The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Sep 2013

Diana Nyad Completes Cuba to Florida Swim

A weary, triumphant Diana Nyad, 64, arrived in Key West, Florida, on Sunday to become the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Nyad, a journalist and former champion squash player, has attempted the crossing four times previously, starting in 1978. During her attempts she has been stung repeatedly by man-o-war and box jellyfish, and been buzzed by sharks.

This spring she was named one of Outside's Adventurers of the Year. Monday's successful 110-mile crossing took her 53 hours. "I have three messages," Nyad said in Key West. "One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team."      


 

Read more about Diana Nyad, one of our Adventurers of the Year.

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Lindsey Vonn Returns to the Snow

Lindsey Vonn returned to the snow Saturday for the first time since her crash at the world championships in February, where she tore her ACL and MCL and suffered a fractured tibial plateau in her right knee. The gold medalist trained with the U.S. women's speed team in Portillo, Chile, with the hopes of competing in the Sochi Games.

"I can't tell which knee is injuredthat's a good sign," she said. "I usually go from zero to a hundred. I'm not good in between so this is going to be a challenge."

Last week, Vonn worked out in front of reporters with her Red Bull trainer. On Saturday, she took five runs on flat terrain, and she hopes to get in gate training at the end of the two-week camp before she returns to Vail, Colorado.

She plans to begin competing in time for the women's World up in Beaver Creek, Colorado, at the end of November. "I would love to win as many World Cups as possible but my main focus is definitely the Olympics," she told USA TODAY last week. "If I start off slow, it's fine. I want to make sure that by the time I get to Sochi that I'm 100% in those events."

Vonn needs just three World Cup victories to tie the women's all-time record of 62 World Cup wins.

For more: Why Did Lindsey Vonn Crash in Austria?

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Tour de France Cyclists Live Longer

Despite potential hazards, elite endurance athletes appear to live longer than their contemporaries, a study in the European Heart Journal has found.

Researchers gathered mortality information on 786 French participants of the Tour de France from 1947 through 2012, comparing them to the general French population.

While 208 of the cyclists had died by 2012, they had a 41 percent reduction in mortality compared to people in the general population, gaining an estimated 6 years of life. Fewer cyclists suffered from cardiovasical disease, cancer, and respriotary or digestive diseases. However, they were more likely to die of traumatic causes.

"Although our results are reassuring to some extent, since no death has been observed since 1990, we have to remain careful since we cannot directly assess the potential harmfulness of doping through our analyses and results," the study author told Forbes.

The study co-author noted that athletes who compete in the Tour may have "superior genetic composition with lower disease susceptibility," making it hard to generalize the findings.

A similar study from the International Journal of Sports Medicine studying cyclists who rode the Tour between 1930 and 1964 also found that the professionals lived longer than people from the general population. The study authors noted that the cyclists smoke less, drink less alcohol, and have healthier diets than their peers.

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Marijuana Farmer Killed by His Own Booby Trap

An upstate New York marijuana grower was killed Saturday when he fell prey to one of his own booby traps.

Daniel Ricketts was believed to be drunk when he drove his quad bike into a barely-visible piano wire that he had strung up around his marijuana crops in Albany County. The 50-year-old was thrown from the bike, his head almost entirely separated from his body.

Hikers spotted the body and alerted the authorities. Ricketts was pronounced dead on the scene. Officials on site also uncovered extensive barbwire and a leg trap, presumably for meant for coyotes. Ricketts was pronounced dead on the scene.

According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, growers are not uncommon in the rural area. “They go up there and they'll grow marijuana on a lot of the state lands. Fortunately hikers, people out and about, neighbors will call us and they'll tell us,” he told CBS 6.

Officers removed the plants from the property and are "continuing the investigation."

Read about California's Mendocino County, where paramilitary task forces battle armed and deadly pot growers from Mexico

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Croc Holds Man Hostage On Island for Weeks

A kayaker was rescued off the northern coast of Western Australia last weekend after being stalked by an enormous crocodile for two weeks. Ryan Blair had been dropped off by boat to explore the area in his kayak, but was unable to leave because he feared being eaten by the "very, very large crocodile," his rescuer, Don MacLeod told Australia's ABC News.

Each time he attempted to escape the island, the creature would move nearer to the kayaker. “He was about four meters away from me, and I thought, ‘This is it,’” the 37-year-old told Australia’s 9news. "It was so close, and if this croc wanted to take me it would not have been an issue. I was scared for my life. I was hard-core praying for God to save me."

Blair tried to signal passing aircraft and boats, but his efforts were unsuccessfull until he was spotted by boatman MacLeod, who is familiar with the large creature. “One day he just happened to surface alongside me as I was going past and my boat's 20 foot long so he was well up towards the 20-foot mark," MacLeod said. “I've seen him several times actually going by quite fast."

After rescuing the tourist, MacLeod gave him a cold beer, "Which was probably the wrong thing to do."

Only 24 hours after saving the kayaker, MacLeod helped another man whose boat was under attack by a crocodile. "He went up to get some water for his yacht to continue his journey in his little tender, rowed it up and on the way back a croc grabbed it and shook it and punched some large holes in it so he managed to get back here and we pulled it up and patched it up with some putty."

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