By Eric Gasser
This past November I set off to Boulder City, NV with a few friends for a three day mountain bike weekend at Boot Leg Canyon. After a long drive from San Diego to Boulder City, we arrived at our accommodations, just blocks from one of the most dangerous downhill bike trails I’ve ever seen. Though beautiful, the jagged rocks and drops would scare off most riders regardless of their skills. As we unpacked around midnight, I noticed one of my travel companions was quietly reading and leaning into a pillow with a cord. I disregarded it as another gimmicky heated pillow. But soon enough, that little pillow and I would become friends. Very good friends.
The following day, we hit the trails for a little cross county ride and a couple of death-defying downhill runs. After being driven to the top of Boot Leg Canyon in a dubious converted U-Haul (with sofa beds and lawn chairs scattered in the enclosed truck bed) we arrived in the upper parking lot. After hiking a short distance to reach the top of the mountain, we looked down on a birds eye view of the Hoover Dam and the Las Vegas Strip. While the view is one of a kind, most riders just look at the trail and think better of attempting it. But with over 50 races under my belt and a 8+ year old bike, I took the leap and rolled down the hill. The course includes 1,100ft of descending terrain in less than 7.5 minutes, with riders reaching speeds of over 30 mph. I made it down with my dignity and bike intact, but what a crazy and exhausting way to start the 3 days.
Once back to the house, showered and ready to relax – I was introduced to the aforementioned pillow – now known to be the Homemedics Therapist Select Shiatsu Pillow. Still a doubter (but a very sore doubter), I placed it on my weary lower back. And wow – I was in heaven. I let this this little massage pillow work it’s wonders on my back before I moved it to my shoulders. It completely and utterly out-performed other travel massage pillows that I’ve used in the past. This thing just works.
The remaining two days were filled with close calls on my bike, bad pizza and outstanding wine. And each afternoon, this little Shiatsu Pillow was part of my recovery routine. By day two, I had already Amazon Primed my own pillow back home to San Diego. While this little guy can’t replace a proper massage chair, it does make for a great travel massage pillow. If your next vacation includes exerting energy (or not) and you’re looking for something to soothe your muscles at the end of the day, this just might be it.