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Dispatches : Celebrities

The Cycle Life: George Hincapie talks Paris-Roubaix

©BMC/Tim de Waele.

This Sunday, BMC Racing Team's George Hincapie will line up for his 16th Paris-Roubaix as the top American contender. At 37 years old, he's been trying to win this monument of cycling for a long time and come heartbreakingly close (seven times in the top ten, including 2nd in 2005 and 4th in 1999 and 2001). At last week's Tour of Flanders, BMC proved that it's up to supporting him: The team almost singlehandedly brought back the dangerous breakaway duo of Fabian Cancellara and Sylvain Chavanel, and both Hincapie and teammate Alessandro Ballan reached the line in the select first group of 12, finishing 6th and 12th respectively.

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Video: Surfer Alana Blanchard and Crew Dance Off

Surfer Alana Blanchard just turned 21. To get ready for the big bash, she practiced her dance moves with some of her friends on tour. Warm up video above.

Alana Blanchard, Photo by Chris Straley                                     Surfer Alana Blanchard, Photo by Chris Straley

For more on the 21-year-old surfer, check out our XX Factor column and gallery.

Via TransWorld Surf

--Joe Spring

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Lindsey Vonn Wins Three Titles in Three Days

Lindsey Vonn Lindsey Vonn in Germany last March. Courtesy of Flickr

Lindsey Vonn had a good weekend in Taraviso, Italy. She defended her super combined title on Friday, won her fourth downhill championship title on Saturday, and won the World Cup Super G on Sunday, according to the Vancouver Sun.

With Sunday's performance, Vonn now has 41 world cup wins. She beat out teammate Julia Mancuso by 0.23 seconds and German rival Maria Riesch by 0.50 seconds. Vonn leads Reisch in the Super G standings by a margin of 171 points. And with only one race remaining this season, Vonn's place at the top seems secure.

--Will Grant

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Update: Lama Geshe back in Pangboche

Everest_2008_0513-225x169 I am very pleased to pass on this note from Lama Geshe's son, Jigme, on the condition of his father, Lama Geshe.

As I have previously reported, Lama Geshe suffered a  stroke around September 20, 2010. He was flown to Kathmandu, paralyzed  and in poor condition.  He  had surgery and spent many months recovering in Kathmandu.

If you do not know Lama Geshe, he lives in the Nepalese village of Pangboche with his  wife and family. He is the highest ranking Buddhist Lama in the area.  Almost every climber to the Everest region visits him to receive a  blessing before their climb. For many climbers and trekkers, this is one  of the highlights and life long memory of their visit to Nepal.

This is the update from Jigme:

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Remembering Skier Ryan Hawks

Ryan Hawks, Photo by Frank Shine                                                 Skier Ryan Hawks, Photo by Frank Shine

On Tuesday, we posted news on the death of freeskier Ryan Hawks. The 25-year-old skier suffered fatal injuries after attempting a backflip off of a 40-foot cliff and crashing during the American Freeskiing Championships in Kirkwood, California. Three other skiers were injured in the competition this weekend, according to reports on Hawks likely crashed in an area that had hard snow, thus suffering a different kind of impact.

“Some of the other guys who hit the same air as Hawks, they landed right at the base of the cliff, so in deep snow,” Chris Tatsuno, a fellow competitor told “And Hawks came in hot enough to throw a backflip and enough to get it around and land it to his feet. But from the photos I’ve seen, he was easily another 10 feet down from the other guys’ landings. So maybe it was harder snow there.”

Hawks is the third death resulting from freeskiing competitions in the last few year, according to ESPN.

Hawks was an avid skier who took time off in the winter to ski while earning and engineering degree in the fall and summer at the University of Vermont. He grew up skiing in Mad River Glen and later skied as part of the Green Mountain Freeride team. Since his death, friends and competitors have responded with thoughts on his life. Here is some of what they have said about him.

Skier Ryan Hawks, Photo by Frank Shine                                             Skier Ryan Hawks, Photo by Frank Shine

“Skiing was his total passion,” said his half-sister, Samantha Stetson of South Burlington. “The kid loved fresh snow, cool air and flying high. He was an incredible athlete and an incredible brother, and he lived life to the fullest; he definitely squeezed a lot of fun into his 25 years of life.”

"We'd all agree he was one of the happiest people we'd ever met," said Hawks' close friend Lars Chickering Ayers, also a member of Green Mountain Freeride and a competitor in the Freeskiing World Tour. "He brought that to the ski community. He was loved by everyone he met. He was always positive and that was his way of being."

"I've known him since he was a little kid," Mad River's Eric Friedman said. "Ryan was very famous for going very big. His nickname was Flyin' Ryan. He always thrilled the crowd."
"He was a very nice kid, that's the worst part,” Friedman said. “Skiing was just a small part of his life."

“He had a good head about him as far as skiing was concerned. What he did at the comp wasn’t outside his limits. He had been training really hard this fall,” said Chris Tatsuno. “And it wasn’t just the skiing that drove him—it was about the community and being part of that and living in a van with Lars and Silas [Chickering-Ayers] and going to the Freeskiing World Tour comps. … The Green Mountain Freeride crew built something basically out of nothing. They said, ‘Hey, we’re going to represent the east coast,’ and now Lars is basically now winning the Freeride World Tour and they’re all on the rise.”

--Joe Spring


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