By Jury-Rigged Mainsail and the Grace of God
What does it take to get through the 27,000-mile solo around-the-world sailing race known as the BOC Challenge? For starters, a healthy dose of courage, an unhealthy streak of imprudence, and the unwavering ability to keep your wits in 70-knot winds and 60-foot seas. Sometimes, of course, even that isn't enough. By Craig Vetter
The Marvelous, Manic Drive of Juli Furtado
Fueled by the furnace of her haunting past--and by enough caffeine to shred the hearts of mere mortals--the world's most dominant mountain biker rides not with the grace of a champion, but with the raw fury of a woman trying to break free. By Sara Corbett
Without a Trace
On November 4, 1994, Jeff Wandich set out with three good buddies for a day of fishing and diving in the Gulf of Mexico. When he was found two days later, naked and alone atop a light tower 52 miles off the Florida coast, all that was left were unanswered questions, soon to be replaced by lingering doubts, scurrilous rumors, and a hard lesson in human nature. By Randy Wayne White
It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Case of Spam!
Up in the sky over Texas, all manner of inanimate objects--bowling balls, vintage automobiles, a universally reviled brand of canned luncheon meat--are taking flight, the awe-inspiring handiwork of terrifying ancient technology. A report from the medieval launching pad, where the purest principles of physics are on display in true ten-gallon style. By Paul Kvinta
BASE jumpers and the feds resume their land-use dispute--and their finger-pointing--after a top leaper suffers a bone-shattering mishap. Shocking stats and "isolated" cases point to hantavirus threat for backpackers. Will the "all-terrain" Tour de France gain the regal air of its slick-tired sibling? Actuarial greens cry foul over Gregg Easterbrook's provocative new book, A Moment on the Earth. Plus: Alien B-movie menaces come under entomologist's microscope; microchip-tagged bass bring down a fish-smuggling ring; an aviator's $500,000 dream flames out in the Arctic; Alison Hargreaves becomes the first woman to solo Everest sans oxygen--or does she? and more.
The Wild File
Is it true that mushrooms are really animals? Is there any evolutionary reason for the stench of scat? Why are the oceans salty?
The Park Service's unheralded wonders: from the multihued waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the subalpine meadows of the northern Cascades, eight little-known refuges for last-minute escapes that are blissfully free of the summer hordes. Plus: Bulletins Heading to the top of New Hampshire's 6,288-foot Mount Washington via pedal power, coast-to-coast Costa Rica with Earth Island Institute's Sea Turtle Resoration Project, and more.
Great strength, less tedium: why constantly mixing things up in the weight room is the fastest route to a bigger, more powerful you. No rest for muscle fibers: varied, rapid-fire lifting designed to make the most of your exhaustion. Sport-specific, do-it-yourself massage techniques for road cyclists, mountain bikers, climbers, and runners. Plus: Training for this fall's century ride without giving up the rest of your summer, reading between the lines on your vitamin jar in light of new federal labeling laws.
One tent fits all: eight three-season-plus models that can comfortably house you, a campmate, and your gear from the first bloom of spring through the blustery cusp of winter. Technical, fast-wicking garments for the hot-and-humid season.
Plus: Black Diamond's eminently logical SuperGenius climbing pack; snug-fitting, rigid-soled new mountain-biking shoes from Sidi; on the 150th anniversary of Walden, two new titles dissect the work of Henry David Thoreau; Wild Planet! 1,001 Extraordinary Events for the Inspired Traveler, by Tom Clynes; and more.
Between the Lines