performance across all three legs, the 2XU Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit is one of the best trisuits on the market, ideal for all long-course and short-course athletes, and will be one less thing to worry about on race day.

Get it Here

The 2XU Compression Full Zip Sleeved Trisuit retails at R3499 and can be ordered at https://2xu.co.za/collections/trisuits/products/mt5516d-mens-compression-full-zip-sleeved-trisuit

New, improved routes designed by local cyclists for this year’s Knysna Cycle Tour

New, improved routes designed by local cyclists for this year’s Knysna Cycle Tour

This year the organisers of the Knysna Cycle Tour have announced new, improved routes for their biggest events, the 104km road race as well as the 30 and 50km Mountain Bike races.

Route Manager Andrew Finn said that there is an exciting new route for the longer road race, which is now a 104 km ride. Says Finn: “The route will take riders on a thrilling, scenic adventure through one of the most picturesque sections of the Garden Route, revealing stunning views of ocean and beach, mountains and pristine forest along the way.

“Leaving and returning to Knysna along the N2, cyclists will experience the Knysna Lagoon then, after the first big climb up Kytersnek they will turn off to Buffalo Bay with all its beautiful views of the sea en route to what is arguably the best beach and surfing spot in the Knysna area. Then, after another stretch along the N2, there will be some great climbs through natural forests and farmlands on the way up to Barrington.

“The most interesting addition to this race is a brief 2,1 km gravel pass along the Seven Passes Road between Barrington and Karatara. From Karatara, it’s fast downhill all the way back to the N2.”

The tour’s MTB routes have been designed and are being maintained by a group of keen local cyclists led by Stuart Lightley, Greg Penrith and David Correia who volunteer their time and promote the beautiful tracks available in Knysna’s backyard at every opportunity.

Lightley explains: “I was asked to contribute to a route redesign for the 30 and 50 km MTB routes and to incorporate more single track, making the routes more fun and technically challenging. The idea with both the mountain and road events is to show off some of the areas where the Knysna locals ride.

“I’ve been riding mountain bikes and exploring the Knysna forests for almost 30 years and know the forest quite well. I enjoy the more technical type of riding, and actively help and encourage others to improve their technical skills. With this in mind, I have built tens of kilometers of single track, mostly in the Concordia Contours Trails area, to the north of Knysna, near Simola. We have selected a number of these trails for the mountain bike events.”

Says Finn: “The end result is that this year, for the first time, our 50 km and 30 km MTB events will take participants along routes created by locals. After the climb up the Simola hill, both routes will use single track sections designed and built by these local track designers and builders which will add a new dimension to both events.

“Our official route managers, Corne Botha and Pat October from Jakhals Events in Oudtshoorn will oversee safety, the marshals, and all signage on these routes amongst other things.”

The MTB races have all had exciting single track added to the first sections of the route, including a lap of the stunning Oakhill School purpose-designed track, the Life of Brian single track link to Narnia Village, the Knysna Montessori single track to the drop-off onto the Salt River farm track, and the iconic SANParks single-track Petrus Se Brand through to Harkerville.

Once back at the finish on the Knysna High School sports field there’ll be plenty of entertainment for the whole family and time for cyclists to relax with food from local food stalls, listen to some music and enjoy a beer or two.

Online entries for the Knysna Cycle Tour races close on 14 June. For more information and to enter go to the website: www.knysnacycle.co.za