The Outside Blog

Adventure : Mar 2012

Four Spring Break Riding Escapes

StarrPassTucsonStarr Pass, Tucson, Arizona

As you probably already know, I'm sick of winter. Many friends are chasing snow this weekend—the Santa Fe backcountry should be glorious from the big dump earlier this week, and one buddy of mine flew to Rogers Pass in Canada for a week of powder—but all I can dream of are dry trails and sizzling pavement.

I've been sneaking away deeper into the southwest all winter for bike tests, races, and a simple break from bundled-up riding. And nothing feels finer than hot winter sun on pale winter legs (with apologies to your riding buddies). During the Outside Magazine test trip, we had a bunch of guys down from Utah and Wyoming, and I've never seen people so ecstatic about riding. On their last day, when I told them we were done after four laps, they insisted on squeezing in two more before dark. "This is the last time we're going to ride outside for months," one said desperately.

So with Spring Break upon us, I present you four spots where you can spin your legs—minus the trainer.

--Aaron Gulley

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Not Injured, but Not Fast

When you're coming back from injury there is a moment when you are finally healthy, everything is fine, and you're badly out of shape.

Nate Jenkins, whom I've written about in the past, and whose struggle to become a very good marathoner I find endlessly compelling, appears to be at that place now, five years after first getting injured and four years after finishing seventh at the Olympic marathon trials. On Sunday, Jenkins was second at a half marathon in New Bedford, Massachusetts. From his blog:

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Adventure Flicks for the Whole Family


“The Hunger Games” may be rocking the box office this weekend, but we have a better bet for family night at the movies: the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. The show, which brings the best of the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival to venues on seven continents, came through our town this week and, as usual, wowed the crowd—young and old—with its lineup of adrenaline-spiked adventure movies and call-to-action enviro documentaries. 


Little powder hounds will dig the slow-mo footage and rad urban skiing in “All.I.Can,” shot in southern British Columbia, while aspiring climbers and photojournalists will watch in awe as photographer Jimmy Chin dangles off El Capitan with enormous camera in hand to get the perfect shot. But it’s the wildlife that will really win the kids: In “Spoil,” activists search for the super elusive Spirit Bear, a rare white grizzly that lives in the Great Bear Rainforest on the B.C. coast, which is threatened by a proposed pipeline. And on a lighter note, “C.A.R.C.A.” (Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association) tells the hilarious, unlikely story of house cats trained for backcountry search and rescue missions. (Don’t worry, no animals were hurt in the making of this film.)

C.A.R.C.A. Intro from Adam Bailey on Vimeo.

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The New Documentary on Shane McConkey

Red Bull just posted a three-minute trailer for "McConkey," the 90-minute film about the life and death of Shane McConkey, a pioneer in freesking and BASE jumping. The 39-year-old American died on March 26, 2009, when a ski-BASE jump he was attempting in the Italian Dolomites went bad.

His death led to a number of debates online. Was he a one-of-a-kind hero or just another selfish athlete? A driven innovator pushing the limits of his sport or a pawn of sponsors taking ridiculous risks in order to earn money and gain attention? Tim Sohn tackled those questions and detailed the skier's story in his June 2009 Outside feature, "The Life and Death of Shane McConkey."

The trailer looks like it will examine those questions too. It features interviews with the icons of action sports, from Tony Hawk to Travis Pastrana, and is due out in 2013. That's a long time to wait. In the meantime, here are a few of McConkey's own words, published just before his death.

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Surfer Chris Malloy on The Making of Groundswell


[Video: Groudswell (Trailer) from the Patagonia Video Gallery]

Keystone XL isn't the only pipeline in the works that will send oil from Alberta oil sands to far-off lands. Canadian pipeline builder Enbridge wants to build a new pipe to connect Edmonton with the port of Kitimat in northern British Columbia, where oil would be loaded onto tankers and shipped through the Douglas Channel, headed to Asia and California. The proposal, called the Northern Gateway Project, may be approved later this year but has attracted opposition from environmentalists and Aboriginal people on the B.C. coast. (Check out this story for more details on the proposal.)

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation is fighting the pipeline and appealed to gear-maker Patagonia to get the word out. Patagonia turned to filmmaker and surf ambassador Chris Malloy, who, along with a team of B.C. surfers and Raincoast's Chris Darimont, sailed along the coast on a surf safari/reconnaissance mission to see the proposed tanker shipping lanes. The result is Groundswell, a short film that Malloy is currently editing for release this fall.

I talked to Malloy about the journey, the movie, and what inspires him to document threatened landscapes.
--Mary Catherine O'Connor

What compelled you to make Groundswell? What kind of impact do you think it will make?

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