It's the third time the Discovery Channel has returned to Seal Island. To justify another visit to the same location to shoot the same topic, over and over again, Chris Fallows and crew employed a slew of new gadgets and revolutionary video technologies. To capture great whites launching themselves out of the water at 25-mph attacking a seal dummy in ever greater detail from a number of angles, they used an underwater sub, a helicopter, an underwater seal cam, and a floating sled with a cameraman on it 10-feet from the 2,000-lb. jumping sharks. The kicker was a 1,000 frame-per-second camera that slowed down the action, enabling the one-second shark attack to be viewed as almost a minute of hi res footage. Everything appeared in lurid detail, from the rippling muscles of the apex predator to the droplets of water splashing off it's teeth.
It’s been over a month since I’ve been under the tutelage ofpro downhill bike racers.Still,not a day of riding has passed without me crashing and flying through dirt athigh speed. I have put every piece of armor to use, and I was evendeveloping perma-cramps from braking in my hands for a little while. So clearly,it was time to put all this work to the test.
Fortuitously, nearby Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming,has been building up their summer downhill biking scene, and is holding theirDownhill Race Series for the second year.
The course at Targhee is a long one by DH race standards; about7 minutes for the fastest riders, a few minutes longer than average.It is also, according to othercompetitors, considered a bit ‘pedaly.’As in, you might actually have to take a pedal stoke or two. (So I hopethat my Kona CoilAir Deluxe, being of slightly more freeride construction, willgive me a bit of an advantage on this course.)
Downhilling attracts more guys than girls, and on race day,there are over 10 guys for every girl.Unfortunate, but the tide seems to be shifting. Hey, at least I canclaim to be part of some kind of change.
Even though this was a local race and not part of a largercircuit, you never know who will show up at these things, so I had no idea whatto expect.The race takes place in a best-of-two-runsformat, and during each, the women’s class saw a bunch of mechanical problems. Against advice, I did a mediocre job of tuning my bike(i.e. I lubricated the chain and called it good). But mybike didn’t fail me. I finished with the fastest women’s time and even beatsome of the guys (woohoo!).
The second run I tried to beat my initial time. It was going well, until I collided with a huge rock in the trail, apparently at thewrong angle. I landed solidly on my shoulder. Thankfully, since my surgeon sewed it up last year (with Kevlar thread and some screws) after some skiaccidents-it stayed firmly in place. I bruised my other palm, and had tospend some time looking for my bike. I ultimately found it in the weeds nearby. It turns out the slower second time didn't hurt me, because my first run time held.
So I think that by now, I can conclude downhilling is aworthwhile endeavor. I’ve seen the light.Friends have been telling me DH biking is like a powder day, every run,all summer, but who could believe that? (I actually made a bet against it,which it looks like I‘ve lost.)I’vecome out of this project with some girls to ride with, new friends, an enormousshiny belt buckle, and a new way to get rid of what little extra money I mayhave.
Check out pro kayaker Trip Jennings’ latest expedition tale tonight on the National Geographic Channel (10 p.m. East Coast; 8 p.m. West Coast).
This time Jennings, one of Outside’s Adventure Icons, heads to Brazil's Rio Roosevelt to paddle Class V whitewater, hook tuna-sized catfish, and attempt to repeat Teddy Roosevelt’s 1914 journey down the 400-mile river.
With the summit of K2 rising above us so close we feel like we could have touched it, Frippe locked into his skis and dropped into the massive 45-degree face that stretches from The Shoulder at 8000m to below Camp 3 at 7100m. This big, beautiful face radiates down upon base camp and all the way to Concordia making every skier in the area fantasize about arcing fast steep turns across it. Of course, if it were that easy we’d have all seen it in the latest TGR film, but simply putting your boots on at this altitude makes you gasp for air and making two or three turns with a heavy pack would bring most hardcores to tears. I’m here to tell you that after three long, hard days of climbing Fredrik Ericsson earned every one of those awe-inspiring turns.
So before we go any further I should start by thanking our good friend, The Ripper Dave Schipper, for posting our progress live from the mountain. We hope he’ll still have the patience left to deal with our frantic, confused phone calls during one more summit push.
So yeah, assuming you’ve been following along you’ll know we left base camp a few days earlier based on a weather forecast from an acknowledged expert in Austria who pointed us to a sliver of a window on the 27th. The group that charged out of BC on the 24th could hardly have been stronger or more experienced. Out front was Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, an Austrian whose friendly smile and sisterly spirit hides her astonishing strength in the mountains. This is her fourth expedition to K2 and after summiting Everest this spring without oxygen, if successful, will make her the third woman to summit all 14 of the world’s 8000-meter peaks and more importantly, the first to climb them all without oxygen. Huge respect.