On Saturday, flash flooding on the Seti River destroyed a number of villages in Nepal's Kaski district (near Annapurna), claiming at least 26 lives, according to recent news reports. Around 40 others, however, are still missing and presumed dead.
In March, I reported on a campaign led by the famous porter-turned-professional-climber Apa Sherpa,in partnership with the Himalayan Climate Initiative, that is seeking to draw attention to what it considers the likelihood of increased climate-change-induced flooding across the Himalaya region. The group says at least 20 glacial lakes are close to bursting, and that melting glaciers are exacerbating the dangers.
Ever since Taylor Phinney won the Junior World Time Trial Championship in 2007, pundits have been saying that the Boulder, Colorado, native would eventually be one of the next big names in American cycling. Someday came sooner than expected yesterday, when, less than two years after turning pro, the 21-year-old won the Giro d'Italia's opening prologue and roared into the race lead.
Phinney blasted the technical, wind-strafed 8.7-kilometer time trial in 10 minutes and 26 seconds, beating his nearest competition by nine seconds. That might not sound like a lot, but in a discipline where wins and losses are often measured in tenths of seconds, it's an immense margin and speaks to Phinney's talent and promise. The son of cycling Olympic medalists Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, the precocious American was no stranger to the upper echelons of cycling even before the win. By donning the maglia rosa, the pink jersey worn by the leader of the race, Phinney joins some rarefied company: He's the youngest rider to lead the Giro since Tour de France champ Laurent Fignon (1982), one of eight Americans to win a Giro stage (Greg Lemond and Tyler Hamilton among them), and only the third American to ever wear pink, after Andy Hampsten (1988) and Christian Vande Velde (2008).
The Giro d'Italia starts in Herning, Denmark, tomorrow, and it promises to be one of the most interesting and wide-open races in years. With last year's winner, Alberto Contador, stripped of his title and sitting out a suspension for his clenbuterol positive in the 2010 Tour de France, there's no clear favorite for the win. That means a host of teams will be angling for their leaders, the margins are likely to be tight, and there should be great drama all the way down to the mountainous penultimate stage, which includes both the Mortirolo and the Stelvio. The whole race could even come down to the final finish line at the concluding time trial in Milan.
Last week I visited a friend in the hospital, where she'd been since an SUV had hit her days before. The driver, who turned left as my friend was biking—quite legally—straight through the intersection, broke her tibia, fibula and topped it off with a compound break to her ankle. Then the driver had the gall to declare that it wasn't his fault.
Thankfully, many pedestrians witnessed the crash and informed him, in no uncertain terms, that hell, yes, it was his fault. She had the right of way. And when the cops came, they'd gladly share what they'd seen. The driver changed his story.
Project Transport+: We don't need no stinkin' car, even for shuttling two test bikes to the bike shop.
National Bike Month began yesterday. It's an annual push by the League of American Bicyclists to celebrate and promote all things bicycling, and it's probably best known for Bike to Work Week, which culminates this year on Bike to Work Day (May 14). I love this event because for a few short days there's an appreciable spike in bike traffic on the roads and motorists are generally more courteous to cyclists. There are festivals and seminars and Critical Mass Rides all over the country, and for a brief moment the world seems like it's moving in the right direction. I mean honestly, does anyone really enjoy sitting in a car in traffic?