The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2013

Outside Magazine, Jan 2013

The Agony and the Heresy
Brian MacKenzie says he can mold better distance runners with a regimen of short, intense ­effort instead of endless brain-numbing miles. Christopher Solomon grabs a kettlebell, does a couple thousand wind sprints, and prepares for one very painful marathon.

The popular social-­fitness app lets you log data from bike rides and share it with friends. It also turns even casual outings into hammerfests. Tom ­Vanderbilt on how Strava is transforming millions of amateur cyclists into fevered number crunchers.

Get Your Head in the Game
What do Olympian Kerri Walsh, daredevil Felix Baumgartner, and the ­Seattle Seahawks all have in common? Their shrink, ­Michael Gervais, who helps them perform at their best by setting loose their demons. By Brian Mockenhaupt

Disappearing Act
Photographer and climate-change ­researcher James Balog wants to document the world’s glaciers and snowfields before they’re gone forever. A new film about his efforts, ­Chasing Ice, is stunning—and ­terrifying. Will it succeed where An Inconvenient Truth failed? By Sam Moulton

Love in the Time of Coca
For decades, the drug ­cartels kept adventurers away from ­Colombia’s ­empty beaches and ­soaring peaks. With the violence receding, Stephanie Pearson returns to a country of ­untrammeled beauty.

Plus: The Tune-Up
Look for proven race, nutrition, and ­recovery strategies from ­Olympic triathlete Andy Potts and other fitness pros throughout the issue.

In October, Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space, shattering the sound ­barrier and the record for the highest ­skydive. Ryan Krogh goes behind the scenes at the Red Bull Stratos launch.

First Look:
To save his crew, Ernest Shackleton rowed 800 miles across the Southern Ocean. Can an ­Australian explorer do it 97 years later with period gear?
News From the Field:
Utah’s contro­versial plan to combine seven ski areas into one European-style megaresort.
Feuds: The discovery of a potential new source of the Amazon River has two watermen racing to claim the first descent.
Media: A guidebook to surviving the apocalypse, and how to fake that you read Jared Diamond’s latest doorstop, The World Until Yesterday.

Get Lost:
From yoga on the Yucatán to surfing in Hawaii, seven trips to restore your mojo at the start of the New Year.
Weekend Plan: Want endless powder? These four cat-skiing operations deliver.
Journeys: Wildlife safaris that help ­protect the animals.

The year’s warmest—and most comfortable—winter jackets.
Slight Ride: Three-fingered gloves, ­ultra-stiff backcountry boots, and four more upgrades to help you ski better.

Flannel gets technical.

There’s no electricity or plumbing, and the only luxury is a cattle-trough hot tub. But there’s no place Steven Rinella would ­rather be than his shack in the Alaskan wilderness.


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Brooks Board Shorts: A More Discreet Option for Running

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Not everyone wants to show it all when they run. Slit-up-the-side, three-inch inseam, built-in underwear, nearly-a-speedo running shorts are about as revealing as you can get in public without getting arrested.

If that's not your look, Brooks Running is now making the Board Short, a pair of running shorts just for you. They look and feel like surf shorts, with a classic lace-up fly, a modern plaid print, and a full nine inches of inseam in a super supple stretchy fabric that won't get hung up as you click off the miles.

The shorts are so light, our tester reported, "more than once I looked down to make sure that I was still actually wearing something." In the Board Short, you'll be unencumbered and you'll dry fast—it's DWR coated—whether you're running, hiking, swimming, or cycling. Wear them all day long.

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Teachable Moments: Sustainable Surfing in the Mentawais

Murray_studentsElizabeth Murray and her pupils. Photo: A Liquid Future

By Gregory Thomas

Not long ago, villagers on the remote Mentawai island chain off the west coast of Sumatra lived without electricity, cell phone reception, and even a local government. But, as has happened to many other tropical paradises, word got out about the islands' exceptional surf. Their perfectly curled waves, white sand beaches, turquoise water, and coconut palms have earned the islands the nickname "Garden of Eden" among surfers, who started arriving there en masse in the late 1990s. If all goes according to the plans of developers and the newly formed island government, the Mentawais will be the next hot spot in Indonesia travel guides.

But a motivated English surfer and a group of ambitious locals are working hard to ensure that island residents get a seat at the table and that the Mentawais grow in a sustainable fashion.

In 2010, a devastating tsunami flattened the western edges of the Mentawai archipelago. During the rebuilding efforts, a Portuguese boat captain named Goncalo Ruivo struck up a conversation with an English surfer named Elizabeth Murray. Having recently taken up residence in Katiet, a surfing hub of the islands, Murray told Ruivo about a passion project to start a local school that would teach lessons in English and surfing.  This struck Ruivo, since he recognized these as essential for local Mentawaians who want to prosper in the changing economic landscape. Murray, who went to college in the United States on a sports scholarship, was particularly adamant about teaching young girls to swim and surf.

In October of 2012, Ruivo visited the village where Murray was working and found himself "amazed with the success of her program," he says. Murray taught her first English lessons on the sand earlier in 2012 using a whiteboard tacked to a coconut tree. A fluid group of about 15 kids would meet in the afternoons, in the hours after school and before supper. After about a month, Murray moved her lessons into an unused community center, and the group swelled into a loyal crowd of about 90 pupils, including the initial kids and their parents. The sight inspired Ruivo to donate proceeds from a photo book he'd published following the tsunami to fund Murray's newly minted non-profit organization, called A Liquid Future.

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Snowboarding Through Montreal

Being stuck in the the city shouldn't be used as an excuse for not going snowboarding, at least in Montreal. Snowboarder Sebastien Toutant proved that when he took to the slopes of Mount Royal to weave down trails, jump monuments, and slide down rails. The video was posted this past Saturday, three days after a December record 17-plus inches of snow fell in Montreal in less than 24 hours.

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Year in Review: The 11 Best Cycling Products of 2012

We test bike gear year-round at Outside, from our desert test trip in January and endurance races like the Arizona Trail Race, Breck Epic, and Triple Bypass, to daily road and trail rides here in Santa Fe (including snow biking just this week). In the process, we beat the bejeezus out of lots of gear, and while much of it these days is very good, there are often a handful of items that we come back to again and again. With our 2013 test trip to Tucson coming up next week, we decided this was the perfect moment to highlight the top pieces of bike gear that impressed us most in 2012.

Crank Brothers Kronolog

This dropper post impressed us more than any other piece of gear this year. Crank Brothers replaced the hydraulic internals of the uneven Joplin with an all-mechanical design that has stood up to nine months of hard wear. We prefer the Kronolog’s infinite height adjustment to other brands' two- or three- stage configurations, as well as the simplicity of the air spring for slowing or speeding the post’s return rate. This is not only a huge improvement from Crank Brothers’ original design, but it’s darn near our favorite dropper on the market, and we recommend it on any bike except for your lightest weight racer.

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