The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Sep 2012

This Week's Missing Links, September 1

The best articles, photos, and videos of the past week that I didn't post—until now.

ADVENTURE

That Associated Press article on Tyler Hamilton's new book missed the mark. Read this. Outside 

A former personal assistant to Lance Armstrong sounds off, and Armstrong's lawyer responds, Outside

"It’s a big, hot, steaming enema bag filled with purifying truth for a sport that has dodged it for far too long." Outside

Donations to Livestrong spike on the day after news about his decision not to pursue arbitration, Reuters

Why more details from the USADA could come out during Johan Bruyneel's arbitration, New York Daily News

A quick post on the history of doping in cycling, from coca leaf to EPO, Scientific American via Adventure Journal

A hiker’s camera offers clue to first death from a grizzly bear in Denali, Alaska Daily News

Man bitten by crocodile during toilet break, MSN

How Diane Nyad prepped for her swims, Greatist

A short history of taking photos from space, The New York Times Lens

Hiker killed in rock slide 11 miles southeast of Aspen, Aspen Times

The first lady of Irish bog snorkeling, Wired

Wheelchair athletes makes history with 50-foot megaramp jump, Grind TV

SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

When the female starts blowing bubbles, apparently that means sex is over. At least for whales. New Scientist

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Easy Carry: Two New Backpack Suspension Systems

4633_Glittertind 55L Black-SolidLtGrey

The holy grail of backpacking is a suspension system that makes your pack carry as if you have nothing on at all. It's an admirable goal, and pack designers are making progress toward it. Black Diamond made solid inroads with its reACTIV and ergoACTIV suspension—shoulder straps that slide through the backpanel, freeing your shoulders. And manufacturers including Ergon have used lumbar swivel balls in the suspension to let a pack bag rotate more freely.

Bergans, the company that invented the frame pack, says its new suspension takes the no weight on your back challenge to the next level. Bergan's Glittertind pack provides not only freedom of movement but shock absorption with suspension that “follows the body's contradictory movements.”

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USA Cycling’s Comeback Kids

S800c_WH_front34r_lo_1.highTejay Van Garderen takes time out for the next generation of youth cyclists. Photo: Jen Charrette

By Jennifer Charrette

When the USA Pro Cycling Challenge wrapped up in Colorado, one million spectators had lined the streets from Durango to Denver. It went down as the biggest single-day crowd in the history of U.S. cycling. The seven-day, 683-mile stage race through Colorado, which drew 138 pro riders from around the world, also heralded a long-overdue emergence of young American cyclists, which, given the recent implosion of our most infamous homegrown star, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

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Art Campaign Illustrates the Beauty of Walking

Green_pedestrian_feetImage: DDB Group China

Car sales in China are a wee bit flat right now, but it’s still one of the world’s largest car markets. Congestion in cities is so bad that local governments have begun restricting how many people can drive each day. Despite that, the air quality and traffic remain untenable. Still, the China Environmental Protection Foundation’s campaign to get people out of their cars was an uphill battle at best.

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Checking in With Skier and BASE Jumper J.T. Holmes

J.T. Holmes delivers Google's Glass to Sergey Brin.

In case you missed it, J.T. Holmes is having kind of a big year. He ski-BASE jumped off a 260-foot cliff with Matthias Giraud near Chamonix, France, in February, did a three-man ski-BASE jump in Baffin Island in May, and jumped out of an airship above San Francisco wearing a wingsuit and Google’s new product: Glass. With the glasses and Google’s Hangouts technology, Holmes conversed with Google founder Sergey Brin live above San Francisco in an airship before wingsuit flying into the city, landing on Moscone Center, and storming into the auditorium to join Brin on stage along with a group of cyclists and rappelling stuntmen organized by Andy Armstrong. Last week, he was skiing with Julia Mancuso, and speed riding and ski-BASE jumping at a zone near Queensland, New Zealand, a mecca for all his favorite sports. We caught up with him to talk to him about his skiing, Shane McConkey, and his latest sport, speed riding. Speed riding is a combination of skiing and paragliding that allows an athlete to take to the air when needed in order to fly over obstacles and ski multiple close-out lines.

J.T. Holmes and Matthias Giraud ski-BASE jump.

I saw that ski-BASE jump video that Matthias put up and know that it’s the first jump that you’ve done since Shane died. Can you tell me about that?
After Shane died, I never shunned ski-BASE jumping. I always wanted to do it, but I always was looking to do the next thing with it. It’s fun, creative, and there’s still firsts to do. But with Shane gone, my primary ski-BASE partner was also gone. For two years, I focused on competing in the Freeride World Tour, which is pretty time consuming. I essentially just didn’t get around to ski-BASE jumping, because it wasn’t on the top of my mind and it just didn’t happen. I trained Tim Dutton to start BASE jumping and ski-BASE jumping and we were going to do ski-BASE jumps during the Freeride World Tour in 2010, but it just never happened because we were always focused on skiing. Obviously, my primary love in the mountains is skiing.

It didn’t really have anything to do with trust. There were people around here that I would have loved to ski-BASE jump with. It’s purely a matter of the fact that we had the best ski season of all time in 2011. We had powder every day. That just seemed like more fun than ski touring out to some cliff in the backcountry where you are going to do a ski-BASE jump of the same nature as before. So, powder won, and competition won.

Anyway, one day I found myself in Europe with some friends to go make a normal BASE jump and we got winded out. I knew Matthias was in Chamonix, and I just gave him a call. He said, Oh yeah, I just did one. Come on out and we’ll do another. I just packed my rig and went out and joined him. It was cool to do it again, to break the ice, and to follow Matthias, because he did a really cool jump and I got a really cool shot of it. But it wasn’t mentally a big deal for me, because I was totally comfortable with the style of ski-BASE jump. I didn’t have any worries about my jump not going safely. Of course, you feel a rush, and you have memories, but to ski off a cliff and to open a parachute right away is entirely different than what happened with Shane and I. So it was a completely different category of jump. It was like, if someone died racing a downhill course, are you going to be scared to go to the halfpipe? Probably not, but it’s still skiing.

That said, I went to Baffin with Tim Dutton and Jesse Hall. It was a situation that kind of stirred all of the emotion and really brought back to the surface Shane's death. For the first time, we actually revisited the cutting away of skis and going into a terminal BASE jump from a cliff. Add to that, we did it with three guys at a time. That was where the feeling of being back on the horse really set in, because it involved trusting the Tyrolia bindings to cut away again, and it involves basically doing a jump of the same category—which I hadn’t done since Shane passed away. 

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