This Week in Sports and Outdoors: an interview with Lance, bespoke baseball bats, self-driving minesweepers, and more.
From World Cup Ashes
The United States Men’s National Soccer Team (#USMNT) was knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium in the Round of 16, but you already know this. You watched it. More people streamed the U.S.’s third World Cup match versus Germany — which kicked off on a Wednesday afternoon — than this year’s Super Bowl. Their previous game versus Portugal was the most watched U.S. soccer game ever. Basically, if your television wasn’t showing footy, you were either kidnapped or not a sports fan.
But here’s the deal: the World Cup is an aberration. Soccer fans aren’t privileged to such an event every other month. It’s every fours years. After the final on July 13, players will travel back to their respective clubs (a “club” refers to a team and its organization), but what’ll we — the masses of newly converted football fans, spoiled by perpetual matches — do? Do we fall back under the veil of American ignorance, pretending it’s a second-tier sport? No. Watch the MLS? Not just yet. Instead, we’ll follow the world’s best players back to Europe. Here are the basics, and how to watch.
You're a lumberjack and you're OK
A Swedish World Champion logger shows us how to properly fell a tree with a chainsaw. All you need is some confidence, the right safety gear, and (perhaps) some plaid fleece.
New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm
This Week in Sports and Outdoors: a $20,000 bicycle, survival kits, nightlife after the Tour de France, and more.
Bounding and Booming
We put dozens of headphones through their paces on long runs, bike rides and bodyweight exercises to find the ten best sports headphones.
New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm
This Week in Sports and Outdoors: A new bike helmet from Giro, a Slovenian ultra swimmer, the most refreshing drink on Earth, and more.
Massage on a Budget
Right up there with kettlebells and battle ropes, foam rollers are ubiquitous at gyms but nevertheless require a bit of explanation if you want to incorporate them into your fitness and recovery routine. We spoke with an expert to find out five easy exercises you can do at home or in the office.
More Shoe, More to Love
Is “maximalist” the next big thing in running? There’s certainly a lot to love. GP puts rubber to the pavement to see how seven different options stack up.
Two if by land, two if by sea
You’re the kind of guy who hates two things: wasting time and not getting enough attention. You also have a passion for both watersports and getting hugged from behind by a gleefully screaming passenger. The brand new Gibbs Quadski XL is the morphing amphibious vehicle for you, changing from watercraft to rear-wheel-drive ATV with the push of a button. We break down its features.
One Breath, One Dive
Most of the people who come to Bonaire are SCUBA divers, hauling heavy bags of gear — buoyancy vests and regulators. But on this visit, I decided to try something different: freediving. No tanks, just a breath of air. I wanted to experience the transcendent silence and freedom freedivers talk about. The best man to learn from is in Bonaire, and I was about to get a one-on-one lesson from him.
My Soccer Ball is Smarter Than Your Honor Student
Kick the Adidas miCoach Smart Ball and your phone will record its speed, spin, point of impact and trajectory. It’s amazingly fun, but is it worth $299? We tested it to find out.
New Gear and Stories, Fresh from the Farm
This Week in Sports and Outdoors: an adventure road bike from GT, electronic shifting from mountain bikes, beast-shaped kettlebells and more.
Upgrade Your Skivvies
Made from lightweight, wicking, breathable fabrics like merino wool, polypropylene and a host of proprietary fabrics, sports underwear designed for active guys keeps you cool and dry without bunching up when you move.
Shades of Tennis's Most Unique Tournament
The French have two Brits to thank for their beloved red playing surface, which today lives on in small training centers on the outskirts of Paris, tournaments for the rising stars of the sport, and one of professional tennis’s oldest events. We were on hand during the week of the French Open to capture all the nuance of the storied surface.
Business suit, leisure suit, tri suit
The apparel you choose in a race is important from a performance and comfort standpoint, too: while you can change clothes at each transition, a tri suit can take you from swim to bike to run to post-race pizza and beer.
Bikes versus Bars
Most people will attempt their first triathlon on a road bike before investing in a triathlon-specific rig; it’s only at full Ironman races that the transition racks are filled with superbikes. But instead of a triathlon bike, riders can get some of the benefits they afford by outfitting their road bikes with clip-on aero bars. In this Want This, Get This, we look at the advantages of going whole hog with entry-level Cervélo triathlon bike versus spending less on the relatively new Switch Aero System by Redshift.
The Best Running Pack of 2014
Rarely does one pack meet the demands of all its intended uses. The Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 ($150), which launches on August 15, exceeds them.
Stop Being an Asshole About Soccer
The FIFA World Cup begins tomorrow. Before you shrug off soccer as boring and then promptly nap in front of an MLB game, consider this: by FIFA’s own humble estimation, 909.6 million television viewers watched at least part of the 2010 World Cup Final. For perspective, America’s most-watched television event in history was this year’s Super Bowl, with 111.5 million viewers. And you don’t need to follow the MLS or Premier League to get your Cup on — everything you need to know is in this short primer. If you want to know more, we linked out to further reading at the bottom, including the nitty gritty of political turmoil, a breakdown of every team and the history behind the World Cup trophy. But for now, let’s get basic.
Blue Collar Biking
Not counting inflatable helmets and leather wine carriers, gravel grinders are the coolest new thing in cycling. These are 10 of the best in America.
Rides for the latest off-road discipline
In the last few years, bike makers have introduced gravel-specific models that have the toughness of a mountain bike, the geometry of a road bike and the clearance for big tires.
Be handy, man
In this how-to we review the basics of bike maintenance: how to fix a flat, how to adjust shifting and how to clean your bike chain.
Take the back road to paradise
Gravel racing has a spirit of adventure and the chip-on-the-shoulder toughness of a Leadville ultra. Here’s the specialized bike gear you’ll need to ride a gravel grinder.
Because It's the Cup
The final series in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs begins tonight (June 4), and it’ll be a shame if it doesn’t result in a whole new crop of hockey fans. Here’s why you should be watching.
Whether you’re heading to the Mediterranean coast in real life or just your daydreams, this kit of casual clothes and accoutrements will keep you both cool and looking cool.
Our Favorite Hard Tops
The tricky thing about an aging helmet is you never know when it’s time to replace it, and you definitely don’t want to be too late. If you’re in the market, there are many good options this year, equipped with new materials, new technology and new innovations in aerodynamics. These are five of the best.
An Unlikely Expat
If you’re into the outdoors and own a car, chances are you own or have owned a Thule product for hauling your skis, bikes, kayaks and other outdoor gear. Nearly 80 percent of the company’s products for the U.S. market are made in the states, many of them at their Seymour, CT facility. We dropped in for a visit.
The Party Circuit for Cyclists
The best gran fondos recall 100 years of Italian cycling tradition with routes that trace the most famous mountain passes and historic races in cycling history. And then there’s the hallmark of each event: the post-ride celebration, with plentiful food and wine. These five from around the world are the most worthy of your bucket list.
Where family hordes are far away
10 destinations for untouched landscapes without the crowds or bustle of Yellowstone — you know, the stuff you were looking for in the first place.