The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2010

Togo Soccer Team Disqualified from AFC

The Togo national soccer team has been officially disqualified from the Africa Nations Cup for failing to show up for a scheduled game, reports Reuters. The team had been ordered back to its country by the government following a deadly attack Friday that killed the media officer and assistant coach. Although the team was willing to return and play at a later date, the Confederation of African Football dismissed them from the tournament. Along with the two deaths, the team's reserve goalkeeper was severely wounded in the attack by Cabinda separatists.

-- Lisa Lombardi

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Cycling In Her 60s: MTB Racer Doris Matyasovich


I was lucky enough to meet Doris Matyasovich--2003 DH Masters World Champ, 17-time Masters National XC Champ, and author of
--at the 12 Hours of Temecula. She was racing solo. You might ask why that's such a big deal. Well, it's because she started racing at 45 and has stuck with it for the past 21 years. You do the math. And the next time you think you can't do something for whatever reason, think again.

What switch flipped for you to start racing at 45?
I have always liked competition--races in elementary school, baton twirling in high school, 10K races in my thirties--so MTB racing just seemed a natural thing to want to do, but I thought women didn't do it. When I found out women actually did do it, and so many men were telling me to try it, it seemed a possibility, but I was worried about being so much older than the others. The 'switch' was when I found out there was a 45+ class for women. Since I was 45 that year, I instantly knew I had to try it. I may never have tried racing if I had to bewith people considerably younger than me. One of my pet peeves about racing is lack of age groups for older women. I wonder how many women are out there wanting to race, but are too intimidated to go against much younger ones? No woman in southern California had raced the 45+ class before I came on the scene, yet it was consistently offered. When I race now, the decision is whether to race women sometimes younger than my children, or race with men my age. Neither option is especially attractive. Very frustrating.

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The Spoke Word: Live from Saxo Bank Camp

I'm at the training camp of Saxo Bank, the team of 2009 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck, in the Canary Islands. We're about to go out for a ride this morning before the winds kick up. We'll be sitting in on a bike-fit session with Schleck this afternoon, then having a press conference with team director Bjarne Riis and the team's star riders this evening to discuss the upcoming season. The press conference will be streamed live here at 4:00 p.m. eastern time.

—John Bradley
Twitter: johnwbradley

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SheJumps, She Scores?

Ladies, we know you're always on the lookout for more resources that cater to the Outside gal. That's why we were psyched to learn about the organization SheJumps (Thanks, Adventure Junkie). SheJumps is a non-profit that aims to increase women's participation in outdoor activities by providing mentorship and coaching from professional and amateur female athletes. They have a lot of other plans, too, including lobbying for federal, state, and private funds to be allocated toward women's sport initiatives. Take a look at the site for the full scoop and let us know what you think of it.

-- Lisa Lombardi

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Everest 2010: TA Loeffler Interview

We hear a lot about the famous people on Everest so I like to focus on the not so famous; however you might define that. In her hometown of St. John's Newfoundland, TA Loeffler is quite famous; even a legend. If you have ever read her Blogs, book or had been fortunate to hear her speak, you know why. TA Loeffler

TA is one of those individuals who brings you into her world by inspiring you to be the best in yours. She will be climbing Everest this spring with Canadian Tim Ripple's Peak Freaks.

When not climbing, TA teaches outdoor education at Memorial University of Newfoundland in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation. She tells me that the university has been very supportive of her climbing passion and sees them as professional “performances” in the same way that her colleagues in music might train for and perform a concert.

TA feels It's important to give back to the community that supports her and she regularly speaks in schools trying to inspire kids to have big dreams and to become more physically active. Over 20,000 kids have heard TA talk - amazing.

One of her first big climbs was an attempt on Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies. She continued to build skills and interest on the Mexican volcanoes in addition to a cornucopia of outdoor activities such as sea kayaking, canoeing, winter camping, skiing and of course being from Canada, ice hockey. In the midst of all this she became an instructor for NOLs.

She learned a valuable lesson in 2004 while on Denali. With a NOLs teams, they started at the Muldrow Glacier and climbed the 18,000 feet to the summit, humping huge loads along the way. They lived on the glacier for almost 30 days and managed to get all 14 climbers to the summit and back. She says it was a turning point for her.

Now infected with this addiction we call mountaineering, she began looking for something more and soon found herself biking to Everest Basecamp on the Tibet side. It was then the pull of Everest was planted. Similar to many of us, she wasn’t scared about the climbing but rather was terrified by the fundraising. In her own words; she "had no idea how a phone-phobic, terrifically shy human was going to raise the $60,000 I needed to make the climb possible."

Her dream started to come together after selling T-shirts and toques, begging friends, and soliciting sponsors. With the Seven Summits in her plans, she has been plugging away… summitting Aconcagua in 2006, Kilimanjaro in 2008, Elbrus in 2009 and Kosciusko in Oct of 2009.

And of course an ill-fated attempt on Everest in 2007. Her experience was discouraging but that word is not in her vocabulary. She made an attempt on Pumori in October 2008 as part of her Everest come-back tour. It was on Pumori, while looking at Everest, that her dream was cemented.

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