The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2013

Specialized Overhauls Apparel Line

Velodramatic_clothinglaunchride-6990The Big Easy. Photo: Robertson/VeloDramatic

In Morgan Hill, California, last Saturday morning, a small peloton riding a phalanx of Roubaix SL4s, Tarmacs, and Venges rolled out on a loop that Specialized CEO Mike Sinyard calls The Big Easy. The 60-mile circuit, one of Sinyard’s favorite weekend jaunts, takes in two famous area climbs, including the perennial Tour of California hump up Tunitas Creek, as well as plunging descents, pastoral hills, and a coastal stretch with views over the infamous Mavericks surf break.

This wasn’t, however, Sinyard’s standard weekly tour. It was the culmination of two years of work by his company to reinvent its apparel program, and everyone in the 30-strong group, half journalists (myself included) and the remainder Specialized employees and racers, were decked from helmet to cleat in red and white S-branded gear.

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Can Lake Tahoe Stay Blue—and Get Smart?

Laketahoe_map_flckr_boklmPhoto: Flickr/Boklm

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that an expansion plan for Homewood Mountain Resort on the shores of Lake Tahoe would not be allowed to move forward without further considering a scaled-back alternative with less environmental impact. The Sierra Club, which joined with a local environmental group and Earthjustice to bring the suit against the resort, is calling the decision a victory. But so is Tahoe's regional planning agency, because, it says, at least the judge did not say the environmental review was flawed.

This is the latest in a decades-long battle over how to best protect the awe-inspiring resources in the Lake Tahoe basin through thoughtful planning and management practices—something that had been absent until a 1987 plan aimed to reverse unchecked development.

On December 12, after years of roadblocks and revisions, a new regional plan framework—focused on bringing more mixed-use development into town centers around the lake and improving the area's transportation system—was approved. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), a collaborative California-Nevada agency charged with managing and improving the environmental health of the Lake Tahoe basin, is now set to begin implementation of the plan on February 11. But the Tahoe Area Sierra Club is considering erecting one more roadblock: a lawsuit to stop the plan, which it says is focused on tourism dollars rather than the lake's health.

The controversy raises a question pertinent not just to the Tahoe region but to mountain communities everywhere: What does "smart growth" look like in an alpine environment?

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A Reminder to Check the Expiration Date on Your Extreme Aerial Stunt Waiver

On Monday, January 21, ThoseCrazyTexans uploaded a 19-second clip of aerial stunt pilot Jason Newburg flying a plane at roughly 200 miles per hour just a few feet above the ground and a few feet to the side of a mini four-wheeler. The clip went viral, and has received more than 150,000 plays over the past four days. Unfortunately for Newburg, at least one of those plays came courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration. The government agency is now investigating whether Newburg's stunt unnecessarily put people in harm's way.

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A Video Profile 11-Year-Old Climbing Sensation Brooke Raboutou

The profile on Team ABC Boulder of 11-year-old climbing sensation Brooke Raboutou—which was last updated in December 2011—lists more than a few hard-to-grasp facts about the phenom. Raboutou first climbed at the age of one. She began climbing regularly at four or five years of age. Her favorite problem is "Scrawny and Brawny," a V10 in Joe's Valley, Utah. Her goal is to send a V14 and a 5.14c/8c+.

In July 2012 she scaled a little bit closer to her dream, by sending a 5.14b, "Welcome To Tijuana," in Rodellar, Spain. That achievement established her as the youngest person in the world to climb such a difficult grade. (Male climbing prodigy Adam Ondra climbed an 8c at the end of his 11th year, according to climbing blogger Stevie Haston. He has since climbed the world's highest graded route, a 5.15c.)

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