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Adventure : Events

Inside the Hardest Bike Race on Earth With Eszter Horanyi

Horanyi savoring the race in the Dixie 200Hornanyi takes a breather atop Powell Point during the 2011 Dixie 200, which she went on to win.

This morning, June 8, over 100 riders will line up in Banff, Canada, to undertake what might be the hardest bike race on earth. The Tour Divide, which began as the Great Divide Race but has now morphed into this longer iteration, sees riders traveling some 2,700 miles along the Continental Divide from Banff to the small outpost of Antelope Wells, New Mexico, on the Mexican border. Riders race completely self-supported, carrying everything they need for the journey that they won't be able to purchase along the way. The current Tour Divide record of 17 days, 9 hours, and 1 minute was set on an individual time trial ride last summer by Victor, Idaho, native Jay Petervary.

Lining up for her maiden Tour Divide is Crested Butte, Colorado, racer Ezster Horanyi. Of the hundred-plus starters, Horanyi is just one of 10 women who will attempt the race this year (not including Caroline Soong, who is racing on a tandem with her partner and 2011 Tour Divide winner Kurt Refsnider). And though it's her rookie attempt, Horanyi has to be considered a favorite to win the women's race and possibly even set a new female record. Judging by some of her most recent results—1st woman and 3rd overall at the Stagecoach 400, 1st woman and 9th overall at the Arrowhead 135, 1st woman and 5th overall at the Colorado Trail Race—she's also likely to finish faster than the majority of men in the race.

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Summer's 10 Best Family-Friendly Outdoor Festivals

2010 Slopestyle Teva Mountain Games Vail by Zach MahoneBig air, bigger views kick off this weekend in Vail. Photo: Teva Mountain Games

With long days and warm nights, summer is festival season. But if you want more from your weekend than sitting on your butt on a blanket, swilling beer, and listening to live music, check out these 10 family-friendly outdoor festivals that put the emphasis on adventure.

Summer Teva Mountain Games
Vail, Colorado; May 31-June 2
Stand-up paddleboarding, mud running, freestyle mountain biking, and slacklining are just a few of the events on tap this weekend in Vail at what’s arguably the standard-setter for summer sports festivals. The mountain mash-up attracts elite athletes, local die-hards, and weekend warriors from across the country—and the mix is what keeps it fresh. Kids can take a shot at any of the events, but the youth bouldering contest and XC bike race breed are where the next generation of rippers can be found. Plus: adventure flicks, gear demos, free yoga, casting clinics, and big-air contests for dogs round out the action. www.tevamountaingames.com.

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Road Bike Meets Freestyle

If you watched the Amgen Tour of California, you might have seen a catchy advertisement from Spy Optics that pitted outgoing U.S. national road racing champ Matthew Busche against freestyle rider Mike Montgomery. The ad starts with footage of Busche racing down an asphalt road before cutting, as if we're going inside Busche's head, to scenes of what looks like Busche doing tricks and flips on a jump course. In fact, that's Montgomery (dressed up to look like the road race champ) doing all the stunts.

With the ESPN X Games and the Teva Mountain Games, we've gotten used to seeing athletes with more skill than fear pulling physics-defying stunts. But the sight of a biker doing doubles and backflips on a production-model road bike is still a bit breathtaking. Which is probably why Spy decided to release this behind-the-scenes documentary, with even more stupefying footage.

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Ryder Hesjedal Reflects on Winning the Giro d'Italia

Ryder on the podium in MilanHesjedal takes the trophy in Milan. Photo: Garmin-Barracuda

On Sunday, Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro d’Italia to become the first Canadian in history to stand atop a Grand Tour podium. The three-week race turned into a tense, tactical battle between Hesjedal and Spaniard Joaquim Rodríguez, with the two flip-flopping in and out of the race lead after Hesjedal first assumed control on the Stage 7 mountaintop finish at Rocca del Cambio.

The drama persisted all the way to the final day’s 28.2-kilometer individual time trial in Milan. Rodriguez started with a 31-second lead over the Canadian, but Hesjedal rode the course 47 seconds faster than the Spanish climber to take the overall title by a slim 16 seconds. It was the fourth smallest margin of victory in a Grand Tour in history. At one minute and 39 seconds back, Belgian Thomas de Gendt rounded out the podium.

It was the first Grand Tour victory for Hesjedal, as well as for his team, Garmin-Barracuda. Founded on a strong, anti-doping platform in 2007 by retired U.S. racer Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin has long been considered a model for clean racing. Overall victory at one the world’s biggest bike races is sure to be seen as a continuing sign that the sport is moving forward from its scandalous past. “We don’t think of ourselves in those terms,” Hesjedal said of his team. “Doing things right is just what we do.”

We spoke with the Canadian this morning after he’d just traveled from Milan to the Garmin training complex in Calpe, Spain.

So you won the Giro. Congrats! Has it sunk in yet?
Yeah, I mean it pretty much sank in when I was standing up there on the podium on Sunday. I’m the 2012 Giro d’Italia winner, and that’s just the way it is. I’m happy, for sure, but it’s hard to describe exactly how it feels. Achievements like this don’t come easy or often. I’ve been working a long time to stand where I stand now. All that work is what makes it sink in.

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Chris Sharma Reflects on His Early Climbing Days, Future Projects

Sharma_close_crop_may2012_interviewChris Sharma. Photo: Mary Catherine O'Connor

As we've reported before, California's state parks are in the midst of a crisis that could result in many of them closing on July 1. While the initial list contained 70 parks, many of these have received at least temporary reprieves thanks to infusions of cash from concerned third parties. Others, such as China Camp in San Rafael, are still hoping they can keep their gates open.

Castle Rock State Park, near Santa Cruz, is very close to being spared a July 1 closure thanks to an infusion of $250,000 from the Sempervirens Fund, a land trust organization based in Los Altos, California. The reprieve, which would only mean funding the park for one year and is therefore far from a permanent solution, is just a signature away from being official, says the fund's director Reed Holderman.

Castle Rock also happens to hold a special place in the heart of one of the world's most revered sport climbers, Chris Sharma. A Santa Cruz native, Sharma established many bouldering routes throughout Castle Rock. It was his first outdoor climbing spot. To help drum up support for the park, Sharma traveled to the Bay Area to give four slideshow talks over two days at Clif Bar headquarters in Emeryville and at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz.

The night he kicked off the short slideshow tour, Adventure Ethics spoke to Sharma about the influence Castle Rock had on his early career and how it rates on a global scale.

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