My entry for the Bat Run on Saturday evening the 28th of February was rather set upon a last minute ‘fear of missing out’ decision. With tekkies that are already seeing the effect of excessive-compulsive-mountain-running and no real effective headlamp of my own, I realised that I might encounter some difficulties running up three different mountain peaks in the middle of one night. Luckily I stumbled upon Extreme Lights a week prior to the race to be equipped with Extreme XPh Headlamp to use for a test run.
The extremely tough weather conditions during the race made the necessity for good quality equipment quite clear to me very early in the race. It makes sense to go the extra mile to ensure that you are safe during your adventures. With good equipment and safety in the pocket, one can set off to simply enjoy the adventure that awaits. Up and then some more up About 30 minutes into the race night fell upon us and it was headlamp time! The headlamp I used has three different intensity settings. I started with the lowest setting to allow my eyes some adjustment.
Light adjustment however, is done automatically by the light. It starts out a little brighter and automatically eases into a slightly lower brightness to help save battery life. This all happens very gradually that I didn’t even notice the change. Once I reached the top of Devil’s Peak the clouds were incredibly dense that I opted for the medium and later the strongest setting where the headlamp did a fantastic job in the heavy mist. A friend of mine’s headlamp blew off on top of Devil’s Peak. Yes, the wind was that strong. My headlamp’s comfortable fit was ensured with a middle strap across my head and efficient padding under the light itself that the prospect of it falling or blowing off was not an option at all.
The stability of the light was put to test on my way down Devil’s Peak. Needless to say, I had no difficulty with keeping the focus stable. The light has a focus point in the middle of the lit area. This focal point creates a well lit area over further distances. I think cyclists would benefit from it greatly. What I enjoyed of the focal point was that it gave me a clear view on small technical sections while maintaining its soft appearance; sparing me to feel like a cat chasing a little red laser dot. The way up to Table Mountain was less windy than Devil’s Peak but double as slippery and technical. Here I found that the light’s more natural, slightly yellow colour served fantastically with judging depth and distance. My problem with LED lights is that it generally flattens the three dimensional surfaces, leaving me to feel like I’m walking on eggs or constantly missing steps. The natural appearance of this light solved that problem while maintaining its brightness and superb visibility.
The only place where I might see room for improvement with the light, is that after pressing the button once you were set on a specific brightness setting for a long time it switches off instead of jumping to the next brightness level. I would have enjoyed it more if there was a separate button for switching it on and off. I suppose it is handy that it switches off directly in case you are about to blind a top runner coming down Table Mountain while you are still struggling to go up. Just like I struggled.
A clear brightness comparison between the Extreme Light I’m using on the right and that of the other Bat Runner’s light.[/caption] After going up and down a very wet Table Mountain we set off for our final climb up Lion’s Head. We experienced a micro climate change between Lion’s Head that seemed as open as heaven in comparison to Table Mountain on the other side of Kloof Nek road which I now shall refer to as purgatory.
Going up Lion’s Head I only needed to know that my battery will last since there was no real great technical challenges to overcome. The headlight I used has only one rechargeable battery attach to it, but this was more than sufficient. I finished the race within one night’s effort, stumbling over the finish line 6 minutes before midnight. It was tough but a great adventure. If it wasn’t for the Extreme Light I would still be up in purgatory searching for my way up to the Devil’s peak.