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Dispatches : Adventure Lab

Big-Wave Surfer Peter Mel Wins Mavericks Invitational

Roughly 14 years after first competing, California native Peter Mel took home his first Mavericks Invitational victory in intermittent but powerful waves up to 30 feet. The 43-year-old big-wave veteran, who grew up in Santa Cruz, surfed the inaugural event in 1999. "I’m satisfied with just competing at this high of a level at such an extremely difficult spot to surf. That already gives me a great sense of accomplishment," Mel told Surfer. "But this is one event that I’ve been competing in and wanting to win for so many years, so for that it feels really, really amazing."

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Putting Out Water for the Birds, And Getting Some Really Big Cats

Depending on where you live, the above video might make you think twice about putting water out for the birds. On January 17, a certain non-profit posted the video on their Facebook page with the following note: "During the drought in Colorado, a kind woman in a remote area put a pan of water out for the birds. Check out who else appreciated a drink!"

Watch the entire thing.

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8 Important Reactions to Oprah's Lance Armstrong Interview

On Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein published an interview with former Armstrong bike mechanic Mike Anderson. Anderson was fired after he found steroids while cleaning his boss’ apartment. Anderson said that Armstrong promised to help him open up a bike shop, and that after the firing he tried to negotiate a deal to make that happen. Armstrong sued Anderson and sent out information to reporters discrediting Anderson as a disgruntled employee. Anderson, who now lives in New Zealand and works at a bike shop, told Epstein that he wouldn’t watch Oprah’s interview with the cyclist.

“Since it's Lance and since I have such a cynical view of him, why would I even bother? I've wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy with that guy for way too long,” said Anderson. “That aside, there's not going to be any real genuine contrition. What's the point? I kind of enjoy getting everyone else's view. I know what he's like. I know he's completely lacking empathy. I know this. I've seen it. I don't think that suddenly he's turned 180 degrees and become a normal human being who thinks and feels like the majority of us do."

In the interview, Armstrong said that he doped. He said that at the time he was doping, he did not think it was wrong or cheating. He did not offer new, detailed information about how he doped or implicate others that were involved. He did not offer a public apology.

Here are the views of eight other people who watched the interview and are connected to Armstrong.

TYLER HAMILTON in VeloNews:

“I think it’s a huge, huge first step for Lance Armstrong,” Hamilton, one of 11 former teammates to testify against the U.S. cycling star, told NBC television’s Today Show.

“For a lot of people, it’s raw. I’ve known about it for a long time, since 1998. Big first step,” said Hamilton, whose 2012 book, The Secret Race, described doping by Armstrong.

“You can tell, it’s real. He’s very emotional and he’s definitely sorry. I don’t know. I think it’s going to be a hard next few weeks for him, next few months, years,” he said. “He did the right thing, finally. And it’s never too late to tell the truth.”

BETSY ANDREU on Anderson Cooper 360, responding to the fact that Armstrong said he would not answer Oprah’s question about whether he admitted to doping while being treated in a hospital room for cancer in 1996:

“You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it? And now we’re supposed to believe you? You had one chance at the truth. This is it.”

“If the hospital room didn’t happen,” Andreu told Cooper, “just say it didn’t happen. But he won’t do it because it did happen. But if this is his way of saying, ‘OK, I don’t want to go there, we’ll give it to her,’ that is not good enough. That is not being transparent. That’s not being completely honest. That’s skirting the issue.”

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Living the Outdoor Life Year-Round in London

Richard Roberts is a London piano tuner who abandoned his apartment and is living a life outdoors so that he can pay off his student debt. He bikes around town and sleeps in a bivy bag on a four-season mat—in a different location just about every night. He blogs about everything at piano-tuning.co.uk/blog/. It's an interesting chronicle, not just because you get to explore London outdoors at night through his lens, but because he takes you inside the homes of the city's residents: swiss bankers, athletic trainers, hunters, etc.

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What's Inside Conrad Anker's Gear Room?

What things does a great climber keep in his gear room? Conrad Anker answers that question in the video embedded above, in which he offers Black Diamond a tour of his basement lair. There's plenty of new climbing equipment, Alex Lowe memorabilia, expedition journals from places like Meru, a carabiner from Mugs Stump, and, well, just watch the video.

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