On a typical Saturday morning - while most of us are still asleep or just starting in on our first cup of coffee - you’ll find Kevin Girkins cranking his way toward Lake Travis on the shoulder of Highway 71. As one of the best amateur riders in the country, there is not a spare moment that Kevin doesn’t seem to be training for his next competition. This year, Kevin rode with Elbowz Racing in many of the nation’s most prominent races, including Joe Martin, Tulsa Tough, North Star and Nationals. And, later this fall, he's on the road again for some more great competition. To say the least, it's amazing to work with someone so dedicated to racing and an added bonus that he's incredibly humble and down-to-earth. We caught up with him after one of his typical 60+ mile Saturday rides and talked with him about what’s a part of his essential summer weekend ride.
Kevin's Summer Picks
Oakley Flak Jackets
I got my first pair of prescription Oakley sunglasses this past year and they have changed the way I view the world on my bike - literally! I got a pair of the Flak Jackets with a photochromic lenses and I've been very satisfied. I think the only thing I would change is going back and getting an iridium glare added to them, which just makes all sunglasses pop. That said, I can now ride at 4pm in the afternoon and never have to squint at the sunlight or I can do a twilight crit while having crystal clear vision - never having to change lenses. I highly recommend prescription lenses to anyone who is currently using contacts and has had sweat in their eyes.
First off, I'm not a big fan of traditional sunscreen - and I think it shows in my horrendous tan-lines. Partially because of the feeling it creates when I have applied it and then start to sweat. It's just greasy, looks funny and doesn’t allow my skin to breathe very well. I have none of those issues with the Kinesys sunblock I found on our shelves. Plus it comes in a compact spray bottle, so if you make that mid-ride stop or swim you can reapply before you get back on the road.
This is something I almost never leave the house without having in my bottles. Water is great, but you sweat out much more than water, especially in the summer. So, naturally you need to replace that. There are a lot of supplements that will take care of this little issue, but I like Nuun because it’s easy on my stomach and has a bubbly taste, which makes me want more - even if the drink temperature is higher than when I started my ride. That's a hard thing to say for a lot of the less tasteful energy drink options on the market.
Craft Arm Coolers
As I mentioned before, I'm not the biggest fan of sunscreen. So, over the years I've tried exploring other options. By far the best option has been these Craft Arm Coolers which sounds really weird since they kind of look like arm warmers. But they do a remarkable job of keeping the sun off; and if they're wet, they feel even cooler than your skin. I always like to put them on before I start riding then get them just a little wet and they feel so much cooler. Try it for yourself!
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