Discoveries: Land Rover Defender XTech

For King and Countries.


The definitive verdict on The North Face, Marmot and Merrell.


The quintessential camper's camper is here.


Survive the zombie apocalypse in your very own lighthouse hideaway.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012


For King and Countries.

For King and Countries.

Sending the butler to nip 'round the corner for a spot of fish and chips - by way of Bombay, Zaire and the Lesser Antilles? The randy boys and girls of Solihull have your man covered with a new Land Rover special edition: The Defender XTech.

Land Rover Defender 90 XTech Special Edition
Building on the Defender's iconic design, the XTech adds even more rugged appeal to an already formidable package. Outside, it stands out from the crossover crowd in either Orkney Grey or edition-exclusive Nara Bronze paired with contrasting Santorini Black roof, wheel arches and headlight surrounds. All lending a vaguely militaristic look that would do even the hardest SAS trooper proud.

Whether 90 Hard Top or 110 Utility Wagon, function is provided courtesy black chequer sill plates, LED taillights, Gloss Black Saw Tooth 16-inch allow wheels and rugged MTR off-road tyres. (Beefy, toothy rubber similar to, but not quite, the BF Goodrich MTR's profiled awhile back.) Sundry other special touches, both inside and out, complete the XTech's purposeful visage in a fashion appropriate to our powder-whigged English ancestors.

Unfortunately, for us Yanks anyway, the 2.2-litre diesel-powered XTech isn't making the trip across across the pond. Strictly UK and whatnot, Old Bean. It's almost enough to make you wish George Washington wasn't such a hothead back in the day. (Well, almost. -ed.)

Price: Starting from £27,995 (The Pound's still a thing, right?)

Check it here: Land Rover Defender XTech Special Edition

Land Rover Defender 90 XTech Special Editions


Rule, Britannia!

And now for something completely boxy.

It's pronounced, "tyre."

Defender of the Realm.

Stay classy, Solihull.

Image Source: Land Rover Media Centre

Monday, July 9, 2012

Racing Events Primer, Volume II

Run Lawyer Run!

So you’ve mastered the 5k and the 10k. You’ve just improved your odds of outrunning large predatory mammals and angry clients. What’s next?

Longer Road Races

It may not seem like it, but eventually you might reach a point where 30 minutes of running just isn’t enough anymore. And you might as well get used to running anyway, because it’ll be the preferred method of travel once oil reaches $700 a barrel.

If you look around, you’ll notice countless miles of paved roads and sidewalks. These graded highways provide the setting for longer races of all distances, with the most common being 8 miles, 10 miles, and the coveted half-marathon. (Side note: a growing contingent of runners are advocating the use of the term “21k” for a 13.1 mile race, arguing that the “half-“ prefix is subtly disparaging and a 5k isn’t called a “half-10k.” These people need to chill out.)

Running longer distances is a sizeable commitment. Once you approach the one-hour threshold, hydration and nutrition become a greater concern and “bonking” (the shuffling, depleted-energy feeling common among the walking dead) is more likely. Many runners, bless their dorky little hearts, carry hydration belts and energy gel packets for these distances. Though purists will scoff at such luxuries, purists will often pass out two or three miles from the finish line. An easy-to-remember guideline, should you choose to carry Gatorade and Gu, is to ingest 100 calories after every hour of running.

Suit wisely.
Suit wisely.
Another issue with longer races is changing weather conditions. It’s not uncommon for the temp to increase as much as 10 degrees from gun to tape, and precipitation can be a cause for relief or discomfort, depending on how you’re dressed. Running in wet shorts for 25 minutes is one thing… running in wet shorts for an hour and 25 minutes is something totally different. As you can see, success favors the prepared, or however that saying goes.

Although half-marathons are becoming more popular (even bordering on “trendy”), competitive races from 8 to 13 miles are relatively few and far between. As such, there is more incentive to do well, since you get only one or two shots per season. This, in turn, means that a lot of your fellow racers are going to take the event pretty seriously. Just try to tune out the free-floating anxiety and enjoy the run. Unlike the majority of CLE courses, this will be one to two hours well spent.

<<That's awesome-sauce! Go back to Racing Events Primer, Volume I

Monday, July 2, 2012

PAL Survival Team #3: Michelle "The First Lady" Obama

Welcome to the PAL Survival Team. A running dossier/celebration of the men, women and non-elected representatives you want on your side when Justice stops prevailing... And starts getting real.

PAL Survival Team #3:

Michelle "The First Lady" Obama

In light of last week's 40th anniversary of Title IX, the upcoming July 4th holiday and the historic SCOTUS Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") affirmation, I hereby anoint the one woman who embodies them all: Michelle Obama, the first female member of the PAL Survival Team. (The First Lady? Get it? Yeah...)

Now, before all my right-leaning friends with guns start raising a ruckus about this ballsy nomination, let's run through the reasoning - keeping in mind that, when society falls and you're scrounging for the smallest sip of non-irradiated water to satisfy your thirst to survive, your stance on capital gains isn't going to matter a whole lot. Now, with that delightful image in your head, are you ready? Here we go!

Reason #1: She's a proud product of Title IX, and she packs the guns to prove it.

Ticket to the gun show? Yes, plz.
(Sorry, Ellen.)

Reason #2: Her mind cradles a bountiful cornucopia of organic farming knowledge.

For us to eat on?

Reason #3: She's got the keys to the most well-hidden, well-stocked and well-defended bunkers in the world. (Flying or otherwise, baby.)

Crazy town.

Still raising a ruckus now? I didn't think so...

Photo reference: Wendy Piersall via Used under Creative Commons.