One of the most hyped-up mountain bike races of the season takes place on Saturday, and we're not talking about the Olympics. (After all, according to Phil Liggett, dirt riding doesn't even deserve a place at the London table.) Nearly 2,000 professional and amateur racers will line up tomorrow in a small, high-altitude town in central Colorado for the 104-mile Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race.
The Wiggins-Froome show on the Champs Élysées. Photo: Wyll Photographie/Flickr
Bradley Wiggins can seem to do no wrong. First came his ridiculously successful season, with wins at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, and the Dauphiné Libéré crowned by Team Sky's utter dominance at the Tour de France. Then he turned jaune to gold with a crushing time trial win at the Olympics. And now, riding the wave of admiration and goodwill, England's golden boy has announced his very own charitable organization.
I've recently had an opportunity to tour two new corporate campuses: The Outdoor division of VF Corporation (The North Face, JanSports, Lucy) in Alameda, California, and Clif Bar in nearby Emeryville, California. While neither of those tours made me want to abandon my freelance lifestyle, they both made me realize that being a desk jockey isn't all bad.
I was reminded of this while pursuing Outside's 30 Best Places to Work in the September issue of the magazine, and the 70 More Best Places to Work online compendium. These stories made me want to shine a light on the ways good employers can treat their one, big, common parent company. (You know, the earth.)
Many of the companies on the list do not make products or offer services with any specific environmental bent (Ecology Project International, Wildearth Guardians, and Coast Law Group are obvious exceptions). But that should not stop them from reducing the toll they take on the environment.
So here are five workplace perks that are also easy on the earth.
Unlike with road jerseys, where trim and minimal is ideal, mountain biking tops are generally looser and burlier, for coping with errant branches and the occasional trip over the bars. There's a lot more variety in styles and applications as well, so gear up according to your locale, needs, and riding style. Here are a few favorites we've been riding lately.
TWIN SIX THE GRAND PRIX ($75) We've recommended Twin Six jerseys before, and though they change little from season to season—except the styles—we will continue to advocate for them. That's because this Minneapolis-based company gets the equation between tech, style, and simplicity just right. The polyester microfiber is weighty enough for shoulder season but breathes plenty on the hottest days, and, unlike many tech materials, it's soft and comfy. The fit is roomy but not dumpy, the three rear pockets are low enough to reach into and ample for carrying big loads, and the front zip opens to belly button height for super venting. Best of all is the style and attitude of each jersey, with lots of great looks added each year (like this Grand Prix). Our only quibble: the fabric has a tendency to pull, which makes for the occasional snag. Also, we were happy to see a dark version of the Grand Prix added to the collection because, though we love the white, it's gotten a bit dingy and mud spattered.
BOTTOM LINE: If you own just one mountain jersey, make it a Twin Six. They are virtually all we ride in.
The more we hear from Bradley Wiggins, the more we like him. At a press conference following his historic gold medal in the Olympic time trial yesterday, the 32-year-old Brit downplayed his achievements and vowed that newfound notoriety won't go to his head.
Since July, the 32-year-old cyclist has become the first Briton to ever win the Tour de France and the most decorated British Olympic athlete in history, with four gold medals, one silver, and two bronze medals since he began competing in the 2000 Sydney Games. Thanks to those achievements, Wiggins' face has been splashed across the front pages of his country's biggest newspapers, but he says he's determined that those successes don't change him. "I am going to try and continue as things were," Wiggins said in a press conference after his historic gold medal. "I mean, I lead a pretty normal life like most people. I train hard, I work hard at what I do. Ultimately I am very normal in my life aside from cycling."
We're not certain about the "normal" part, but we dig the humility. Listen in on his post-race comments to hear how he thinks he compares to two other decorated British athletes (not their equal), how he plans to spend his post-Olympics (fetching milk), and what he thinks of celebrity culture (not a fan). Thanks for keeping it real, Bradley.