The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jul 2012

Tarmoh Backs Out of Tie-Breaker Runoff

In an email to USA Track & Field officials sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh announced she will not compete in Monday's scheduled runoff with training partner Allyson Felix. The race was designed to break a third-place tie between the two runners for a spot at the London Games in the women's 100 meters. USA Track & Field has drawn criticism for having no procedure in place for deciding the tie. The athletes were given a choice between a coin-flip and a runoff. "This decision was really hard for me to make," said Tarmoh. "I was pushed into a corner. They said if you don't make a decision, you give your spot up. I work too hard to just give my spot up. I had to say it was a runoff."

Read more at The New York Times

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By the Numbers: The Rise of Mountain Lions in the Midwest

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Cougar. Photo: Shutterstock

Cougars are on the rise in the Midwest. From 1990 to 2008, the number of sightings confirmed by wildlife professionals increased. That's good news for fans of big cats, which were extirpated from most of that area around 1900. In a recent issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management, Michelle LaRue of the University of Minnesota documented sightings by state, courtesy of data collected from The Cougar Network. (While counting, she and her team left out numbers from two areas where cougars have established populations: the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Badlands of North Dakota post-2006.) We contacted LaRue to learn a bit more about her study, "Cougars Are Recolonizing the Midwest: Analysis of Cougar Confirmations During 1990–2008." She let us know that since 2008, the numbers have continued to increase. Here's a breakdown of the rise of mountain lions in the Midwest, by the numbers.

178: Total cougar sighting confirmations in 14 states and provinces in midwestern North America between 1990 and and 2008, using data only verified by qualified wildlife professionals.

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Mammoth Lakes Files for Bankruptcy

On Monday, California resort town Mammoth Lakes announced that it will file for bankruptcy after being unable to pay $43 million to a developer. The city council voted to submit to bankruptcy after Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition won a court order requiring the city to make payment in a contract dispute. The developer had sued the town for allegedly reneging on a deal that would allow the company to build homes and commercial properties near the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. The judgment was almost three times the size of the town's operating budget in a year where poor snowfall struck a blow to the local economy. “Bankruptcy, unfortunately, is the only option that the town is left with,” the city council said in a statement.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

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New Independent Toe Suspension Sandals

Sazzi2

Brought to you by Mark Thatcher, the guy who invented Teva's, Sazzis are sandals with individual toes cut into the sole. It's kind of like Vibram's Five Finger concept: Let your toes work independently and you get more traction, stability and agility on awkward terrain.

No one has applied this concept to a sandal ... until now. (Unless you count the ancient Anasazis.) Thatcher says his new “Toe Motion Footwear” was inspired by the pueblo-dwelling tribes of North America, whose goal it was to be light and powerful in both mind and body. He is striving for a similar result by building performance footwear “that better connects us to the environment and the outdoor activities we love.”

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The Top 5 Obstacle Racing Essentials

Barbed wire. Mud pits. Jacked "gladiators" armed with cudgels. Obstacle racers face a lot of stumbling blocks on their way to the finish line. The sport, which pairs a footrace with Navy SEAL-style challenges, is hitting critical mass in this country, with thousands of athletes signing up for mud-caked events like the Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash. For a primer on the best gear for the sport, we interviewed two champion racers: Hobie Call, the most successful Spartan Racer of all time, and Margaret Schlachter, a Vermont-based athlete with top finishes in races like the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder New England. This is the gear that helps them get to the podium.

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