WHOLE HEALTH: ASK QUESTIONS, LIVE LONGER
Editor’s Choice: BACKPACK, ROAD RUN
FALL PRODUCT PICKS
Baby’s First Ride Nepal’s Wild West
3 SISTERS HIKING THE HIMALAYAS
Flavors of Fall
TREE-INSPIRED TRENDS BUILD A SAND-DUNE CASTLE COLOR’S PERFORMANCE POWER
THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V8N3
FALL 2010 Display Until November 15 WomENsaDVENTuREmagazINE.com
LESSONS FROM YOUR BIKE, AN IRONWOMAN’S TUNES, CONCERTS FOR CANCER, ESCAPE BOSTON, CYCLOCROSS VOCAB, BRAZILIAN FOOTBALLERS, MEET A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, PLUS: FIRE LOOKOUT TOWERS, AND MORE!
REUSE REDUCE RECYCLE
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Danielle Shapiro; cover photo: wooDS wheatcroft
Fall Editor’s Choice Awards
Shoulder season doesn’t mean it’s time to slow down, but your focus might shift from fun to function. Ours, too. Backpacking and road runs are our favorite ways to watch fall roll in, and we’ve looked into all the gear that will get you going this season.
When Kristin Butcher realized fear was getting the best of her, she didn’t buy a self-help book. Instead, she entered one of the most grueling and selective races in mountain bike history. She assumed her biggest obstacle would be preparing for the 65mile sufferfest. And it was, until two weeks before the race—when everything changed. By Kristin Butcher
On a visit to the rugged rural mountains of western Nepal, writer Danielle Shapiro discovered a land rich in natural beauty and poor in nearly every other way. Meet the three-sister team that is changing the lives of Nepali women; one trail, one guide, and one trek at a time. By Danielle Shapiro
To Hell and Back
Nepal’s Wild West
OFALL’2010” Departments [ THE DIRT ]
People, Places, and Things from Our Outdoor World
Mechanics of Love
Travel: Under an ice floe; how yoga balances an adventure vacay; your above ground wilderness front door; sunny sand-dune escapes; things to do in Door County, Wisconsin; and boats vs. bikes in Boston, Massachusetts Planet Earth: Brazil’s football babes, and rocking cancer’s world Fun Stuff: Ironwoman musical tastes, lessons from your road bike, weather phenoms your kids can spot, tree-inspired trends, and four reads for fall Inspiration and Information: Meet a documentary filmmaker, a 10-minute commuter-cyclist makeover, natural fibers taking over the performanceapparel world, vegan victory, forest facts and figures, a record setting run for nuns (and funds), and cyclocross vocab for beginners [ LOVE ON THE ROCKS ]
Sometimes getting over a break-up can be as easy as building a bike. Studyup before splitting up and you’re already one step ahead.
[ PSYCHOBABBLE ]
The Power of Color
Can the color palette you choose make or break your summit push or ski season? Superman’s strength might have had more to do with the color of his cape than kryptonite.
[ SENSE OF PLACE ]
The Touching That Lasts
Kent Nelson’s book, The Touching that Lasts, examines human relationships through the leaves of trees and settings of nature. This excerpt from the title essay examines a child’s sense of knowing her own father.
[ TRY THIS ]
Catching a fish is as easy as casting a fly—which is to say, easier than you think. Plus: First-timer tips from a Wyoming girl’s guide.
[ WHOLE HEALTH ]
History 101: Your Medical Family Tree
A long life is only hereditary if you follow your grandma’s good advice. Red flags to look for in your family tree and ways to cut your risk.
WHOLE HEALTH: ASK QUESTIONS, LIVE LONGER
p. 49 FALL 2010
[ FULL ]
Roots We Dig
FALL PRODUCT PICKS
Baby’s First Ride Nepal’s Wild West
3 SISTERS HIKING THE HIMALAYAS
Flavors of Fall
[ IT’S PERSONAL ]
$4.99 US $6.99 CAN V8N3
Two Hundred Miles with Sky…Almost
TREE-INSPIRED TRENDS BUILD A SAND-DUNE CASTLE COLOR’S PERFORMANCE POWER
THRIVE IN THE WILD™
FALL 2010 Display Until November 15
LESSONS FROM YOUR BIKE, AN IRONWOMAN’S TUNES, CONCERTS FOR CANCER, ESCAPE BOSTON, CYCLOCROSS VOCAB, BRAZILIAN FOOTBALLERS, MEET A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, PLUS: FIRE LOOKOUT TOWERS, AND MORE!
64. Playground 2
BACKPACK, ROAD RUN
Giving up goals doesn’t have to mean losing your self.
Seven nutrient-packed underground sensations that anyone can cook—and almost no one will screw up.
8/19/10 11:20:40 AM
After achieving the American dream, complete with a house, 401K and lucrative career in software engineering, Kristin Butcher hit the reset button on life and went for something a little less certain. She and her husband sold nearly all of their worldly possessions and spent two years living on the road as part of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, teaching people all across North America how to build trails. During that time, she rode in 44 states and four Canadian provinces—and ate lunch at more gas stations than should be allowed by the FDA. When Kristin’s not writing about people, the outdoors, and, of course, bikes, she might be flailing on a snowboard, trying to remember where she left her keys, or appreciating the way life slows down when you’re surrounded by a hammock of trees.
Working with Mirinda Carfrae on this month’s “Playlist” (page 23) made Women’s Adventure’s assistant editor Heather Hansman seriously reconsider her musical choices. “I’m starting to think I’d be a much faster biker if I listened to more Rihanna,” she says. Heather also wrote “Your Health” (page 31) and has been contributing gear review expertise, along with her editing skills, for the past several issues. She’s based in Boulder, Colorado, but leaves the wanna-be mountain town as often as possible to hike, paddle, and ski in the Rockies—which has been less often since she joined the staff of Skiing magazine as an assistant editor last June. In addition to Women’s Adventure, Heather’s writing has appeared in Skiing, SKI, Competitor, and the Denver Post, and her essay, “The Cost of Sheep,” won the 2010 Thompson Award for Western American Writing. Her preferred pump-up playlist: Passion Pit’s “Little Secrets,” J Dilla’s “Reality TV,” and Hanson’s “Mmm Bop.”
Molly Loomis Molly Loomis lives, writes, and plays in Teton Valley, Idaho, located just outside Grand Teton National Park. An avid climber, skier, and mountaineer, Molly spent many years working as a guide in mountain ranges around the world. Now she puts her mountain sense to work writing as a contributing editor at Climbing magazine and as author of Climbing: Self Rescue, published by Mountaineers Books. Molly wrote this month’s “Roar” (page 32) and has this to say about her subject: “Lisa Smith Batchen has become an example for a lot of Teton women that it is possible to be a high-level athlete even as you raise a family, even as you get older. I remember overhearing one girl, an accomplished, hard-core mountain biker, comment during one of Lisa’s infamous workout classes, ‘This lady is totally qualified to kick my butt,’ she said. The girl was half Lisa’s age!” Molly’s writing about conservation, outdoor adventure, and travel has appeared in publications such as National Geographic News, Afar, Sierra, and Backpacker.
Photo ©2009 Christina Kiffney Photography
Celebrating women in the outdoor industries
The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition is the only organization focused on helping women pursue and excel at careers in the outdoor industries through networking events, educational seminars, online resources and recognition awards–at tradeshows and regionally in key cities across
Learn more about OIWC programs and activities at
the country. SpeCial thankS to:
Some say that success is 90 percent attitude and 10 percent aptitude— which is also the ratio of luck to parenting skill that my father says is the formula for raising good kids. My parents would probably claim to have four-leaf clovers in their pockets with regard to how my siblings and I turned out, but I think that they created their own luck when it came to raising a successful brood. They backed off so we could learn some lessons first hand and stepped in to offer support when we needed it. From my first solo sail at the age of six to a high school year I spent halfway around the world, they let me set and push limits that define who I’ve become. Whether or not your parents let you sail into the sunset, they probably have something to do with the fact that you’re reading this magazine today. Here at Women’s Adventure, we’ve often shied away from parenting topics in favor of feeding our readers’ wilderness-based interests instead. In this issue, though, parenting comes up a lot. In part by pleasant coincidence, partly because you asked for it in our recent reader survey, and partly because this issue’s kid-heavy line-up was written by moms who rank high in terms of their personal commitment to adventure. These women give their perspective on the uncertainly of parenthood in fun, insightful stories that—mother or not—I think you’ll enjoy. In the following pages you’ll read about a new backcountry guide book for infant-toting moms and an excerpt from a short story about a tender fatherdaughter relationship. You’ll meet Christi Gubser, who set out to throughhike the John Muir Trail with her toddler, and Kristin Butcher, who learned of her pregnancy just weeks before the mountain-bike ride of her life. You’ll also read a perspective offered by Women’s Adventure’s founder, Michelle Theall, whose new role as a stay-at-home mother has her wondering about how parents set boundaries for high-climbing kids. I was drawn to their stories because I believe that parenting and adventuring involve similar ratios of attitude and aptitude—or luck and skill. Ultimately, the parental instinct you use with the next generation will directly impact your appreciation of your adventures and your ability to pursue them in a pristine and protected space. That’s why I think these stories of change, growth, and re-defining goals hold true to our magazine’s mission to inspire, inform, and invigorate. Part of what I love about the outdoors, and why I’m so excited to share this fall’s line-up with you, is that it doesn’t discriminate against you if you’re up to your eyeballs in college tuition bills, because you’re towing a Burley behind your bike, because you’re wearing a Baby Björn—or because birth control is your best friend. Enjoy! Kristy Holland
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Watch Kristin Butcher’s spandex-splattered, trainer-touting, popularity contest–winning entry video to the Santa Cruz Hellride she writes about on page 54.
Read Drew Rush’s tips to new anglers on page 40 and then admire the images he’s taken of angling ladies all over the west. Flip through the slideshow.
Tri-train with tunes from Mirinda Carfrae’s playlist and stay tuned on her bid to win Kona’s Ironman World Champs.
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Fuzzy Fall Fashion This softshell vest is perfect for fall’s fickle temps. It’s lightweight and fashion-forward enough to wear as a top layer or as a mid-layer to take the edge off an afternoon chill. It’s also loaded with features—fuzzlined pockets, an attached hood, interior pocket—all bundled in faux fur and Marmot’s lightly stretchy water- and windresistant, breathable softshell fabric, M2. Layer it over or under and prep to conquer the cold. Enter to win yours for free at womensadventuremagazine.com/marmot by October 31, 2010. The winner will be announced November 15, 2010.
There were eleven women, two female guides, and twenty-five miles of pristine California coast that needed boot marks. We heard the Call of the Wild and began our trek south on California Lost Coast trail. This picture is from one of the few days when it cleared up enough that I stopped wondering if I’d ever feel dry again. —Kristin Ziska
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EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEf Art Director Cycling Editor/Web Director Making a “witches brew” over the campfire with friends
Mira Perrizo, Michael Bragg Jayme Otto, Michelle Theall
Editorial Intern Contributing Photographers Summers spent locked outside: backyard, siblings, and imagination
Visiting Yellowstone National Park during the 1988 fire
Contributing Web Editor Summers on Lake Michigan building sand castles
Heather Hansman, Molly Rettig Tara Kusumoto
Navigating the subway by myself
Kristin Butcher, Katy Dannenberg, Melissa Gaskill, Christi Grubser, Matthew Kadey, Lauren Kelly, Amy Levin-Epstein, Molly Loomis, Vanessa Mazandi, Carol Patton, Drew Rush, MacKenzie Ryan, Danielle Shapiro, Abigail Sussman, Andrea Sutherland Whitney Medved Ben Fullerton, Lisa Gizara, Gus Gusciora, Kevin Hinkley, Benoit Poyelle, Mike Smith, Eric Wynn, Kristin Zizka
SUBMISSIONS For contributor’s guidelines, visit www.womensadventuremagazine.com/contributors-guidelines. Editorial queries or submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Photo queries should be sent to email@example.com Women’s Adventure is always looking for new and innovative products for women. For consideration, please send non-returnable samples to 3360 Mitchell Lane, Suite , Boulder, CO 80301
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Going on a big hike to “the springs”—actual rusty old bed springs
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Copyright © 2010 by Big Earth Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is expressly prohibited.
Outdoor activities are inherently risky and participation can cause injury or loss of life. Please consult your doctor prior to beginning any workout program or sports activity, and seek out a qualified instructor. Big Earth Publishing will not be held responsible for your decision to thrive in the wild. Have fun!
kahtoola.com • (866) 330-8030 WAM OFALL’2010”
Benoit Poyelle/DeePsea UnDer the Pole By rolex
WAM OSUMMER’2010” FALL’2010”
[ FAR FLUNG ]
Near the North Pole Thirty-year-old French diver and sailor Emmanuelle Périé floats below an icy ceiling on top of the world. As the only woman on an eight-person team exploring under Arctic ice last spring near the North Pole, Emmanuelle helped haul more than 5,000 pounds of dive equipment, food, and gear—and one 13-month-old Siberian Husky—across melting ice floes. “I felt like an astronaut,” says Emmanuelle of the “otherworldly” five hours she logged underwater during the 45-day expedition, Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex. In addition to studying divers’ physiology in extreme conditions, the team took field measurements of the ice—which was more than 100 feet thick in some places and unexpectedly absent in others. “We were forced to stop the expedition earlier than expected because of the very high temperature—and lots of open water,” says Emmanuelle. “We were able to see the ice melting in front of our eyes.” O O WAM WAM SUMMER’2010” FALL’2010”
[ BUDGET TRAVEL ]
Sand Dunes You’re never too old to play in the sand, and mild temperatures make fall the perfect time to indulge your inner child in a wideopen and sun-soaked expanse of it. Wind and water shift dunes so that even if you’ve been there before, another trip to dunecountry will likely lead to discovering a new ocean view, or a grove of tough-won growth that wind will use to re-shape the shifting sands yet again. Don’t forget to dump out your shoes after exploring nature’s sand castles in your backyard. —Melissa Gaskill
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon Things to do: 1 Paddle 3 miles down the Siltcoos River trail to the ocean.
Watch for river otters along the way.
2 Hike beneath fir and spruce trees, through low-lying wet-
lands, and over dunes on the 6.5-mile Tahkenitch Trail.
3 Kick up some dust with a dune buggy on one of three
designated off-road vehicle areas.
4 Pitch a tent on a dune along Eel Creek and hike through
some of the park’s largest sand hills on the John Dellenback Dunes Trail. 5 Grab your binoculars and look for beaver, muskrat, great
blue herons, bald eagles, and osprey on the Lagoon Trail.
Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas This West Texas park has nearly 4,000 acres of sprawling sand dunes that spread into New Mexico, covered with tiny Shinoak trees. The dunes inside the park itself are bald and barren, and continue to move and change at the whim of the winds. Water collects in low places between the mounds, which has attracted humans for thousands of years and today creates good wildlifespotting opportunities. www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ monahanssandhills
Things to do: 1 Fly downhill on a sand disk or board, available for rent
at park headquarters, then scramble back up and do it again, and again.
2 Saddle up and ride through the dunes on horseback. 3 Bone up on the area’s cultural and natural history in the
Dunagan Visitor Center, and spot a jack rabbit or cactus wren through the windows.
4 Feel tall. The world’s shortest forest, an expanse of fully
mature Shinoak trees, is only four feet high.
5 Wander the 0.25-mile nature trail. Dozens of desert
plants are labeled and you’ll spot blooming sunflowers and red-tailed hawks.
Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan Dunes rise up to 260 feet in this park on Lake Michigan in the state’s southwest corner, and you’ll find plenty of sand along the park’s 2.5 miles of shoreline, too. Eight different ecological settings, from beach to beech-maple forest, create a rich diversity of scenery and plant life. www.michigandnr.com
Things to do: 1 Explore trails winding 6 miles through dunes and
woodlands. Watch for deer, fox, and raccoon.
2 Race barefoot up Mt. Randall, the park’s largest dune, and
soak in spectacular views of Lake Michigan.
3 Gawk at brilliant fall colors made by red oak, maples,
beech, and sassafras. Look for Paw-Paw tree fruit, which resemble stubby bananas and ripen in October.
4 Pitch a tent in one of 36 rustic campsites and fall asleep to
the symphony of Painterville Creek.
Kristy Holland, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
The largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America, these wind-blown hills of pulverized rock extend 40 miles between Florence and Coos Bay on Oregon’s Pacific coast. Moving piles of sand tower up to 500 feet above sea level and are interspersed with tree islands, marsh-like plains, ponds, and streams, all backed by coastal forest. www.fs.fed.us/r6/siuslaw
[ OUT THERE ]
Fire on the Mountain
An ultimate romantic wilderness getaway
[ URBAN ESCAPE ]
Boston, Massachusetts With its narrow cobblestone streets and ivy-coated college-town appeal, Boston’s historic city center can overshadow the area’s options for thrill-seeking outdoor adventurers. But when cool fall temperatures hover in the low 60s, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the city’s 2,200 acres of parkland, as well as the Charles River basin, which cuts between Bean-town and Cambridge.
Fire lookout towers—and the accompanying views—were long considered territory for book-writing malcontents who scanned the horizon for smoke. But, luckily for the rest of us, forest fires are now monitored from satellites, leaving thousands of historic structures in the Sierras, Cascades, and even the Appalachians, open to the public. Approaches range from day-long treks to drive-in accessibility. A night or two in the San Juan National Forest’s Jersey Jim fire tower in southwestern Colorado is luxurious if you’re accustomed to camping standards. Don’t expect chocolate on your pillow, but expect to be warm and dry inside the wooden structure with a 360-degree view that not even the Ritz Carlton can match. After using the pulley system to hoist your water and gourmet meal fixings up the 55-foot tower, sip wine in your sleeping bag while the sun sets over the San Juan mountains. Propane fuels a fridge, stove, wall lamps, and, in case you’re not snuggling with someone special, a heater. As the stars appear overhead, you might play a game of cards by lamplight, or drink a cup of steaming tea while watching a far-off storm. —Abigail Sussman
Take to the asphalt footpath (or the worn grass trail alongside it) in the Charles River Reservation, part of a 20-mile-long path system that’s a superhighway for runners and cyclists. Start northwest of downtown at Harvard and go east for five miles, along the river’s Esplanade, crossing to the Boston side before mile four. Use the Arthur Fiedler footbridge as your exit ramp from the river to the swanky Back Bay neighborhood and take a break at one of the street-side cafés or run through piles of fallen leaves in Boston Commons. Continue east along the river and end with a gelato—or a couple of fresh oysters—in Boston’s Little Italy, historic North End, on Boston Harbor. www.mass.gov Bostonians “love that dirty water,” but the tag-line from The Standells’ rock song referring to the Charles River doesn’t hold true today like it did when the song was a hit—in 1966. These days, the Charles boasts gorgeous kayaking and canoeing. If you time it right, a five-mile paddle east from Charles River Canoe and Kayak, just west of Cambridge, could give you a front row seat at one of the many free seasonal concerts held at the Hatch Shell, a popular venue on the Esplanade. Rentals are just $15/ hour. www.paddleboston.com Get a different perspective on the city with a visit to one of the 30 harbor islands scattered east of Boston. A 15-minute ferry ride ($14) will take you from the New England Aquarium to Spectacle Island. The 105-acre escape is criss-crossed by 5 miles of hiking trails that top out with a breathtaking view of the Boston skyline from the north side’s 157-foot summit, the tallest in the islands. Enjoy lunch—or a hotdog eating contest—at the visitor center café and, if Indian summer hits, enjoy a dip at the swimming beach. www.nps.gov/boha —Vanessa Mazandi
TRAVEL k La
[ AREA SPOTLIGHT ]
Door County, WI
La k e
Population: 27,961 Elevation: 787 feet County Motto: Like Nowhere Else Access: 40 miles north of Green Bay, 140 miles north of Milwaukee
e up eS
M ic hig an
Michigan Minnesota Iowa Wisconsin
4 Lake Michigan 42
1. Ride: Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock Rolling, low-traffic country roads traverse the farmland of the peninsula, and bonus mile options abound. For 60 miles of coastline views, start at Sturgeon Bay’s Portage Park and ride north past White Dunes State Park to Jacksonport. Turn west on Highway E and follow Highway B south from Egg Harbor to close the loop. Need a bike? Rent one from Edge of Park in Fish Creek.
3 . Relax: Fred & Fuzzy’s Watch the sunset from the grassy stage outside this Sister Bay bar and grill. Sip a cherry juice margarita or an Island Wheat ale, made from organic wheat grown on Washington Island. “The Nicks”—a folk-bluegrass band made up of two guys named Nick—play live on Tuesdays.
2 . Local Food: Lautenbach’s Orchard Crisp, juicy Honeycrisp and McIntosh apples are an autumn boon for this agricultural area. Pick your own fruit at Lautenbach’s, enjoy country-style apple pies at Sweetie Pies, or warm up with a cup of cider at the White Gull Inn, all in the Fish Creek area.
4 . Kayak: Door Bluff Headlands Put in at Garrett Bay and loop north for a quick peek at a shipwrecked nineteenth-century schooner before paddling south past Door Bluff Headlands County Park. You’ll spot terns, kingfishers, bald eagles, and Native American pictographs on the two-mile outand-back along 200-foot dolomite cliffs.
5. Hike: Newport State Park For a bit of solitude, hike the seven-mile Europe Bay/Hotz Loop trail at Newport State Park, the state’s only designated wilderness park. Wake up to fall colors after a night in one of the park’s 16 hike-in campsites along Lake Michigan.
doorcounty.com/door county Visitor Bureau
A network of tiny hamlets line the shores of Wisconsin’s Door County—a gently rolling 75-mile peninsula that turns gold and crimson come October. Flanked by Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east, the inn and gallery–laden peninsula boasts five state parks, more than 300 miles of rock and sand shoreline, and an adjacent escape, Rock Island, that you can only access by ferry and explore by foot— adventures aplenty for hikers, paddlers, and cyclists. —Susan Hayse
HUMANLY POSSIBLE Ironman Champion and Nathan athlete, Kate Major
[ TRAVEL TREND ]
Combining yoga with outdoor adventure proves the ideal recipe for revitalization. 1 Backpacking + Yoga Set in Rocky Mountain National Park during Colorado’s wildflower season, The Women’s Wilderness Institute’s three-day Mountain Lakes yoga retreat kicks off with a hike to a high-altitude campsite and offers no less than four outdoor yoga sessions below the park’s 13,000-foot peaks. No tent? No problem, the institute provides camping gear—and offers similar retreats in Utah’s canyon and slickrock country. www.womenswilderness.org
rom biking in Tuscany to deepsea fishing in the Caribbean, vacations centered on outdoor adventure have been in vogue for decades, but a yoga infusion—adding asana to biking, hiking, and even surfing—is taking adventure vacations to a new level of transcendent trendsetting. The perfect complement to a day of mind- and body-bending travel, yoga helps travelers fully engage in their experience. Take it from Colleen Cannon, founder of Women’s Quest. Colleen has been leading women’s adventure trips around the globe for 20 years, and she had incorporated yoga from the start because she valued the “centering” that her yoga practice provided during her career as a professional triathlete. “Women today are looking for balance in their lives,” she says. “Yoga provides that. It’s also the thread that weaves together the mind, body, and spirit, which, when combined with sports, becomes a very powerful connection.” —Jayme Otto
2 Surfing + Yoga After a week of yoga and surfing lessons, you may not want to leave this little rainforest bungalow in one of Costa Rica’s most popular surf destinations. The twice-daily yoga classes are held on a thatched platform right on the beach. Even if you’ve never surfed before, Women’s Quest guarantees you’ll get up on a wave, thanks to the gently rolling swells along volcanic Pacific beaches. www.womensquest.com 3 Kayaking + Yoga Located on Deer Island in New Brunswick, Canada, a three-hour drive from Bangor, Maine, this three-day trip combines sea kayaking in the Bay of Fundy with a twice-daily yoga practice designed to put participants in touch with their spiritual connection to the ocean. Comfortable cottages overlooking the water provide ample opportunity for whale watching and birding www.seascapekayaktours.com
4 Mountain Biking + Yoga Sunrise and sunset yoga sessions sandwich long, fat-tire rides into the deserts, mountains, and jungles near Puerto Vallarta. In eight days, you’ll enjoy nearly 60 miles of riding, dozens of sun salutations, gourmet beachside meals, a community service project in a rural village, and a night in an eco-hacienda. www.sacredrides.com
Nathan products help you achieve your goals, no matter how impossible they may seem. Ironman champion and Nathan athlete Kate Major trains in the the Nathan Speed 2R Auto-Cant — the first custom-fitting hydration pack. The patent-pending Auto-Cant Disk™ instantly adjusts the position of the Flasks while a canted, limited-stretch belt solidly holds the pack in place. Flasks angle depending on body shape and the pack’s position on the body so they are always easy to remove — and never in the way of your arm swing. Because it adapts perfectly to your body, the Speed 2 Auto-Cant ensures that carrying fluids is easy and comfortable for every athlete. Nathan Performance Gear is available at specialty running and triathlete shops as well as sporting goods stores or at www.NathanSports.com.
5/3/10 WAM OFALL’2010”
P 4:59:16 13 PM
[ ACTION ]
Rocking the World The Love Hope Strength Foundation mixes music with adventure to improve cancer care all over the world.
elly Carpenter couldn’t see more than two feet in front of her. A dense fog had rolled into the camp early that morning, adding a dangerous element to a trek that was already considered the crux of a Kilimanjaro summit attempt. If she and her team safely reached their final campsite, at the crater just below the summit, they’d be set for a short easy hike to the top the next morning. If they didn’t, well, Kelly didn’t want to think about that.
At that point, the videographer approached her. “Why are you here, why are you doing this?” he asked, pointing the camera in her face. “Because I can,” she said. Kelly meant it literally. Diagnosed with colon cancer at age 28, she knew what it felt like to not be able to complete even ordinary tasks, let alone summit the highest peak in Africa. She’d spent the last six months undergoing two rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, fighting the disease that took her mother’s life in 2003. Summiting Kilimanjaro had become a symbol of Kelly’s battle, a celebration of her life, and a way for her to give back by raising money so others could have the same quality of cancer care that had saved her life. The trek was a fundraiser for the rock n’ roll cancer charity, the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Two other cancer survivors, along with 15 people whose lives had been touched by cancer and seven musicians, made it to the summit with Kelly the next day. Participants had paid their own airfare, covered $5,000 in ground costs, and raised a minimum of $9,000 for cancer care on top of that. The price was high, but the reward for Kelly’s time, money, and effort was the summit experience, with a private concert atop Kilimanjaro immediately following. The musicians included Robin Wilson from the Gin Blossoms and Slim Jim Phantom from The Stray Cats. They’d also raised the required $14,000 to cover their expenses and help build a children’s cancer care center in Tanzania. The idea of bringing musicians and “cancer thrivers” together for peak bagging and private, mountain-top concerts is the brainchild of American James Chippendale, a leukemia survivor, and two-time cancer survivor Mike Peters, who’s also the lead singer and songwriter of the Welsh rock band, The Alarm. During his cancer recovery, Peters had a view of
A Love Hope Strength Foundation concert in Kathmandu, Nepal
3,560-foot Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and staring at it from his bed, Peters promised himself that if he lived, he would climb it. Because he could. And, he would bring along the hospital staff that had saved him in appreciation of their care and expertise. In 2007, Peters mentioned his idea to Chippendale, who suggested that if Peters really wanted to show the world what cancer survivors could do, he’d tackle Everest and then celebrate with a rock concert. The Love Hope Strength Foundation was born. LHSF held its first climb and concert combo on a peak just beyond Everest Base Camp that same year. It was, at the time, the highest rock concert ever performed, earning a Guinness record to prove it. Then they headed down to Katmandu and held a free concert for 15,000 locals, opening up their celebration to the community. The “Everest Rocks” documentary is now airing on MTV’s High Def Channel, Palladia. The money raised by that concert paid for the first mammography machine in Nepal, as well as the first internal radiation machine—a nucletron brachytherapy afterloader. Chippendale and Peters agreed early on that they didn’t want to use money raised by LHSF to fund cancer research. They contend that the technology to save lives exists right now, it’s just not available everywhere. LHSF’s mission is to build cancer centers and deliver medical equipment and supplies to countries, towns, and cities where it’s lacking. In the U.S., LHSF also utilizes existing cancer care technology in saving lives. The nonprofit focuses on building the bone marrow donor list by soliciting concert-goers at music festivals such as Lollapalooza nationwide, and at venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater in their home state of Colorado. Last year, LHSF had a presence at 101 shows, adding 4,000 donors to the bone marrow database.
Nor did she want to think about what would happen if she lost sight of the climber in front of her. She scurried to stay close, tired from the six hours of hiking, and laboring to breathe normally at 18,000 feet.
Meanwhile, their international musical pilgrimages now include all seven continents and the top of the Empire State Building, the Inca ruins in Machu Picchu, Colorado’s Pikes Peak, Philadelphia Art Museum’s “Rocky Steps,” Mount Fuji, and, penned in for 2011, Siberia. Executive Director Shannon Foley explains the thought behind the peakbagging fundraisers, drawing on her own personal experience. Her brother is a cancer survivor, and her sister did the Livestrong Challenge as a result. “I wanted to do something, too, but I don’t like walk-a-thons, I’m not a cyclist, and I don’t do black tie dinners. When I found out about Love Hope Strength, something finally resonated with me—music and mountains. We were doing fundraisers that no one else did.” Shannon also points out that organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation didn’t exist outside the United States when LHSF first started, creating a discrepancy between the United States and the rest of the world with regards to cancer care and awareness. “They weren’t wearing Livestrong bracelets in Katmandu,” she says. LHSF strives to bridge that gap between cancer awareness in the U.S. and in other countries, from Peru to Wales to Tanzania. This means that for LHSF, it’s not about showing up with folks who’ve raised funds, going on a trek, holding a concert, and leaving. “We want to leave a mark,” Shannon says. “When we left Nepal, people were talking about cancer in a place where they don’t talk about it.” Though 90 percent of the organization’s work, including planning its international projects, is based in the United States, they hope to be doing bone marrow drives on all seven continents within the next five years. LHSF’s ability to improve cancer care conditions and raise awareness both inside and outside the U.S. couldn’t have come at a better time. This year, cancer overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death. Worldwide, cancer causes more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. In most of the developing world, cancer is viewed as a death sentence. “But we’ve come so much further than that,” Shannon says. “Right now, we have the medical means to save tens of thousands of people all over the world. And we’re doing it—one concert, one cancer care center at a time.” —Jayme Otto
LIVE EMPOWERE D
Sometimes life reaches out and strikes us at our core. But we still get to choose how we think – how we fight – how we live.
9th Annual H ERA Women’s Cancer Foundation C LIM B for L I F E Sept. 16-19, 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah Host: B LAC K D IAMO N D
We climb. We run. We live. Join us in raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms, increasing early detection and finding a cure. For symptoms and info go to www.herafoundation.org or call 970.948.7360 “One in 72 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. With early detection, more than 90% will survive. Currently, only 24% is caught early.” AMERICAN C ANCER S OCIETY
Mike Peters, two time cancer survivor and co-founder of LHSF
Benefiting the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation Research and Awareness Programs. HERA is a non-profit organization. WAM OFALL’2010”
[ AROUND THE WORLD ]
Goal! A growing international arena is helping Brazil’s women score.
razil is better known as the home turf of supermodel Giselle Bündchen than soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva, the 24-year-old star of its national women’s team. But it might not be that way for long. Marta’s success on the field and her growing icon status are helping women athletes in Brazil gain momentum—a trend that’s sure to speed up as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, both centered in Rio de Janeiro, approach. Though Brazilian men dominate soccer worldwide and the Brazilian women brought home the silver medal in soccer at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, girl’s participation rates in the sport are surprisingly low. Female “footballers” struggle with the fee-based local club structure, which limits access for girls from large or low-income families, and girls continue to battle against stereotypes. Female soccer players are often suspected of homosexuality, a difficult label for girls from a heavily Catholic-influenced culture. “Marta knows how to play like a man,” said Marta’s teammate Simone Gomes Jatobá in awe after the 2007 Women’s World Cup. Though it was a hard-won compliment for the nation’s best female footballer, it’s not a comparison any Brazilian schoolgirls are eager to earn.
Femininity is an asset to many Brazilian women, so their distance from sporting doesn’t just extend to soccer. Men have all but owned Brazil’s playing fields in nearly every sport, and only since the 1980s have women athletes gained ground in the traditionally patriarchal culture. Volleyball, which claims one of the highest levels of equality in Latin America, and Capoeira, a traditional Brazilian dance-like martial art, are two of the female-friendliest. And Brazil’s women’s volleyball win at the Beijing Olympics shows that, if given the chance, they’ll hold their own on the international arena. Worldwide, Brazil’s most famous females are more likely to be Playboy-worthy than medal-winning, but expect to see more Brazilian women athletes taking to the field and making names for themselves around the world in the years to come. Volleyball, soccer, surfing, skateboarding, basketball, and track-and-field all show promise for spawning the country’s next round of world-class female competitors—and come medal-time, they might just have the home-field advantage. —Lauren Kelly
© 2010 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. GORE-TEX®, GORE®, GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates
THOSE WHO HIKE IN ANYTHING WON’T HIKE IN JUST ANYTHING.
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[ QUIZ ]
Is Your Hard Core Healthy? Racking up miles, earning a promotion, and burning the midnight oil can be a winning— or a downright dangerous—combination. Test your lifestyle balance with this quiz.
1 Who doesn’t love a good road ride to raise
your heart-rate? Yours gets up to: a) 65 percent of your max, but you push it higher on the hill-climb bursts. b) 99 percent of your max. You know it’s a good ride if you puke and then pass out. c) 35 percent of your max. You like to sing while you ride and if you push too hard you can’t hit the high notes.
You stayed up late last night to win a tequila-fueled dance-a-thon, on today’s agenda: a) Carbo-loading and catching up on the last three seasons of Law and Order. b) Sleeping in until 9 a.m., hydrating, and a casual hike before a healthy dinner. c) An early wake-up-call for a technical all-day mountain-bike ride through the desert
3 Before a long run, I spend a few minutes:
a) Waiting for my iPod to turn on. b) Sprinting. c) Stretching.
Kayaking sounds like fun, but you’re boatless. When a friend lends you hers, you: a) Sign up for a lesson to learn some basics before taking it into whitewater. b) Prop it up in the garage. It looks great beside those skis you’ve never used. c) Put in on the biggest river you can find. So what that there’s a flash-flood warning?
Your shoulder’s been sore, but with your first triathlon approaching, you need to stay in shape for the swim by: a) Buying a super-sized bottle of ibuprofen and pulling 100 laps per day. No pain, no gain. b) Cross training. You can rest your out-of-whack arm but stay all-around strong. c) Tanning. If you’re not fit, you can at least look the part of a seasoned swimmer.
Add up your points:
Detox dieting means: a) A few weeks of whole, organic foods and lots of water. b) Laying off the chips and Twinkies for a week. c) Nothing but water, lemon and cayenne for 10 days.
7 You could use some new sticks before ski
season hits full swing. What can you drop from the family budget? a) Food, gas, utility bills, and Christmas gifts for the kids. b) An occasional dinner out. You’ll save double by cooking and not shelling out to the sitter. c) The gym membership and the running shoes you also need to replace.
8 A big work project was stressful, but now
that it’s finished, you’re taking a few days to: a) Organize your garage. It’s been so long since you’ve used your gear, it’s a mess. b) Jump back into your marathon training plan. It’s no big deal to go from 5 to 20 miles, is it? c) Overnight and hike in the nearest national park.
Surprise! School and work are cancelled. How will you spend a whole day with the kids? a) Nothing changes, you’ll e-mail all morning and haul them screaming on your 5-mile run. b) Did somebody say movie marathon? You’ll fuel it with a homemade batch of brownies. c) Pack everyone up for a hike. It’s just 2 miles to the fam’s favorite lakeside picnic spot.
Prepping for this weekend’s family camping trip took a backseat to work, but you managed to organize: a) Campground reservations, sleeping bags, the first-aid kit, and s’mores for everyone. b) Your desk and file cabinet, a permit to tag a big summit, and moleskin for the kids. c) A couple of makeshift shelters and a pizza delivery to campsite “Backyard Bliss.”
If you scored: 10-17:
The question for you isn’t whether your hard core is healthy, it’s “What happened to your hard core in the first place?” Rekindle your love of the outdoors, and you’ll find some solace from the stress while also improving your health and mood. Set a goal for yourself to train for a local event and your motivation to find time for adventure will increase.
While you may not be a yogi, you make the sun salutations of life look easy. You strike the balance between personal, professional, and adventure without compromising your priorities, safety, or sanity along the way. To keep up the good work, be sure to occasionally make time for yourself to help you stay focused—and fulfilled.
While giving 110 percent is your personal mantra, you may have taken hard core too far when it comes to balancing life. Occasionally renouncing your over-the-top tendencies will help you avoid running full-bore down a lonely, burnout- and injury-bound path. Before your next training run, commit to a go-with-theflow attitude and stop to smell the flowers. You might find inspiration for adjusting your priorities and you’ll likely earn points with your friends and family (and physician) at the same time. Take this quiz online: http://www.womensadventuremagazine.com /blog/how-healthy-is-your-hard-core/
1) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1; 2) a. 1, b. 2, c. 3; 3) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 4) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 5) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 6) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 7) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 8) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 9) a. 3, b. 1, c. 2; 10) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1
[ KIDS CORNER ]
owing a couple of soggy kids on what should have been a sunny hike isn’t exactly a good time. And memories of the cold, wet trip could turn your brood off to outdoor adventure. While checking local weather forecasts is a pre-hike no-brainer, conditions can change quickly and microclimates can make liars out of even the best weathermen. Teaching kids to clue in on weather phenomena could help them avoid surprise storms and tune in to the world around them.
Look to the clouds Does a sky full of fluffy, white masses mean rain, or shine? Clouds can hint at weather conditions on the horizon for the next 12–48 hours, and interpreting them translates to better decision making while planning, prepping, and packing. Help your child take pictures of different clouds and research their correlation to oncoming weather. Make a chart matching the cloud types you’ve documented with the forecasts they provide for wind, rain, or fair weather. Step outside every morning to look at the sky and use your chart to pick out the day’s wardrobe or activity. Watch wandering winds Pressure systems approach with flourishing winds, and swirling air around a system’s center can hint at approaching cold snaps or clear skies. Low-pressure systems are associated with bad weather and roll in with a counterclockwise swirl. High-pressure systems move clockwise and bring clear skies and sunny weather. Build a wind vane by folding a triangle of poster board, weighting the pointy end by taping on a few coins, and attaching an upside-down pen cap near the triangle’s middle. Insert a skewer into the cap (making sure it’s a loose fit and that the vane rotates freely). Place your wind vane away from buildings or trees that might interfere with the air flow and track its direction over days and weeks, looking for patterns when systems are approaching.
Catch the rain Whether you live in a rainforest or a desert, fall showers can sideline kid-friendly excursions. The total precipitation where you live may be different from nearby raingauge stations, and tallying the difference can highlight patterns and help identify landmarks that may affect your backyard system. To build a gauge, cut the top off a plastic two-liter soda bottle, weight the bottle with rocks, add water to cover them, and mark the top of the starting water level with colored tape. Set it outside away from trees and buildings, and wait for rain. Measure the water level from the tape and log on to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (www.cocorahs.org) to compare and share your results with other backyard scientists.
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WAM OFALL’2010” GTX-10-029-wadv-third.indd 1
8/12/10 2:25:43 PM
D IRT [ HAHA, LOL, ROTFL ]
Cyclocross Jargon Barrier | Pit
Barrier (ber-i-ər) 1. noun. Something that obstructs or hinders progress. 2. physical geography. An Antarctic ice shelf or ice front. 3. noun. Part of a cyclocross course that is likely to make the riders dismount. Courses may have one artificial barrier, others must be natural.
Cross (krós) 1. noun. A device comprised of an upright bar traversed by a horizontal one that is often used as a Christian symbol. 2. noun. A mark resembling a cross, usually an X, made instead of a signature by a person unable to write. 3. noun. The sport of cyclocross, slang. Drop bars (dräp bärz) 1. verb. To lose cell phone reception. 2. noun. A bar that guides sheets of paper into a printing or folding machine. 3. noun. Ergonomically designed handlebars
Chain (chān) 1. noun. A distance-measuring device equal to about 66 feet (20 meters). 2. verb. To confine or restrain. 3. noun. A series of metal links connected together that serve as a drive-train component on bicycles, transferring power from the pedals to the drive-wheel, thus propelling it. ă
for fast or long-distance cycling that offer a wide variety of hand and grip positioning options. Pit (pi t) 1. noun. A naturally formed or excavated hole or cavity in the ground often caused by erosion. 2. verb. To set in opposition or combat, as one against another. 3. noun. An area, usually to the right of the course, where cyclocross racers can switch components, change flat tires, work on their bike, or even switch bikes.
[ WORDSWORTH ]
#10000 GBW_WomensAdventure_16,25x5,4375_us_fall.indd 3 WAM.FA.2010.indd 21
03.08.2010 18:13:24 Uhr 8/19/10 8:02:51 AM
[ MEDIA ROOM ]
The Last Man on the Mountain The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 By Jennifer Jordan While writing her first novel at base camp, nearly 12,000 feet below K2’s 28,250-foot summit, Jennifer Jordan took a short hike and literally stumbled upon the hero of her second book, The Last Man on the Mountain. Her horror at discovering the avalanche-tossed skeleton of rich American adventurer Dudley Wolf turned to fascination when she delved into the story of K2’s first climbing fatality and the journey of the expedition team that occupied the mountain during the summer of 1939. Jordan’s new book documents the trials of early high-alpine mountaineering while bringing Wolfe’s story to life with reconstructions based on details culled from letters, documented interviews, archived material from the American Alpine Club, conversations with Dudley’s remaining relatives, and advice from a handful of climbing experts. Though the few women characters in the story barely play supporting roles to the men who were directly involved, Jordan’s own discovery of the hero and her researched retelling of history give her voice a place among these early pioneers. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010; $27
Babes in the Woods Hiking, Camping, Boating with Babies and Young Children By Jennifer Aist Jennifer Aist had to wing it when she took to the backcountry with her infant daughter, but she’s become an educator and expert about parenting in the great outdoors. Born out of a frustration with camping guidebooks that only addressed issues with school-aged children, the Alaskan started taking notes about her own infant-toting techniques and gathering advice from other parents. She compiled it all in this comprehensive carry-along that has chapters on everything from toileting toddlers to protecting infants from insects to purchasing baby lifejackets. “The fact is, you can’t catch a cold from being cold or wet; very few children get lost in the woods; and, most importantly, babies and young children are incredibly resilient,” writes Aist. “It is my most sincere hope that this book will help more families begin a tradition of sharing our great backcountry with their children.” Mountaineers Books, 2010; $17
700 Places to Volunteer Before You Die A Traveler’s Guide By Nola Lee Kelsey
Waiting for inspiration? Just spend a few minutes with this hefty encyclopedia of voluntourism—traveling with a humanitarian or philanthropic project on the agenda. Kelsey compiles an indexed list of more than 750 organizations and volunteer opportunities around the world, including everything from administrative assisting at a panda research center in China, to excavating an ancient Roman city, to coordinating summer camp for disadvantaged kids in Belize. More inspiration than information, the book is unapologetic about its lack of travel logistics, but offers resources and advice from a slate of voluntourism professionals about prioritizing your goals and finding fulfilling work. With indexes listing projects by type, area, and volunteer qualifications (age limits, skill sets, or interest), any potential traveler can zero in on a program that’s sure to offer the opportunity of a lifetime. Dog’s Eye View Media, 2010; $23
3 MPH The Adventures of One Woman’s Walk around the World By Polly Letofsky
“One step at a time” is the gist of Polly Letofsky’s new book, 3 MPH. Starting from her Colorado home in 1999, Letofsky walked more than 14,124 miles across four continents (and wore through 29 pairs of shoes) to raise money and awareness about breast cancer, a disease that’s affected many of the women in her life. In addition to telling tales of inspiring adventure and detailing the specifics of her trip, the hefty tome also describes the everyday physical challenges, the political hurdles, and the emotional triumphs of her five year journey around the globe. Tendril Press, 2010; $20
[ PLAYLIST ]
Tri-ing Tunes Sprinter 3r
Triathlete Mirinda Carfrae uses music to train, and says the beats help her push herself through swimming, riding, and running sessions that would leave most of us wincing. After a second-place finish in last year’s Ironman World Championships, she’s gunning for first this fall, and a few of these songs—her top for training—might make it into the warm-up mix she uses before hitting the water in Kona October 9th. “If all goes according to plan, I should be ready to rock when I step up to the start line,” she says. “I can’t wait.” —As told to Heather Hansman Funhouse 104 bpm Funhouse, P!nk “This is just one of those ‘up yours’ songs. It makes me smile.” (( pop ))
StreetStrider has taken the elliptical cross trainer out of the gym and given it wheels. The Sprinter 3r combines the benefits of jogging, skiing and cycling to create a new form of green transportation. The 3-wheel platform makes the StreetStrider easy to ride and the intuitive lean-tosteer system provides complete control. The StreetStrider is propelled by arms and legs for an excellent low-impact aerobic exercise compared to running on air. With multiple gears, you can climb hills, and the lean-to-steer system gives you the carving feeling of skiing downhill all year round. The Sprinter 3r features fully adjustable arm levers for maximum ergonomic reach and height positioning. StreetStrider gives you the freedom to break free from the gym and have fun outdoors.
((( dance )))
((( alternative )))
((( rock )))
((( pop )))
Memories Memories, David Guetta “This song reminds me of when I started doing triathlons.” What I’ve Done Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park “This song was stuck in my head when I won my first world title and will always be special to me.” The Kids Aren’t Alright Americana, The Offspring “The Offspring hit the spot when you need a little motivation.” I Gotta Feeling The E.N.D, Black Eyed Peas “I love the Peas. This song always puts me in a good mood.”
Visit our Cycling Toolbox and download tri-training programs at: womensadventuremagazine.com
1-800-348-0998 www.StreetStrider.com WAM OFALL’2010”
[ GOTTA HAVE ]
Autumn Leaves Leaves and trees inspire a pile of products that are both good for the environment and good for you.
Arbor Fish Koa Verterra Dinnerware Fallen leaves are good for more than just jumping into. Verterra steams, heats, and then presses leaves into compostable plates and bowls. They are completely biodegradable, and the company says that if you’re gentle and wash them by hand, you can reuse them. Sounds better than raking. Set of 6 dishes $4.50; www.verterra.com 24
Wenger EvoWood 16 Wenger just launched its EvoWood series of Swiss Army Knives including this 12-function beauty. Handles carved of smooth, top-quality walnut—mostly scraps from furniture makers—lends each knife individual character, but they’re all backed by more than 100 years of fine craftsmanship and a lifetime guarantee. $80; www.wengerna.com
Arbor has deep roots in surf and skate culture and this longboard, the Fish Koa, is no exception. Its top layer is made of native Hawaiian Koa wood, which surfers on the island have been using to make surfboards for hundreds of years. This skateboard’s old-school shape and wide wheelbase make it super carve-y and stable at high speeds, despite its 38-inch length. The woods—Koa and maple—are sustainably sourced and Arbor tries to carefully use every scrap of wood they cut. $169; www.arborcollective.com womensadventuremagazine.com
ylor Ann Ta
take urage it o c e h t r To hono ast cancer… face bre
To train to clim
b a mountain…
Photo: Lindse y Stair
The ladies of Nugaard Designs really recognize beauty in nature. Their earrings are made from leaves dipped in silver (they also come in gold) and for every pair sold, Nugaard works with nonprofit, Trees for the Future, to plant a tree. The designers use leaves from their native Brazil to make the jewelry. Take ’em off if the dangling style interferes with tree climbing. $109–$149; www.nugaard.com
Nugaard Designs Round Leaf Earrings
Photo: Cathy Ann Taylor
Why will you join the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds?
Sanita Alison Wood Clog An updated take on an original Danish design. These sueded fold-over leather boots incorporate the fit, functionality, and fun of a traditional basswood clog with a look that transitions easily between the concrete jungle, forested paths, and the wilds of an après-ski bar. $155; www.sanitaclogs.com
Bamboo Bottle Company’s Bamboo Original Made from a species that grows 90 feet in nine months, this bambooinsulator surrounds a glass bottle made from 60 percent recycled glass. It’s the ultimate in sustainability. Water inside stays BPA-free and tastes great. It’s machine-washable, and its heft—the five-part piece weighs in at 1 pound 6 ounces—will help you build muscle, too. $25; www.bamboobottleco.com
To reach you
r personal su
ping mmitted to stop To join a team co . ts ar re it st this disease befo
Whatever your reason, you will have an experience of a lifetime — guaranteed! Climb Against the Odds Mt. Shasta, California n June 19-25, 2011 Experience Optional. Inspiration Guaranteed.
Apply now! www.breastcancerfund.org/climb
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ DREAM JOB ] people figure out their values. I like to mix things up, so my other films are a little more expressive, but this one definitely has the message and it’s been amazingly well received. We’ve gotten e-mails from strangers who tell us they really can’t get the film out of their heads. It started with a pretty small idea about a plastic bag reduction challenge between two Colorado mountain towns—Aspen and Telluride. When we started to learn about plastics, we realized that the story was much bigger, and our story really changed as we filmed it.
Suzan hard at work at the editing bay
Age: 46 Stomping Ground: Telluride, Colorado Job: Documentary Filmmaker
Meet Suzan Beraza Suzan Beraza calls her career as a documentary filmmaker fast and furious. “When you’re working so hard, it’s tough to stop and reflect about what you really love about your job,” says the filmmaker/director/editor. But it’s gotten easier now that her first feature-length documentary, Bag It, has earned high marks at film festivals, and she’s negotiating with major networks to have it broadcast nationally. She set out to change the way Americans think about plastics, and with an accessible presentation of the facts—for instance, we use and throw away two million plastic bottles every five minutes—she just might change our behavior, too. We caught up with her during some down time after Telluride’s Mountainfilm festival last summer, where her film won the Audience Award. She talked about the dream job she’s made her own.
What is a day in the life of a filmmaker like? Every day is different. I don’t get bored at all. Some days my job is about fundraising and I write grants. On other days I’ll work on figuring out who we’re going to interview for a film, writing scripts, or editing. Some people stick
to doing only documentary filmmaking, but I’ve also mixed things up there: my two short films are narratives.
“You have to be receptive to where the story goes and take the little gifts that are thrown at you.”
What qualities make you good at directing and editing? I’m a real collaborator and I love to create works with a core group—creating via a team. That’s how I am personally, and as a film director. I like to get people involved and hear their ideas. Also, while filmmaking is a dream job, everyone that I talk to does it because they have a story that really needs to be told. There are few documentaries that make money or barely break even, so being a filmmaker, you have to be really committed. You could dedicate two years to something that might never sell.
How did you get started as a documentary filmmaker? I was a theater director for many years and had an idea for a short film I wanted to do, but didn’t have the skills as far as camera work and editing. I gathered some friends together and just did it; we went to film it in the Dominican Republic, where I spent my late teens and early twenties. It was right at the time when editing was changing from linear to nonlinear [analog to digital]. I taught myself how to do it, and after that I was in high demand because not many people knew how to use the new technology. I basically built the job for myself. I’ve made several short films, did post-production on five documentaries, and Bag It is my feature directorial debut.
What are the biggest misconceptions about filmmaking as a career? One huge misconception is that you make lots of money. If you’re independent, that’s not it at all. I never thought I’d be poorer than when I worked in theater, but with this job, I’ve managed to do it. People don’t realize that filmmaking is a passion because there’s no or very little monetary gain. Lots of people think it’s a great job, but once they actually get into it and realize how much work it is, they realize it’s not for them. For me, it’s the most fun thing to do, I absolutely love it, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s worth it to me to just scrape by. For sure, the fundraising is a bitch [laughing]. I’m still waiting for a patron to come and tell me they’ll fund my projects.
What was the goal of Bag It, to tell a story or change people’s behavior? I love films that don’t have an agenda, but with the topic of plastics [which is the basis of] Bag It, we really do have an agenda to help Watch one of Suzan's short films on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBYFhZxRLJs
[ BY THE NUMBERS ]
Barking up a Tree
Paper used annually by the average american —the equivalent of a 100-foot tree.
369 8 Pounds
The height of the tallest tree in the united states in feet: a 2,000-year-old coast redwood in california’s redwood National Park.
The average life expectancy for a tree in an urban area or city is
Percentage of a tree’s nutritional needs it absorbs from the atmosphere (only 10 percent comes from the soil).
extra Save an
oxygen generated annually by one tree, just enough to support two people.
ton of carbon from the atmosphere during its lifetime.
one tree can clean
Womens Adventure 9.1.10.indd 1
billion Tons of carbon that accumulate in Earth’s atmosphere every year.
Percent of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere that is a result of burning rainforests.
percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by rainforests.
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ BY DESIGN ]
Activewear Goes Green By Michael Bragg
e head out into nature because we’re looking to be challenged by it or become a part of it—if only for a little while. Either way, we’re increasingly conscious of what we bring with us: our gear, our garbage, our carbon footprint. But isn’t there something ironic about wearing petroleum byproducts on a ski slope that’s melting away—in part because of the long drive we took to get there? Doesn’t it seem hypocritical to seek out nature while plastered in synthetic armor? As Earth-consciousness increases, we’re demanding more responsible activewear, and manufacturers are answering the call. But the new threads aren’t just a salve to our conscience. With new research and new technologies emerging every season, sustainable fabrics are increasingly performance-focused and competitive in applications where they were pooh-poohed just a few years ago. Lightweight, breathable cycling shorts, for example, are now made of wool, and recycled nylon and polyester are sewn into day packs and sleeping bags with Everest-worthy ratings. New textile technology is giving us the opportunity to enjoy nature without destroying it. Even with the limited selection (so far), the array of fabrics and gimmicks is dizzying. By U.S. law, any fiber that makes up more than five percent of a blended fabric must be listed on the product’s label, and companies making moresustainable clothes might list fibers that contribute as little as one percent to a fabric. So hang-tags are your secret weapon for eking out ecofriendly fabrics. Here’s the breakdown on some of the trending sustainables you’ll see in stores this season.
Angkor Wat Half Marathon & 10K
Sheered annually from sheep, wool is infinitely renewable and very sustainable when the sheep are raised responsibly. You’ve likely heard of Merino—a variety grown largely in New Zealand that makes for comfortable, breathable fabric. From your toes to your think-piece, manufacturers of Merino activewear have you covered. Steamboat Springs–based SmartWool started off making comfy, moisture-wicking Merino socks, but their line’s evolved to offer shorts, base layers, hats, and an entire line-up of high-performance activewear. What makes their wool “smart?” According to Vice President Anne Wiper, it’s the combination of ease of care, temperature regulation, odor resistance, and comfort. www.smartwool.com Massachusetts-based Joneswares focuses on high-quality apparel for runners, cyclists, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Their performance tights offer compression in 92 percent Merino wool that, according to Joneswares co-owner Deb Jones Bachrach, is essentially stink-proof too. Deb says their Sprint line of base layers are popular with surfers and divers trying to stay warm in the water. www.joneswares.com
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing and lowest-maintenance plants on planet Earth, which makes it a great candidate for sustainable clothing. Al Andrews, CEO of New Orleans–based Thriv Natural Performance, was dissatisfied with the smell and lack of comfort of polyester, the main ingredient in most mainstream activewear. So Thriv spent two years designing a viscose bamboo fiber blend to compete with the ubiquitous polymer-based performance fabric. They did it. Their apparel line, largely bamboo and organic cotton blends, is designed to keep runners, cyclists, and other active folk dry, cool, and stink-free. Their fall line has a higher warmth rating that will interest those in colder climes, as well. www.thrivnp.com
BASIC TOUR INCLUDES: 11 Days / 8 Nights • 3n Hanoi, 5n Siem Reap. Air fare on Cathay Pacific from LAX, Intra-Asia air, Superior First Class Hotels, Full American breakfast daily, Special Lunches & Dinners, Extensive Sightseeing Incl. the famous Angkor Wat Temple. Park and Run Fees. $3,690.00 (double room) from LAX, plus air tax Optional 5-day Air Extension to Phuket & Koh Yao Island
Kilimanjaro Half Marathon & 10K
We all know the benefits (and pitfalls) of cotton: It’s comfortable, it absorbs moisture like almost nothing else, and it’s durable. While its lack of moisture-wicking means performance applications are limited, the biggest drawbacks with cotton are the volume of water and pesticide typically used to grow it. Manufacturers such as Patagonia, Gaiam, Blue Canoe, and Earth Creations have adopted organic cotton, which eliminates the mass of pesticide from the process and ups the ecofriendly factor.
Vietnam & Cambodia Nov. 27 - Dec. 7, 2010
Recycled/Repurposed Man-made Fibers
Natural fiber applications are well-established in activewear, but some characteristics, like heavy-duty wind-resistance, are better suited for synthetics. Fortunately for Earth-conscious consumers, recycled polyester and nylon are all the rage in the outdoor industry and appear in products ranging from Injinji’s Coolmax socks to Big Agnes’ Skinny Fish sleeping bag. You’ll still leave a carbon footprint, but staying warm on the trail can be a win-win for you and for overflowing landfills you’re leaving in the cold. Go Lite, an activewear company whose Go Lite Index may be (and probably should be) the future of transparent labeling, currently makes sleeping bags, day packs, and some apparel with recycled polyester and nylon. They’re staying in contact with yarn suppliers, too, so they can use more high-tech recycled material as it becomes available. www.golite.com
Feb. 17 - Mar. 1, 2011 BASIC TOUR INCLUDES:
13 Days / 10 Nights • Game Safari in Tanzania including famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara • Choice of Camping or Deluxe Safari Lodges • Most meals, Run Fee, Pasta and festive Farewell Dinner • Optional balloon safari From $5480.00 (based on double occupancy) from east coast (other US cities available), plus air tax Optional 6-day trekking extension to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Marathon/Half • MAY 2011 PLEASE CONTACT:
Kathy Loper Events 619-298-7400 www.kathyloperevents.com CST# 2080745-40
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ RED CARPET ]
10-minute Sports Makeover Though she spent two years on the pro cycling circuit, this fall is Lindsey Bishop’s first season as a bike commuter. “I’m a recovering cyclist,” says the 26-year-old, “Since I quit racing, I’ve rediscovered how fun it is to ride.” While Lindsey’s pseudoracing set-up makes covering 30 to 60 miles a week easy—and saves her gas money—her kit isn’t dialed for optimum safety. “Visibility is key when it comes to riding in traffic,” says Anna Randsell, manager of Boulder, Colorado’s REI, “especially when the days are getting shorter.” Anna helped us update Lindsey’s look to improve her safety and comfort on the roads this fall. Clip on lights fit seamlessly into this Uvex helmet and add flashing, or solid red-and-white visibility.
Riding without lights is dangerous when spontaneous plans or extra work keep her out after dark.
Backpacks restrict range of motion and cause sweaty spots during longer or warmweather rides.
Cotton gets sweaty and clammy, and this loose weave won’t block wind.
With reflective detailing and breathable, waterproof eVent fabric, this Novara cycling jacket cut morning chill and stays dry all day. This insulated BioLogic cup from Dahon fits traditional cycling bottle holders and has a push-button spout that keeps coffee warm (and in the cup). Cateye’s Hybrid (solar/battery) light and Orbit spoke lights help her see and be seen.
Vaude’s Wright pannier, made from water-proof tarpaulin, is large enough for a laptop and has an easy-release latch so it’s a snap to carry offbike as well.
One-handed riding isn’t safe, but Lindsey likes to start the day with a hot cup of coffee. Fore and aft fenders prevent spray when riding in the rain. .
There’s not a stitch of reflectivity—key for safe riding in the dark—on this entire outfit.
Athletic shoes don’t convey of professionalism. Wide-legged jeans don’t give when she moves, and rolling a cuff to avoid chain-grease stains is a hassle.
Keen’s Presidio Pedal has a clip-compatible sole that’s stiff enough to up pedaling efficiency but stylish enough to wear to work.
Without fenders, these slick tires will kick grit and mud up her front and back sides while she rides.
Novara’s four-way stretch tights fit close and offer reflectivity and windresistant front panels in a moisture-wicking nylon/poly blend. Internal gearing will go years without maintenance.
[ LESSONS FROM THE FIELD ]
[ YOUR HEALTH ]
Glide, don’t grind, your way through life.
edaling down a seemingly infinite stretch of rural road calls to mind Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Less Traveled.” Whether cruising along the flats, working your way up a steep climb, or gunning down the other side, road biking feels like traversing unchartered waters, even in your hometown, because you’re using your own engine. Biking the same road you’ve traveled a hundred times by car feels like a different world entirely.
In the synchronicity of the pedal stroke, you find power. Road biking is not an exercise in speed, but in smoothness. How fast you go depends more on the grace and fluidity of your pedal stroke than on brute force. Keeping the upper body relaxed, it’s a seamless push-pull-push-pull with the legs, supported by strong, stabilizing core muscles. Obstacles in the road demand balance to negotiate, and it’s always preferable to ride around, rather than through, debris or potholes that could cause a flat.
And it is. When coming upon other roadies, it’s common practice to work together because a group can move more efficiently together than separate. Taking turns at the helm, riders fall into a natural paceline. Each time you come to the front, you’re blocking the wind for the rest of the riders. Each time you pull off and reabsorb into the pack, you enjoy a well-earned slipstream.
Vegan Victory? It’s common sense that eating well helps your performance, but could cutting all animal products out of your diet make you faster and stronger? Canadian triathlete and author of the book Thrive, Brendan Brazier, thinks so. He credits his entirely plant-based diet with helping him succeed as a professional athlete. The American Dietetic Association released a statement in 2009 saying that vegan diets aren’t harmful to athletes. But, if you’re cutting out all animal proteins, it is still important to keep your meals balanced. Brazier says that many new vegans eat too many starchy carbohydrates and don’t get enough protein. He advises easing into veganism slowly, and making sure that you load up on proteinpacked grains like quinoa and amaranth. “You can’t do too much too soon,” he says. “You have to change slowly, as it’s a form of stress on your body.”
What if we lived the way we rode? If we opted to work together with those we encountered on the same path rather than compete? If we recognized that humanity is only as strong as its weakest link? If we sourced our inner power from the grace by which we moved through this world rather than by how far we’ve tromped? If we didn’t get distracted by every obstacle in our path but stayed focused on balance, and sometimes just went around? Next time your life starts to feel like a constant uphill grind, take it back to the steady momentum of the bike. And remember, there is no uphill without a corresponding downhill. —Jayme Otto
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
While running one day, she realized that goal didn’t suit her. “I didn’t feel like breaking anyone else’s record anymore. I’ve lost that desire,” she said, deciding instead to focus on a feat no one had tried. Lisa began brainstorming with her friend, wellknown ultra-runner Ray Zahab, who suggested a 50-kilometer run in all 50 states, a challenge no one had undertaken. But sticking true to her endurance roots, Lisa wanted to tackle 50 miles in each of the 50 states. On April 19th, she began her journey by running the 50-mile stretch between two RTP landmarks in Trenton and Morristown, New Jersey, and she
Lisa crossing the finish line after 2,500 miles
Going the Distance
Lisa Smith Batchen running to raise $1 million of hope
seasoned and accomplished athlete, Lisa Smith Batchen is no stranger to hardship. Her résumé boasts records and wins at the world’s most grueling ultra endurance runs and she won Marathon Des Sable, a 150 mile race through the Sahara (she’s still the only American to do so). She ran from Las Vegas to the top of Mount Whitney in a single 306-mile push, and in her personal life, she’s struggled with addiction, abuse, depression, and anorexia. In her twenties, Lisa discovered that the endorphin release running provided was a critical component to regaining and maintaining her health, and in the midst of her personal struggles, “Running gave me my life back,” she says. In fact, Lisa claims that running saved her life, so now she is running to save the lives of others. This summer, Lisa completed a 2,500mile run across the United States,
called Running Hope Through America. Over the course of 62 days, she ran fifty miles in each of the fifty states to launch a fundraising campaign she hopes will raise $1 million for orphans with AIDS. Over the past 12 years, Lisa has used long distance running to raise an average of $400,000 annually for Religious Teachers Filippini (RTP), an organization that works internationally to help orphans with AIDS. Considering Lisa’s long-standing relationship with the RTP, and the fact that her longtime running partner, Sister Mary Beth Lloyd, is now RTP’s Mission Director, upping her fundraising ante was a given; it was just a matter of figuring out how. Looking for a way to celebrate her fiftieth birthday, Lisa started toying with the idea of trying to break the women’s record for running across the country—a route that traverses 19 states.
“ She wound her way across the country. ” hardly stopped running for the next 62 days. As she wound her way across the country, loved ones and supporters turned out in droves. “It felt like one big reunion,” she says, explaining that the highlight of her journey was the crowds of friends, family, and former running students that ran alongside her and came out to wish her well. New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts—Lisa was feeling
Kevin HinKley/HG PHotoGraPHy / MiKe SMitH
[ ROAR ]
stronger and gaining momentum as she looped through the northeast and ran south along the eastern seaboard. But running in Texas, the 23rd state, she twisted her left ankle in a pothole while talking to a running companion. Despite the tremendous pain, Lisa was committed to continuing. Each evening, Lisa would soak her foot in an ice bath and Sister Mary Beth would sprinkle her foot with Holy Water. “I never thought I wasn’t going to make it,” she says. After years of pushing her body to the limit, this injury was just another challenge to manage. Instead of dwelling on the discomfort, Lisa saw it as an opportunity for learning. “Some people live through that kind of suffering everyday, ” she says. “The experience made me all the more determined to help less fortunate people.” After completing the run, Lisa would learn she had broken her navicular—a small bone on the top of the foot. Lisa says her lowest point came 2,400 miles into her run, in Montana, her 48th state. Moving from state to state in a bumpy RV, she hadn’t gotten more than a few hours sleep in days, her foot wouldn’t stop throbbing, and Missoula’s freezing weather did little for her motivation. Lisa calls the day a disas-
ter. She was hallucinating and staggered off course. Eventually a member of her support crew found her in a grocery store and drove her back to the course—the only time during any of her runs that Lisa used a car.
On June 19th, she crossed the finish line at her home in Teton Valley, Idaho. Tears streamed down her face as her two daughters scrambled into her arms. Though she’d spent 62 days away from her family, and weeks leading up to her departure busy with training and logistics, her seven-yearold daughter embraced her at the finish line and said, “Mommy, if you decide you want to do this again, that’s okay with me.” Lisa is grateful for her family’s unwavering support, but now back at home she’s focused on reaching her $1 million fundraising goal through her nonprofit Dreamchaser Foundations, which works in conjunction with RTP. Lisa plans to continue coaching through her successful business, Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventure Club, and organizing endurance races that range from long distance runs in exotic locales to local Turkey Trots, with her husband, Jay. “I want to help inspire and encourage other people to use their passions to help others,” she says when asked about her coaching goals. “We all have the opportunity to live an extraordinary life. Sometimes you just have to ask for help. That’s probably the biggest thing I learned on the run. I’m not an ‘ask for help’ person, but I’ve learned it’s okay.” Along with coaching and fundraising, Lisa has one other nagging goal: As the grand finale to her record-breaking career, she hopes to be the first ten-time woman finisher of the Badwater 135 Ultra, a mid-summer race from Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney. “I just can’t give up on that dream,” she says of her planned 2011 swan song. Considering her commitment to running down dreams and her dedication to helping others chase theirs, she probably won’t have to. —Molly Loomis
SHOP NOW...PLAY LATER
by outdoor DIVAS WAM OFALL’2010”
LOVE ON THE ROCKS 0
Mechanics of Love Mr. Right isn’t always a handyman, but when he is, learn a few lessons from him that you can hold onto for life. By Abigail Sussman
here’s not much to like about break-ups, but when they happen, I like them clean, and I strive to keep the big picture in mind. With a little perspective— and a few glasses of wine—I am able to look back and see what I liked about the guy, what I didn’t like, and what the relationship taught me. While I haven’t settled on one particular guy (yet), I have settled on my favorite thing about dating, and I’ve come to a conclusion: if nothing else, dating helps me learn how to fix things. The Bike Mechanic and I met on a section of local single track. It was October and I was on my usual after-work ride. The low-angled sun cast a golden glow over the sandstone and sagebrush. The mountains that surround the valley were hinting at the beginnings of winter. I was almost done with the ride, heading back up the last hill before reaching the parking lot. It was nearly dusk, my fingers and toes were numb with cold, and I was ready to be done for the day. And then I flatted. At the time I didn’t know exactly what had happened, all I knew was that it was getting dark, I was cold, and my tire had no air. I hoisted my hard-tail Gary Fisher onto my back and started walking up the trail with a stride that I hoped had an air of dignified defeat. I had no patch kit and no spare tube, and my plan, if it could be called that, was just to hike the bike back to my car, drive home, and drink a beer. Then the Bike Mechanic showed up and my plan evaporated in the mountain air. He was riding a full-suspension with better shocks than his Toyota pickup, and his thighs weren’t just muscular, they were monuments unto themselves. Shaved smooth for what I later learned was a preemptive strike against road rash, his legs
“ My plan, if it could be called that, was just to hike the bike back to my car, drive home, and drink a beer. ”
Boulder, CO made spandex seem like a reasonable fashion statement. His jersey was clearly not just something he bought at a shop, it was a mountain bike merit badge he’d earned with an epic ride. His yellowtinted, wrap-around sunglasses helped him to see contrast on the trail—and they made him look hot. “Need some help?” he asked, as he gracefully bunny-hopped a five-foot rock. I was embarrassed but not quite willing to admit that mountain biking alone— close to sunset, in cougar country, without a way to fix a flat—was a bad idea, I thanked him and said, “No, I’ll be okay, I’m almost back to the trailhead.” But, it seemed, his yellow-tinted glasses exposed my vulnerability. He stopped anyway, gently lowered his bike to the ground, and immediately popped off my wheel as I struggled not to stare—and to keep from drooling onto the hard-packed trail. “Looks like a pinch flat,” he said and then added, after seeing my blank expression, “you know, when your tires aren’t pumped up enough and you pinch the tube between a rock and the rim of your wheel.” “Right,” I said confidently. “That’s what I was thinking, but I forgot my patch kit.” “Well, we’ll get this fixed in a jiffy.” “Thanks,” I muttered, and then, thinking fast on my cleat-clad feet, I added, “I’ll buy you a beer to pay you back.” I knew full well that he wouldn’t refuse a beer, he was on a mountain bike, after all. We dated for a while, happily riding after work (I’d meet him for his cooldown after he’d already been riding a couple of hours), sharing pasta dinners before his long cross-country circuits,
and snuggling in bed with our mutually smooth extremities intertwined. Before closing time at the bike shop where he worked, I’d bring him and the other mechanics a six-pack and we’d tinker with my bike. He taught me how to bleed my brakes, adjust the derailleur, clean the chain, and lube the fork. I didn’t mind getting grease on my hands, and I especially liked it when he cleaned smudges from my face. I don’t usually think of myself as mechanically inclined, but I absorbed these new bike maintenance skills quickly. I will never again need to hike-a-bike because of a flat. The Bike Mechanic had successfully transformed a helpless and hapless newbie mountain biker into one who could roll over drops and tweak the bent hanger of her derailleur after a too-close encounter with slickrock. He seemed pleased. But it came down to this: breaking up is better than breaking bones. He offered that ultimatum when I refused to even attempt a gap jump, which was more likely to end with me in a wheelchair for the rest of the year than with a graceful flourish of a landing. In this aspect of biking, the Bike Mechanic was not particularly patient or helpful. So, he decided I was no longer a promising student (or girlfriend), and I no longer needed an on-call bike fix-it man. I continued to ride single track until the snow falling in the mountains reached the valley floor. As fall progressed, I switched to thinking that my only danger of falling was into a big pile of powder. I know how to wax my skis, and actually prefer to do it myself. But on my first run, my binding broke, and I met Ski-Patroller-with-ashop-in-his-garage, who fixed it in an hour and then took me to ski the steeps. He hasn’t offered to show me how to work on my own bindings, but perhaps I’ll ask. ■
Try A Little...
Demo new activities and sit in on skills clinics.
Test packs, shoes, sunglasses, bikes, and active wear.
Rejuvinate with a facial or mini-massage.
Natural snacks to fuel your adventures.
...Friendship Bring pals and make new ones.
Win prizes and head home with a bag of goodies.
...Great Outdoors thewomensadventure.com
they wear a red T-shirt instead of a green one? Maybe it was Superman’s red cape—not kryptonite—that was actually the source of his powers. While the direct impact that colors may have on athletic performance is unclear, scientists have confirmed a link between color and cognitive function. Your brain ultimately impacts your performance, so despite our lack of understanding, there’s little doubt that color also plays a role in how your body does its job—especially when you’re pushing your limits. In 2008, the University of British Columbia’s Saunder School of Business conducted an 18-month experiment with 700 undergraduate students. Dr. Juliet Zhu, associate professor of marketing, helped conduct the study dubbed “Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Background Color on Cognitive Task Performance.” “We were really interested in looking at how color affects people’s performance in cognitive tasks,” Dr. Zhu says. “We rationalized that due to our socialization, or the way we were brought up, color really has different associations in our mind.”
The Power of Color
Boost your performance, activate your imagination, and alter your mood with the right shades of courage. By Carol Patton
hen skydiving or base jumping, Italian Roberta Mancino sports red, yellow, or green—when she’s not naked.
Buff-jumping aside, her preferences aren’t an accident, says the 29-year-old professional skydiver, who set a world record last year as part of a 108-person skydiving formation. Whether it’s her gut instinct, a simple preference, or the unconscious impact of her cultural heritage, Roberta says wearing certain colors can help elevate her mood or strengthen her concentration for more dangerous jumps. “Yellow makes me feel happy,” says Roberta, who splits her time between Venice Beach, California, and her hometown of Anzio, Italy. “Red makes me feel like I have more energy, which gives me more confidence in my jump, and green helps me feel more natural, peaceful, and relaxed.” Can color impact mood, abilities, and performance? Can people actually jump higher, run faster, or hike farther if
Participants performed tasks using words or images displayed against red, blue, or neutral backgrounds on computer screens. With creative tasks, participants performed better with blue backgrounds. But when their tasks focused on recall and attention to detail, such as proofreading, they performed better with a red background. Dr. Zhu says older studies had produced similar results. One found that writing with a red pen puts people in a different mind-set than writing with a blue pen. Another compared evenly matched athletes who were competing in boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Greco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling during the 2004 Olympic Games. Those who wore red defeated their blue-clad opponents 60 percent of the time. Perhaps color can be another tool in your backpack to enhance performance, change your mood, or stimulate creative thinking. Envision yourself in a red-tinted world, says Dr. Zhu, and it might be easier to conquer a mountain. Picture yourself in a sea of blue-toned hues, and innovative solutions—like where to hang your bear bag or how to fashion an emergency shelter—might seem like light work. It might not be on your pre-hike checklist, but listening to your intuition when it comes to color-coding your adventure may make or break it. “What we have found in our research is that people are very much unconscious of the effect of color on their performance,” Dr. Zhu says. “But somehow, people have a hunch as to how color affects their behavior. So don’t try to think too hard about which color to use. Go with your hunch, and your gut feeling will tell you which color works for you.” Big retailers like Patagonia have also recognized the power of color. In early 2008, when the recession began its tight grip on the U.S. economy, the company’s founder and owner, Yvon
Chouinard, suggested using a palate of bright colors to raise customer spirits. “He talked to our design team and said ‘go to Sweden, look at the color of the houses,’” recalls Martijn Linden, Patagonia’s creative director of product. “He said they paint their houses bright colors to make them feel better about the climate because it’s dark there half the year.” This year’s fashion and outdoor apparel color palette might have the same effect. Manufacturers are introducing bright and dynamic hues including volcanic blue, “ozonic” green, a light green that’s called “light gecko,” and a trifecta of pinkish shades (claret red, lotus flower, and pink camellia). Consumers want color, says Linden, using an example noticed by Patagonia product managers last year to explain: Wholesale stores ordered one of the company’s top-selling products, a down sweater-vest, and placed most of their orders for black. Not surprisingly, black became the most popular color for the season, followed by red, green, blue, and yellow, he says. But the color ranking was the opposite when consumers ordered the vests themselves from the company’s website. Although he’s not certain why, even Linden himself prefers wearing bright colors. He owns two T-shirts in different shades of green, but he ends up wearing the brightest one when he runs. “I’ll go through the trouble of washing my [bright] green shirt at night so I can wear it again the next day,” he says, adding that the other one sits in a drawer. “When I put the drab T-shirt on, I don’t feel up to the challenge.” So what colors are in your backpack or closet? Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to the array, especially when you’re shopping for gear that might push you to a new summit. You may not transform into Superman, but color can give you the edge or energy when you need it most.
Your Performance Palette
“Visualize each color in the way smoke looks after a candle is blown out,” says color expert Jami Lin, author of Color Alchemy (EarthDesign, Inc.; 2008). She says visualizing color might help you hit a jump, help a friend, or hone your fly-casting technique. “Imagine it dancing around your nose, coming into your nose, then dancing through your body,” Lin says. “Breathe in, filling your lungs to capacity, then fill them a bit more. As you breathe out, exhale your toxic energy, stress, anxiety, fatigue, fear, or isolation as gray smoke.” Lin says that taking notice of the colors around you, assessing how you feel in the moment and taking a mental snapshot, can help you re-live highs and outwit lows in both mood and performance. “Save these mental snapshots on your brain’s hard drive,” she says. “Whenever you need to recall [these] feelings, you can bring that visualization back.” Each color has specific performance-enhancing attributes, so pick the right one for your adventure attitude. No matter your agenda, there’s a color-coded snapshot you can keep on hand—or in your head—that’ll put you in the right frame of mind to boost your performance. Narrow down the color of your adventure attitude with this choose-your-own chart: You’ve been looking forward to a good hike all week. What did you have in mind for your morning?
Scrambling to the top of a mountain.
Sunny skies mean amazing weather and even better views, perfect for: Your first-ever base jump.
Keeping things low key means:
Posing for pics with your crush.
Imagining the bright yellow of the sun or a buttery field of Tulips will boost your courage and confidence You’ll need creativity to make the most of your setting. Conjure up images of rusty-colored canyon walls or a splash of orangey citrus
Romantic photos are your forte: False
Relaxing with an easy walk.
You’ll hear every buzzing bee and bird call as you wander.
Get a deeper connection with nature by visualizing purple-hued scenes of lavender blooms or a pre-dawn sky.
At least you made an impression when you: Tripped on a rock and nearly sent him over the cliff’s edge.
Red will boost your energy and keep you fired up. Picture oxygen-rich blood pumping through your system, or volcano bursting red-hot lava.
You’ll have energy for a bike ride later in the day.
Keeping up your cadence and gliding smooth open roads helps ground you. The proof is: Serious road rash and your best friend: the bike mechanic.
Sprinted past him on the crux of the climb. Go green and think of forested canopies or grassy hilltops for a stand-by way to improve your balance.
Your steady rhythm and ability to forget everything else.
Watery scenes of shorelines or deep-sea swimming are a sure-fire way to increase calming and relaxation.
Now that’s real power. ■ WAM OFALL’2010”
SENSE OF PLACE
The Touching That Lasts
In The Touching That Lasts, writer Kent Nelson examines human relationships including this excerpt, from the book’s title essay, which hints at the mystery of a parent’s life from the eyes of a grown child. By Kent Nelson
coasted into the driveway. My father must have left his truck with a friend or driven it to the airport, because the yard was empty. I turned off the Ford’s engine and sat for a moment. The farmhouse was smaller than I remembered it, though it was
still beige, still two stories. The four apple trees he’d planted in the front yard were bigger—one for each of us children when we were born. Two of the trees were grown now, two smaller. They were leafless and made the house look forlorn.
My father had sixty acres back to the creek, though it had not been a working ranch since I’d known the place. I got out into a cold breeze and stood among the apple trees. Behind the house were the corrals—nails pulled from the posts, broken rails, gates hanging open. The eaves of the shed were lined with swallows’ nests, abandoned for the winter. This was where my father chose to live. He chose the sky and the mountains and the sage hills with snow in the shadows, the meadow and corrals, and the house seven miles from town on the county gravel. If he chose this, he also chose to be lonely. A shadow drifted across the ground and stirred me, a raven sailing westward toward the diminishing sun. I found the house key above the beam of the porch. The living room smelled of ashes left in the wood stove. He hadn’t been gone
long. Razor-like gold sunlight entered through the curtains on the west side of the room. I walked through the adjoining dining room to the tiny kitchen, got a drink of water, and sat at the table. The snowy meadow and the red willows along the creek were bathed in bluish shadow. A few tufts of grass poked up through the snow, and in the low spots vapor rose from hot water. Yes, it was my purpose to be where I was, though I got edgy sitting there. My rhythm was the city’s pulse—San Francisco, Providence, Denver— jagged, hurried. But I made myself wait in the quiet, in the deepening dusk. Shapes diminished, and stars appeared randomly in the blue light. Then a stillness I had not imagined possible came over me, as if the translucent light entered me and I experienced what my father knew, what he felt when he was alone in his house. A coyote materialized by the side fence; an owl flew on heavy wings low across the meadow, and following its flight, I saw elk on the far hillside. They came out of the dark spruce and, one by one, silhouetted themselves against a tongue of snow as they descended toward the creek and disappeared into the willows. The stillness unnerved me, and I rose and turned on a light, then turned it off again. I could not let myself be afraid. I walked through the house to the stairs to my father’s loft. When we visited, we children were not allowed to go up these stairs, and my father trusted us not to trespass. He took me up to the loft once so I wouldn’t be curious—it was where his darkroom was. I remembered the confusion of enlargers, trays, bottles of chemicals. Prints were strung up on crisscrossing wires. But his work meant nothing to me then— I was eight, maybe. What I recall most vividly was the acrid smell of developer. I climbed the stairs slowly in the dark, as if what drew me upward also held me back. The loft was one room with a skylight filled with stars. At the top of the stairs I turned on the light, and the
“ Yet the questions themselves told me something: my father could never have shared with me everything I wanted to know. ” room burst open to me. Along one wall, squeezed in beside the gabled window, was a desk and computer. In the far corner were a bare sink and a toilet— no need for privacy in a place no one else was allowed. The darkroom was a cubicle built under the eaves, with a superfluous red light above the door. It was the same as I remembered it. Unframed prints were tacked everywhere on the walls, pinned to wires. It was the same, but like the apple trees, it was not the same. I was different. Photographs were everywhere: a child in a rice paddy with gray smoke rising in the distance, an avocet dancing in a pool of otherwise still water, a stark cityscape muted by haze, Asian kids at a parade, a black girl dribbling a basketball on broken asphalt, a Sharp-shinned Hawk devouring a waxwing. I expected the bird photographs, but was surprised by the children. The more I looked, the more children there were: a Latino boy standing beside the body of a man on the side of a red-clay road, Dorrie and Irene at the beach, a Japanese girl dressed in a red kimono with her eyes closed. These images inspired more questions. They were fragments of his life. Yet the questions themselves told me something: even if I asked and asked and asked, my father could never have shared with me everything I wanted to know. I studied the children’s faces, their eyes. Each child’s eyes were curious. Did I
imagine this? Every child’s eyes asked, What will happen next? Will I be all right? And then I noticed above his desk the only framed photograph, the one I had been witness to years before of the old black woman sitting on her porch in the plywood chair in the sunlight. The light struck her like magic, transformed her, and made her alive. Headlights scattered through the gable window onto the ceiling. A car was coming down the road—probably a rancher who lived farther on, but I switched off the light. The car was still a ways off, its headlights moving along the gravel, illuminating the weeds and the fence line at the side of the road. A half-moon had risen, and its radiance brightened the pale snow. The headlights slowed at my father’s driveway and turned in, and I saw it was a truck. The lights swept over the rental car and the shed and corral. I went downstairs quickly and out onto the porch, thinking it must be a caretaker who’d seen the light on. The car lights went off, the driver got out, and I saw from his posture that it was my father. ■
Excerpted from Kent Nelson’s book of short stories, The Touching that Lasts, (2006) with permission from Johnson Books, a division of Big Earth Publishing.
Catch of the Day
Hook a new hobby and master flyfishing in your own backyard. By Drew Rush
lashing silver below the surface and boiling just above, they tease. Big rainbow trout, bright red Chinook, or bonefish: the target doesn’t matter. Flyfishing is a cat and mouse game on the water, and being under the surface offers the biggest advantage. Despite an angler’s graceful cast or attention to fly patterns, the scales are tipped in the fish’s favor—which makes catching one that much sweeter. High-end excursions bounce between Bahamian beaches and Russia’s Kamchatkan backcountry, and there’s a rainbow of species to hook between New Zealand and Alaska. Anglers go to great lengths and distant locales for the satisfaction of landing a once-in-alifetime fish, and in 2009 more than 5.9 million Americans, about 17 percent of
Every experienced angler has a story about “the one that got away,” but follow these tips from Jennifer Cornell of Wyoming’s Reel Women Fly Fishing Adventures (www.reel-women.com) and you might come home with a few keepers.
them women, has spent time casting flies. According to Randi Swisher of the American Flyfishing Trade Association communing with nature, building camaraderie with angling friends, and traveling to those distant hot-spots add to the allure, but one of the reasons that fly fishing is so appealing, says Randy, is that whether you live in Colorado, Florida, or New Hampshire, you can catch just about any species of fish on a fly rod. It’s a sport you can learn and likely apply in your own backyard. Though men dominate the fishing scene, women excel at the sport in part because of the fluidity and grace required to master a cast. “Women tend to pick up a rod for the first time and with just a little instruction they can cast nicely, with finesse,” says Jackson,
Keep your rod tip up (between “10 o’clock” and “2 o’clock”) while casting. The high angle of the rod helps keep your line above shoreline bushes and improves accuracy.
Make room for your back cast—as much room as you’re planning to cast forward—to avoid getting tangled in the bushes (or your angling buddies).
Wyoming–based Jennifer Cornell of Reel Women Fly Fishing Adventures. “They’re able to make micro adjustments to get to perfection faster.” The ease with which many women adopt flyfishing builds confidence, she says, which sets many first-timers off on the lifelong learning curve that is one of fishing’s the biggest rewards—if you don’t count an occasional trophy 20-pounder filleted for dinner. If casting comes tough for you, Jennifer recommends taking a class from an outfitter, one who will suggest fly patterns, secret spots, and local tips that’ll up your odds of catching a fish. But even if the cat-and-mouse game leaves you empty handed, “They live in beautiful places,” says Jennifer. “Just by being out there, you’ll have a fish story to tell.” ■
Casting power comes from the leverage of your rod, not your arm strength. Learn to capture that power by practicing off the water, too.
Is the sun at your back? If your shadow falls over the water, you might spook the fish before you ever even see them.
Arm yourself with a good selection of flies and aim to “match the hatch”—have patterns that match the local bugs that are in season. Ants are good all-around choices, but ask local outfitters for seasonal and spot-specific advice.
Look around for actively feeding fish or likely hiding spots: below small swarms of flying insects, near logs and rocks that create small pools, and in eddies where fish rest.
Using a net can help land your fish for a photo and prevent injury to the fish during the final moments of the fight.
Watch a video of the amazing Joan Wulff demonstrate some casting techniques: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peQIVe5vJio womensadventuremagazine.com
8/19/10 11:27:04 AM
History 101: Your Medical Family Tree What you should know about your family’s medical background—and how it’ll help you live longer. By Amy Levin-Epstein
eart attacks, cancer, and crazy Aunt Ida, who lived to the age of 105. You probably recall a few highlights in your family’s medical history, but jotting down the details at the doctor’s office feels more like a chore than part of a check up. In fact, your medical history should be an important part of your conversation with your doctor— everything from heart disease to breast cancer and from diabetes to depression may be partially determined by your DNA. Take Annette, a holistic health counselor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When she was initially diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, she told her doctor that her aunt had passed away from ovarian cancer at an early age. “[The family predisposition along with] my young age and the pathology of my breast cancer led to a strong suspicion that my cancer was related to genetics,” says Annette. “I didn’t think twice after being counseled about the option of genetic testing.” Shortly after deciding to test her genes for cancer red-flags, Annette tested positive for the BRCA genetic mutation—one of the hallmarks for higher breast and ovarian cancer risk. The combination of her family history and the knowledge of her genetic predisposition for cancer helped tip the balance for Annette when it came to her treatment decisions. She had both her breasts and ovaries removed. After the preemptive procedure,
doctors found cancer in her ovaries that could have gone undetected. Knowing her family’s history didn’t prevent Annette’s illness, but it did help save her life. Your family background can’t positively impact your health if you don’t know what it includes, and family history can account for up to a five-fold increase in risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Doctors look most closely at what they call “first degree” relatives (siblings, parents, and children), but even “second-degree” relatives can be important in family histories, and both paternal and maternal sides of the family matter. So do some research, talk to your parents, write down what you learn, and bring it with you to doctor appointments. Make sure to cover high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer—and the progression of those illnesses in your family tree. “The age of diagnosis is also very important,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide to Women’s Health. “If breast cancer was diagnosed before age 50, it tends to be more aggressive.” According to the Mayo Clinic, other age-related red flags include high blood pressure before age 40, and breast, colon, or prostate cancer before age 50.
But what if your family tree has a broken path of, say, heart disease? If Grandpa worked in a coal mine and Grandma was a chain smoker, you can relax a bit. “People think family history has more of a bearing than it does with diseases like cancer,” says Donnica Moore, M.D., editor-in-chief of Women’s Health for Life. Dr. Moore explains that up to 80 percent of your risk for heart disease and cancer is “modifiable,” meaning that your behavior may be the biggest factor influencing a future diagnosis. If you avoid smoking, maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and watch your weight, you might circumvent heart disease even if it’s affected the rest of your family. “Women who have a family history of breast cancer will think they are doomed to get it,” she explains, “but the majority of women who develop breast cancer have no risk factors other than gender and age.” The lesson: instead of a de-facto diagnosis, think of your family history as another tool for your doctors. It’s not a sure-fire predictor for disease, but doctors can use your family history to weigh testing options or forms of treatment, as they did when they recommended the aggressive treatment that was a preemptive strike against Annette’s ovarian cancer. “[With a family history of heart disease], I would be more aggressive in treating an elevated cholesterol,” says Dr. Moore. She adds, “The recommended age is 50 for a first colonoscopy, but if you have a family member who developed [colon cancer] earlier, we recommend doing a colonoscopy five years before that person developed it.” Because it’s a tool that will ultimately help you, it’s important to have a complete and honest history to share. “Some people might not want to reveal drug abuse or alcoholism, but addictive personalities can have a genetic component,” says Dr. Moore, adding that you should include mental health issues in your family history. Besides depression, anxiety disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic disorder also appear to have a genetic component, and if a close family member committed suicide, your doctor may want to treat your depression more aggressively than they might with someone else. “When it comes to your doctor, it’s always better to over-share rather than under-share,” says Dr. Moore. Your doctor will be able to talk you through how your family’s health profile could affect you, and lifestyle changes you can make to try to break the chain of heart disease or cancer that’s affected your family. They can also use it to identify potential problems and recognize patterns that might be further revealed with genetic testing like the BRCA test that Annette had. “My journey was extended by finding out that I also had ovarian cancer after the pathology results came back from [having my ovaries removed],” she says. “Luckily, since I had the genetic testing and was doing the recommended surgery, the disease was caught early and my chances to be cured of ovarian cancer are high.” And like Annette, your family medical background just may help you live a long, healthy life. ■
The hard facts about inherited health risks
Cold, hard statistics don’t tell the whole story when it comes to understanding your inherited health risks. According to Donnica Moore, M.D., lifestyle is perhaps a more important factor in determining your overall risk for a slew of diseases linked to family history. Knowing your hereditary risk should underscore the importance of changing bad behaviors before your family tree comes crashing down on top of you. Calculate your own risk of breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease with online tools from the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool) and the American Heart Association’s Family Tree (www.americanheart.org) and use these stats to motivate changes in your own behavior. • If your parent was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before age 50, you have a one-in-seven chance of developing the disease. Cut Your Risk: Maintain a healthy weight and up your exercise level to 30 minutes three times a week. • Twelve percent of women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, while 60 percent of women who test positive for the breast-cancer indicator genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, will. Cut Your Risk: Limit alcohol consumption: even one drink a day has been linked to increased risk. • During their lifetimes, less than 1.5 percent of women will develop ovarian cancer, while 15–40 percent of women who test positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2 will. Cut Your Risk: Obesity appears to be a risk factor, so maintain a healthy weight— a body mass index below 25. • If your parent was an alcoholic, your risk of suffering from alcoholism is four times that of someone whose family is unaffected by the disease. Cut Your Risk: Recognize symptoms such as drinking alone, not being able to stop drinking, and developing legal, work, relationship, or financial troubles because of alcohol. Then get help if needed. • Your chances of developing osteoporosis are 50 percent higher if your mother has the disease. Cut Your Risk: Aim to eat or take supplements equal to 1,000–1,200 mg. of calcium and 400–1,000 IU of vitamin D daily. • One to 5 percent of adult-onset glaucoma—and as much as 14 percent of juvenile onset glaucoma—is due to the inherited genetic protein GLC1A. Cut Your Risk: Have your eye pressure checked annually by an ophthalmologist. • Genetics accounts for up to 10 percent of melanoma cases, and parents who have hereditary melanoma have a 50 percent chance of passing along a susceptibility to the disease. Cut Your Risk: Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen (with at least SPF 30) and protective clothing, and get your skin checked regularly by a dermatologist.
Roots We Dig
Look below the surface for veggies packed with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and more. By Matthew Kadey, M.S., R.D.
ust as the harvest of juicy tomatoes, string beans, and farm fresh leafy lettuce fades to black, Mother Nature provides a hearty selection of subterranean tubers that offer up a range of essential nutrients and curious flavors. From vibrant beets to whimsical sunchokes, often-underrated root vegetables are highly nutritious and very easy on the wallet: You can probably score a five-pound hulk of a rutabaga at the farmers market for a buck. These long-storing vegetables are 1
Rosy beets are notable for their sweetness—they have the highest sugar content of any veggie—and for leaving their mark in the kitchen. Their finger-, counter-, and shirt-staining red dye, betacyanin, is in fact a powerful antioxidant thought to counter diseaseprovoking free radicals. Plus, one beet has only 35 calories and is chockablock with folate, a B-vitamin essential for heart health. The perfect two-for-one vegetable, edible beet greens are brimming with vitamin C and vitamin A to support immune defense. Many colorful varieties of beets are now available, including golden and candy cane guises. Look for relatively smooth, hard beets with deep color that are no larger than 2 inches in diameter. Beet greens should be bright, dark green, and fresh looking. Because the greens draw moisture from the root, cut them off before storing. If cooked whole, peel the beets afterwards under cold water. The skins slip right off. Munch on this: Not a raw (or canned) beet fan? Roasting them brings their natural sweetness to the forefront. Toss sliced beets with olive oil and salt and pepper on a baking sheet, and bake at 450°F for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place roasted beets on a bed of lightly sautéed beet greens and top with toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
so easy to use that even kitchen newbies will be hard pressed to ruin them. Roast, mash, glaze, grate, braise, purée; it’s really hard to go wrong. Many of these underground wonders are now available year round, but they’re at their best when the weather starts turning cool—low temps convert root vegetables’ starches to sugar, making them that much sweeter. Here are seven root vegetables to jazz up your winter diet and tide you over until asparagus season.
Knobby celery root, also called celeriac, is exactly what its moniker claims it to be: the root of a celery plant. The creamy white flesh tastes like a cross between celery and parsley, and has a starchy, potato-like texture. What celery root lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for with hefty amounts of vitamin K, which is vital for proper blood clotting and bone strength. Choose small to medium roots that are firm, heavy for their size, and free of soft spots (especially on the bottom). Large roots tend to be woody or hollow inside. Celery root must be peeled generously with a sharp knife prior to eating. Grate peeled root into salads and slaws, or steam and mash with potatoes.
Turnips have fetching violet tops then fade to bright white, and their beautiful, thin skins cover a crisp flesh. The root itself has a peppery zing and plenty of vitamin C, but the greens are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, and a handful of minerals including calcium, copper, and manganese. Look for turnips that are smooth, hard, and free of soft spots, sprouts, or cracks. Pass on any that are larger than 3 inches in diameter, as they are apt to be woody. Once scrubbed, there is no need to peel them. Vitamin-packed turnip leaves are slightly hairy, yet still very edible. Try them in homemade pesto or sautéed with garlic and sesame oil.
Munch on this: Peel a celery root, cut it into even-sized chunks and steam them until very tender. Mash and mix with ²/³ cup whole-wheat flour, 4 tablespoons olive oil, diced fresh mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into equal-sized patties and bake at 400°F for about 30–40 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
Munch on this: Turnips can be cut into wedges to be served with dip, or roasted with other root vegetables. They are also delicious when caramelized. In a skillet, cook turnip wedges in some butter and apple cider until just tender. Stir in apple slices and continue to cook until apples soften. Serve with dried cranberries.
Nutty and slightly sweet, parsnips look a lot like Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack, save their ivory complexion and wider shape. Just one cup of this ghostly hued, elongated root packs in a whopping 7 grams of fiber (three more grams than carrots) to aid digestive health. As a perk, parsnips also have a stellar amount of vitamin C and folate, plus almost 40 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K. Buy parsnips that are firm, crisp, and free of cracks and, in this case, size does matter. Smaller, thinner ones are sweeter. Unlike their orange look-alikes, parsnips are almost always better enjoyed when cooked. Roasting, puréeing into soups, stir-frying, and microwaving all work well. Munch on this: Steam or boil 4 sliced parsnips until tender, about 10–15 minutes. In a food processor or blender, process parsnips, ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock, ¹/³ cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon fresh dill, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Serve as a topping for catfish, tilapia, or other white-fleshed fish. 5
The yellow-tinged, creamy flesh of the rutabaga is milder and slightly sweeter than its cousin, the turnip. It harbors hefty amounts of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium to keep blood pressure numbers in check. Like many other root vegetables, they will last for up to several months if properly stored in a cool, dry place. Look for smooth, hard, heavy-for-their-size rutabagas without any blemishes. Roots that are 4 inches or less in diameter will be pleasingly al-dente. Munch on this: Toss chunks into curries, vegetable soups, chicken pot pie, or elevate simple mashed potatoes by peeling a rutabaga with a vegetable peeler, cutting it into even-sized chunks, and steaming or boiling until tender, about 15 minutes. Mash with some butter, milk, orange zest, fresh chives, salt and pepper.
Sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes, though not related to traditional artichokes, sunchokes are the gnarled, starchy tubers of a plant in the sunflower family. They look a little like ginger root with a bad case of acne, but the crunchy white flesh tastes like a mix of water chestnut and jicama. Sunchokes are an unexpected but good source of energy-boosting iron and are wellendowed with the soluble fiber, inulin, which may promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and help maintain intestinal health. The best sunchokes are firm, with a uniform light brown hue. Steer clear of those with sprouts, wrinkled skin, or blotches, but don’t shy away from lumpy ones—some say they are more flavorful. Their thin skin does not need to be peeled before eating.
with other root veggies. Because of its stronger flavor, mix salsify with mashed potatoes, and use a lower proportion of it when mixing with other vegetables. Munch on this: For a riff on traditional hummus, in a food processor whirl together roasted salsify, a can of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, cayenne, and salt and pepper until well blended and smooth. Serve on toast, crackers, or as dip for other root vegetables.
Munch on this: Serve sunchokes raw in salads, sliced into gratins, or baked with a root vegetable medley. For a healthy version of French fries, slice sunchokes into matchsticks, toss with vegetable oil, fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until crisp. 7
At first glance, salsify looks a lot like a dirty carrot. Beneath the roughneck dark skin is a cream-colored flesh that offers a subtle oyster-like flavor. Hence the nickname “oyster plant.” A cup serving of salsify provides good amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which according to Harvard scientists, may slash heartattack risk in women. When peeled, this root darkens quickly, so place it in a bowl of water and lemon juice during preparation to prevent browning, and wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands. Look for medium-sized roots that are not limp, but firm to the touch. Larger roots tend to be on the fibrous side, but preparation options are the same as
Sky hiking near Squaw Lake, CA
Is it about the journey, or the destination? Hiking with a toddler helped this new mom decide. By Christi Gubser
e had lived on the beaches of Brazil and trekked through the Cordillera of Patagonia. We had fallen in love based on our common passion for adventure and travel, and my husband Jeff and I spent our year-long honeymoon exploring the world. We were in Argentina when we found out that I was pregnant.
When Sky was born, we felt we’d created the perfect being. I fell deeply in love with her, and with motherhood. We took her everywhere: she was camping by four months and spent her first summer backpacking through the Rocky Mountains. She “oohed” and “aahed” from the comfort of her baby backpack, napped while we were
climbing peaks, and slept through the night in a tent. But before long, all of my conversations revolved around Sky, and talking about diapers and napping schedules all the time made me feel like I was losing an integral part of myself. For me, the challenge of motherhood wasn’t lack of sleep, or even losing my ability to get outdoors, but rather the slow loss of my identity, which had been wrapped up in boundless adventures. Who exactly was I becoming? I didn’t want my identity to narrow to just fulfilling the needs of my child—should I fight it? Succumb to it? I need adventure like blood flowing through my body, so I decided to plan something epic that would shift our focus and make me feel whole, accomplished,
Two Hundred Miles With Sky… Almost
and like myself again. The John Muir Trail—a 212-mile stretch from California’s Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney— had always tempted me, and I decided that Sky and I were going to hike the entire thing. If we were successful, she would break the record for the youngest “hiker” to complete it. I daydreamed about moonlit nights snuggled in the tent, sharing bowls of warm oatmeal at sunrise, and an entire month of living outdoors completely focused on our adventures together in the mountains. Once this idea began brewing in my mind, there was no stopping me. As Sky starting crawling at ten months, I secured our hiking permits. As she was pulling herself up on the couch, I rented llamas to carry our gear. By May she was walking and talking, and I was busy assembling our supplies and planning our menus. We were ready. The Sierras weren’t. In mid–June, our llama packer called with some bad news. An unseasonably cold spring had kept the high passes buried under deep snow. By the time we would begin hiking, the rivers would be flowing fast and strong, and they might be too dangerous to cross. Weeks went by as we waited for more news of the snowpack and adjusted our plans accordingly. By the time we got on the trail in early July, I’d scaled back our plan to just 20 days of camping and 150 miles of hiking—still challenging enough to fulfill my goal. We spent our first night in a buggy campsite, and Sky awoke with a mosquito-bite-swollen eye; her vulnerability on puffy-faced display above her innocent smile. But we sang songs as we cruised the grey granite wilderness of the Sierras and savored many magical moments: Sky learned first-hand about tadpoles in a high mountain lake, and we snuggled through cold nights under the stars, overlooked the mountains from a 10,900-foot perch at Silver Pass, and watched flowers tumble through bubbling creek rapids. I had started with a grand idea: to prove to myself that having a child
doesn’t necessarily lead to a loss of self identity. But early on, passing hikers warned that there was still serious snowpack up ahead. Warm temperatures hadn’t melted it, and it would be impossible for our llamas to navigate the icy switchbacks in the trail up ahead. In those first few days, I came to terms with the fact that this hike, despite my desire to complete it, was not going to happen. Sky was relentlessly attacked by mosquitoes and it killed me to look into her swollen eyes—even as they were framed by forests and peaks. Why had I wanted to do this? Were we really having fun? In answering those questions, I began my own transformation, a change from the single-minded adventurer I had been to the still-adventurous, thoughtful, and loving mother that I was becoming. My obsession to accomplish an extraordinary goal became secondary. Having a fun and still adventurous trip together came first. I thought about how to fill our days and both of our needs. Instead of feeling frustrated by our “constraints,” I started looking at little things, the details, while Sky walked slowly behind me. Time, and the urgency of my former life, passed as we watched a beetle crawl across the trail. Going at Sky’s pace opened my eyes, and I felt myself drifting away from goal-setting and settling into the present moment. We left the backcountry with 35 miles behind us, after five days. Our grand adventure was a far cry from the 28 days and 212 miles I’d originally intended, but I felt wholeheartedly accomplished. I had reached the crossroads where a mother and child meet, where I could preserve my identity while helping to grow hers. We still backpack and camp, we still travel, but a fishing trip to a nearby lake sounds a lot more fun than hiking up a 14,000-foot mountain. An overnight backpacking trip to a place where Sky can scamper up rocks satisfies all of our cravings. Perhaps when Sky is 18, and I am almost 50, we will try the John Muir Trail again. We’ll see if it is something she is interested in—I know I will be. ■ WAM OFALL’2010”
aspire - activate - elevate
See a Better World!
Jessica Sobolowski Quinn - Zeal Airestream
photo: court leve
hat better way to witness the change of the seasons than running down a country road, or spending the night in a grove of crimson-colored trees? Being prepared is an important part of enjoying either experience, especially when temperatures begin to drop. That’s why we’ve tested the most important pieces of gear for road runs and overnight trips—running shoes, compression tights, tents, and packs—to provide the female-friendliest advice about how to equip this fall.
Our testers took to the streets and trails to report back on these four major gear categories, and they helped us narrow down hundreds of contending products to 30 of our must-have recommendations. Whether you’re training for your next marathon, squeezing in a quick jog, backpacking just one night—or five— we’ve got you covered. In the following pages, you’ll find the advice you need to outfit your adventure and exceed your expectations for comfort and performance.
Edited by Kristy Holland Photography by Ben Fullerton WAM OFALL’2010”
g n i n un
R d a Ro
Sumi is wearing: Moving Comfort Mobility Long Sleeve Tee ($54; www.movingcomfort.com); Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer High Impact Bra ($58; www.lululemon.com); Timex Ironman Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor ($110; www.timex.com); CWX Women’s Stabilyx Tights ($98; www.cw-x.com); Teko Merino Women’s Light Minicrew ($16; www. tekosocks.com); Saucony Women’s ProGrid Kinvara Shoes ($90; www.saucony.com). WAM OSocks FALL’2010” womensadventuremagazine.com
8/18/10 1:42:14 PM
Brooks Infiniti Jacket ($100; www.brooksrunning.com) Protection from wind and water meet stretchy breathability in this lightweight running jacket with 360-degree reflectivity and a pocket for keeping electronics dry. Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer ($58; www.lululemon.com) Structured support with feminine detailing, wide shoulder straps that adjust for traditional or cross-back styling, and a handful of snappy color options make this a favorite sports bra for cup sizes from B to DD. Nathan Swift Nutrition Belt ($TK; www.nathansports.com) Nathan’s newest addition, this belted hydration system holds eight ounces in a sport-top bottle and a couple of gel packs in a zippered pocket. The elastic belt includes an ID tag and removable race-number snaps. Brooks Adapt Glove ($30; www.brooksrunning.com) Perfect for crisp mornings, these gloves have a textured thumb pad that makes them touch-screen compatible and a water-resistant mitt that stays tucked away until you need it to protects hands against wind and water. Ryders Drill ($40; www.ryderseyewear.com) Non-skid padding at the nose and temple keeps these one-ounce shades in place as you run—and everything looks better through rose-colored glasses. Clif Shot Energy Gel ($1.30 each; www.clifbar.com) Reformulated to taste better and deliver more electrolytes, Clif’s shots are available in three different caffeine doses and eight delish flavors that are 90 percent organic.
ProGrid Kinvara 4.8 Saucony ($90; www.saucony.com)
The go anywhere, do anything tight. CW-X’s Stabilyx supports both linear (think long runs and Nordic skiing) and lateral (i.e. yoga and downhill skiing) movement. These tights are also intended for use both during and after activity—which helped them win points from our testers for extra dollar value. Designed specifically to support the core and knees, the “Kinesio Support Web” is modeled after taping patterns used by sports medicine experts and helps support muscles prone to injury—and ensures that you have tights positioned for optimal performance. Testers loved the waistband, which didn’t dig in, and the feel of support in the lower abs, hips, and back. The material was breathable and lightweight allowing comfortable wear for all seasons and most temperatures, but it also comes in a ¾ length ($86) for warmer temps.
Leading the way for minimalist running shoes (which are a big trend for next year), the Kinvara is definitely a winner. Best suited for neutral runners, this lightweight shoe serves double-duty as a racer and trainer. One Women’s Adventure tester, who put 50 miles on her pair the first week, said, “It feels like a racing flat, but there’s more cushion so it’s a great fit for runners looking for a long-distance racer, too.” The difference between the heel height and the forefoot is smaller than a traditional shoe, so it feels quick to transition as you run. Our scales read 14 ounces for a pair of 8.5s and the light weight is due, in part, because of a reduction in outsole rubber. But, designers didn’t sacrifice comfort, as they inserted a new material that makes the heel softer and more responsive. The sock-like upper is also minimal, but internal webbing helps it hold your foot in place.
Zoot CompressRx Active Tights ($120; www.zootsports.
com) It’s a tight squeeze, but visible zoning helps ensure proper fit that stabilizes and reduces vibration—antimicrobial silver is an added, anti-stink perk.
SKINS SHE Long Tights ($115; www.skinsusa.com)
Gradient compression works, and the wicking fabric make these full-length tights multi-sport comfortable in all weather conditions.
2XU Elite Compression Tights ($140; www.2xu.com)
Sugoi Piston 200 Tight ($90; www.sugoi.com)
Higher-density fabric means better support, less muscle vibration, and reduced fatigue in these triathlete favorites with fashion-forward styling. Two purposes for a low price, these tights are constructed with zoned compression aimed to perform during and after activity.
Stabilyx Tight 4.8 CW-X ($98; www.cw-x.com)
compreSSion SunScreen TighTS
Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at: womensadventuremagazine.com
Asics Gel-Nimbus 12 ($125; www.asicsamerica.com)
New Balance 759 ($95; www.newbalance.com)
Brooks Ghost 3 ($100; www.brooksrunning.com)
Newton Running Gravity ($175; www.newtonrunning.com)
Cushiony and structured to add stability for mild pronators, this updated classic features updated eyelet design and asymmetric lacing for a comfort fit. Lightweight without sacrificing heel cushion, this mid-mileage trainer is wellsuited for neutral heel-strikers. The reinforced arch offers exceptional support. Increased stability and fluid-based cushioning gives the new Brooks enhanced comfort for neutral runners—it’s also one of the comfiest uppers we tried. With a gimmicky orange upper and Newton’s trademarked Action/Reaction Technology, this funky shoe actually propels you forward on the road.
g n i k pac
nt ...Overnight exciteme
Christine is camping in Nemo Espri 2P ($300; www.nemoequipment.com) and carrying Gregory Women’s Jade 60 Backpacking Backpack ($230; www.altrec.com/Gregory) and a Thermarest Women’s ProLite ($90; www.cascadedesigns.com). She’s hiking in: Outdoor Research Essence L/S Zip Tee ($55; www. outdoorresearch.com ); Rab Women’s Traverse Pant ($80; http://us.rab.uk.com); Bridgedale Women’s X-Hale Trail Diva ($17; P www.bridgedale.com); Merrell Pandora Mid Omni-Fit Waterproof ($115; www.merrell.com). 52 WAM OFALL’2010” womensadventuremagazine.com
Thermarest Women’s ProLite ($90; www.cascadedesigns.com) With extra padding where women need it (in the torso and foot), this pad offers threeseason sleeping comfort that weighs in at just one pound. Sierra Designs Diamond Spring Women’s 15 ($250; www.sierradesigns.com) Ergonomic shaping, 600-fill goose down, and flex baffling offer a cozy night’s sleep down to 15 degrees. Princeton Tec Byte ($20; www.princetontec.com) This tiny headlamp packs 30 lumens and 360 hours of burn time into a pocket-sized package that’s so light, if it weren’t so bright, you’d forget you were wearing it. Bear Naked Cranberry Protein Trail Mix ($3; www.bearnaked.com) Packed with protein, this trail-friendly snack blends crunchy granola clusters with sweet cranberries, raisins, and omega-rich almonds and walnuts. Magellan eXplorist 610 ($450; www.magellangps.com) Preloaded maps and a high-sensitivity GPS sensor help you navigate with 3–5 meters of accuracy. A built-in camera, microphone, and speakers help you document it all. Waterproof design, a 3-inch touch screen, and carabineerfriendly loop add take-anywhere appeal. SteriPEN Adventurer Opti ($100; www.steripen.com) Equipped with a water-sensing (battery saving) sensor, this water-purification system kills viruses and bacteria in 90 seconds, will last through 8,000 one-liter treatments, and doubles as a flashlight.
Espri 2P 4.8 Nemo ($300; www.nemoequipment.com)
Perfect for weekend trips but also functional for long day hikes, the Gregory Jade 60 has enough room (3,600 cubic inches) to fit sleeping bags, camp kitchens, and enough clothes for a late fall trek. To keep you cool without sacrificing support, the waist belt adjusts to three different sizes and Gregory’s Jetstream™ LTS Suspension moves the pack away from the center of your back for superb ventilation. The pack fits snuggly but doesn’t prevent movement—it handled a Tyrolean traverse over a rushing creek without getting off balance. Though it weighs less than four pounds, the pack comfortably carries up to 45 pounds and features front and top-loading for easy access. It’s streamlined, stripped-down profile cuts weight, but there are plenty of pockets and compartments to fit everything from keys and cell phones to lunch, layers, and climbing gear. Ideal for traveling, with water-resistant zippers and double diamond ripstop weave fabric.
This lightweight tent earns its three-season claim: it’s legit for rainy-season backpacking, but is lightweight and airy enough to pack along for warm-weather nights, too. The Espri 2P confirms Nemo’s spot among innovative tent makers with its high-sidewall construction that allows for a smaller, lighter fly that ventilates well, but adjusts to up protection. It’s also easy to attach—one tester timed herself at 30 seconds during an unexpected midnight shower. The roomy interior is wide enough for two, and it’s tall enough inside (40 inches) that even tall testers were able to comfortably change shirts and easily avoided dumping the contents of the gear loft (included). The tent comes with featherlight poles and with two modular/detachable vestibules that allow you to customize for expected conditions. Our favorite feature? The accessories. Standard footprints aren’t the end of it. Nemo’s got add-ons such as an interior liner, a headlamp-diffusing storage hanger, and a trekking-pole vestibule that nearly doubles the under-cover storage space of your tent.
Osprey Ariel 75 ($280; www.ospreypacks.com)
Kelty Lakota 4000 ($145; www.kelty.com)
Mountain Hardwear Nalu 60
light heavy weight
tall woman’s pack
Space for 60-plus pounds of gear, but this pack’s airy suspension system and molded hip belt ensure a perfect fit and a reduction in sweaty discomfort. While big and supportive enough to take into the backcountry, this pack cinches tight for day-hikeable versatility with features belying its bargain price tag. ($230; www.mountainhardwear.com) This full-sized pack is lightweight, but offers space (and bells-and-whistles) aplenty for a fall-weekend sleeping bag and fuel for late-season summit-bagging.
Deuter ACT Lite 60 + 10 SL ($189; www.deuterusa.com)
A 10-liter lid pocket adds extra space to this narrow pack that’s well-suited for tall women, but is easily adjustable, too.
Jade 60 5.0 Gregory ($229; www.gregorypacks.com)
Have a niche need? Read more about our editor’s picks online at: womensadventuremagazine.com
REI Half Dome 2 PLUS ($199; www.rei.com)
big and ball
Affordability reigns supreme, but this update to a tried-and-true classic adds length and spacious protection from wind and weather.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 ($350; www.bigagnes.com)
Sierra Designs LT Strike 2 ($380; www.sierradesigns.com)
Exped Aries Mesh ($319; www.exped.com)
light and tight
Weighing just two lbs., 10 oz. this double-walled tent competes with ultralights in packability, but with traditional backpacking tents for comfort. Double side doors and oversized vestibules make this head-to-foot twoperson perfect for friends who are close, but appreciate their own space, too. A little added weight is sometimes worth it. This two-person tunnel-style is super sturdy in high-wind conditions, but versatile for heat and high-humidity.
To Hell and Back You train, you prepare for everything, you sell yourself on YouTube—all to ride the most horrible race you can imagine. Then, things get weird. By Kristin Butcher
didn’t want an entry into the Hellride. I needed it. But this was a popularity contest, after all. When I was little, I’d dance in the middle of a crowd to nothing at all, as kids seem to do. But somewhere between the fearlessness of youth and the hesitation of adulthood, I started to notice the crowd—and I wondered what they thought of me. The Hellride was my chance to find out, so I pulled out all the tricks I could muster in the name of self-promotion. I donned a multi-colored skin suit, bunny-hopped my bike in my backyard, and videotaped it all. Fifteen-thousand YouTube views later, I had secured a spot on the starting line (not to mention a pretty odd legacy), and realized that when you forget about what the crowd thinks, they start thinking pretty highly of you. Now that I was officially in the race, I needed to start riding. Some people even suggested training. However, that conflicted with my personal belief that training sucks. Instead, I created two
Here’s my dirty little secret: I’m
sufferfests in mountain biking: the aptly named Santa Cruz Hellride.
I’m afraid of my bad back and my knees that whimper on long rides. I’m afraid that having kids will mean the end of my selfish indulgences on the trail. I’m afraid that what stands between me and who I want to be, is me. Above all else, I am afraid of failure. Well, that and karaoke.
I’d never been a racer, but the Hellride wasn’t a real race—it was a torture-fest that pitted four men and four women against each other on 65 miles of extremely technical Downieville, California, singletrack. For masochistic kicks and sadistic giggles, the route included 14,000 feet of climbing—nearly the distance between sea level and the top of Mount Whitney. The riders are loaned new bikes and chased down by pro riders Mark Weir and Rachel Lloyd. The big shiny carrot at the end of the stick: the winning male and female riders get to keep their top-of-the-line $5,000 loaner bikes.
Four months ago, a short ride to the store left me engulfed in fear. I’d been burned out from cycling and off the bike longer than I cared to admit. Wheezing and struggling up a small hill, I saw my reflection in a window. Except, instead of seeing me, I saw the person I worried I might become. There I was, my bike creaking and covered in dust, and my body well tuned to sitting on the couch and watching the days melt away in a blur of prime time television. At that moment, I decided I needed a change. I’d enter one of the most grueling
Only eight people are allowed to take on the grueling course, and narrowing the field of hard-core, pain-loving amateurs should require a strict vetting process, right? Wrong. The Hellride used a good old-fashioned Internet popularity contest to finalize the lineup.
Watch Kristin’s Hellride application video at: womensadventuremagazine.com
I kept pedaling, and when I couldn’t pedal, I pushed. Looking
rules: Never drive anywhere you can ride, and never turn down an offer to get on your bike.
down upon the valleys, I felt my fears collapse
The miles racked up and my burnout faded into memory. My fears of being lost or getting stranded were replaced by an overwhelming desire to explore. I found myself sitting at the top of the world, embracing my dirty shins and tired legs, realizing that reaching the summit begins with accepting the risk of not getting there. I saw opportunity in every climb, every trip to the store, and every decision I made. Two weeks before the race, I filled my pack with water and enough tools to fix a Volkswagen bus on a cross-country road trip. With no map or route planned, I threw a leg over my fender- and rackladen singlespeed and began pedaling. I wasn’t as strong as I had hoped to be, and even though I’d followed my rules, I knew I hadn’t ridden as much as I could have. Nearing the winding road up into the foothills from my flatland home, my heart raced. Not with adrenaline, but
like dominos. It turns out that if you have enough determination, failure is damned near impossible to achieve. with doubt. The Rocky Mountain road had always daunted me. All I knew was that it went up. And up. And up. Turning up the canyon, my blood pumped and sweat poured from my hands. There was no way I’d make it very far. Not on that bike. Not with those legs. I kept pedaling, and when I couldn’t pedal, I pushed. I climbed until I reached snow—it was July. Looking down upon the valleys, I felt my fears collapse like dominos. It turns out that if you have enough determination, failure is damned near impossible to achieve. Nine hours later, I rolled to a stop with 100 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing under my legs. My first century. I was ready to take on the Hellride.
he next day, I saw an extra line appear on a pregnancy test—the extra line that says, “Buckle up kid-o, ’cause this roller coaster only starts off slow.” My husband and I had been planning on having kids, just not necessarily now. After copious amounts of research on the Internet, in books, and through doctors, I had plenty of evidence that showed exercising while pregnant is okay. However, extremely intense exer-
cise, say, red-lining for 12 hours on a formidable epic, was to be avoided. I tried to ignore that, but I knew that if anything went wrong I’d blame myself forever. I’d never quit anything before, from illfated rides to long-held vices—a stubbornness that comes not from determination, but rather a deep fear that I would be seen as someone who couldn’t hack it. Now I had to quit the toughest—not to mention the most public—competition I’d ever entered. But the folks running the event were nothing short of awesome. “Get your pregnant ass out here and ride whatever you can,” they said. And so I was on my way to hell. As the other seven contestants began arriving, it became clear that we were each on our own journey. Aaron had been diagnosed with Lyme disease only a few months prior. Vanessa was riding in memory of a friend she’d lost a year before. Doug, a 64-year-old grandfather who’d accumulated 1.5 million feet of climbing in the past year, was recovering
The alarm of my heart-rate monitor was already going off. I watched the rest of the riders pedal away while I slowed to a frustrating, but heart-happy crawl. It was the last time I’d see my fellow competitors on the trail. Every time I pedaled up to speed, I was audibly reminded to slow down. My legs yearned to power up the rooty hills, but were grudgingly forced to walk instead. I repeatedly dismounted before big craggy rocks that only weeks earlier were the fodder of my dreams. This was quickly becoming one of the most difficult rides of my life. Sometimes, it is harder to ride with restraint than push your limits. I was overwhelmed with frustration. And, ugh, morning sickness. Why couldn’t I get out of my head and just ride?
from a neck injury after being hit by a truck. Erin had participated as a noncompetitive “ride-along” in the Hellride the year before, but cracked after an early fall. Matt had trained hard, but worried that the unexpected would bring him down. Kelly had never ridden anything of this caliber. Kurt just wanted to finish. We all just wanted to finish.
I can honestly say that I have never been so gripped with fear before a ride. My stomach churned with a dreadful combination of anxiety and morning sickness. What if I couldn’t hold back? What if I wrecked and something happened to the baby? What if?
The clock was ticking. With 24 hours left before the ride, we languished in purgatory. Throughout the day, we competed for time bonuses in Feats of Strength, which were guaranteed to be both harrowing and humiliating. We wiggled and wobbled our way through an obstacle course riding a swing bike and watched our legs turn to jittering stilts on a slack line. We baked on the asphalt in a tire-changing contest before indulging our inner rednecks by slinging rocks at beer cans.
Time slipped by at a distressing pace. I slid a heart rate monitor into the leg of my Lycra where an alarm would remind me not to push it too hard. I could feel blood surging through my veins and greasy bacon swirling in my stomach. I worried that…
At midnight, I slid into the darkness and anticipated the next morning. Waiting for sleep to come, I flipped open the computer to scribble down my thoughts, and typed just two words. “I’m scared.”
blinked my eyes and the alarm went off. The Hellride no longer sat comfortably in the future. It was imminent.
“Riders! Be ready to go in 15 minutes!”
“GO!” Just hearing the word was cause for relief. All the built-up fear and anxiety were now out of my hands. All that was left to do was ride. The eight of us left. We didn’t vie for position. We didn’t race. We just rode. Together. The morning air was cool and comforting as it poured oxygen into my lungs. As we began the first climb, I kept hearing all these damned birds squawking away.
Before I could think about the answer, I felt my breakfast erupt and watched it land on the trail. Apparently, hell tastes like bacon and bile. Sitting by the former contents of my stomach, I realized what was at the root of my frustration. This whole time, I’d been riding with my worst enemy and didn’t even know it. The Hellride was always about facing fear. It was time for me to overcome the biggest obstacle on this trail—my fear of failure. I wouldn’t ride fast. I wouldn’t ride hard. I wouldn’t finish. I wouldn’t even complete the first lap. I would fail epically. I would fail publicly. And I would embrace it. As my wheels ambled through the trees, I immersed myself in the song of rubber tires twittering over duff. I snapped pictures and let images etch themselves into memories. I had the trails to myself, except I wasn’t really by myself. This was my first mountain bike ride with my kid. Pushing and pedaling and stopping throughout the way, my journey ended just where it started: with a decision. After 5,500 feet of climbing and less than a quarter of the way through the course, I dropped out.
As I turned around, a course marshal asked how I felt. I answered him with Except the squawking came from my leg. the utmost of honesty. “Spectacular,” I
said with a glimmer of anticipation, It was time to reap the swift and sinuous rewards of my climb. The creek was raging next to me, and as I started downhill, I roared through the still air. I launched over rocks that I had pushed over hours earlier, and felt a sense of pride when my alarm went off as I swooped down the trail, not even pedaling.
was showered, well fed, and indulging in the spray misters outside the finish line at Yuba Expeditions when the first finisher—Mark Weir—rolled in. “Oh my God, that was such a God-awful shitfight. Seriously, what was that, an hour and a half hike-a-bike?!?” The hike-a-bike section Mark referred to was a few miles of too-steep-to-ride trail with tread made of fist-sized boulders and ankle-deep scree. There would be a lot of sore feet tonight. Mine felt fine. Doug rolled in, having been turned around early for not making a time cutoff. With the determined excitement of a dog chasing a squirrel, he replenished his water and headed back out. “I really want to get 10,000 feet of climbing in today,” he said, and pedaled off to finish his own personal journey. A few hours later, Kurt rolled up, a dusty ball of ebullience. He was the first male contestant to finish and had just won the bike, even if he didn’t know it yet. “Wow,
Dusk was beginning to settle when Vanessa and Kelly rode in together. Both had shown signs of bonking and had been turned around halfway through the second lap. Their smiles were triumphant, even thought their stomachs rejected the mere thought of water, let alone anything of substance. that was some ride, eh?” he chirped. Reminiscing about the chest-high wild flowers, the boulders hiding beneath the tall grass, and the most beautiful mountain top lakes he’d ever seen, he seemed like he had just finished a leisurely epic—except that he almost collapsed when he got off the bike. Moments later, Matt arrived. He had trained hard for this event, losing 20 pounds in the process, and he missed out on a new $5,000 bike by the length of a Doritos commercial. Matt’s effort was visible in the doubled-over posture of his body, which had been frozen stiff from exertion. After a series of flats and a rocky tumble that left her with a very bloody shin, Rachel rolled in looking surprisingly fresh. She traded jokes while spraying the 3-inch gash on her shin with a hose, inadvertently moving the broken flaps of skin open and shut like a gruesome puppet show. Two things occurred to me: I would never be that hard core and I would never be able to look at Sesame Street the same way.
As darkness overtook the mountains, the last two riders, Erin and Aaron, made their appearance. Both were pale from exhaustion and looked like they could have passed out at any moment. After 13 straight hours of riding, they had endured more than any of the other riders. They’d been to hell and back. Erin sat quietly. She finished. She won.
ince this was the Hellride, and not the Happy Fuzzy Bunny Ride as Weir liked to point out, the challenges weren’t over. A dilapidated stereo with a microphone appeared, and my stomach dropped. “Karaoke is mandatory,” the announcement came. Because I was pregnant, I would have to perform sober. Cover me with spiders, bury me in a coffin, stick me in a broken elevator with a closetalking farter, just please don’t make me sing karaoke. It was like someone had created a sign just for me. “Welcome to Hell. Population: You.” I formulated a plan. I’d pick a song that incites drunkards to sing along. When my turn came, the teleprompter displayed the key of the song. Mine may as well have said, “Key of kittens on fire,” as I began to absolutely destroy “Sweet Home Alabama.” Instead of joining in, the audience just sat there silently, jaws agape. You know that look people get when they’re embarrassed for you? I do. I faced my worst fears. I knocked on the door to hell and found out the cost of entry was the nerve to knock in the first place. I discovered that hell is about determination, pushing one’s limits and enduring. It’s about playing chicken with your demons and not giving way. I rode in the Santa Cruz Hellride. And I failed. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. ■ WAM OFALL’2010”
Nepal’s Wild West By Danielle Shapiro
ulmaya Rokaya wanted to hike back through the rugged mountains to her village, roughly 20 miles from the airfield where we stood. Even though it would be a two or three-day solitary walk through the foothills of the Himalayas, she insisted. We’d just finished trekking for five days together through the mountains southeast of here, and now we were parting ways.
Above: Sunset over Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal. Left: Lead guide, Bina Nepali (front) and assistant guide Fulmaya Rokaya on Rara Lake.
I was to fly and take a bus back to Pokhara, an adventure travel hub in the country’s center. I worried that 20-year-old Fulmaya, who’d been the assistant guide and porter for my just-finished trek, would be lonely or unsafe as she walked. This part of Nepal’s western region, the Jumla and Mugu districts, is far from the country’s tourist hot spots—the Everest region, the Annapurna Range, and Kathmandu. Cars, electricity, and indoor plumbing are scarce. It is wild, and it is quiet. But Fulmaya assured me that she’d be fine on her own. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have worried. Fulmaya’s lived in the area most of her life. She knows the territory well and had confidently led me along unmarked and sometimes divergent trails. Plus, it’s what she had been trained to do. 58
8/18/10 1:39:50 PM
In December 2008, Fulmaya attended a guide-training course put on by a dynamic trio of sisters in Nepal’s adventure capital, Pokhara. Lucky, Dicky, and Nicky Chhetri are wellknown in this tiny former kingdom that is buckled under the weight of the world’s highest mountains. In 1994 they founded 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, one of the country’s first hiking guide services owned and operated exclusively by women. They’ve been widely recognized with awards from international travel and social change organizations, and they have cultivated a unique niche in Nepal’s tourism industry, which is still largely dominated by men. It’s through their company’s nonprofit arm, Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN), that they train women such as Fulmaya to be guides and implement an essential component of their mission: empowering women. Watching Fulmaya disappear around a hilly corner after we said goodbye there was a noticeable bounce in her step and I couldn’t help but compare her to the very different girl she says she once was. Just a few years prior, Fulmaya says she was shy, afraid to talk to strangers, and nervous about traveling to unknown places. At 18, she was married and on the verge of quitting high school, the sisters told me. She might have ended up working village fields, and few would have thought it odd. In western Nepal, which includes the country’s most impoverished and least developed areas, women rarely move past tilling crops and raising children. Yet the Fulmaya I’ve known is employed, actively pursuing her education and decidedly, she says, not ready for kids. Through her connection to the Chhetris, she’d not only learned to guide tourists on the trail, but to choose her own path in life. Traditional roles for women here, coupled with western Nepal’s deep poverty, left me expecting to meet many women akin to the “old” Fulmaya—largely disenfranchised, struggling daily against social and cultural inequities. I had hoped to see some among them, with the Chhetris’ help,
“ I couldn’t help but compare her to the very different girl she says she once was. ”
Guest-house owner Rama Bhandari attended an EWN chef’s training in 2007
gaining opportunities for independence, education, and economic empowerment. In fact, among the 700-or-so women the Chhetri sisters have trained to be guides through EWN since 1996, including more than 80 from western Nepal, increased selfconfidence like Fulmaya’s is one of the most common benefits of the training—what they’re doing is working.
hen I first heard about the sisters more than two years ago, I was intrigued but knew few of their story’s details. What I did know is that they were literally blazing new trails in Nepal and using outdoor sports as a way to push for women’s rights—in a place where women are often treated as second class citizens. I knew their efforts could not be easy, nor could they be undertaken by women of weak character or thin resolve. Their nerve, their spirit of adventure, made me want to learn more.
I interviewed a few friends and clients. Gera van Wijk, who has known the sisters since 1999, said that while their business has grown the Chhetris have maintained a singular focus on improving the lives of their nation’s least fortunate, especially women. “I think they make women realize that they can be whatever they want to be,” she said. For trekkers, going on a trip with 3 Sisters is also lifechanging. “So many women and men choose 3 Sisters for their holiday because it’s not just a holiday, it’s something more than that,” said van Wijk, who has been on multiple trips as a guided hiker and, after a seven-month stint as a volunteer with their nonprofit, counts the sisters themselves as friends. “You have the feeling that you are really contributing to something,” she says. On my last night in Pokhara, the sisters and I gathered for dinner. I was eager to talk to them together to understand this chemistry that van Wijk described as so impressively transformative. After wrangling their busy schedules, we eventually landed at a quiet table amid the city’s bustling streets. The sisters, who share a striking resemblance that includes long dark hair; broad, engaging smiles; and welcoming mannerisms, are yet distinct in personality. Lucky, 45 and the eldest, often takes the lead in speaking for the group and is clearly the point-person on EWN business. She is visionary and seemingly tireless.
is carved with winding dirt and stone-stepped trails. Women gather water from a central tap, vegetables and herbs are laid out on flat, dusty rooftops to dry under the sun, and sheep graze along the rocky hillsides. I was there, before leaving on my own trek, to observe several days of a basic eco-tourism training course that Lucky was leading. From the beginning of 3 Sisters, the Chhetris had been interested in working in this impoverished district—along with the nearby Humla, Jumla, and Mugu districts— where sweeping views are unmarred by modernity. The 5,000-square-mile administrative zone that includes these districts is Nepal’s largest and most remote. It contains two national parks, is native territory for snow leopards, and has very few roads. In this rarely visited western part of the country, bordering Tibet and stretching to Nepal’s northernmost corner, the Chhetris have applied their model of women’s empowerment in an effort to build environmentally sustainable tourism. They hope to bring economic development, improved health conditions, and education to people in places rich with natural beauty and cultural heritage but poor in nearly every other way. Theirs is one of the few trekking outfits in Nepal doing such work. Schoolgirls in Juphal
Nicky, is much more reserved. The 41-year-old youngest sister deals with clients, usually from the comfort of the 3 Sisters office. She sits behind a tidy desk quietly conversing in a gentle, melodic voice that belies her organizational prowess. Dicky, is cheery, just shy of bubbly, and spends much of her time in the field, guiding trips. At dinner the sisters spoke about the changes they have seen in the women who’ve completed their programs. They told me about my own guides—21-year-old Bina Nepali who led me through Nepal’s Himalayan foothills and Fulmaya, her assistant—describing how Fulmaya’s attitude toward education has changed, how she’s determined to become a guide, and how talented she proved to be in rock climbing. They recounted how Bina, once profoundly timid, is learning to take more initiative and speak up with her impressive English vocabulary.
Because of the unique resources and natural assets at stake, the sisters are moving forward with their tourism and development agenda slowly. Their approach in this region starts with the basic eco-tourism training for locals. It includes sessions on leadership, lodge sanitation, and personal health and hygiene. There are also classes in first aid, environmental protection, trekking, English language, and Western culture. So far, more than 300 hotel owners, restaurateurs, and shopkeepers in the area have completed the course.
“This is how we empower women,” Lucky said, in between bites. “By going out into the field, experiencing other cultures through our guests.” wo weeks earlier, I had traveled with Lucky into the small village of Juphal, in the Dolpa district. After an hour-long flight over magnificent mountain peaks west of Pokhara, we landed on the barren gravel strip that is Juphal’s airport and I felt instantly transported to an earlier time. This remote outpost
Forehead straps help these women carry heavy loads.
A village house perched on terraces in Nepal’s Annapurna Range
Donkeys transporting goods on the rugged trails between Jumla and Rara Lake
Although the EWN tourism trainings are open to men and women, in Lucky’s class that day just nine of the two dozen participants were men. The eco-tourism sessions took place in an empty building on the village edge constructed with mud walls, wooden beams, and plank floors. Lucky and three ex-patriot volunteer teachers found that emphasizing basic Western customs—like being on time, not littering, and washing hands—was essential. Despite being bad for the environment, littering isn’t considered taboo in this sparsely populated region. But in the effort to ensure long-term sustainability and appeal to the cultural norms of the predominantly European and American guests, teaching locals to pocket their trash is an easy and important lesson. The English classes were especially lively. Led by one of the volunteers, the group followed her in shouting out greetings: “Good Afternoon!” “What’s your name?” “Pleased to meet you!” It was a cacophony of giggles and students struggling with accents while eagerly repeating key phrases. Among the more difficult lessons are teaching women about equality, self-esteem, and empowerment. Early on at the training Lucky exhorted her students to shed timidity. “You should be strong. Don’t be afraid,” she told the group after getting no response when she asked if they had any questions about the material.
Chhetris’ aim to elevate women by giving them earning potential and real-world skills. Confident and capable, Fulmaya’s new attitude isn’t the only thing that’s changed since she met the sisters. Along with guide skills, the sisters told me she’s improving her English steadily and when she completed the six-month guide training course, she reenrolled in school four grades ahead of where she’d left off. Now she savors her earning capacity as a sort of freedom and encourages other girls to pursue guiding. uring our dinner, the sisters speak passionately about their work in western Nepal. Lucky is the most vocal, her brown eyes shining under trendy blue spectacles.
For now, she says, EWN is focusing on Jumla and Mugu, leading individual and group treks, as well as recruiting local women for guide training and to work as porters. They continue leading the basic tourism training as well as courses in cooking and lodge management. “We are finding a great impact of this work,” says Lucky. “In this community, they had no idea of their natural resources.” Lucky vividly recalls her first trip to western Nepal more than 20 years earlier. Women’s lives, she tells me, were “one step better than an animal.” While the situation has improved, women there, as in most of Nepal, still attend less school and earn less than men. Maternal mortality rates remain high, and many girls marry in their teens. The country has a largely patriarchal culture and only recently has it become acceptable for Nepali women to work outside the home doing more than nursing or teaching.
Fulmaya, I would later discover, is a living example of the WAM OFALL’2010”
The Chhetri sisters (from left to right) Lucky, Dicky, and Nicky at EWN’s Pokhara office.
I witnessed these women’s lack of opportunity while visiting the rural west with Lucky and trekking with Fulmaya and Bina. The life I saw most women leading is an arduous one. They labor up massive inclines and down precipitous descents wrapped in long skirts while under enormous bundles of hay, firewood, and other supplies. Bent at nearly 90 degrees, a strap on the forehead helps them carry loads that nearly outweigh their lithe frames. Sometimes men accompany them carrying similar cargo, but more often the groups are all women and girls. he Chhetri sisters are Nepali but grew up in Darjeeling, India, and say it was their father who taught them to be independent. All three attended college, and their father never forced them into marriage. “He was very inspiring,” says Nicky. “He’d say, ‘You should learn to drive, wear pants, don’t be dependent on a man.’”
Lucky working with students at a basic eco-tourism training in Juphal.
In 1996, the sisters began training other women from across Nepal to become trekking guides. By then they each had completed official guide courses, becoming well versed in wilderness first aid, managing altitude sickness, basic flora and fauna, local culture, and religion. In 1999, they registered Empowering Women of Nepal as a nonprofit organization. As their for-profit trekking business grew, so did EWN’s charitable projects, particularly those in western Nepal. Fifteen percent of their profits—more than $4,000 in 2009— help to pay for EWN’s guide trainings. “I think the main things that have helped them with their success are business savvy, political savvy, and true empathy and altruism for women of the region,” says Gary Fleener, who worked with the Chhetris to organize study-abroad trips for American college students in the early 2000s. “I guarantee they would be richer if they just focused on the business.”
Lucky took those lessons to heart, and in 1990, after a monthlong guide training course she attended at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, she convinced her sisters they should start a guiding service. “We decided that by running the guesthouse and trekking, we lose nothing,” says Dicky. “We gain everything—confidence, knowledge, money.”
ersonal wealth is clearly not their main objective—a point that became abundantly clear to me on my own trek into the Chhetris’ eco-tourism promised land. On a crisp, clear day, I set out from the headquarters of the Jumla district on my journey to Rara National Park, one of the region’s key attractions. Located in the Mugu district, it is Nepal’s smallest national park. But the shimmering, deep sapphire pool in its center, Rara Lake, is the country’s largest.
The trio moved to Pokhara in 1992 and started a guesthouse in 1993. A year later, they were guiding foreign trekkers, primarily women, who often recounted stories of harassment from male guides. They saw an opportunity for themselves: “As soon as we put up the logo, ‘female guide service for lady trekkers,’ we were so busy,” Nicky says.
At my side were Fulmaya and Bina. Along the way, we met two women’s groups who have received micro-loans from EWN. Fulmaya, her mother and aunt, belong to one such women’s cooperative. Like other groups around the country, their aims are building community, camaraderie, and opportunity for its members.
Women in both groups had used the money to buy goats and sheep, especially female animals, which reproduce and continue generating income. They also used the money for schoolbooks for their children and as a safety net for medical or other emergencies. While they have to pay most of the loan back, EWN donates 20 percent of it to the women. Rama Bhandari, a member of one group whose guesthouse we stayed in our first night on the trail, had attended an EWN cooking training in 2007, and said she now earns more than her policeman husband. She helps provide for each of her four children, whereas before she couldn’t afford to give her two girls textbooks. Rama said that prior to meeting the sisters she didn’t know what it meant to be empowered. But with EWN training, she and others have become more self-confident. They’ve learned basic reading and writing and are more inclined to speak to strangers and offer opinions. “They taught us, as women, not to be hopeless,” she said. Her comment, and all I’d seen so far, helped me answer the questions I’d had about the Chhetris before my trip. Yes, they were actually making material differences in the lives of some of Nepal’s most disenfranchised women. And yes, those changes were empowering and moving them toward independence. Much hard work remains for the sisters before the changes in these women’s lives start to revamp entire communities. But Lucky and her sisters were on to something. uring the five days I trekked with Fulmaya and Bina through Jumla and Mugu, we hiked beneath snowcapped mountains from one basic guesthouse to another. These houses had intermittent electricity, heat radiating only from crackling kitchen fires, and no
Villagers in western Nepal who received an EWN microloan.
“If the women change and are educated, then the whole family and community will be changed. ” indoor plumbing. I didn’t see another Westerner on the trail, and frequent periods of total quiet reminded me of our remoteness. Nearly all the walking was up or down—in Nepal there is little that could be called flat. While beautiful, it was taxing. Yet even in her halting English, Fulmaya proved supportive, moving at my pace, reminding me during the steepest climbs that I was a “strong walker.” On the laborious, knee-grinding descents, some of which were more than three hours at a stretch, I marveled as she skipped down sections of the path, obviously at home in these mountains. With her ruddy cheeks and cheerful demeanor, she rarely stopped smiling. I even caught her humming on occasion. owards the end of my dinner with the sisters back in Pokhara, my last conversation with them before leaving Nepal, I asked what their goals are in western Nepal. Dicky’s unabashedly ambitious answer was what I’d come to expect from the Chhetris. And, as always, it is consistent with their vision of women’s empowerment as a socially transformative force.
Foreign volunteers help teach English lessons at EWN’s eco-tourism trainings.
“To change lives,” Dicky said, without hesitation. “If the women change and are educated, then the whole family and community will be changed. That’s why we start with women.” ■
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OFALL’2010” Editorial That’s Kid’s Stuff Where should we draw the line for children setting world records? n remote parts of Alaska, a teenager is more likely to ask for the keys to the Cessna than the car. In Boulder, Colorado, kids start rock climbing around six years old. Sailing families on every coast take years at a time to cruise to different parts of the world, homeschooling their children at sea. Depending on where you live and your familiarity with such endeavors, you might find the parents of these children irresponsible. For example, I don’t know anything about hunting, so I think it’s insane that in places like West Virginia you can hand a loaded firearm to a fifteen year old and send him out on his own to shoot wild game. Or, if you’re willing to supervise and are a licensed hunter over the age of twenty-one, you can let your fiveyear-old niece bag her first deer. I’ve never shot anything in my life, except tequila, so my first instinct would be to call social services. In January, sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland set sail on her boat, Wild Eyes, from Marina Del Rey, California, in an attempt to become the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the world. For over five months, she demonstrated why her parents trusted her enough to support her dream and let her go. Unfortunately, halfway into Abby’s journey, a three-story-high wave in the south Indian Ocean crippled her boat by snapping the mast, and Abby manually set off an emergency beacon for rescuers. It’s hard to say which hit Abby the hardest, the 60-knot winds and 25-foot swells that ended her dream, or the media accusations that her parents were negligent for allowing her to make the trip in the first place. A quick read of Abby’s blog demonstrates that for almost half a year Abby handily tackled less than ideal conditions aboard Wild Eyes, including faulty wind gauges, deficient solar power, leaks, major storms, engine failure, and
the emotional isolation of living alone in a small space that smelled like squid. Abby grew up on boats, and the storm that damaged her rigging had nothing to do with being a sixteen-year-old girl. If anything, Abby’s response to the crisis showed maturity and experience beyond her years and proved that she was well prepared for emergency situations. While Abby waited for days on her disabled boat to catch a ride with a French shipping vessel, thirteen-year-old Jordan Romero was home in California celebrating his new title as the youngest person to summit Everest. In December, he plans to knock off Vinson Massif in Antarctica and become the youngest person to climb the highest peak on all seven continents. But one out of every twentyfive people who attempt to summit Everest dies, and one out of every ten who make the summit dies on the descent. If you’re into probability, the fact that the boy’s dad and stepmom went with him to the summit meant that they’d not only put Jordan’s life at risk, but also gave him pretty good odds of losing at least one of his parents if he survived. Jordan’s attempt and successful summit brought media debate, but perhaps less so than the squall surrounding Abby’s fractured sailing quest. Why? Because Jordan is alive, well, and one peak shy of conquering the seven summits. Jordan set a world record. Abby went home. I’m thinking that a child’s success or failure shouldn’t be the litmus test for deciding whether or not a parent is being reckless or irresponsible. Within the bounds of the law, a mom or dad must decide whether or not a child is mentally, physically, and emotionally ready to tackle a particular feat, but that type of discernment can be tough when the child is begging to do something that no child his or her age has ever done before. Without precedence, how do you know exactly where to draw the line?
Thirteen year olds can summit Everest. Sixteen year olds can sail solo. Not all, but as Jordon and Abby have proved, some. Kids are breaking barriers. They are redefining what is reasonable and prudent. As women, we know all too well what it is like to be discounted for our mental, physical, and emotional ability where athleticism is concerned. In 1966, Roberta Gibb opened her mail to find her Boston Marathon entry rejected with a short note stating that women were not physically capable of running a marathon. She snuck into the race and finished with an unofficial time of 3:21:25. She didn’t die. Her ovaries didn’t fall out. And while I will never run a marathon, I know many other women who can, and do, and are thankful that Gibb paved the way and proved the world wrong. Not all women can run a marathon, but some can, want to, and if given the chance—will. Perhaps our kids, when they are ready, deserve the same opportunity. ■
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Women's Adventure Fall 2010: Editor's Choice Gear Awards, Baby's first ride, Nepal's Wild West, Color's Performance Enhancing Powers
Published on Sep 3, 2010
Women's Adventure Fall 2010: Editor's Choice Gear Awards, Baby's first ride, Nepal's Wild West, Color's Performance Enhancing Powers