November 20, 2014

Martin said he would have time to train for the attempt in 2015.     Photo: Paul Wilkinson/Flickr

Tony Martin Eyes Hour Record

Another big-name cyclist plans attempt

Three-time world champion time trial cyclist Tony Martin is considering a run at the hour record. According to VeloNews, Martin told the German magazine Radsport that an attempt would require a block of dedicated training, but he expected to find time in 2015.

The hour record has received a renewed surge of interest since the UCI changed the rules banning most forms of aerodynamic equipment. German cyclist Jens Voigt was the first to set the record under the new rules in September, riding 31.8 miles in an hour. Just a month later, Austrian upstart Matthias Brändle surpassed that distance by about 2,000 feet, riding 32.2 miles.

Since neither Voight nor Brändle are particularly accomplished time trialists, a specialist like Martin will likely beat their times in the next year. But the German will have competition: Dutch veteran Thomas Dekker and current time trial world champion Bradley Wiggins have confirmed attempts in 2015, and four-time time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara has previously expressed interest in the record.


Honnold says that just as Clif decides what the company is comfortable with, the risks he's willing to take are his call.     Photo: Sender Films/Outside Online

Alex Honnold Speaks Out on Clif Athlete Firings

Climber says he understands company's point of view

Climber Alex Honnold has written an op-ed in the New York Times offering his thoughts on Clif Bar’s recent decision to fire him and four other climbers from its athlete team. As reported last week, the organic energy food brand decided that it is no longer comfortable sponsoring athletes who BASE jump, free solo (climb without ropes or partners), or slackline.

Honnold, 29, is the biggest name in the sport and is known for his unroped ascents of massive granite walls. In his editorial, he writes that he was shocked and disappointed to learn of Clif’s decision but “couldn’t help but understand their point of view.” Just as Clif has decided to draw a line, Honnold explains, he makes his own decisions about the risks he’s willing to take.

Honnold cites comments from Dean Potter, a prominent climber and BASE jumper who was also fired by Clif, expressing the fear that diversity in extreme sports might be snuffed out by sponsors trying to manipulate the culture.

“If sponsors back away from risky behaviors, it may well slowly mold climbing into a safer, more sterile version of what it is today,” Honnold writes. “But I tend to think that whether sponsors support such behavior or not shouldn’t really have any bearing on our motivations.”

“Whether or not we’re sponsored,” he concludes, “the mountains are calling, and we must go.”


Wearable fitness monitors are a "black box" for the human body.     Photo: Courtesy of Fitbit

Fitbit Data to Be Submitted as Court Evidence

Wearable tech numbers used for personal injury claim

In a never-before-seen legal maneuver, a personal trainer in Canada will attempt to use data from her Fitbit activity tracker as evidence for a personal injury claim, reports Forbes. She hopes to demonstrate that since her injury, her activity levels have remained below the baseline for women of her age and line of work, making her deserving of compensation.

The plaintiff’s Fitbit data won’t be used directly. First, the data will be processed through Vivametrica, an analytics platform that compares individual results with the general population. It remains unclear exactly which metrics will be used for comparison.

The case could set a significant precedent. As one of her lawyers told Forbes, wearable tech data could just as well be applied in reverse to either deny a personal injury claim or prosecute a phony one. “Insurers will want it as much as plaintiffs will,” he was quoted as saying.

Writing for the Atlantic, Kate Crawford raises a number of concerns about using data from fitness monitors as legal evidence, including privacy if courts were to start compelling disclosure of health tracker data. She also notes how unreliable wearable monitors can be, particularly when taking into account the wide variability of brands and data collection techniques.