CycleOps Fluid2 Cycling Trainer
What better way for cyclists to spend Vermont’s cold weeks than continuing to ride your bicycle—indoors, with the CycleOps Fluid2 trainer. While it was nominally difficult to get the bolts to line up properly during assembly of the unit, setup took about five minutes. That time, and a different skewer for your rear wheel that comes with the trainer, and you’re good to go, ready to stay in biking shape for that early spring triathlon or criterion. Many people have problems with indoor trainers being too loud or too boring. The Fluid2, however, is no louder than the wind in your ears when you’re out on the open road. And CycleOps includes a training DVD with the unit so you can have a variety of workouts from which to choose. There are two ways of changing the resistance: the infinite resistance curve increases resistance as you pedal harder, and you can change gears to vary your workout. A patented self-cooling fan ensures longevity of the trainer and consistent performance—but CycleOps backs the product with a lifetime warranty, just in case.
$339.99: Earl’s Cyclery, Williston; Paradise Sports, Windsor; Fit Werx, Waitsfield.
Ibex Zepher Wind Boxer Briefs
Chilly Willy? Few things make a guy cringe more than the thought of frostbitten junk. That’s why Ibex designed these undies for cold, windy, winter sports. Not only are they made of soft, warm Merino wool, but the front-and-center section—the part that counts—is all the more protected by a windproof barrier. They also have a little stretch to them, so there is some leeway as far as fit goes. Because of their utility, these have rapidly become one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) item of clothing for the winter. High-velocity sports are much less comfortable without them. In other news, keep an eye out in autumn 2012 for new Ibex products made with domestic wool from Montana.
$60; Claremont Cycle Depot, Claremont, N.H.; Onion River Sports, Montpelier; West Hill Shop, Putney.
Rock Art Brewery Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
As any stout should, this dark beverage—inspired by tele instructor John Little at Jay Peak—tastes great on a cold winter day. Despite its name, this is not a “pumpkiny” beer, and it’s not meant to be—the pumpkin is used more for its sugars, not its flavor. It will entice you with its first scents of cloves and cinnamon. For better or worse, the spruce flavor is somewhat lost on this taster because of the burly, dark aromatics that pervade the drink: coffee and chocolate dominate a very full-bodied feel, leaving any subtle, high-pitched notes by the wayside. The gourd flavor, which comes from locally grown, organic pumpkins, comes in pretty late, but it’s definitely there. But that’s a stout for you, and the bitterness and 8 percent alcohol will be sure to cleanse your palate and your mind before the next sip. And believe me, I did keep going back for sip after sip after sip.