Regular readers of AeroGeeks know that the thought of dropping a bottle on the course keeps us up at night. After all, you can spend months developing your perfect nutrition plan only to have it ruined with the sound of plastic hitting pavement. For many, the memory of a lost bottle is often accompanied by the memory of an unnecessarily painful workout—something that is eagerly avoided in the future. And while we have had a number of articles on components for the bike that are meant to ensure your bottles are there when you need them, we have yet to cover products that can do the same for the run.
For most triathletes, dropping a bottle during the run tends to be a bit rarer than launching a bottle from the bike. Yet when it happens, it’s often due to the improper seating of a bottle in its holster, or a bottle simply slipping from your grasp when attempting to put it away. Profile Design has recognized this problem, and created a smart solution to overcome it. Meet the Sync Hydration System, a product designed to ensure that your nutrition will be there when you need it most on the run.
Sync Hydration System
The first thing anyone notices when they see the Sync system is the square shaped bottles that slide into the L-shaped brackets. This bottle\bracket system is what makes the Sync the ultimate anti-launch run system. The bottles easily snap in and out of the bracket with a small flick of the wrist. When snapped in, it is virtually impossible to remove the bottle from the bracket without intentionally rotating it. Yet when you want\need a drink, the bottles are easy to retrieve.
The Sync comes with two 8 oz. BPA-free bottles with resealable tops. The bottle necks are angled to help ensure every last bit of liquid is available to you. Many similar belts can tend to chafe at the holster due to the hard plastic of the bracket. Fortunately the Sync brackets have a pad that not only provides a snug, comfortable fit but also help to lock the brackets into a specific belt position via a Velcro backing. This also prevents the bottles from moving out of your preferred position on the belt.
The Sync’s belt uses Velcro as its retention system. We tend to see run hydration belts use either a Velcro system or a cinch system. Cinch systems tend to provide a bit more adjustability but over time can easily loosen during a run. Velcro systems provide a consistent fit throughout the run, but can be a bit difficult to fine tune with each wear.
Profile Design has been working with endurance athletes for more than 25 years and recognizes that no two customers have the same specific needs or wants. Therefore they offer a number of accessories to attach to the Sync Belt. First up are additional bottles and brackets. The system comes with two bottles, but you can buy additional bottles (two at a time) both with and without additional brackets. This allows you to easily expand from a two-bottle to a four- or six-bottle configuration depending on both your own needs and the length of the run.
You can also buy an assortment of pouches to attach to your Sync in either neoprene with a Velcro enclosure or nylon with a zippered enclosure. The neoprene pouches come in small, large, and smartphone sizes—with the smart phone size able to accommodate an iPhone 4s in an Otter Box. The nylon zippered pouches are available in both large and small sizes and also include an inner zippered compartment to keep smaller items secure.
Using the Sync
We have been using the Sync for more than a month now on workouts ranging from three to seven miles in a two-bottle configuration. Additionally we have been using both a small neoprene pouch to hold our keys and gels, and the smart phone pouch to call for rescue during the occasional South Florida storm. Throughout this time we can assure you that we never launched a single bottle or felt them so much as move when locked into the bracket. Therefore the sync lives up to its design promise in every way.
Our favorite feature of the Sync system is the way the brackets are both fully adjustable but will still not move a millimeter when locked in place. With other belts, we’ve had to adjust the bottles when we grab them in transition. This is something that simply doesn’t happen with the Sync. No matter how you shake the belt, the brackets (with bottles attached) will stay firmly in place.
Using the Sync does have a small learning curve. When we first attempted to use the Sync, we positioned both bottles on our backside without first learning how to remove and replace the bottles. Once we started our workout we found that locking the bottles into the belt was a bit of a challenge since we had to do it completely by feel. We have since moved the bottles to our hips and determined the best way to get the bottles back into the brackets. The trick is to position the bottle corner directly into the bracket and then lock the bottle by twisting (or flicking) your wrist. After a few runs this eventually became second nature to us. However this is not a belt that you can buy today and race tomorrow.
After a month of using the Sync, there is little doubt that Profile Design has created a hydration solution that is all but un-launchable. The tradeoff for this security is that the bottles take just a bit of extra coordination and concentration to get in and out of the belt. But for those that have ever lost a bottle on the run, or that live in fear of a single lost ounce of nutrition, that extra bit of coordination and concentration is a very small price to pay.