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Coolibar Athletes

Coolibar Athletes Jim Webster

A Scene from the Mountain

JIm Webster - Coolibar 2014 Sponsored Athlete

Throughout June, Coolibar gives each of our 2014 Sponsored Athletes the spotlight. For a quick look at all of our 2014 athletes, go here.

By Jim Webster

Checking in from Beacon, New York: the 2014 competitive rifle season is just starting for me, but my training regimen, both strength and cardio, is year round.

One of my favorite places to train is Mt. Beacon. This hill rises 1,400 vertical feet from my frJim Webster - Trainingont door and was once home to one of the longest incline railways in world.  Steep and ever-changing terrain make it a perfect natural gym.

During the week before work, Molly and I will head to the park and do laps on the steps.  On the weekends we extend our hikes to the many trails that have formed over the years.  The photo is from the beginning of Mt. Beacon Park – these 200 steps are the warm-up.  When you stop for water you throw in a set of push-ups…not as a penalty, but to make the most of your break.

When I am not on the mountain, I study and instruct jujitsu at a local dojo.  The combination of these very active pursuits is a perfect balance for the calm that is required when I am behind the rifle.  The better my cardio, the more patient I am when attempting to score a center hit on the target that is more than half a mile away.

I really like the versatility of Coolibar’s line.  For example, the sun was not bearing down on me in the photo above; in fact the temperature was just over 40 degrees F.  Just the same, the UV is present. The combination of the Cool Fitness Shirt and Neck Gaiter added enough breathable warmth to remain comfortable and protected the entire workout.

Stay tuned for more scenes from the mountain.  Train hard and stay safe.

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Coolibar Athletes Stesha Carle

A Rower’s Day in SoCal

Stesha Carle, 2014 Cooilbar Athlete

All month, Coolibar will be introducing our 2014 Sponsored Athletes – or better, letting them introduce themselves. We’ll follow these people throughout the year as they continue pursuing extraordinary, sun safe activities outdoors. For a quick look at all of our 2014 athletes, go here.

By Stesha Carle

As a rower, I spend a lot of my time on the water training outdoors. I row for SoCal Scullers, a high performance rowing club for high school, masters and elite rowers. We are very fortunate to start each day with a training session under a beautiful Southern California sunrise in Huntington Harbour.

Our typical day includes a 12-mile row in the morning followed by boat washing and stretching.  During the weekdays, I head off to my part time job as project coordinator for Fastech – a company that engineers and builds gas stations. After logging in some hours at my desk, I head back for another workout session which is usually a combination of lifting weights, yoga, running, core, erging (rowing machine) or spinning.Stesha Carle - Rowing NSR2 May 2014

I also teach rowing machine classes for Roworx in Long Beach. And Sunday mornings I follow up my training session with personal training for Long Beach Rowing Association members.

Rowing has given me so many awesome experiences. I have traveled the world and competed in many major championship races. Most notably, I have won three silver medals at the Rowing World Championships! My next goal is to win gold at the 2016 Olympic Games!

I am incredibly inspired by all the Coolibar athletes who have put a priority on sun protection. It wasn’t until last year when my dad had surgery to remove melanoma from his cheek did I realize that the threat of skin cancer was very real. I am excited to be taking the right steps towards protecting my skin.  Coolibar clothing is perfect for rowing and outdoors sports because of its lightweight, flexible and sun protective qualities. I could not be more proud to represent this company.

Update: Stesha’s team placed second at the National Selection Regatta (NSR2), conducted at the Princeton National Rowing Center/Casperson Rowing Center in West Windsor, New Jersey. “The Long Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt is my new favorite race warmup/cooldown piece of gear!”

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Coolibar Athletes Sevve Stember

An Athlete Prepares for Summer

By Sevve Stember

As summer approaches, my mind shifts from snow sports (specifically nordic skiing) to climbing, trail running, and biking.

But that’s putting it all too simply. The changing of the seasons is always really meaningful, a natural opportunity to reflect on growth. In my professional, personal, and athletic life, I am always pushing myself to find and see growth within myself. Just as the trees stop growing during the winter as the snow flies, there are also periods where I see less growth than I’d like to. I think this is a fact of life that we all have to deal with.  However, spring brings us a yearly reminder that we are all capable of fantastic and beautiful feats.

I use the desire to always be my better self to fuel my seasonal and annual athletic pursuits. Below are some of the ways I prepare to do so this summer.

Goal Setting

I keep a journal/training log of my daily workouts. This allows me to hold myself accountable for getting outside or working out. The training log also allows me to compare my weekly, monthly, and yearly accomplishments to prior years. In doing so, I can push myself to log more hours on skis, climb harder routes, compare to what I’ve done in the past. It’s a really fun way of tracking my progress towards a goal. In my training log, there’s also a section that I dedicate to setting goals. I often set monthly, seasonal and yearly goals. Goal setting is a super-powerful method of motivating yourself and improving your own personal bests. Once the goals have been set, identify three action steps that will help you make progress towards your goals.

Injury Prevention

I recently went to the world-famous bouldering venue in Bishop, CA.

This was my first trip to Bishop and I was stoked out of my mind! I eagerly threw myself at boulder problem after boulder problem, and unfortunately I did not warm up properly. On the ultra-classic problem “Suspended in Silence”, you start off with an all points off dyno (a climbing move where you jump into the air). On my first attempt, I stuck the move. The next move involves a heel hook while using a crappy left hand hold. Unbeknownst to me, the left hand hold had recently broken, making the problem much harder than advertised. Refusing to believe that I couldn’t complete the problem, I torqued harder and harder on my heel hook. The result was – you guessed it – a loud “pop!” in my hamstring.

In the following days, I had trouble walking and was really sore. Fortunately, I’ve recovered quickly, but it was a good reminder that as summer approaches we must remember that easing back into our spring and summer activities is required to normalize our body/muscles to new stimuli. Take time to stretch, warm up properly, and ease back into your normal workout routines.

Sun Protection

Summer weather literally means more direct sun rays hitting the Earth, and therefore your skin. To account for this seasonal change, I always carry chapstick in my climbing pack. Additionally, being really fair skinned, I always wear a hat Cooilbar Athlete - Climbingoutdoors; it helps keep harmful rays off my skin.  Another strategy that I use is to always wear long sleeve shirts, when temperature dictates. When warmer, I always make sure to at least wear a short sleeve shirt. But I’ve found that the latest UPF 50+ fabrics don’t rely on density for their sun protection and can actually keep you cool even directly in the sun.  It’s just not worth exposing my bare back to the sun, no matter how hot it may be. Lastly, a supply of UVA/UVB sunscreen in my car and climbing pack is an essential that I never leave without.

It is so exciting to be on the threshold of another training, running and climbing season in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve got some big goals for the year:  climb 5.13a, boulder V8 and V9, climb the Red Dihedral in Yosemite National Park, and trail run 20+ miles per week. To reach these goals, it’s going to take discipline, prudence, and using the right gear.

In the coming weeks, I’d encourage everyone to sit down and ask yourself “What do I want from this summer?  What is something I’ve always wanted to accomplish, but not hard the time/energy/etc. for?”  Once you’ve answered these questions, apply some of the strategies outlined above and see your own personal progress becoming a reality. But most of all, just get outside, smile, and have fun!

 

Climber and multiple-sport athlete Sevve StemberSevve Stember is a climbing expert and multiple-sport athlete who has established climbing routes in the Andes, the Sierra Nevadas and several other mountain ranges. A former park ranger, Sevve also pursues camping, soccer and cross country skiing. Sevve is a 6th-grade science teacher at Cole Middle School in Denver, Colorado. He lives there with his wife, Andrea, also an accomplished cross country skier. His previous posts for Coolibar include “Why Climbing Matters.”

 

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Athlete Profiles Coolibar Athletes

Meet the Coolibar Sponsored Athletes for 2014

Coolibar - Meet the Athletes

Each year, Coolibar proudly sponsors a group of athletes who are uncommonly passionate in pursuit of their chosen sports, and also for personal excellence and healthy outdoor living. Our 2014 Coolibar Sponsored Athletes are some of our finest yet. We’re proud to introduce them today. Stay tuned – you’ll hear much more from and about them throughout 2014!

Stesha Carle

Stesha Carle, 2014 Cooilbar Athlete

Winner of nine international medals, Stesha Carle has participated in rowing races all over the world. Stesha is a native of La Habra, California and rowed for the Long Beach Junior Crew in high school. She was recruited to the University of Michigan, where she earned a degree in Motion Science. Following college she trained with the women’s US National rowing team in Princeton, NJ for six years. Currently Stesha trains in California for SoCal Scullers, with a goal of winning gold at the 2016 Olympic Games. Stesha is a project coordinator for Fastech, a rowing machine instructor for Roworx and a personal trainer.  She enjoys running, hiking and exploring sunny California.

Stesha credits rowing with changing her life. Also, her priorities regarding sun protection changed after her father’s surgery to remove melanoma from his cheek – important in a sport that involves being on the water every morning.

Mekia Earle

Mekia Earle - Coolibar Athlete 2014

Born and raised in Honolulu, Mekia Earle has always maintained a love of the outdoors and fitness, as well as a high standard as a healthy role model to the younger generation growing up in Hawaii. She began playing beach volleyball at a young age, and attended college on an athletic scholarship in the Pacific Northwest. Fitness plays a major role in Mekia’s life. She holds a masters degree in Kinesiology and teaches girls physical education for grades 5 – 8 at Punahou School on Oahu; she also coaches and does color commentary for high school volleyball programs and works out every day to stay fit.

Mekia says that almost everyone who grew up in Hawaii has been affected by skin cancer directly or indirectly. As a wife (her husband recently had skin cancer removed from his neck) and a mother of two children, she is committed to imparting knowledge, awareness and understanding about healthy lifestyles and being smart about the sun.

 Jim Webster

Jim Webster, Long Range Rifle Marksman, Coolibar Athlete 2014

Jim Webster grew up in the Catskills of central New York, where the surroundings and his dad instilled in him a great love and respect for the outdoors. During many fishing outings he learned how to read the water, to spot changes in the environment and most of all what it means to be a conservationist. These skills translated into the patience, observation and practice required to become a marksman, as well as the respect for equipment and the responsibility to firearms safety. He says his dad’s insistence on reviewing the range rules lessened his youthful curiosity about firearms and at the same time broadened his respect for them. Since 2011 Jim has specialized in long range shooting competitions. He has won seven gold medals in 2012 and 14 more in 2013. He is the 2013 NY State F-T/R Long Range champion, and plans to compete in the US Nationals in Arizona in fall 2014. In the near future Jim hopes to open his own marksmanship academy for students of any experience or shooting discipline, with a consistent focus on safety and responsibility.

Jim lives in New York state with his wife Molly and daughter Katie (both very goodmarkswomen in their own right) and enjoys hiking, escaping to the beach and fishing with friends in Rhode Island…all good tests for Coolibar’s complete line of UV protective clothing.

Valerie Stewart

Valerie Stewart - Coolibar 2014 Sponsored Athletes

Valerie grew up a self-described tomboy on a big wheat farm in Washington State. She waterskiied on the Snake River, rode horses bareback, and found plenty of potentially dangerous fun. However, Valerie found no outlet for formal sports until she was 40 years old, with an eight-month-old baby, and began snowboarding.  Soon hopelessly addicted, Valerie competed in the Lake Tahoe division of USASA (United States of America Snowboard  Association) and medaled at every competition; she went on to compete and medal at the national level for the next six seasons.Valerie is the owner of Pow Productions, a video production company that has produced two international snowboarding videos, “Hips That Rip” and “Outlaws to Olympians;” the latter received an award at the 20th Annual Telly Awards.

Valerie belongs to several groups that kayak the rivers, lakes, and bays of northern California. She also enjoys yoga. She says, “When I’m physically active, I feel free, happy, strong, capable, confident, and young.”

Trey Seibold

Trey Seibold, Tennis - Cooilbar Athlete 2014

Born and raised in Florida, Trey Seibold picked up a tennis racquet during college and has never looked back; he has been a professional tennis instructor for the past 25 years.

In addition, Trey participates in triathlons and races surf skis. He’s placed in every race that he competed in this year. His goal is to constantly improve in every aspect of his personal and professional life.

Trey lives in Fort Lauderdale with his wife and three stepchildren. Trey works and trains outdoors seven days a week, so sun protection extremely important. Six months ago he discovered Coolibar and has been wearing it ever since. Coolibar is not only protecting him from the sun, keeps him cool and feeling comfortable since he wears it up to 11 hours! Trey wants to share the importance of sun protection to everyone he works with.

Jerry Leonard

Jerry Leonard, Coach, Coolibar Athlete 2014

Jerry Leonard is a three-time Louisiana state power lifting champion and the athletic director at Salmen High School – his alma mater – where he has been a high school football coach, biology and physiology & anatomy teacher for over 20 years.

He grew up in south Louisiana and spent a great deal of time outside, playing sports and enjoying the outdoors. Jerry is an avid golfer and fitness enthusiast. When he is not outside for work-related activities, he’s usually outside enjoying recreation with his family.

Jerry says Coolibar is a great partner for him to enjoy his time in the sun and protect himself from sun damage. Jerry says, “I like the idea of being able to wear cool and comfortable clothing in the Louisiana heat while being fully protected. Coolibar has given me the ability to enjoy my time outside, do my job, and limit my exposure to the harmful effects of the sun…much to the approval of my dermatologist.”

Leslie Jackson

Leslie Jackson, SUP, Coolibar Athlete 2014

Growing up in SoCal, Leslie Jackson always thought of the beach as her “happy place.” Today, it’s her gym. A not-so-typical mother of two in Carlsbad, California, Leslie began standup paddleboarding (SUP) in early 2013 and quickly graduated to SUP racing. She has a passion for fitness, the ocean and the outdoors, and incorporates SUP into her other pursuits including interval or cross training and yoga.

Her inspiration for activity likely comes from the medical equipment business she owns with her husband, which for many years has served people with disabilities. Recently the business has broadened into custom and adaptive recreational equipment, including the development of an adaptive paddleboard for people with disabilities.

Leslie also shares the joy of sports with her kids, ages 9 and 11 (she’s also an unabashed soccer mom) and trains them in the basics of standup paddleboarding.

Rich Early

Rich Early, softball, Coolibar Athlete 2014

As an eight-year-old in Phoenix, Arizona, Rich Early remembers accomplishing his first athletic goal: getting picked after school to play with the older boys on a real baseball field. Today, he spends winter months in the Pacific Northwest playing indoor tennis and working out in his home gym specifically to stay in shape for the sport he still loves: softball.

By itself this is another impressive accomplishment. A few years ago, Rich developed a sensitivity to UV rays. Sunscreen caused his eyes to itch and water. He was forced to quit playing tournament ball for several years. Coolibar clothing to the rescue – Rich was able to resume the sport this past May.

Rich’s team finished 2nd in the 65 age bracket at the Senior Winter Nationals games in Phoenix last November, as his family watched him play for the first time in more than 50 years. Rich uses his upcoming softball season, which will conclude at the Huntsman Senior Games in St. George, Utah in October, as inspiration as he pushes through his winter workout program.

Kaitlyn Price

Kaitlyn Price, golferA native Floridian, Kaitlyn grew up in the outdoors playing at the beach, soccer field or golf course. Although she played many different sports growing up, she found her true passion was golf. Playing and excelling in countless junior and amateur events gave her the opportunity to play collegiate golf at The University of Central Florida. A recent graduate with a degree in Public Administration and Sports Business Management, Kaitlyn is currently preparing to follow her dream to be a professional golfer.

Kaitlyn has realized the importance of skin protection from her mother who is a two-time melanoma survivor. Along with golfing, Kaitlyn enjoys cycling and boating.

 

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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Lessons from Thin Air: Training at Altitude

Coolibar - Sevve Stember

By Sevve Stember

Minnesota, I’ve come to realize, is the nordic skiing capital of the United States. I came to this epiphany when my wife and I moved from Minneapolis to Denver last summer. Which is to say, there’s really not any nordic skiing here unless you drive up into the Rockies and hunt down some snow at high elevation. And training at 9,000 feet above sea level, whether trail running, hiking or nordic skiing, is entirely different than doing cardiovascular fitness in Minnesota at 900 feet.

Needless to say, it was quite an adjustment to begin training for my annual tradition: skiing America’s largest cross country ski marathon, the American Birkebeiner in Cable, Wisconsin.

Hard-Won Lessons

Lesson one for altitude training: Be flexible. Adjust your pace when necessary, and don’t be tied to a particular pace. Instead, focus on completing a sustainable pace that is manageable and comfortable.Sevve and Tyler - Coolibar

One of my first experiences training at high altitude was when my college ski teammate, Tyler, and I went on a trail run in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes, Colorado. We started out jogging along this beautiful ridge with fantastic views in the distance. Eventually, our trail made a steep descent down into a valley. We were doing an out and back jog, and so on the way back we had to adjust our pace and do more of a “run-walk” trail run. In other words, run when you can, walk when you must.

Lesson two: Acclimate; the longer the better.

An experience forever burned into my memory from last summer’s climbing season was my one-day ascent of “The Casual Route” (5.10a, 1,000 ft. of technical climbing) on the Diamond of Longs Peak in RMNP, which incidentally is more than 14,000 feet high at the summit. My climbing partner, Dan, came from low elevation. On the approach, which we began at 2 a.m., Dan struggled a bit and developed a headache. He had not spent more than a day or two at altitude and went from relatively low elevation right up to Estes Park at 7,500 feet. Dan is simply a really strong dude and he toughed it out, linking pitches 2 and 3 which turned out to be a breakthrough lead that allowed us to summit. However, despite his success, he admitted some more time to acclimate would’ve been ideal.

Sevve and Andrea, expecting a long climb

Lesson three: Expect long sustained climbs. There’s not much for “rolling” hills in these parts, or in most parts at high altitude.

The first day my wife and I had on snow was at Eldora’s Nordic Center near Nederland. As usual, my excitement for skiing led to me “hammering” up the first hill we encountered. Soon, my wife and I were both going anaerobic – taking in less oxygen than we were using – at a pace that was not sustainable. The Eldora Mountain Resort, as we came to know, is notorious for being exceptionally hilly. As we continued to ski in the Rockies, we noticed that the topography of ski trails in Colorado is extremely different than Minnesota. The climbs are more sustained; the descents are quicker.

Lesson four: when racing at altitude for the first time, ease into your race. It’s far too easy to burn yourself out early in the game.

Coolibar - Sevve Stember skiing Sevve Stember, going out a little too fast

We kicked off the ski racing season at the Frisco Nordic Center in Colorado’s Summit County. The gun went off, and I hammered out somedouble pole strokes. Soon we were skate skiing up a long gradual hill. I quickly took the lead in the 30km ski race. It’s funny how you forget many of the lessons we’ve already learned throughout the course of our life. After the initial excitement of the mass start wore off, I realized I was in trouble. I had gone out too fast and was at an anaerobic level. The rest of the race was a STRUGGLE!

Tip for the Lips

Colorado is quite a bit south of Minnesota and I’ve noticed I burn a lot easier here than I do in Minnesota. The sun’s rays are simply more direct year round. Additionally, even when it’s winter and you think it’s not so easy to burn, the snow reflects a lot of rays into your face. I’ve learned it’s essential to apply an SPF lip protectant early and often while out doing a training session.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the transition from the flatlands of Minnesota to the front range of the Rockies.  Nothing’s black and white; there are aspects of the Midwest that are simply way better than Colorado, such as easy access to world-class cross country skiing. Colorado is simply a more inspiring place in a day-to-day sense. While here, I plan to apply the lessons I’ve learned about training at altitude and I certainly will continue to figure out how to maximize performance.

 

Climber and multiple-sport athlete Sevve StemberSevve Stember is a climbing expert and multiple-sport athlete who has established climbing routes in the Andes, the Sierra Nevadas and several other mountain ranges. A former park ranger, Sevve also pursues camping, soccer and cross country skiing. Sevve is a 6th-grade science teacher at Cole Middle School in Denver, Colorado. He lives there with his wife, Andrea, also an accomplished cross country skier. His previous posts for Coolibar include “Why Climbing Matters.”

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Kristie Cranford

Training in the Heat – What to Keep in Mind to Keep Yourself Cool and Safe

By Kristie Cranford

Summer is fast approaching, the days getting longer, and temperatures will begin to rise. Training in the heat is inevitable and in some cases practically unavoidable (I live in Las Vegas where heat is “normal”). If you are faced with training in the heat there are a few things to consider in keeping yourself cool and safe while training.

What to Wear

The sun is at its highest between 10am and 4pm.  It is best to avoid these times. Always wear sunscreen, and reapply. Dark colors absorb the heat; wear white or light UV protective clothing (the Coolibar Cool Fitness Shirt is a perfect example) to reflect the sun’s rays. Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.

Stay Hydrated

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Know your sweat loss rate. Weigh yourself before and after a workout to know how much sweat you lose and replenish with this amount. Cramping is a sign of mineral loss, so make sure you are taking in an electrolyte sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish minerals lost in sweat.

Tips & Tricks

Help keep the body cool by pouring cold water over pulse points in the wrist and back of the neck. Also pour over the top of the head – a majority of the body’s heat is released through the top of the head. That being said, be sure to wear a ventilated hat so heat can escape and is not trapped. There are cooling neckbands that you submerge in water to provide long-term cooling. In extreme heat situations, I have frozen my wristbands and then continued to pour water over them as I trained. Their absorbent nature keeps the cool water on my pulse points. I have participated in extreme heat races and the race organizers have provided cooling stations and ice towels.

Watch for Heat Stress

Be aware of warning signs of heat stress and have an emergency plan in place (carry a phone; wear an ID bracelet with emergency contact information).

Warning signs of heat stress and heat related illnesses (dehydration, hypernatremia, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps) include but are not limited to:  muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, cold and/or clammy skin, fainting, fast or weak pulse, hot red dry or moist skin, and even unconsciousness.

Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with playing it 100% safe and taking your training indoors.  You won’t skip a beat in your training and you can train safely without worrying about sun damage and heat related stress and illnesses.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun!

Kristie Cranford, CPT, ICTAKristie Cranford, CPT, ITCA, is a marathoner and triathlete, wife, mother, friend and multiple cancer survivor, but people call her “Coach.” A Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist and running and triathlon coach, Kristie instructs family, friends and clients through fitness, relationships, life crises, parenting and everything else. She can be reached through her blog at coachkristie.com or her email at CoachKristieLV@yahoo.com.

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Coolibar Athletes

Become a 2014 Coolibar Sponsored Athlete

Happy 2014! Are you looking for a challenge in the New Year to help reach your fitness goals? Consider becoming a 2014 Coolibar Sponsored Athlete.

Our athletes are fitness fanatics who are also concerned about sun safety. Whether your life is at the water, on the mountain, or on the court, we want to know about the extraordinary things you’re doing outdoors, protected by Coolibar of course, and share it with our sun-loving community. So bring on the sunshine, because it’s no match for Coolibar athletes.

Still not convinced? Hear from a few of our former athletes.

Sevve Stember, 2013 Athlete

I thought the whole athlete sponsorship program was super fun and it was really inspirational to be part of.” – Sevve Stember

Molly Baross, 2012 Athlete

“I loved being an athlete representative for Coolibar. My teammates were envious of my sun-protective clothing!”Molly Baross

Kristie Cranford, 2012 Athlete

“I am truly happy and lucky to have had this opportunity. I am deeply saddened it has come to an end.” – Kristie Cranford

Now accepting 2014 applications. Apply Now to become a 2014 Coolibar Sponsored Athlete.

Learn more about the program on our FAQ page.

Read about our 2013 Athletes.

Application deadline is midnight CST on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Can’t wait to meet you!

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Coolibar Athletes Sun Protection Clothing

Technology for a Cooler, More Comfortable Workout

Our newest fabric, Cooltect, now incorporates sweat-activated, cooling technology into every UPF 50+ Coolibar Fitness Shirt! When the body begins to perspire, tiny dots printed inside the fabric work to absorb moisture and activate a cooling agent that actually lowers the temperature of your skin. Check out this review from Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon, an adventure race competitor and all around healthy living devotee.

I am the kind of athlete that gets hot when I compete or train. In fact, I get so hot that other athletes regularly notice my lack of clothing. No…I’m not “Shirtless Guy” at your local 5k. Although I understand that guy, I still maintain that a shirt should be worn in races. However, I am the guy that is caught wearing just a shirt in races in January and February. No coat. Remember, I live in Illinois.

For instance, last February, I ran an eleven mile race through Starved Rock State Park. The temperature was twelve degrees at the start, and at times when the course took us right by the ice filled Illinois River the wind chill would drop to zero or less. I ran it in an Old-school Coolibar long sleeve fitness shirt. Yes, I did have a hat and light gloves, I’m not totally nuts. You get the idea how warm my body burns though when I compete.

Fast forward to August of this year, and I’m racing the Thunder Rolls 24 hour Adventure Race and it’s 90+ most of the daylight. The humidity taking the heat index past 100 degrees through the hottest part of the afternoon. What am I wearing? Yep, an Old-school Coolibar fitness shirt. I did opt for the short sleeves. The same guy who only wore a shirt in zero is now wearing pretty much the same shirt in 100.

I can honestly remember saying out loud as I ran along “Coolibar needs a cooling shirt! I mean ‘Cool’ is in their name!”. So, I was excited to find out THEY HAVE ONE NOW!

First, from a style standpoint, I was happy so see they stepped up the style. Coolibar shirts always look nice, but they did the stitching in a more contrasting color and it really looks great. I love it.

Second, they kept it just as comfortable. That is to say, it’s one of the most comfortable shirts you will ever own. I have no idea why Coolibar shirts are so comfy, but they are. The fabric is stretching and soft and just feels awesome. I gave my teammate a Coolibar shirt to run a race with me and it’s become a standing joke between us that it’s all she wears now. I am constantly seeing her on Facebook wearing it to a mountain bike race, a long trek, or even to dinner. She swears by its comfort, and so do I.

So, I really can’t tell you how the cooling works. It’s science beyond me. I can just tell you from experience that it does. It is a welcome addition to an already fantastic shirt.

Let’s face it, the ultimate fitness shirt is one you don’t notice you’re wearing. This is it!

Chad Hannon testing out Cool Fitness Shirt
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Coolibar Athletes

Sun Gaiter: One Item for Covering It All

Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon completes endurance events of all kinds, his favorite being adventure races. Chad wishes to share his thoughts on his favorite adventure racing companion – the Coolibar Sun Gaiter.

In adventure racing, this little item (Sun Gaiter) is known as a buff, or a multi-scarf. It is one of the most versatile and essential items a racer can own. Whether I am running, hiking, biking or kayaking you’ll find this piece of equipment either in my pack, on my head, around my neck, or over my face.

The Coolibar website shows this as a neck gaiter. That simply does not do it justice. It can be worn on your head to protect it from the sun, soak up sweat, cushion a helmet, keep you warm, or any combination of that. It can be worn around your neck to keep the sun off your neck. It can be put over your face when it gets cold to instantly warm you up, and/or keep the dust of a road out of your lungs. I even grabbed two of these and put them on my legs to keep the sun off my thighs as I biked a long stretch in shorts. Additionally, it weighs almost nothing. So little in fact that I shove two in my pack before heading out on any adventure or training.

One of the best ways to keep the cold off when you get chilly is to pull one of these over your face. This little piece of gear can warm you up in a big way. On the other side, one of the best ways to cool down is to get wet cloth on your head or around your neck. Guess what…same piece of equipment. So imagine a race that starts at 49 degrees at night and ends in 90 degree heat…bingo, perfect gear piece.

If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you know I feel sun protection is cancer protection. Walking around (or doing anything) in the sun unprotected is like smoking a cigarette. It will eventually get you. Something I have not shared in the past is that I recently had to go have a “Spot” on my left temple checked out by my doctor. Scary! It turned out to be nothing, but it makes you think.

Shop for the Coolibar Sun Gaiter and other UPF 50+ Accessories

Coolibar athlete Chad Hannon received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

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Partner Athletes Sevve Stember

Why Climbing Matters

Coolibar Athlete Sevve Stember is a natural born climber, always seeking the next mountain to climb. This summer, he and his wife, Andrea, moved from Minnesota to Colorado to pursue new opportunities and climbing routes. Sevve shares why climbing is important to him and journals his favorite moments during his first summer in the Rocky Mountains.

I often ask myself, “Why climbing? Why do I care about it so much? Is it significant?” I am very aware of the priority that I place on climbing in my life, so it’s important for me to grapple with these questions. I’ve distilled my reflection down to these three themes:

1. Human connection
We all seek to belong to something and to be understood. In climbing, I’ve found more like-minded people that I can connect with on many levels than I could’ve ever imagined. The journal entries below are all really special days in my life that I will look back on with fond memories and good times. Despite the obvious individual aspects of climbing, there are many profound implications that climbing has on the people that share it together. Trust, sacrifice, failure, success and frustration…these feelings are shared with my climbing partners through a common love of being outdoors and challenging oneself.

2. The Bigger Picture
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal the body and soul alike.” -John Muir

When working in Yosemite National Park, I used to share this quote with visitors as an eloquent way of getting at the significance wilderness has to a person. There are many different belief systems about how the world came to be. For instance, as a science teacher, I believe the world is very old and has been slowly changing for billions of years. When climbing, I can connect with the many different processes that occurred before I could enjoy its continuous crack system or perfectly sculpted pockets. Being in nature helps humans tap into a state-of-mind that is hard to come by elsewhere, it helps us connect with our beliefs—whatever they might be.

3. Progression, Goals, and Self-betterment
Climbing routes are graded by difficulty, providing climbers with data to see personal improvements. Personal growth is something that drives me in all aspects of my life. The motivation I receive from trying to climb harder routes spills over into other aspects of my life, such as being a better teacher or learning how to be a more supportive husband. This matters because it helps me be a more productive, efficient and passionate member of society.

It was a summer to remember, to say the least. Seeing new sites, sharing beautiful vistas with friends, sleeping under the stars with my wife, and I continue to learn along the way. Although at times I do have doubts about how I spend my time, I know that finding that thing that drives me to new places: good friends, higher goals, are critical to living a fulfilling life.

South Platte

Summer 2013 Climbing Journal: My First Summer in the Front Range

June 11
After a fantastic evening on my aunt and uncle’s back porch in Rapid City, South Dakota, Andrea and I stopped briefly for a couple climbs in Spearfish canyon. We were closing in on the final leg of our move from Minneapolis, MN to Denver, CO. I hung draws on a route called “Wow!” and climbed it on my next try without falling – very gratifying!

June 17
Today I met Matt and Linde, friends of mine from Minnesota, in Boulder, Colorado. We climbed a 4-pitch route (route with four stops) called “Athlete’s Feet”. Towards the top of the route a large thunderstorm rolled in, and we descended just as the first drops hit. Linde met us and we rolled to a different crag (an outcrop of rock) to do some shorter, harder sport climbing routes. Matt is a climber that I looked up to a lot when I lived in Duluth, MN years ago; it was fun to swap leads with him all day and work a route that we both got on our second attempt.

Sevve sending Animal Riots Activist (5.12a) shortly after Matt showed the way

June 28
Eldorado Canyon is known as one of America’s premier climbing destinations. I had never been there before today. Frank, a good friend of a friend, and I climbed the classic “Bastille Crack”. It was great to experience a new piece of American climbing history while getting to know a new friend.

July 4-7
Being the patriotic people we are, my friends Garrison, Dan, Frank, Katie and I headed into the heart of the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming to celebrate the 4th of July with some real cowboys. I’ve driven through Tensleep before, but never had the pleasure of climbing there. It was phenomenal to say the least. I set several benchmark onsights (climbing a route first try without any information) and flashes (first try; but with prior information). The trip was complete when we saw a full on cowboy brawl during the street dance. Wyoming must be the most unchanged state over the past 50 years.

A typical view in Tensleep, Wyoming

July 14-15
My buddy Dommer flew in for the weekend and we headed north towards Estes Park. A good crew of friends were waiting for us upon arrival, and as we waited out an evening storm a double rainbow appeared over the breathtaking view of Longs Peak. The next day, we climbed granite spires and soaked in the sun.

A good crew of goofballs enjoying the double rainbow
Sevve

July 24-25
Rifle is one of the most sought after crags in the American sport climbing scene. My wife Andrea had a week off from her residency duties and we took the chance to go check it out. From the parking lot, the approach was about two minutes. Once the sun hit the side of the canyon we were on, we’d walk two minutes to the other side of the canyon. Such good rock! Although Rifle has a reputation of being super challenging, I was encouraged by how I climbed while visiting. We also tagged the summit of Mount Massive, with a not-so-alpine-start, leaving the parking lot at 11am.

Andrea and Sevve on the summit of Mount Massive, near Leadville, CO

July 31
Summer draws to a close. Our friends Dan, Bron and their son traveled from Minnesota to visit for a couple days. Dan and I had been getting stoked all summer to climb the face of Longs Peak; a feature called The Diamond. In 2007, while living in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I became familiar with The Diamond. Since that summer, I had always dreamed of climbing it.

We woke up at 1:30 a.m., slammed coffee and jammed to tunes on the five mile drive to the parking lot. Amidst dozens of peak baggers, we quickly ascended the six mile approach to Chasm View and rappelled onto Broadway ledge, which marks the beginning of the routes on the Diamond. Pitch after pitch went by as we kept a watchful eye to the east. We witnessed many thunderstorms roll in, but to our good fortune, they were always several miles away. I got to lead the crux pitch, which is one of the last pitches on the route so the full day’s toils had definitely taken their toll. I meticulously made my way up the finger crack section, followed by a full on chimney that deposited me onto the final crux bulge. With horrendous rope drag, I managed my way through the crux, and belayed Dan up. An hour later we were on the summit and our luck had run out. Sleet started to fall and we opted to make our way down the Keyhole Route instead of rappelling the Cables Route; which I predicted would have some scrambling on exposed (and recently wet) slabs. We made it back to our car feeling exhausted, but so fulfilled. Dan is embarking on a “50 noteworthy climbs by the time he turns 50 years old” adventure and this was his 1st of 50. I met a personal goal and felt really competent in a complex environment. This was a day to remember the rest of my life.

The gratifying sunset on the hike back after climbing The Diamond

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