The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Events

Ragnar Running Relays Take Off

All-condition-ski_feTeam 40, with the author at left, kitted out for night racing. Photo: Audrey Brandt.

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

Why run 198 miles in a single weekend?

When it comes to passing on the love of sport to your kids, it’s hard to trump leading by example. So when my Saturday running group started talking about doing the Ragnar Relay Great River Race (GRRR) in Minnesota and Wisconsin in mid-August, before I could shut my mouth, the words, “Sounds like fun! I’ll do it,” were out. Almost immediately, I began second guessing my rash decision. I’d just returned to running after the birth of my fourth son, and I wondered if I’d be up to the challenge of leaving him for a whole weekend, not to mention running 17.5 miles over the course of 36 hours with little to no good sleep and eating so-so food on the fly. (Which, when you think of it, is not much different than parenting a newborn.)

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Tour of California Turned Upside Down for 2013

Amgen ATOC 2013

The Amgen Tour of California has released details of its 2013 course, and for the first time in its eight year history the race will follow a south-to-north route through the state. Not only will the direction be different than in years past, but every stage is also brand new.

"Taking the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) from south to north is something we always knew we wanted to do, and we are thrilled with the way things have come together for 2013," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race. "We think this will bring a whole new element to the competition, not to mention helping us achieve our goal of creating a challenging route year after year while showcasing the very best this state has to offer."

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How We Can Make the Surf Industry Much More Sustainable

Drppy-king-fishPhoto: Sustainable Surf

Here is the good news: Expanded polystyrene (a.k.a. EPS, or the branded name Styrofoam) is recyclable. Here's the bad news: much of it is not recycled and therefore EPS-based surfboards are made from virgin EPS. Some more bad news: Only about 30 percent of surfboards are made with EPS. One more piece of bad news: The most commonly used resins* used in surfboard manufacturing are toxic. Sustainable Surf, a non-profit aimed at helping the surf industry reduce its environmental impact, is hoping to change all of that bad news.

The NGO celebrated the launch of its Ecoboard program, which finally established an industry benchmark that board makers can follow in order to boost the environmental credibility of their products, last week in San Francisco. "Ecoboard is the industry's first third-party science-based benchmark," Sustainable Surf's co-founder Michael Stewart told me.

Stewart is a life-long surfer, and he looks like one. But he's also all business, which becomes apparent as he starts to talk shop, rattling off the attributes of recycled EPS and the potential of using bio-based epoxy for glassing a surfboard instead of using polyester resins. The majority of surfboards on the market today are manufactured with polyurethane foam cores, which can be recycled but aren't in any meaningful quantity, and these boards are made with polyester epoxies.

Prior to launching Sustainable Surf, Stewart worked at Underwriters Laboratories, a standards-setting organization serving the electronics industry. He knows from standards. And he's quick to point out that Sustainable Surf is still a long way from developing a sustainability standard for the surf industry—doing so will be major undertaking. "We're going to build a standard," he says. "But first it's a [bench]mark."

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2012 Red Bull Rampage

This year's Red Bull Rampage may have been overshadowed by Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking free fall, but the fact that it takes a 128,098-foot sky dive to upstage this event should tell you just how severe downhill mountain biking has become. This invitation-only event sees 25 of the world's top mountain bikers riding some unimaginably scary lines on a cliffside outside of Zion, Utah. Canadian Kurt Sorge, 23, took his first-ever title at this year's competition.

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Hurricane Sandy Liveblog

SS13_M_KiaiII_BlkBlk_TPhoto: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

New York, New Jersey, and Maryland are already flooded. Sandy is coming and doesn't look like it'll be another over-hyped New York-centric storm. Record storm surge is expected. Emergency declarations have been signed. Presidential campaigns have been suspended. (Oh God.) And the worst appears yet to come. We'll be covering it all—and we won't be sending you fake storm porn. We promise.

Check back throughout the day for the latest. Most recent updates will be at the top.

Be safe.

8:00 p.m.: This is a time lapse of before, during, and after Sandy, as it hits lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Watch it.

3:00 p.m.: Bloomberg briefing briefing: Basically, only cars containing thre or more people will be allowed in and out of Manhattan. Around 634,000 people in NYC still without power. Approximately 7,300 people in evacuation shelters. No deaths during hospital evacitations. An unnamed person donated $2.5 million to the city for relief. NYC schools closed through end of the week. Knicks-Nets cancelled by NBA. NYC Marathon on Sunday still a go.

5:38 p.m.: Over the past day, reports of looting—fron Queens to Brooklyn—have begun popping up. Fifteen people were arrested in Far Rockaway, Queens—one of the hardest-hit areas and where search-and-rescue crews are currently working—for looting a Radioshack, a liquor store, and other businesses. The NYPD has denied some of the looting-reports, and let's hope this is the last we hear about it.

2:15 p.m.: Tomorro'w Knicks-Nets season opener will be postponed. Bellevue Hosptial in NYC is evacuating over 500 patients. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to temporarily ban all passenger vehicles from entering Manhattan. (UPDATE: He is NOT banning passenger cars.) And the President touched down in New Jersey a few hours ago.

12:47 p.m.: Breezy Point, as we've noted, was devistated by the storm after a fire destroyed over 100 houses. This is the most-harrowing photo (via Gawker) I've seen of Sandy's aftermath. Somehow and thankfully, no one was injured.

Breezy-point

12:40 p.m.: The Long Island Rail Road and Metro North trains will resume limited service at 2 p.m. today. And in somewhat-shcoking news, there will be limited subway service tomorrow. Except, there is no service below 34th street, which is where all the power outages are.

12:35 p.m.: Battery tunnel is still floode, via @NickHeil. (Also, follow Nick, who's in Manhattan on assignment, for updates.)

Battery
12:31 p.m.: NYU update: A woman evacuated from NYU Hospital gives birth. NYU also lost thousands of mice in the storm, destroying years of scientific research. Governor Cuomo said damage to the school "is enormous."

11:51 a.m.: Chris Christie has re-scheduled Halloween, New Jersey-ites:

Wednesday

6:22 p.m.: And that awful number continues to rise:

6:08 p.m.: More Bloomberg: "There were too many generators in Zone A." Wonders why only half of those ordered to evacuate actually did. "We don't order people to leave lightly, it's for their own good." The block with the hanging crane is off limits. He isn't sure if the Knicks-Nets season opener in Brooklyn on Thursday will happen, but he plans to be there if they play. "We are on the road to recovery." 

5:56 p.m.: Latest Bllomberg presser: Confirms there have been 18 deaths in NYC. Bus fares are currently and temporarily free. Trading will resume at the Stock Exchange at 9:30 a.m. EST tomorrow. Coney Island hospital is being evacuated, all others remain open. All city parks are closed. City sanitation will resume tonight, but no recycling until further notice. Criminal courts will remain closed except for emergencies. "We encourage children and adults to enjoy Halloween but use good judgement." The NYC Marathon will "go on as normal, as of now."  

5:18 p.m.: The MTA just released some pretty stunning footage of the flooded subway stations near the southern tip of Manhattan:

5:02 p.m.: As it always does, The Atlantic's In Focus blog has the best roundup of Hi-Res Sandy photos you'll find. 

4:56 p.m.: Reports that people are stranded on Fire Island in New York. The tap water is contaminated:

4:24 p.m.: Little was said about New York's Riker's Island prison last night, admist all the chaos on the Jersey Shore, in Manhattan, and everywhere else, but it was there, filled with 12,000 human beings, sitting in the middle of a record storm surge. However, according to Solitary Watch, things appear to be OK:

Solitary Watch has received the following statement via email from NYC DOC Deputy Commissioner Matthew Nerzig: “No power outages on Rikers last night. No significant flooding or disruption of our operations.  The Commissioner [DOC Commissioner Dora Schriro] spent the night there.”

4:18 p.m.: From the National Guard, here's a helicopter view of the extensive damage along the Jersey Shore:

3:29 p.m.: According to a recent study, the NYC subway could take anywhere from 21 days to a couple of months to get back to near-full functionality from a "100-year stom." Whether or not Sandy is the 100-year stom described in the study remains to be seen—it could be worse—but it's all intereting nonetheless.

3:53 p.m.: Federal agencies in D.C. will be open on Wednesday.

3:16 p.m.: A collapsed house on Long Island:

Freeport

3:02 p.m.: President Obama speaking at the Red Cross: "There is no excuse for inaction at this point...No bureaucracy, no red tape. Get resources where they're needed." He's heading to New Jersey tomorrow to assess the damage with Governor Christie.

2:05 p.m.: Ugh.

2:02 p.m.: A parking lot in Hoboken, New Jersey:

Taxis

1:50 p.m.: An emergency delcaration has been granted to West Virginia.

1:16 p.m.: Over at BuzzFeed Shift, Anna North has a great, comprehensive list of all the ways you can help out with Sandy relief, no matter where you live.

12:39 p.m.: It's snowing in Maryland. Right now.

12:35 p.m.: This is gate C34 at LaGuardia airport in New York. (Via @ryanhatesthis)

Laguardia

12:01 p.m.: Yep, roller coaster in the Atlantic Ocean:

Coaster

11:57 a.m.: Wow, still snowing real hard in West Virginia:

11:37 a.m.: President Obama has cancelled all scheduled campaign events for tomorrow and will remain in Washington to deal with Sandy's aftermath.

11:18 a.m.: Even more Bloomberg: No first responders were lost. Thinks ConEd and the subways could be up and running in three to four days, but would be happy if that's the case. Believes they responded to all emergncy requests. Expects no more flooding and isn't worried about the nuclear reactor. City water is safe to drink.

11:12 a.m.: More Bloomberg: Cabs now allowed to pick up more than one passenger. NYC schools closed tomorrow. "We expected a storm with unprecedented impact in New York City, and that's what we got." 

11:06 a.m.: Mayor Bloomberg is giving a press conference: More 80 houses believed to have been destroyed. Ten people in NYC are dead, expects number to climb. Biggest challenges are getting mass transit and electricity back up. 750,000 without power. Power could be out in some spots for two-to-three more days, if not longer. Subways are down indefinitely, but limited bus service could resume later today.

11:01 a.m.: A boat on the train tracks in Westchester, New York:

10:59 a.m.: The Williamsburg and Brooklyn bridges have been re-opened.

10:47 a.m.: The latest from Long Island, where electricity's scarce:

10:43 a.m.: More from Christie: There are rail cars on the New Jersey Turnpike. "We may have to reschedule Halloween." Recovery could take months. And: "I don't give a damn about election day."

10:40 a.m.: Photo of the heavy snow in West Virginia:

10:29 a.m.: The latest from Chris Christie:

10:23 a.m.: Parts of West Virginia are buried in snow:

10:21 a.m.: Over 18,000 people in Haiti are now homeless—they were previously living in tent camps—because of Sandy.

10:11 a.m.: Some more flooding. This from Manhattan's East Village. (Via Instagram)

Ev

10:00 a.m.: Via ABC, a tanker ... on the street in Staten Island:

Tanker
Credit: ABC

 

9:47 a.m.: Part of the Atlatic City boardwalk is totally gone:

9:39 a.m.: The 86th Street subway in Brooklyn is flooded above the platform. (Via HyperVocal)

Bk

9:36 a.m.: This is what Breezy Point looks like post-fire. Terrible:

Breezy

9:33 a.m.: Here's the latest satelittle photo of the still-huge storm:

Sandy

9:28 a.m.: A fire in Breezy Point, Queens destroyed more than 50 homes.

9:10 a.m.: An overnight update: ConEd says it could take days to repair the blown 14th street transformer, leaving thousands in Manhattan without power. NYU Hosptial was successfully evacuated. More than 7.5 million people are currently without power. Parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania were dumped with snow. The damage to the NYC subway system is the worst in its 108-year history. President Obama has declared a major disaster in New York and New Jersey. Estimates put the total economic cost of the storm as high as $20 billion. And more important than all of that, the death toll is currently at 16.

Tuesday

12:00 p.m.: Looks like the storm surge is dying down and the most-intense phase has passed. But people are still being evacuated from storm-hit towns, and hospitals are still running on limited generator power. There's still a ton of water in the streets. Plus, all of the problems that come with abolutely massive power outages. So, be safe and stay inside tonight. We'll see you in the morning when the sun comes back out. 

11:29 p.m.: Hospital updates: NYU patients are being moved to Sloan Kettering and Mount Sinai Hosptial. And FDNY has reached Coney Island Hospital. Currently, no reports of fire or injuries

11:24 p.m.: Looks like the NYU Hosptial situation is under control, but nothing official just yet.

11:17 p.m.: In lower Manhattan, police are literally better off using canoes at this point:

11:01 p.m.: An alert has been declared at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey:

An Alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels. The Alert was preceded by an Unusual Event, declared at approximately 7 p.m. EDT when the water level first reached a minimum high water level criteria. Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge. It is anticipated water levels will begin to abate within the next several hours.

10:53 p.m.: Oh man. Coney Island Hospital is on fire, but the FDNY can't access it because it's surrounded by "three to four feet of water."

10:42 p.m.: Another surreal photo—they basically all are at this point:

10:32 p.m.: More scary news:

10:25 p.m.: Five minutes might be too many minutes, even:

10:18 p.m.: In the worst news, Sandy's death toll continues to rise:

10:14 p.m.: The power is out at NYU Hospital. Patients are being evacuated.

9:58 p.m.: Where the Twin Towers once stood ...

9:50 p.m.: A tree fell on a car in New Jersey, killing two people, according to reports.

9:46 p.m.: ConEd power station on 14th Street and Avenue D—lower, eastern Manhattan—explodes:

9:41 p.m.: Video of the building collapse from earlier:

9:35 p.m.: The Hoboken PATH station—trains from Manhattan to Jersey—is flooded. I took this train every weekday for summer and you probably don't care but whatever. Just look at this. (Via Mocksession)

Hoboken

9:31 p.m.: Not all of Manhattan is dark. Stunning photo from The Times.

9:16 p.m.: High tide is here:

9:11 p.m.: Bad news—well, this is all bad news—but the subways are starting to flood. Salt water will ruin switches and etc. Don't expect the subways to be running for a while. Manhattan without the subway is chaos—but that seems, and is, totally unimportant right now.

9:09 p.m.: Looks like ice and snow in Virginia:

9:03 p.m.: It might be too late for some/most of these, but Quartz has a guide for keeping your phone charged, sans power, for the next 48 hours.

8:58 p.m.: Reports of another Sandy-related death. This one from Canada:

8:51 p.m.: Eerier. (Empire State Building, via @bzcohen)

Empire

8:47 p.m.: Eerie.

8:42 p.m.: Reports of power outages all throughout lower Manhattan. This is the view from Brooklyn:

8:30 p.m.: Fire Department headquarters are being evacuated ... by boat:

8:23 p.m.: Times Square is completely empty. (Times Square is never completely empty.)

8:16 p.m.: Reports of transformers blowing across the tri-state area. Neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan flooded. Subway bridges are underwater. Record storm surge in Battery Park. There's a good chance the city's subways are flooded. And the Statue of Liberty's torch just went out.

8:09 p.m.: Listen to this live EMS scanner in Brooklyn to get an idea for what's really going on. Crazy.

8:05 p.m.: Power outages continue to climb:

7:59 p.m.: Damn. WNBC reporting the first Sandy-related death:

7:55 p.m.: Aaaaand part of eastern Manhattan is totally flooded:

7:22 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has downgraded the storm to "post-tropical." The Weather Channel is now referring to it as "Superstorm Sandy." Winds are currently as high as 85 miles per hour.

7:20 p.m.: Power outage update:

7:00 p.m.: A photo of the collapsed building-cum-dollhouse (via @MegRobertson):

Dollhouse

6:46 p.m.: A four-story building just collapsed in Manhattan. No one was trapped but yikes.

6:43 p.m.: The Yale Club just dropped its dress-code requirements for "Yalies" stuck in Manhattan seeking shelter. YO THIS JUST GOT REAL.

6:33 p.m.: And it looks like Sandy's finally hit land in New Jersey:

6:07 p.m.: Mayor Bloomberg speaks. Summary: He's issued summonses to people who've tried to surf. Tells residents to watch out for trees with leaves, stay out of elevators. Public transportation to remain closed through all of tomorrow. Storm surge expected around 8:15 tonight. Sanitation crews are scheduled to begin work tomorrow morning at 9. No fatalities so far—one jogger was injured. "Try to relax and spend the night in." (Also: Bloomberg's ASL translator is the best.) (Also also: follow @ElBloombito for Spanish-language Sandy updates.) 

5:40 p.m.: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tells residents of Atlantic City that he won't be sending any first responders until tomorrow morning. He's also not too happy with the city's mayor:

5:25 p.m.: Via The Atlantic Wire's excellent liveblog, here's a list of hurricane resources on Twitter in case your power goes out but your smart phone still works.

5:17 p.m.: There is a pretty extreme dude shredding some SICK waves in New York Harbor on a jetski. And by "pretty extreme dude" I mean "complete jackass." Don't be that guy, please.

5:06 p.m.: This appears to be real, which, OH MY GOD.

5:00 p.m.: Oh, just Cory Booker doing some mayor-ing, generally being a hero:

4:35 p.m.: NOAA just released their latest Sandy update. Landfall is expected early this evening.

4: 22 p.m.: FEMA has about $3.6 billion available for disaster relief and response to Sandy. Last year, they had about $270 million available for Hurricane Irene.

4:19 p.m.: More power outages hit the east coast:

4:16 p.m.: If you're still in Manhattan, you're not leaving any time soon:

4:01 p.m.: Government says federal offices will remain closed tomorrow.

3:49 p.m.: No Internet? You can still use the Internet, BuzzFeed's John Herrman explains. (Note: read that before you have no Internet.)

3:45 p.m.: Despite the report, the World Trade Center crane is still up:

3:34 p.m.: Sandy eats the bottom of a street in Centerport, Long Island:

Centerport

3:34 p.m.: Not the World Trade Center, Sandy.

3:29 p.m.: Rather than revealing my personal preferences by embedding any live webcams here—you suck, Midtown—I'll direct you to this super-extensive list of live webcams over at The Atlantic.

3:20 p.m.: Terrifying devlopment: Guy Fieri is immune to hurricanes. He can not be stopped. The communion hosts at your local mass will soon be dipped in Chipotle Cheez Wiz:

3:14 p.m.: Wondering "What is Lindsay Lohan thinking about this storm?" Well, here ya go, frighteningly-weird human (?) being:

3:06 p.m.: If you are a person-who-is-stranded-inside-because-of-Sandy-but-still-has-electricity-and-also-has-Netflix, The Awl is here for you with some recommendations. Bonus recommendation: There is this Norweigan death metal documentary on Netflix. Watch something that isn't that.

3:00 p.m.: More flooding from Long Island. This is in West Babylon, and that fence has since disappeared.

  Babylon

2:54 p.m.: Welp, looks like the crane already crashed down. STAY INSIDE PLEASE.

2:50 p.m.: If you're outside in  mid-to-upper Manhattan—which, what the hell are you doing?—stay away from 57th street. That's a dangling crane.

2:41 p.m.: Hurricane-force winds hit the Jersey Shore:

2:35 p.m.: Con-Edison has put out automated calls to Manhattan residents, telling them their power may be cut becuase of the storm.

2:26 p.m.: Some flooding from Northport Harbor, Long Island:

Nport

2:21 p.m.: All ACELA and Northeast Regional Amtrak service for tomorrow has been suspended.

2:12 p.m.: Barometric pressure continues to drop to ridiculously-low levels:

2:06 p.m.: The latest NOAA advisory was just released:

AT 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE SANDY WAS LOCATED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT AND NOAA DOPPLER WEATHER RADARS TO BE NEAR LATITUDE 38.3 NORTH...LONGITUDE 73.1 WEST.  SANDY IS NOW MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 28 MPH... 44 KM/H. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING UNTIL LANDFALL OCCURS...FOLLOWED BY A TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST TONIGHT. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF SANDY IS EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG OR JUST SOUTH OF THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY COAST BY EARLY EVENING.

 

2:01 p.m.: In case you missed it, that photo of the of the guards at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier is from September. If you want to continue having friends, stop sharing it. Here's the real one:

Unknown soldier

1:54 p.m.: Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey are basically underwater. More photos here.

Wawa
1:43 p.m.: Electricity is already gone in some spots.

1:40 p.m. EST: The stock market is closed today and will be closed tomorrow. Same goes for New York City public schools. The NYC subway is also off-service until further notice.

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