August 29, 2011
Levi Leipheimer

Levi Leipheimer     Photo: Petit Brun/Flickr

Leipheimer Wins Cycling Challenge

Levi takes 3rd title of the summer

Levi Leipheimer won the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Sunday, finishing seventh on the race's 70.9-mile final stage into Denver and preserving an 11-second lead over runner-up Christian Vande Velde. Leipheimer's victory on the the seven-day, 518-mile PCC is his third stage-race title of the summer, following wins at the six-day Tour of Utah earlier this month and the nine-day Tour of Switzerland in June. "The victory means so much to me, mainly because of the way we raced," Leipheimer said. "It took some of the best form of my life to beat Christian and Tejay [Van Garderen, who finished third]." Tour de France champion Cadel Evans finshed seventh, a minute and 18 seconds back. An estimated one million people attended the race, well exceeding pre-event estimates. "They said it was the largest crowd of any stage in the history of American cycling," said Shawn Hunter, race CEO and co-chairman. "What a great way to cap off the week."

Read more at ESPN


Flooding on Staten Island

Flooding on Staten Island in the wake of Hurricane Irene     Photo: ThomasReggi/Flickr

Hurricane Kayakers Rescued in New York

Men given summonses after capsizing off Staten Island

Police rescued two kayakers in the ocean off of Staten Island on Saturday night after the men ignored hurricane warnings and capsized their boats in rough waters. The kayakers, 34 and 37, were paddling off of Great Kills when a five-foot wave overturned their kayaks. Both men were wearing lifejackets and spent about 30 minutes floating in the water before a harbor boat found and retrieved them. The rescue efforts, which included some 25 emergency units, were complicated by thick fog and waves. In a news conference late Saturday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the pair's decision to venture out in the storm "a reckless act that diverted badly-needed NYPD resources." The pair were issued summonses after returning to the marina on Staten Island. While Manhattan weathered Hurricane Irene largely unscathed, severe flooding in Staten Island trapped 63 people on Sunday morning. Vermont and other states in the northeast continue to experience serious flooding today.



Yosemite Fire

Yosemite Fire     Photo: Dawn Endico/Flickr

Fire Chars Yosemite's Merced River Valley

Motor Fire has consumed 4,700 acres

The U.S. Forest Service evacuated several campgrounds and 70 homes over the weekend while firefighters battled a 4,755-acre wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park. Dubbed the Motor Fire because it started in a recreational motor vehicle on Thursday, the fire is burning in challenging terrain and has proved difficult to fight. More than 800 fire fighters and 13 aircraft carrying flame retardant chemicals have responded. Officials estimate that the blaze is roughly 35 percent contained. Both the Incline and Merced River campgrounds have been closed, as well as Yosemite Highway 140, one of the park's main entrances.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle


Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius     Photo: Elvar Freyr/Flickr

Pistorius, Bolt out at World Champs

Pistorius misses final, Bolt DQ-ed

In a chaotic first weekend at the World Track and Field Championships in South Korea, Oscar Pistorius and Usain Bolt, perhaps the sport's two most popular runners, both struggled to find the finish line in their respective events. Pistorius, an amputee who runs with carbon-fiber prosthetic legs below the knee, qualified for the semi-final of the 400 meters with a strong 45.39 first-round run on Saturday. But on Monday afternoon in Daegu, he finished last in his semi-final heat and did not qualify for Tuesday's final. "I would have liked to perform better tonight,'' he said. Bolt, the world record holder at both 100 and 200 meters, had no trouble getting to the starting line of the 100, but was disqualified after moving too early out of the blocks in Sunday's final. He was caught under a new and controversial "one and done" false-start rule, which the IAAF will likely review before the London Olympics next year. Bolt's Jamaican teammate Johan Blake won the race in 9.91 seconds, with American Walter Dix second. Bolt and Pistorius will each have an opportunity for redemption later this week. Pistorius is expected to lead off South Africa's 4 by 400-meter relay on Wednesday, and Bolt will run the 200 meters on Friday. "I know that I am now in good shape," Bolt said Monday.

Read more at Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press


Karokoram mountain range

Karokoram mountain range     Photo: Baldiri/Wikimedia

Notable First Ascent in Kashmir

Alpine Club pres. hospitalized in descent

An expedition of three American climbers recorded the first ascent of India's Saser Kangri II last week, the world's second-highest unclimbed mountain. At 24,665-feet, the peak sits in the eastern Karakoram range in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and has seen several unsuccessful summit bids, including an expedition in 2009 that included Steve Swenson, the current president of the American Alpine Club. Swenson became gravely ill as the team, which included Swenson, former club president Mark Richey, and author Freddie Wilkinson, descended from the summit. He was evacuated by helicopter on Friday from the group's advanced base camp at more than 19,000 feet and later recovered at hospital in India. The world's highest unclimbed mountain is believed to be Bhutan's Gangkhar Puensum, a 24,800-foot peak that is closed to climbing for religious reasons.

Read more at Rock and Ice