The Outside Blog

Adventure : Jan 2012

The Ultimate Trail Dog

I'm not a dog person. And having been nearly taken out by overexcited pups more than once and scolded by overprotective owners thereafter, I'm definitely no proponent of dogs on the trails with bikers. (I generally think even less of overindulgent animal videos.) But then there's the Jack Russel terrier, the little man of the dog world: fiesty enough to pick a fight with Cujo, prouder than Herman Cain, and apparently nearly as capable on the downhill as Aaron Gwin. Check out the air Lily gets on some of those tabletops (1:56, 2:22). Brings new meaning to the expression trail hound.

 

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A Desert Climber's Life

Most climbers have had fantasies about buying an old van or camper, ditching their jobs, and living the life of a full-time dirtbag. Alf Randell is one of the few who's followed through with them. Randell, 53, has spent the past ten years climbing the splitter cracks of Indian Creek, Utah, where he lives in a truck-mounted camper and earns money by fixing climbers' blown-out shoes. The dialogue in this video profile of Randell is hard to understand, but the footage of him working and climbing in the southern Utah desert make for great weekend stoke.

 

 

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Bike Testing 101

Loaded PenskeThe Penske, loaded with 56 bikes, en route to the 2012 testing grounds. 

Ever wonder how we decide what bikes to cover in the magazine? The short answer: We ride the bejeezus out of a lot of bicycles. And we’re riding this week.

Finding the best bikes of the upcoming season begins eight months before the magazine reviews hit the stands. In early September, we dash around Interbike, the annual bicycle expo that takes over Las Vegas’s Sands Convention Center, fondling prototypes, wading through the sales pitches, and making note of the most promising looking bikes and accessories. Throughout the fall we distill the list and begin requesting samples, and our local bike shop, The Broken Spoke, builds them up as they trickle in. Meanwhile, I do my best to log a couple of hours on each test bike by New Years.

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Communicating from Everest

IMG_0344While staying in touch is mandatory and part of an expedition for me, some people want to get away from it all and escape the modern noise that comes with 24 by 7 communications. If that is your case, then take a sat phone for safety but don’t use it unless there is an emergency! Tell everyone that no news is good news and you will see them when you get home. And enjoy your time off the grid

For everyone else, here are several basic ways to keeps friends and family informed while you are on an expedition.

Call a Friend:

  • - Call a friend who passes it along or transcribes your conversation and posts on your Facebook page or blog.
  • - Email an update to a friend who forwards it, posts on Facebook or cuts and pastes it to your blog

Do it Yourself:

  • - Phone in a voicemail through a service that posts it directly to your blog.
  • - Send an email that automatically posts to your WordPress Blog.
  • - Write a post and upload it using the Internet along with pictures and/or videos directly to your blog

There are many ways to do this communication but I will cover what I have been doing for over 10 years. I have learned a lot and stick with what works – for me. I do all the programming but I am not THAT technical. There are consultants who you can hire at $150 an hour to do the work for you. I started with “Call a Friend” (my wife managed the transcription much to her chagrin) but soon switched to a fully automated system.

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Bungee Cord Breaks, Woman Survives 365-Foot Fall

Here's a survival story to wake you up on a Monday morning. On December 31, 22-year-old Australian tourist Erin Langworthy jumped from a bridge over the Zambezi River attached to a bungee cord. The cord broke and Langworthy briefly blacked out before coming to in the river. After swallowing water and regaining her composure, she employed safety tips learned on a rafting trip earlier in the week. At one point, she needed to swim under water to yank the trailing rope, which got tangled in rocks near the rapids. She spent a week in the hospital recovering from cuts and bruises, but that wasn't enough for her to rule out another jump.

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