Archive for November, 2010
What do you think about when you are standing on the start line?
What do I think about?!?! Really, you want to know what I think about? Nothing, everything, dreams, fears, the calm before the storm, the pain that I will soon inflict upon myself, how quickly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, how slowly the next 60 minutes is going to pass, the color I painted my toenails?
What do I think about? Good Question.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. Since it’s about this time of year that people seem to start getting antsy with wanderlust, we figured we’d feature one of our favorite topics: travel. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
In the day and age of all-internet-all-the-time, even when we embark on an adventure it’s hard to totally disconnect. Case in point: you can now tweet from Everest. But what’s it like to really unplug?
New York Times media columnist David Carr embarks on “a vacation that’s about absolutely nothing,” to find out exactly that. Six straight days completely disconnected on a lonely island in the Bahamas; no Twitter, no Facebook, no anything, just a Flip video camera to capture his thoughts. The resulting video — which you can watch here — reminds us how easy it is to get caught up in the everyday flurry of a “connected” life. As Carr muses, “I think the modern lifestyle gives us very poor visibility into the environment that we move through.” Agreed!
The great thing about travel is that you’re forced to push your comfort zones. Language barriers, cultural differences and even confusing and humorous road signs are all part of the game. But to get the full effect you have to go all out and dive right on in. That’s particularly true when it comes to food. National Geographic has a great photo gallery on street food to get you thinking about all the culinary possibilities your next trip could entail, if you’re ready to take them on.
And speaking of diving in, apparently Americans are not. At least according to a new survey that says Americans are the least adventurous travelers. Now granted the survey was based on respondents answering how likely they were to eat fried tarantula, stay with a local family, haggle at a local market and other activities, but the fact that America is lagging behind some of our anglophone friends is a little cause for concern. Maybe it’s because we’re spending too much time concerned with being connected??
Solution? Get out and get more active! At least that’s the Osprey mantra.
So in celebration of disconnecting and diving in, here’s to a great weekend!
Image: Giorgio Montersino
Osprey Hydraulics Team Member Melinda Davie Comes Back To The Tahoe Sierra 100 Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race
Having a goal is a good way to start the day. I started Saturday September 11th with the goal to complete the Tahoe Sierra 100 Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race. I wasn’t looking to do it in any time specifically, except that the organizer had put a limit of 14 hours on it. I attempted to do this event in 2009 and came very close but did not complete it. I learned a few things through that experience and after this past year of training, planning and competing in a few much shorter races I felt I was ready to tackle the event again.
If you’ve ever perused the world of bike blogs, you’ll know that there are plenty out there. Popularized by the “izes” like Copenhagenize and Amsterdamize, many of these blogs try to capture the essence of a city’s bike culture.
But it’s not only the commonly known bike hubs – Copenhagen, Portland, New York, etc. – that are publicizing their two wheeled efforts. Bikes are popular all around the globe, which was highlighted this week when we discovered the Mozambique Bike Culture.
Not only are there some pretty great photos of biking in the streets of Mozambique, but they do a bit of advocacy, promoting Critical Mass in the country’s capital of Maputo. Hop on over and check it out, the more international support for cycling the better!
Any other cool bike blogs we should be checking out? Let us know in the comments below!
Adventure Racing National Championship, Presented by Check Point Tracker and Adventure Xstream, Moab, Utah, October 29-30
Yahoo! Team Osprey Packs wins the National Championship! Wait…maybe not.
By Travis Macy, Team Osprey Packs
The Adventure Racing National Championship presented by Check Point Tracker and Adventure Xstream last weekend provided a chance for some of the best domestic teams in the country to battle it out in Moab’s legendary terrain. The high LaSalle Mountains, miles of slickrock, vast canyons, and the raging (and COLD, this time of year) Colorado River filled the minds of four-person coed teams as they travelled from around the country to compete in the 20-28 hour, nonstop race. The course would remain secret throughout most of the race, with athletes learning about each element of the race upon completing the previous section.
My team consisted of Scott Swaney (Highlands Ranch, CO), Gretchen Reeves (Avon, CO), Jon Brown (Gunnison, CO), and myself. We were stoked to be using Osprey backpacks for the race, and we raced as Team Osprey Packs. The competition was strong, and we were amped to make a hard run for the National Championship.
At 8:00 a.m., we ran from the lawn of Red Cliffs Lodge, about ten miles east of Moab on the Colorado River, and jumped into the ice-cold flow. Needless to say, it was quite a wake-up call! For about 30 minutes, Jon, Gretchen, and I swam together as we navigated whitewater on river boards. Scott was conspicuously absent from our group, but we knew the former collegiate swimmer would catch us soon. As it turned out, Scott’s flippers fell off and sank as soon as he entered the water, and he was forced to swim hard with his arms the whole time!
After regrouping and catching our breath, we transitioned quickly to paddling two-person inflatable kayaks. Working hard for about four hours in the boats, we caught all teams except the always-tough YogaSlackers (check out www.yogaslackers.com; you’ll be amazed at what these guys do). We hit the transition area at Gold Bar a minute or two off the lead.
Thus began the second section of the race, which involved trekking and ropes checkpoints that could be obtained in any order. Racing hard against the Yogis, we ascended a fixed handline next to Corona Arch before navigating for hours on a large slickrock mesa high above the river valley. The terrain was awesome, and I enjoyed racing hard while navigating with a map generated by satellite imagery. The rocky terrain was absolutely incredible, and I was impressed at the grip on my Merrell shoes as I scrambled up and down sandstone pitches that would probably give me pause under most conditions.
Upon reaching a neat ropes section consisting of a tyrolean traverse and a rappel, I clarified with the race staff that our route choice, which would involve completing the ropes before running to Checkpoints 8, 6, and 5, respectively, would be allowed within the race rules. After receiving a clear answer in the affirmative, we continued to race back and forth with the YogaSlackers before completing the section just behind them, again a couple of minutes off the lead.
Our Osprey Talon 22 packs proved crucial at the next transition, where we loaded them with enough food, clothing, and water to last the entire night. Rarely has a fully-loaded pack fit and carried so well as this one did when I set off on my bike! Enthused about taking the lead in transition and embarking on a cycling section that would, hopefully, cater to our strengths, we hammered through Moab and up to the Slickrock Trailhead.
Slickrock is hallowed ground in the world of mountain biking, and we bypassed the opportunity to potentially save time by running a rogaine section there in favor of riding the entire loop at night. Cruising on my light, carbon Chiru Sonic mountain bike, with the dotted-line trail lit up by my magnificent AYUP lights, I truly enjoyed is section of the race! My teammates said the same. Most of the checkpoints were away from the trail, and the quick-release feature of my Nordenmark map board was very important in allowing me to easily and quickly change from navigating on the bike to navigating on foot.
Back at the trailhead just after midnight, we were shocked to discover that the YogaSlackers, still racing hard, had completed the section 20 minutes beforehand! They crushed that section on foot, and now we would really have to work if we wanted the National Championship!
We took off going hard up Sandflats Road, and continued to hammer as we climbed out of the desert and into the alpine environment of the LaSalles. We suffered…rarely have I raced on a team in which all members bury themselves so deep to go for a victory.
Finally, ahead in the distance, the lights of riders appeared! We gained slowly on the YogaSlackers, caught them, rode with them, and finally broke the elastic. Having taken the lead, we were inspired to hammer through a cold, miserable descent to the finish, which we reached just after 3:00 a.m.
Elated to be National Champions, we crossed the finish line and were recognized as winners by one of the race organizers. “Wow,” Scott, JB, Gretch and I said to each other, “what an awesome win!” After waiting 20 minutes to meet the YogaSlackers at the line, it was clear to me that they had worked equally hard and were very deserving of a second place finish and cash prize. Feeling fulfilled, both teams hit the hay and woke up later to eat breakfast with the other top teams, who began to finish around 5:00 a.m.
A day of relaxation and gear-mending went very well until 5:00 p.m., when Scott and I were informed by the directors of Adventure Xstream and Check Point Tracker that the two top teams (Osprey Packs and YogaSlackers) would each be penalized six hours for “skipping” Checkpoints 8, 6, and 5, which were the points reached after the ropes section early in the race. As verified by punches from each checkpoint, the points were of course not skipped, but more of “marked absent” because, according to the rule interpretation of the directors—which directly opposed what race staff told me on course—no checkpoints could be reached after completing the ropes.
The directors did not care or give weight to the facts that the rules for this section were written in an ambiguous manner that left room for multiple valid interpretations and our interpretation was cleared as lawful by race staff on the course. After sending a single letter to the race directors, I stepped back from the conversation to focus on work, family, and the upcoming birth of our son, who is due in January—a good reminder of what is REALLY important in life!
One of the race directors noted repeatedly that the decision to penalize heavily was done “for the future of the sport of adventure racing.” If distrust, protests, penalties, accusations of cheating against people of character, and bashing fellow members of the community via email and discussion forums are the future of the sport, then I’m not sure if there will be a whole lot of this sport in my future.
Thanks, as always, to my incredible sponsors. Osprey backpacks were truly incredible. I felt like I was floating on my Chiru bike (www.chirubikes.com) and Merrell shoes. AYUP lights continue to be the lightest and brightest on the course! Scott, JB, and Gretchen—you are great teammates and, more importantly, good people. Stephen Barnes of Osprey Packs was also an awesome supporter of our team and the race as a whole!
The race organizers have finalized their decision, and the six-hour penalty stands.
The colors set in and the trails disappear under a thick bed of red, green and yellow leaves. The trails that have been nice and dry for most of the summer turn into sticky, muddy terrain and the shinny roots stare at you, trying to make you slip on every turn. The hot summer days make way to chilling, dark and rainy days. When all these elements come together, it only means one thing — it’s time for epic rides!
Hey Portland! Join Save Our Wild Salmon, KEEN Footwear, and EP Films for a special sneak peak of The Greatest Migration, an EP Films documentary about the incredible journey of endangered Snake River salmon!
WHAT: The Greatest Migration Sneak Preview – Celebrate Snake River salmon, enjoy FREE beverages and appetizers and gear giveaways from KEEN and more! BYOC – Help reduce waste and remember to bring your own cup!WHEN: Wednesday, November 10 from 7 to 9 p.m.WHERE: KEEN HQ – 926 NW 13th Avenue, PDX 97209WHO: EP Films, a PDX-based production company, Save Our Wild Salmon and Keen Footwear
The Greatest Migration follows the extraordinary journey of Snake River salmon from the waters of southeast Alaska to the rivers of Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley. These salmon travel higher and farther than any other salmon species on earth – swimming over 900 miles and climbing almost 7,000 feet to reach their spawning grounds.
Save Our Wild Salmon and EP Films will officially premiere The Greatest Migration at the 2011 Wild & Scenic Film Festival in January.
“The outdoor industry is not only inspired by wild places. We take an active role in protecting them,” says Chris Enlow, Care and Community Manager of KEEN. “The Columbia River is in our backyard and it’s imperative that we speak up for wild salmon. If we lost them, we would lose a crown jewel of our ecosystem.”
The chance to give something back, an opportunity to share your skills and knowledge, to meet other travellers or simply to meet the locals…
There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re travelling and there are literally thousands of charities and organisations that look for help from passing travellers.
Many ask for donations or fees to cover costs, others operate as profitable businesses but the list below is just a few that cost little or nothing to become involved and help out…
See more on Matador Network…
Several days have passed since Team Osprey Packs blasted across the finish line first, however there have been multiple protests and appeals filed in regard to possible penalties to multiple teams that have held up the posting of final results for the AR National Championships held over the weekend in Moab.
Will Newcomer, of Gravity Play Sports (the hosts of the Adventure Xstream series), set an amazing course, truly worthy of a national championship race. The rules however left open for interpretation as to how exactly to fun through this great course set amongst the red rock land of Moab, and now the race organizers are contemplating how exactly to figure out the different race strategies and whether any definitive advantages were had. Should take a couple of days still for the FINAL results to be posted. Stay tuned!!!!
Once again, big huge congrats to Scott, Travis, JB and Gretchen for a stellar race!!
We made it, we skied it, we are done in under two weeks with one ascent and one amazing descent. Our goal, to follow our noses to some of the best snow in Nepal has been a success. Our summit day on Thorung peak occurred four days ago and we now sit in the comfort of Pokhara Nepal, 19,000’ lower.