The Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Summer Mountain Games is one of the most unique multi-sport events in the world. You’ll navigate white water, race up and down the ski slopes of Vail Mountain Resort on your mountain bike and in your running shoes, and finish with a grueling road bike time trial up to 9,500 feet in Vail Pass. Of course, it’s also the perfect excuse to update aging gear and even splurge on a great bike or even a paddle board. Here’s a look at the gear that got us through the race.
Attacking the mountain in style
A stand-up guy, a stand-up board
After spending my morning commute passing the Stand-up Paddling Yoga group (yes, it’s a thing) at the local pond, I got curious and found the perfect venue to explore this blossoming sport: the Vail Summer Mountain Games. The only disconnect between registering for the SUP river sprint at the Summer Mountain Games and actually racing? I’d never been on a paddle board. But first times are a charm, so I settled on the ten-foot six-inch Boardworks Surf Badfish Board ($1,429) and made for the water.
Because they’re there
Mountaineering can be an intimidating sport to get into: all that gear, the dizzying heights and tales of frostbite-blackened digits aren’t necessarily warm and fuzzy things. But if you have the urge to sample the rarified air up high, there are still some peaks that are accessible to the novice alpinist right here in the U.S. Once you’re actually prepared, check (at least) one of these beauties off your list.
Sounds easy enough, right?
This is the second part of an eight-part original GP series, The Road to La Ruta, in which contributor Dirk Shaw chronicles his training for the Fool’s Gold 100 and La Ruta de Los Conquistadores — one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. Check back throughout the summer to watch the story unfold.
I am a binary person. 1 = balls out, and 0 = no interest. So once I decided to start competing, I consumed every training book I could get my hands on. If total immersion works when I need to understand a client’s brand strategy, then why not go deep and steep myself in every possible theory on training, workouts and mental preparation for endurance competition? I researched and downloaded and read and re-read all the wisdom of many who have tried and some who have succeeded. When I came up for air, what really stuck with me was one simple fact: to be a successful endurance athlete, you need to plan for next year — today.
The Gear for Rainier
To take on our recent ascent of Mount Rainier, we rounded up some of the latest and greatest mountaineering gear. And after two days, 9,000 vertical feet of climbing and weather that ranged from downright scorching to subzero wind chills, we’ve got a thing or two to say about each piece. So whether or not you plan to use any of this gear in your urban, or more rustic, adventures, you can be assured we’ve put it all through rigorous testing in a worse place. Just don’t take an ice axe on the subway.
Seat Pleasant's Finest
Kevin Durant had no intention of making a quiet shoe when it came time to design the sixth iteration of his signature Nikes — but the design goes much deeper than its fluorescent green and yellow skin. The KD VI ($130) radically deviates from the traditional high-topped status quo of modern basketball shoes in its pursuit of lighter weight and increased agility. We were lucky enough to attend its release. We break down this flamboyant court beast.
Made in the Shades
With the latest heatwave glaring down on us, it’s important to remember the basics. No, we’re not talking about getting in a few bottles of water a day — though that is essential. We mean the perfect pair of sunglasses, that underrated adventurer’s friend. Whether you’ll be spending your summer hitting the roads on two wheels, kicking back and enjoying the beach life, or hiking into your favorite backcountry hideaway, we’ve got the best sunglasses (along with similar, more affordable options) for your summer adventures.
Challenger of Record
If you’re a sailing nut, or if you’ve just been following the news lately, you’ll know that this year’s America’s Cup is in a bit of trouble. Fortunately, we still get to enjoy the special edition timepieces put forward by watch brand sponsors. First up is the OMEGA Seamaster Emirates Team New Zealand Limited Edition. We were invited to OMEGA’s launch of the new timepiece and also got to watch the Emirates Team New Zealand boat launch for a training run in the bay.
Drop shot, meet cross-court winner
Finessing things is something we take a lot of pride in, times ten when it involves catgut. Even so, the 2013 Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro introduced a new level of speed and power to our game without damaging our clever style of play. Read on to see hear more about its on-court performance.
Hauling Gear Like A Mountain Goat
Finding that elusive do-it-all pack is a grail search. Is there a pack out there that is equally at home in summer or winter, hauling big loads and small, and most importantly, one enjoyable to carry even loaded to the brim? In his never-ending quest to find that truly comfortable multipurpose pack, Limits contributor Austin Parker turned to the Eddie Bauer Arclite ($169), testing it on his recent expedition to Moab, UT.
A pre-dawn mission up stolen chimney
The sun still hadn’t crested the Colorado River when our dust-covered van pulled into the Fisher Towers trailhead parking lot. Many of the desert climbs that Moab, Utah is famous for are packed from the early season until the first snow begins falling in November, but our pre-dawn mission to climb the Stolen Chimney route up Ancient Art Tower had been precisely timed to avoid spring crowds on the rock; after a few light storms the previous days and an ungodly wake-up call, we had the crag to ourselves. Read on to see the full photo essay.
Gear to get you up the Wall
No other sport relies quite as heavily on gear during life-and-death situations as climbing. Your gear is the only lifeline (and sometimes when you’re a few hundred feet up a sheer wall, no amount of gear seems to be enough) holding you to the rock. Selecting the right harness, rope, and protection, then, makes the difference between not just surviving your time on the wall, but enjoying every agonizing toe hold and finger-cramping crack jam. Here’s what we hauled up the rock on our climb up Ancient Art tower in Moab, Utah.
Sure, everyone loves to commute by bike. But there are inherent issues: showering at work, remembering different outfits, needing multiple grocery trips to carry your bags. The eFlow E3 Nitro electric bike is a major step forward — a step with striking design efficiency and a style that belies its e-designation. We were amped at the chance to cruise it around town for a few weeks — read on to see how it performed.
Take a break from all that pedaling
Cycling and writing have a funny relationship. Look up any pro or experienced cyclist these days and they’ll likely have a blog to vent about anything and everything. Look a little further back in time and you’ll find millions of battered Moleskine notebooks filled with training logs and racing notes. The fact is, the sport houses an excellent library of both training guides and some genuinely compelling prose. In honor of our Cycling Issue, we’ve picked our 10 favorite reads in the genre.
Remember your first bike? We do too
Just why did GP decide to run a week about bicycling? Limits Editor Jeremy Berger explains — and hints at where we’ll go next.
Hot laps in the Brooklyn Navy Yard
It’s 6pm on Saturday, June 8, and what’s been a very rainy spring has broken just in time for an event best described as a cross between a Formula 1 race and a playful reenactment of the The Breakfast Club: the Red Hook Criterium, Brooklyn Navy Yard edition. We were on hand to document the bicycle race for our week of cycling.
As of May 27th, New York City’s Citi Bike bikeshare program was the largest in the United States, with 6,000 bikes available to residents and visitors alike. Though the program isn’t without its detractors, it has all the markings of a success: seven days after its launch, 65,000 trips had been taken and 28,000 people had signed up for an annual membership. Contrary to what many might think, the bike itself is a bit of a design marvel. We break down the ride.
Feel the need...the need for one speed
Single-speed bikes have recently enjoyed a comeback in popularity due to their straightforward aesthetics, ease of use and relative lack of maintenance. Although not ideal for hilly areas, single speeds are excellent for urban riders because of their simplicity: they have no derailleur, no gears, and with fixed-gear bikes, no freewheel mechanism (the thing device allows riders to coast, leaving them to use their legs to slow down in tandem with a front brake — some daring types run no brakes at all, using only their leg power to stop the bike).
With the warm weather upon us and more people than ever hitting the streets for their commute to work — or the bar — it’s about time you got in on the action. Here are our 10 favorites. We’ve left no gear unturned, including everything from the most hardcore, feature-laden commuter to the most bare-bones fixed-gear track bike.
See you in T1
For gearheads and Quantified Selfers triathlon is a chance to ride bikes that look like DARPA prototypes and collect more personal information about themselves than a Stasi collaborator, respectively; for Alphas it’s a chance to get ripped and grab bragging rights; for some people it’s just a fun way to get in shape. Whatever the reason, the tri gear is abundant. Sure, you could swim in your skivvies, hop on your Schwinn for the bike leg and run in some old Nike Mac Attacks — but we’ll do you one better with this kit.
Senior Advanced R&D Engineer, Cervélo
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to design bicycles. Dammit, nevermind: yes it does. Damon Rinard is one serious bicycle designer. He’s Senior R&D Engineer and Race Engineer for Canadian bike maker Cervélo, the most popular brand at the Ironman World Championship at Kona several years running. We caught up with Rinard to talk about the P5, happy meals and the science of comfort.
Any old road bike will do for a triathlon. Hell, we’ve seen a Taft-esque man lumber through a sprint on a mountain bike. But if you want to be in the optimal position for performance in a multi-sport race, to thrive in long course and ultra-distance races, then a bike with a triathlon-specific design becomes important. You’ve got to get aero. You’ve got to cheat the wind. You’ve got to avoid the recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers. You’ve got to pick up chicks on account of your superbike. We’re here to help.
Steep Climbs and Singletrack on Two Wheels
Somewhere in between grinding steep climbs and effortlessly floating hairpin singletrack downhill, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter the dreaded “endo”. The end-over handlebars is a rite of passage for any mountain biker as he works up the ranks from cruising novice to dirt demon. At least, that’s what I thought before taking a spin on the new Yeti SB95 ($4,800 as tested) on a recent trip to Vail Mountain, CO.
Hit the dusty trail(s)
Picking our 10 favorite mountain bike trails for our week of cycling is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid: we love them each for different reasons. Still, armed with a Rolodex of memorable rides, we set out to catalog the best of the best. The IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) and other groups have been creating mouthwatering single track all over the world as diverse as the styles of bikes in your local shop — and they keep getting bigger, better and longer.
Kings of the Hill
‘Tis the season to be tempted by a whole new model year of mountain bikes, and we’ve got some good news. Dialing in your own personal style of off-roading has never been easier — once you wade through the overwhelming amount of options, that is. There’s a different bike for just about every type of trail and rider, and even some that claim to do it all. You need a bike best suited to the kind of riding you enjoy, but that also won’t keep you from the occasional change of pace (or any surprises the trails throw at you). As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked our favorites for racing enduro, downhilling, or just getting out for a weekend adventure ride.
King of the road
Al Capone, DB Cooper, The Sundance Kid. By riding Cannondale’s new Supersix EVO Black Inc. ($13,310) you join an exclusive cadre of criminal minds. Don’t worry, the Connecticut bike company hasn’t filled the bike’s tubes with any illicit substances (though the price tag might suggest otherwise). However, it tips the scales at a felonious 11 pounds, sitting well below pro cycling’s 15 pound weight limit. Despite its weight, the Supersix EVO is able to boast stiffness and aerodynamic figures that bike engineers dream about.
Your new chariot awaits
Across the cycling categories, excluding perhaps the penny-farthing, we seem to be in the middle of a boom in popularity. Cities are adding bike lanes and bike programs, all the cool kids are riding fixies, mountain bikes are gnarlier than ever — and the rest of us are riding road bikes. The popularity of road cycling owes in part to the low barriers to entry (everyone has roads), in part to the variety of awesome bikes available for riders of different skill levels and desired recreation, in part to the rise of the sportive or gran fondo — a cycling event that emphasizes participation over competition — and in part to all the really boss neon lycra. As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked out five great road bikes for all manner of rides, from entering your first century ride with friends to sasquatching a local crit.
You've learned to cast, now treat yourself
Famed fly fishing writer John Gierach once wrote a book called Standing in a River Waving a Stick. Well, fly fishing looks a lot like that. And the stick in question is a fly rod. It’s the rod that throws the line that carries the fly to the fish. To those who aren’t familiar with fly fishing, all fly rods look the same. They are anything but.
The secret is, there isn't one
Anywhere you find fish that can be caught on a fly (which is just about anywhere you find fish) you’ll find a fly shop. Some are grand affairs with carpeting, staff in matching shirts, and hundreds of brands. Others are small with two or three options of each requisite item. Ed Estlow decided to scope out a local shop; his study (shopping trip?) reveals a lot about these hidden gems.
Tackling your essential tackle
If we’ve done our job, you’re inspired to do some fly fishing. Good on you, sir. All that stands in your way is a lot of practice, some really smart fish, and an utter lack of the necessary equipment. All three of those things are daunting. We tackle the last part with our all-inclusive, affordable fly fishing kit.
It all starts here
So you watched A River Runs Through It on cable the other night and, your brother’s gambling issues aside, you’ve decided to try fly fishing. What do you need? Well, you could start with just a hardware store rod, reel & line, a few flies in a plastic box, and some clothes you don’t mind trashing. But you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more if you have some decent gear in hand. Lucky you — we’ve got everything you need right here.