If you watched Trainspotting, the Indie film that follows a group of Scottish youths as they sink deep into a life of addiction, you would certainly remember the scene where Marc Renton (played by Ewan McGregor) sits alone in his room wrestling with withdrawal as the somber track of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” plays in the background. You’d be right to wonder what that has to do with endurance mountain bike racing. Find out in The Road to La Ruta, Part 4.
Addiction, sacrifice and withdrawal
One step closer to the open road
It’s a perfect day. You’re pedaling along between La Rochepot and Baubigny in France’s Côte de Beaune region, a wheel of epoisses and a baguette ancienne tucked in the front basket. A little tight on good wine. Sun warm on a crisp day. Your girlfriend rides alongside and looks at you affectionately. You do that thing where you reach out and touch fingertips. Then you hit a little bump in the dirt road: You don’t even know how to ride a bike, and now there’s spittle on your Macbook Pro trackpad. Fortunately, that’s all about to change, because you’re about to buy your first bike.
Nurturing Cycling in an Unlikely Place
Jonathan “Jock” Boyer was the first American to ride in the Tour de France and later left the the U.S. to create a cycling program in war-torn Rwanda. What he found there was a group of young men with incredible pasts and immense talent. Rising From Ashes follows the formation and growth of Team Rwanda all the way from an idea to a continental powerhouse.
Ketch of the Day
The nautical lifestyle, with its mix of refinement, adventure and expensive equipment, makes a natural fit for luxury timepieces. Officine Panerai does things a little differently than other brands. Rather than go for the cutting-edge carbon fiber multi-hull racing scene, the storied Italian watchmaker takes a more nostalgic view on sailing by sponsoring a series of classic yacht regattas up and down New England. We were invited to the first of the three American regattas, the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, in the charming maritime port town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was a proper mix of flapping Dacron, wooden-hulled 12-meter yachts and cocktails at no less than three proper blue-blood yacht clubs. Oh, and there were a few cool watches, too. Read on for the full photo essay.
Diving’s Identity Crisis
There’s a popular saying among nostalgic dive bums that reads, “Remember when sex was safe and diving was dangerous?” Times have changed, and while I won’t comment on the hazards of promiscuity and the risks of STDs, I will say that diving has gotten too safe. Or at least that’s the perception — and one that, ironically, is keeping people from diving. What diving needs is a re-branding campaign.
You’ve got to hand it to Adidas: while the leading edge of innovation for most running companies is minimalist footwear with the occasional proprietary shank to keep things moving forward, in the Adidas Springblade ($180) the company has made a running shoe that artfully combines the looks and swiftness of a Ferrari with… I don’t know, a viperfish? Steven Seagal in Glimmer Man? Charlemagne’s Joyeuse? We got to try the cool-looking things out.
Run Like You Mean It
Summer heat waves are on the edge of winding down, and that’s good news: you can run without your shoes melting to the road. If you’ve been stuck all summer plodding along on a treadmill in the gym or running in the predawn hours to avoid scorchers, now is a great time to reassess your aging kicks and consider an update. We could go on about minimal vs. conventional, the merits of cushioning and drop angles and tread patterns, or we could just find the best shoes of the year to help you with one thing: working on your fast. Our search for the best running shoes of the year yielded more than a few contenders, and unless you plan on leaving them in your closet to collect dust, there’s not a single shoe here that won’t help you get to the front of the pack.
Pack it in
From easy day hikes to multi-day treks, a good pack on your back can make carrying a load a joy (relatively speaking), especially if you draw the short straw and have to carry the extra beer on a five day expedition through Zion National Park. The perfect pack is a simple one: it carries everything you need and nothing you don’t. In practice, this is much harder than it seems and involves careful planning and design. Beware of the old trap. If you have the space, you’ll try to fill it with something. Whether you’re throwing gear together for a short hike to your favorite fly fishing spot or taking a month-long stroll down the Continental Divide, less is more. With that in mind, we’ve picked the best backpacks to put a few miles on this season. Features like load distributing-straps, rainflys and easy access to hydration all made the cut. Heavy materials, unneeded space, and dead weight? Not so much.
They'll never believe you otherwise
Thanks to the introduction of action cameras, pretty much anyone with a thing for the outdoors — novice mountain climbers, intermediate cyclists, veteran X-Games athletes and the lot — is utilizing these point-of-view shooters for hi-def footage of mesmerizing scenery and insane stunts. Fortunately for you, we’ve managed to narrow down the top offerings based on performance, suitability, features and price. Take a break from planning that next base-jumping adventure and get a closer at the five best action cameras available now.
Finding inspiration to do things I never imagined possible rarely comes from professional athletes. What inspires, rather, is meeting someone who seems like an ordinary guy — and suddenly realizing five minutes in that he’s anything but. These are the people who make me say to myself, “I can do that”. Joe Berg isn’t ordinary. I sat down with him to chat about his ultra endurance racing experience, opera and some tips for me as I prepare for La Ruta.
63 miles and 11,000 feet of NC single track
The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 63-mile epic mountain bike race in western North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. Really, the day itself was epic, starting with the beautiful drive out of Asheville where thick fog filled the Smoky Mountains as the sun started to rise. The key word here is sun. The weather in the southeast has been extremely rainy of late, and I was fully prepared to race all day on a muddy course. But mother nature had something else planned, at least for the first five hours of this mid-season race en route to La Ruta.
Celebrating Adventure Sports in Vail, CO
Somewhere between my third (or possibly fourth) spill off my paddle board into Gore Creek and my first lung-busting lap up the mountain bike course, it finally sunk in that the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO was so much more than just the suffering I was subjecting myself to. Featuring adventure and mountain sports like freestyle kayaking, bouldering (think rock climbing 25-foot walls with no rope), mountain biking, a dock dogs competition, and slacklining, the Games has a competition for just about everyone. That’s not to mention the carnival of fun one-offs: the gear expo, open air concerts, a mountain film festival and demos of new bikes and boards. See everything the Games had to offer in this photo essay.
Attacking the mountain in style
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.
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.