Matt Carnal and his trusty fixie. Photo by Jake Drevs.
Before you brag to your buddies about how hard you’ve been training, meet Matt Carnal. Over 26 days in January, this 32-year-old cycling coach from Tulsa, Oklahoma, took part in—and won—the Strava Base Mile Blast. Sponsored by the ride-tracking website Strava, the event pitted riders against one another online to see who could go the biggest. Carnal notched 3,347 miles, obliterating the nearest competition by almost 1,000 miles. That’s an average of 128.7 miles a day for 26 consecutive days. We caught up with Carnal to see how he did it—and why?
OUTSIDE: You rode 3,347 miles in January? Seriously? Is that even possible? Matt Carnal: Yep, seriously. And for the entire month of January [Editor: The Base Mile Blast ran from January 6 to 31] I totaled 3,557 miles, with only two recovery days and one forced travel day, which I was not happy about. You can check the data if you want proof. I believe that others can meet and break my records. I hope I inspire people to do it.
This spring, Andrew Badenoch plans to launch a 7,000-mile trip from Bellingham, Wash., up to the southern coast of the Arctic Ocean, before looping back. His locomotion will be a fatbike and a small packable raft. The former marketer, who ditched his corporate job to live aboard his sail boat and write, has never done an expedition like this before. But that hasn't stopped around 200 individuals—many of whom don't even know Badenoch—from raising nearly $10,000 $10,500 to support his mission, via Kickstarter.
Whether they're driven by a quest for fame, a search for answers, or a politcal (awareness-raising) objective, major expeditions attract attention and make for good headlines. Oftentimes, corporations sponsor trips, and/or the trips act a fundraising vehicles for nonprofit organisations. Not so for "Fatbikerafting the Arctic," Badenoch's Kickstarter campaign. His benefactors are people who just think his trip sounds interesting, and who want dibs on the things—from a documentary movie to an expedition training guide—that he plans to create once the trip is complete. And Badenoch, by his own admission, is just a guy who wants to prove a point.
Rollerblade Fusion 84 GM: Rollerblading was a 1990s phenomenon that is safely in the grave—except in France. Right? Apparently, for some, the verdict is still out. This month, the company is releasing a new urban skate, and marketing it to commuters.
Okay guys: It's time to stop procrastinating, and start shopping. Stuck on what to get the outdoorsy lady in your life? Here's what we recommend:
Kelty Supernova 30 Three-In-One Sleeping Bag: Zipping in together makes camping more fun. The Supenova 30° is made for spring and summer outtings. The deep hood keeps warmth in; pillow pockets and external storage pockets keep all the comforts of home at hand. And, when you're not enjoying together time, the top and bottom zip into a sleeping bag and a blanket. $300, kelty.com
Icebreaker Siren Cami and Bikini: Lacy underwear has its moments, but sexy wool is wearable in the frontcountry or backcountry all year long. Icebreaker's Siren cami and bikini are breathable, wispy merino that add warmth in winter, but won't overheat her the rest of the year. Thanks to a touch of lycra, it's sexy and functional, and it's not itchy. $50/$28, us.icebreaker.com
Riding the trainer sucks. It's about as mindless as Fox News and as excruciating as a trip to the oral surgeon. But unless you're a Cancellara doppelgänger who thrives in the cold and wet or a cycling snowbird who winters in Arizona, time on a spin bike or rollers is an evil necessity for a good racing season. Like a nightly visit to Fight Club, you plug in your workout, take your lumps, and (hopefully) get stronger.
In full suffer mode.
In the past few months I've discovered a way to get through the trainer torture. The SufferFest, a series of short, brutal training videos, makes the winter sessions if not fun, at least tolerable. The Singapore-based upstart offers 10 videos that target specific attributes, from pyramids of short intervals that build max power to long threshold sessions. Visuals are a mix of race footage from the world's biggest events (Paris-Roubaix, World Championships) and helmet cam rides through bucolic mountain settings (mostly for the recovery). There are visual directives (including a cadence and perceived exertion commands), audio queues (a gunshot for an attack, screeching brakes when you can relax), and a thumping soundtrack of rock, punk, and techno. It all adds up to good, hard, fast motivation that never failed to get me going, even on the evenings where the only training I had in mind was Bourbon-related liver strengthening.