A HOKA Runners Guide to Windsor, CA

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our next stop is Windsor, CA. Home of HOKA Athlete Bob Shebest.

Bob Shebest competing in Western States 100 in Northern California.
Bob Shebest competing in Western States 100 in Northern California.

HOKA: How long have you lived in the Windsor area? What’s special about this town?

Shebest: I moved to Sonoma County from CT in 2013. I’ve lived and worked in the area since that time. Windsor’s a gateway to the best cycling in the country with easy access to countless roads and amazing climbs. Small town feel. Lake Sonoma 50mi trail run in April every year, the most competitive, challenging 50 milers in the country. Balloon Festival. Best weather anywhere. Windsor Half-Marathon/10k/5k in May. Awesome schools with great sports programs.

HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run in your area? What’s your favorite run route?

Shebest: Running out West Dry Creek is magnificent. The Healdsburg Half marathon heads out this way every year. It’s spectacular. Short trail run options. We have three small parks close to town which are my close-to-home go-to’s, Shiloh off Old Redwood Hwy in Windsor, Foothill Park, off Hembree Lane in Windsor, and Riverfront Regional Park off Eastside Rd.

HOKA: What’s the best coffee or breakfast spot?

Shebest: We have a sweet new Starbucks over near the Safeway off Brooks Rd South. Also, a Starbucks on the Green over by the High School on the other side of Highway 101. Cafe Noto is on the Town Green as well. Great breakfast spots on the Town Green including Omelette Express and KC’s Downtown Grill with their awesome, new patio. We were just there yesterday morning. I always order the Big Boss Benedict!

HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

Shebest: We have a great restaurant called KIN right there on the Town Green. Also, St. Florian’s Brewery downtown has some tasty IPAs. Patterson’s Pub is on the Green as well. If you’re willing to travel a bit, Healdsburg is just 6mi up the road, home to Bear Republic, a great place for brews and burgers along with The Wurst Sausage Grill & Beer Garden. If you head 10mi south of Windsor, to Santa Rosa, you gotta hit up world famous Russian River Brewing. Secret note: a new Russian River Brewing Co location is opening right here in Windsor in 2018, so keep coming back!

HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute running/racing gear … and why?

Shebest: Healdsburg Running Company is 5min up the road and once there Flying Goat Coffee is right across the street. If you need something bicycle/triathlon-specific, there’s no better place than Echelon Cycle & Multisport in Santa Rosa. Just tell ’em Bob sent you.

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

Shebest: You gotta get out to the coast and take it all in. I live here and have to remember to get out there on my bike a few times per year. It’s stunning. Also, if you like hiking, I highly recommend heading down to Sugarloaf State Park and moving your weary post-race legs, hiking round the park. It’s very beautiful. Finally, just driving around some of the back roads and maybe doing a little wine-tasting at the many wonderful wineries like Wilson Winery, a proud supporter of the Lake Sonoma 50.

Top Trails Video Series 5: Flagstaff, Arizona

If there’s one thing our fifth stop on the HOKA ONE ONE Top Trails series has—it’s altitude, delivering an automatic training challenge. The spot? Flagstaff, Arizona, and along with it’s 7,000-foot locale, is home to countless trails, quiet woods and stunning, rocky vistas. Think, single track favorites, paved and unpaved roads and paths, and trails leading above 12,000 feet—and more.

Flagstaff is also home to the famed High Altitude Training Center, a hub for the running elite. Join hosts Matt Barnhart and Ian Terpin as they explore Flagstaff’s best, and visit with local running greats along with HOKE ONE ONE athletes Ben Bruce and Matt Llano.

A HOKA Runners Guide to Boulder, CO

HOKA Athlete Sage Canaday, our guide to running in Boulder, CO. Shown here at Bear Peak.
HOKA Athlete Sage Canaday, our guide to running in Boulder, CO. Shown here at Bear Peak.

When you explore a place on foot, you see the things others do not. You discover the place locals go to grab a cup of coffee, the best place for a pint, and the best places to stop, stretch and breathe in some fresh air. At HOKA, we have runners all over the world who know their towns best. So we’ll be sharing HOKA runner’s favorite destinations in their hometown for visitors to get the local experience. We’ll begin with the towns many people travel to compete and watch IRONMAN races around the country. Our first stop is Boulder, CO. Home of HOKA Athlete Sage Canaday.

HOKA: How long have you lived in the Boulder area? What’s special about this town?

Canaday: I moved to Boulder 4 years ago. It is like a mecca for endurance athletes. Everything from the high altitude to the sunshine to awesome places to eat and play makes it a special place for athletes. 

There are a lot of resources with roads, trails, bike paths, gyms, lakes and mountains that make it a very attractive place for hard and long training sessions as well as racing. 

The culture of Boulder is to be very active and fit. There are tons of super healthy restaurants as well as facilities that make outdoor sports and activities very accessible and enjoyable. Everywhere around town has a mountain vibe and great scenery. 

HOKA: What’s a good scenic or interesting place for a short run in your area (i.e. an IRONMAN warm up run)? What’s your favorite run route?

Canaday: There are tons of places to run in Boulder – however one of the best places for a 5-10 mile run (or longer) is the “Res.” The Res is just north of Boulder proper on the way to Longmont and it consists of crushed gravel trails and backroads that loop around the Boulder Reservoir /Lake. One loop around the lake is about 6-miles and there is the option to add on another 4-mile loop via the Sage and Eagle trails. The Reservoir is the site of several triathlon races as well as running races and there are nice views of the mountains and open space (as well as lake views) above town. The soft crushed gravel/dirt surface is fairly flat and level so it is perfect for faster running sessions and workouts as well as Long Runs. 

 Another great run from downtown Boulder (near Pearl Street) is to start at the Boulder Public Library and run “up the canyon” via the Boulder Creek Path. This run climbs gently for 3 miles up along canyon road and also turns into a crushed gravel surface path. There are great views of rock formations and the river along this route and it goes through Eben G. Fine park.  

HOKA: What is the best coffee or breakfast spot?

Canaday: In my opinion, the best coffee spot in Boulder is Ozo coffee. There are 3 locations around town, but the one downtown on Pearl street is a very nice place to hang out. “Laughing Goat ” coffee is also very good and another option…you really can’t go wrong.

 For breakfast, “Snooze” downtown or the “Walnut Cafe” are also very good…especially for brunch after a long morning workout.

Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, CO
Sage and runner friends at a popular Boulder, CO spot for a post-run beer.

HOKA: Where should someone go to eat a post-race meal (or brew)?

Canaday: For a nice post-race meal downtown, “Mountain Sun” is a quintessential Boulder place. For pizza, “Pizzeria Locale” has (in my opinion) the best pizza in Boulder.

For brews there are also tons of options, but Avery Brewing Co. is the best in my opinion because of the wide selection of beers that they always have on tap.

HOKA: Where should someone go to get any last-minute running/racing gear … and why?

Canaday: Either Boulder Running Company or Flatirons Running Company have plenty of running/racing gear incase you forgot something or need a new set of kicks. The staff at both locations are very experienced and they have a wide variety of shoes, clothing and race-day needs.

HOKA: Anything else to see/do/experience in this town in a short weekend trip?

Canaday: To get the full Boulder experience one must go up to Chautauqua Park and check-out the famous “Flatirons” (rock formations) for a hike/run. This can get pretty crowded at times so it pays to get there earlier in the morning on nice days. Also, just walking downtown in the Pearl Street Mall is another quintessential Boulder experience and there are a wide-variety of interesting shops, street performers and food options to fill a whole afternoon/evening.

How Leo Manzano Trains for Reeyo

HOKA ONE ONE athlete Leo Manzano, has his sights set on Reeyo, and the former medalist seems well on his way. “My training and lifestyle have revolved around one single focus: to compete at my best during the [event], and to set myself up for the [bigger event] in [Reeyo],” Manzano says.

Leo training in the new Speed Evo R track spikes in Eugene.
Leo training in the new Speed Evo R track spikes in Eugene.

Manzano, 31, has always aimed high. Born in Mexico, Manzano moved to Texas with his family when he was four years old, and later as a teen, quickly rose to the top ranks as a runner. Manzano won nine track and cross-country Texas State Championships when he was in high school, and in college, won five NCAA Championship titles. The nine-time All American was also named Men’s Track Athlete of the year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

And now Manzano is at it again. The 2016 [event] is currently underway—and Manzano is prepared, having covered training from all angles. “I always have an overall layout plan which consists of intense training, mental race sharpening, and physical preparation,” he says. “I know that I’m prepared for a race when my mental and physical confidence are at their best and are in sync.”

Leo stretches on the track in Eugene.
Leo stretches on the track in Eugene.

To stay strong, Manzano incorporates cross-training and functional workouts into his fitness routine, to compliment his running sessions. “I do a lot of general strength and weight sessions,” he says. “Cross-training activates dormant muscles, to help prevent injuries and aid in rehabilitation. Other great benefits also include, better endurance, more explosiveness, more speed, and less fatigue in workouts.”

Sound advice to help make anyone a better runner—and athlete.

The Skinny on Spikes—and How Ours Are Different

HOKA Speed Evo

Shop the HOKA Speed Evo R here.

With the upcoming races in Reeyo, you may have seen runners wearing track spikes—racing shoes designed to maximize performance on the track. And if you’ve been putting in your mileage and want to take your speed up a notch (or several notches) on the track or during cross-country, these shoes might be for you.

Track spikes are generally designed to help athletes run faster in three ways:

They’re lightweight. Racing shoes are built from the least possible amount of materials; they often fit like a slipper and provide the bare minimum protection between your feet and the ground in order to cut ounces and make you, the athlete, carry less weight around the track. But don’t take it from us, HOKA athlete Leo Manzano says it best, “When you put them on, it almost feels like you don’t even have shoes on.”

They’re stiff. A stiffer shoe ensures less energy is lost between your foot and the ground, which helps you maximize your stride. Spikes for different distances come in varying degrees of stiffness, with sprinters desiring the stiffest types of shoes. Put simply, HOKA Founder Jean-Luc Diard says, “As you become tired through the run, your ground contact time will increase.” Stiffness will minimize this problem, shortening time spent at the toe off.

They maximize traction. The metal spikes minimize slip with every foot strike, helping you gain more power, no matter the distance you’re racing.

HOKA Speed Evo track spikes
HOKA Speed Evo’s unique asymmetrical design.

Who needs ’em?

The simplest answer is that every athlete can benefit from having lighter shoes with features for more efficiency and traction. In fact, slower runners might actually see the biggest time improvements by switching, since they have the most room for improvement. Generally, though, spikes are a “next step” for athletes wanting to race faster.

Where does HOKA ONE ONE come in?

Even though we’re known for our cushioned models, we want to make shoes that can benefit runners of all stripes, no matter what you’re training for, or what kind of races you run.

That’s why, in the last year, we’ve started producing track & field spikes for middle-distance and long-distance runners. Two models came out this spring, and now, just in time for the U.S. Track & Field Trials, we are excited to unveil the Speed Evo R, which feature asymmetric spike patterns. Most spikes feature set-ups that mirror each other, whereas our shoes feature spikes arranged identically on the left and right shoes.

Our designers call it Scaevus Symmetry: an innovation borne of the simple observation that half an athlete’s race on the track is spent turning left around the oval. Typical track spikes with symmetrical traction patterns help runners move quickly in a straight line, but this can leave them fighting centrifugal forces around the turn as they struggle to stay to the inside of the lane. The extra traction can mean savings of even fractions of a second—but that’s something that adds up over a 25-lap—or even a 10K race.

Perhaps HOKA designer Chris Hillyer puts it best, “There’s a vast difference between invention and innovation. With innovation you take what you have learned and you build something even more amazing. At HOKA we approach innovation from a different angle. We are fresh and new so we have a different approach to running shoes and solving problems.”
Yet another example in our evolution of performance racing footwear; the brand’s founders, working with the product team and our athletes, identified a problem and solved it with a simple but disruptive design change. The Speed Evo R will be coming your way early 2017.

Shop the HOKA Speed Evo R here.