PEDAL, PEDAL, PEDAL HAPPY, CHIC, AND FAST
Why Krissy Moehl feels “completely lucky to be living this life.“ page 54
Farming for More than Food Building Libraries (and Uniting Villages) in Nepal Exploring Africa’s Okavango Delta on Horseback
Run Ultra Marathons Bicycle Commute Cross Train Using TRX
The Complete Package: THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V10N1
Mountain Bikes, Kayaks, and All the Essentials to Match
Title IX: Run, Play, and Ride
Like the Guys (Only Better)
SPRING 2012 Display Until June 1
93 Ways to Play Harder, Travel Smarter, and Go Farther
Farming for More than Food
Okavango Delta Safari Adventures in Botswana
It’s mechanics, engineering, accounting, and biology all rolled into one job. It improves personal wellbeing, the environment, and our communities. It’s a challenge few undertake. Farming is a labor of love. These women demonstrate why they farm—and how.
Travel show host Darley Newman faces her fears—and even an elephant—while riding horseback alongside big game in Africa.
Finding Her Path
10 Discuss Body, mind, spirit 14 Trends Barely there runners 17 Tech Talk Bike fit 18 Hotel Homebase San Francisco 19 Q & A With a travel company pioneer 20 Gear Casual, versatile, safe 22 Trends Apps and adventure 23 News Air, rail, trail
26 On the Map A world of adventure awaits 28 Title Nine Missy Park’s story 30 I’m Proof That... Creative climber 32 I’m Proof That... Active adventuress 33 Dream Job Pedal Chic’s Robin Bylenga 34 Try This Log rolling 36 Camps Mountain biking
Wet and wild: Explore in these kayaks, on these bikes, and with these gear essentials.
52 Bike commuting 54 Ultra running 58 Mix It Up TRX 66 Marketplace 68 It’s Personal Accidental foraging
COURTESY OF DARLEY NEWMAN, STEVE ZDAWCYZNSKI, TREK BIKES, GAIL ROTHSCHILD COVER IMAGE: FREDRIK MARMSATER PHOTOGRAPHY
Toni Neubauer’s life course changed direction at gun point outside a Hindu temple. That moment sparked a revelation that eventually led her to start READ (Rural Education and Development), the foundation that has opened 49 self-sustaining libraries across Nepal, India, and Bhutan. By Jayme Moye
© Wolverine Outdoors 2012
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Darley Newman is the creator, host, writer, and producer of the Emmy winning Equitrekking TV series that broadcasts on PBS in more than 65 countries. For the show, she takes viewers on global travel adventures to experience culture, cuisine, history, and adventure. She enjoys riding horses, hiking, skiing, dogsledding, and snorkeling around the world on eco-friendly adventures, with the help of the amazing locals she meets on her travels. She recently filmed her 35th episode of Equitrekking in Botswana, the setting of her feature on page 46.
If you could invent one adventure item, what would it be? EDITORIAL
An age-defying potion, for the ability to adventure like a 20 year old. Transformer footwear that morphs according to your adventure needs.
Art Director Rebecca Finkel Web Director Susan Hayse
A star athlete since the age of five—struggling to pop a wheelie to impress a boy—Jayme Lamm has always had a knack for adventure and sports. After working in PR and marketing in the professional sports realm for five long years, Jayme was finally escorted out of the industry for what some would call non-PC (politically correct) behavior. Originally from Virginia, Jayme is now based out of Houston and spends her days (and nights) as a freelance travel and sports writer, mostly in a full-court press, writing her wildly opinionated sports column, TheBlondeSide.com.
2 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Absolutely a teleportation device. Zero carbon emissions adventures.
Travel Editor Gigi Ragland
A way to scuba dive without those heavy tanks.
Editorial Interns Laura Binks, Jill C. Wigand
A solo flying apparatus.
Contributing Photographers Alejandro Benavides, Jared Campbell, Lisa Carpenter Photography, Amy Costa, Cody Doucette, Luis Escobar, Erin Feinblatt, Alison Gannett, Lorraine Gibbons, Richard Kotch, April Lemly, Karen McVay, C. Marin, Scott Markewitz, Fredrik Marmsater Photography, Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, Todd Meier, Missy Park and Title Nine, Patitucci Photo, Allison Pattillo, Gary Perkin, Brett Rivers, Larry Rosa, Gail Rothschild, Brandon Sawaya, Ken Schuh, Steve Zdawcyznski
SUBMISSIONS For contributor’s guidelines, visit www.womensadventuremagazine.com/contributors-guidelines Editorial queries or submissions should be sent to email@example.com Photo queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 E, Boulder, CO 80301
Contributing Writers Rebecca Heaton, Benita Hussain, Jayme Lamm, Berne Broudy, Jayme Moye, Darley Newman, Allison Pattillo
is a writer, photographer and adventurer. Since participating in Trek’s Dirt Series clinic (page 36) , she is building a pump track and dirt jumps behind her house in Vermont. She sits on the board of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and her local mountain bike club, Fellowship of the Wheel. Berne is editor of Outside Magazine’s Gear Shed blog, and cofounder of Conservation Next.
A time machine to free up enough days for all my dream adventures.
Copy Editor Mira Perrizo
Quick-drying shoes and gloves. Just press a button for warm appendages.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JENNIFER C. OLSON
Key Accounts Sue Sheerin
A contact lens that protects against snow blindness!
email@example.com 303 931 6057
Account Manager Lisa Sinclair
firstname.lastname@example.org 970 556 3279
Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire Laura Brigham
Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire Meghan Maloney
GIVE YOUR INNER T H RI L L-SE E K E R SOME SERIOUS O U T E R P R O T E C T I O N.
Michele Carter loves her motorcycle. And her skin. With the open road as her lab she created this naturally derived skin care to protect against extremes. Like 65 mph winds. Blistering sun. And mile after mile of grime. So if it can work out there it can work anywhere you go and everywhere you love to explore. Biker-tested. Thrill-seeker approved. goAdventuress.com
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On the Web
Click your way to adventure.
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Tour womensadventuremagazine.com for web-exclusive content and extras including: TOOLBOXES
Jam packed with how-to tips, fun videos, and inspiring stories, our better-thanever Toolboxes will equip you for every pursuit from running, cycling, and hiking to snow and water sports. BLOGS
Steal tips from the Adventure Moms, be entertained by the newbie adventuress blogs, and even submit your own stories.
gear up & take a hike with Andrew Skurka as your guide!
Ultimate hiker Andrew Skurka shares his hard-earned knowledge in this essential guide to backpacking gear, supplies, and skills, plus tips on foot care, campsite selection, hiking efﬁciency, and more.
Guide to the
National Parks of the United States
AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD
Find us on Facebook.com/NatGeoBooks
nationalgeographic.com/books Look for National Geographic’s new National Parks app for iPad® and iPhone®.
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4 WAM • SPRING | 2012
At Women’s Adventure, we practice what we preach and really geek out about gear. Check out reviews of our favorite gear online every Tuesday.
Gear Fridays +
Don’t forget these essential guides to the great outdoors.
Visit our website to win products from:
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for contest updates! 1/30/12 1:35 PM
It fits in your pack and requires no batteries! Subscribe to get Women’s Adventure hot off the presses four times a year and enjoy our seasonal issues packed with outdoor adventure, tips, gear reviews, and feature articles. Pedal, Pedal, Pedal HaPPy, CHiC, and FaST
Why Krissy Moehl feels “completely lucky to be living this life.“ page 32
Run Ultra Marathons Bicycle Commute Cross Train Using TRX
Building Libraries (and Uniting Villages) in Nepal Exploring Africa’s Okavango Delta on Horseback
The Complete Package:
Mountain Bikes, Kayaks, and All the Essentials to Match
THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V10N1
Title IX: Run, Play, and Ride Like the Guys (Only Better)
SPRING 2012 Display Until June 1
93 Ways to Play Harder, Travel Smarter, and to Go Farther
HOW TO BE AN ACTIVE ADVOCATE
Fresh Powder Blue Skies Friends
a Wild Thing? See page 32
Woman of the World Helen Thayer THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V9N4
Great Tips for Solo Trips Make Tracks to a Backcountry Hut
WINTER 2011/12 Display Until February 29 WomENsaDVENTuREmagazINE.com
After a weekend outdoors with my girlfriends, I’m thinking about Women’s Adventure. It’s partly the magazine that’s on my brain (it always is) but it’s mostly the idea of adventuring with women that I’m struggling to articulate with words.
Farming for More than Food
From the Editor
Skate Skiing, Avalanche Awareness, Snowshoes, Snow Biking, and More!
LONDON 2 LONDON BY BIKE AND BOAT
Yes You Can
Climb Jump Fly
Fear and Loathing on the Gauley River
While making tea and scarfing down a burrito, I ponder it. While showering and then falling into bed, I consider what women’s adventure means. And finally—the Monday morning after a “routine” (epic, by some people’s standards) weekend of challenges, laughs, neglecting daily showers, and testing my body’s capability—I realize that women’s adventure is not a rarity, a once-in-a-lifetime affair, or an accident. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the “play until you think you can play no more, and then keep playing until you truly cannot play anymore,” lifestyle. It’s about planning adventure, preparing for it, making it happen, and enjoying it. It’s about letting yourself be silly or get serious in your active pursuits. It’s about being outside and doing what you can. It’s ultimately about owning it. My most successful adventures have happened because I took ownership, took initiative in the planning process, and worked to prepare. I’ve gone along with man-made plans (to clarify: plans men made) and followed guys into the woods one too many times without doing my own research. I’ve been led in the wrong direction (for miles and hours), suffered from frost nip, endured overlong treks with jumbo blisters, gone thirsty, raced crits in blizzards, and side-stepped down backcountry slopes. Overall, I’ve become stronger, more resilient, and open to bigger challenges. But, when adventuring with men, I haven’t always felt safe or nurtured—except the time my guy friends showed up with pocketsful of peanut M&Ms and offered to carry my pack (I didn’t accept) for the remainder of the ski-in on a hut trip. With women, I have busted out of my comfort zone and ditched my security blankie but in a careful way, planning thoroughly and according to my abilities. I have tested myself but accepted those challenges willingly and with informed expectations. We women discuss where we want to go, what we want see, why it is doable, and how we’ll achieve it. We study up, invite our friends, hash out the details, gather our gear, and then go for it. We don’t always have a firm plan, but we approach adventure intentionally and with a plan that is, if not always operative, at least reassuring. And, most of all, we do it together.
Playing the Pain Game $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V9N3
FALL 2011 Display Until November 15
Climbing Tips, Training for the Slopes, Great Gear for Fall, and More!
Subscribe to our print magazine for $20/year.
Honestly, this describes Women’s Adventure (the magazine), too. We are a community of women who inspire, teach, encourage, and push one another to our very limits. We each have our areas of expertise but want to grow beyond our specialties, too. Since its start as Dandelion magazine ten years ago, Women’s Adventure has invoked wonder and imparted wisdom so women may safely push their boundaries and thrive in the wild. A decade into the tradition, we at Women’s Adventure are sticking to that mission, and I’m thrilled to be heading up the effort. Really, though, Women’s Adventure is achieved through collaboration. Putting this issue together, I worked with writers and photographers who offered their creative help just because they believe in our mission, readers who shared their inspiring stories, pro athletes who gave interviews and video tutorials, and women in outdoor leadership who promote the magazine. Our success is thanks to a group effort, just as our adventures are a result of cooperative encouragement and shared knowledge. Here’s to women in the wild! Happy trails!
Jennifer C. Olson 6 WAM • SPRING | 2012
COURTESY OF JENNIFER OLSON
THRIVE IN THE WILD™
Photography: Gabe Rogel
Location: Jackson Hole
Athlete: Darcy Conover
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“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.”
ednow Janine Patitucci entertains the locals with the digital display in a village outside Mathura, India. “While wandering in these tiny villages, we saw these young girls doing each other’s hair in a courtyard,” says Dan Patitucci. “We hung out with them, took photos, and of course showed them what we had captured. They were so happy to see themselves.”
A Creative Call to Action
Chicks on Bikes Radio
pril Lemly is the host of Chicks on Bikes Radio, a monthly podcast celebrating women and cycling. Women’s Adventure chatted with the Long Beach, California, resident as she nears celebrating her show’s one-year anniversary to hear about what’s coming up in 2012. Why did you start Chicks on Bikes Radio?
I am very passionate about outdoor sports and wilderness. I’m also a freelance graphic designer and volunteer with disabled youth learning to ski and snowboard. I’ve always been active and was trying to figure out how to make a difference. Chicks on Bikes is a nice way to combine all of that. It started out as a weekend project and morphed into a monthly live show and weekly interviews, all of which go into a podcast that you can get on iTunes.
eed an alarm to wake you up in the morning? Tired of the same radio station or jarring buzzer? Consider trying My Wake Up Call.
Research shows that a person’s mindset when she first wakes up in the morning helps set the tone for the rest of her day. My Wake Up Call Motivational Alarm Clock Messages help sleepy types wake up with a positive focus to achieve daily goals. My Wake Up Call has partnered with well-known wellness and motivational experts such as Dr. Judith Orloff and author Mary Morrissey to create messages, each of which runs for five minutes. There are more than a dozen topics, from ones that help you wake up and work out, lose weight, or feel well, to messages focused on prosperity, overcoming grief, and more. Download a month of daily messages to any Smartphone or iPod, or buy CDs for $9.95. You can also buy a My Wake Up Call iPod Dock or CD Alarm Clock ($49.95). There is an annual subscription series and a free app on iTunes. Listen to sample messages at mywakeupcalls.net.
We celebrate women in cycling, but my interviews don’t always have to be with a woman. I’ve been setting some broad themes on my schedule, so I just seek out people connected to the theme. Upcoming themes include bike share, bikeable cities and bike districts, and bike literature. In spring and summer: teens and clubs tied to mountain biking, great tours, fun events and rides, and people who volunteer on bike projects. I’ve been really lucky because people keep saying yes to my interview requests. Along with the podcast, what else are you doing related to cycling?
I’m developing a Riders and Writers Project with a local League of American Bicyclists cycling instructor, which will be a weekend workshop for inner-city girls. We are going to do writing lessons and then go out riding. I’m also working with Girls Today Women Tomorrow, another inner-city mentoring program, to help get teen girls on bikes. I will then use the radio show to interview the girls to share their experiences. My hope is to grow this in other cities. I’m really excited about it. Visit chicksonbikesradio.com and follow April on Twitter @chicksonbikesgo
Drink It, Wear It?
t’s amazing what technical fabrics are made out of these days: recycled plastic bottles, silver, bamboo … and coffee? S.Cafe is a fiber made with recycled coffee grounds that is then knit and woven into fabric. The coffee fiber helps control odor, is fast drying, and offers up some UV protection.
10 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Moving Comfort is one activewear company that’s using S.Cafe in a number of its jog bras for moisture management and stink control.
its taste and smell— are extracted. You’ll just have to savor that smell from a fresh cup of joe.
So do you smell like coffee when you’re wearing S.Cafe? Nope. During the production process, phenol, ester, and oil— all the chemicals that give coffee
Learn more at scafefabrics.com.
What types of people do you interview?
Healthy Bed of Nails
ooted in the ancient Indian tradition of spike mats that were first used about 5,000 years ago by yogis to release physical, mental, and emotional blocks, the hälsa wellness mat is a modern version of a bed of nails.
hormones. If you’re stressed or are experiencing fatigue, low energy, muscle tension, headaches, or back pain, the mat can help restore your body and mind.
So how does it work? Much like massage and acupressure, the wellness mat is covered with 8,820 small, plastic spikes that help stimulate your body’s acupressure points to release endorphins and oxytocin, the body’s own pain relief
Lie on the mat with bare skin for best results; if that’s too weird, wearing a thin T-shirt works, too. Start out for 10 minutes per day, building up to 20–30 minutes after one week, and feel the stress release. Aaaaah. $39.95; halsamat.com
“A New Kind of Energy”
hen you get tired of your morning cup of coffee waking you up only to set you up for a crash later in the day, try Runa tea. With triple the antioxidants of green tea and 90 mg of caffeine, the guayusa plant provides a healthy type of energy. Plus, Runa is said to support a healthy metabolism, aid digestion, boost physical energy, and increase mental clarity and alertness. Buying Runa also includes benefits unrelated to drinking the smooth tea, as the production of the guayusa plant for Runa provides indigenous Amazonian farming communities “direct market access, agroforestry training, and integrated development to create lasting social change.” You can buy it online or in your local health food store. $6.99; runa.org —Jill Wigand
Eye Protection For Two
oms shoes is taking their famous “buy a pair, give a pair” promise a step further and expanding to eyewear. Now, when you buy a pair of Toms sunglasses, Toms sends a pair of glasses to a person in need, through their “One for One” program. So, this spring, feel good about buying a stylish pair of shades and know that you’ve supported the eyesight of another. $135; toms.com —Jill Wigand WAM • SPRING | 2012 11
ÂŠ2012 Wolverine World Wide, Inc. Official footwear licensee for Patagonia, Inc.
long haul protection The rise and fall of desert rock keeps your body seeking balance. Find your equilibrium in our complete trail running line, built to keep you moving for the longest distances, in the harshest conditions. Our Gamut Sports Top (with internal bra) and Strider Shorts provide cool, chafe-free mobility as things heat up. Lightweight and minimalist, the Fore Runner shoes navigate unpredictable terrain. When the sun begins to dip, our weightless Nine Trails Jacket cuts the chill. Whatever the terrain or conditions, our trail running gear has you covered. Search patagonia.com to learn more.
Krissy Moehl explores the slickrock domes of Northeastern Utah. FREDRIK MARMSATER
Women’s Adventure Book Club on Facebook! W
Our first book club read was 3 MPH by Polly Letofsky. Polly left her Colorado home and headed west across four continents and over 14,000 miles—on foot—to become the first woman to walk around the world. We caught up with the author to hear about what she’s up to these days. Your recently released book, 3 MPH, was about your travels around the world 10 years ago. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been doing since you finished your around-the-world walk.
The walk was from 1999–2004. When I got back, I was 42 and naturally entering a new chapter in my life—nesting. I think women enter that chapter naturally into their 40s anyway, but, on top of the fact that I had literally lived on the road for five years, I was really making a shift toward planting roots in my new community, getting involved, and making a healthy, stable life. I got settled in Glendale, Colorado, a small village within Denver, bought a car (for the first time in my life!), got a job in the hotel sales and marketing industry, and collected a wardrobe—and shoes without a rubber bottom. I became president of the Colorado Business Women’s Network (CBW), was asked to join a number of boards, and gathered a collection of friends that regularly go walking with me for a daily therapeutic session. My dad, who is a very prominent writer, had been urging me to write a book about my walk and I fought against it. I guess I wanted it written, but wasn’t yet prepared for another daunting journey like writing a book. I dabbled with the writing for years. Then my dad got sick with liver cancer and all he wanted was for me to write this book. That launched me into it. For a year—between jobs and speaking and all the rest of what life is—I
got it done. Unfortunately, my dad did not live to see the final product, but I have to believe he would’ve been very pleased.
So, facetiously, I say it took me five years to walk around the world and six years to write the book about it.
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Any upcoming adventures on the calendar?
My latest adventure is starting my own business. My family is the right-brained creative type, so I never knew the business world or entrepreneurial life. As it turns out, though, my walk around the world taught me much more than the geography, languages, world Follow Polly and learn more religions, or hisabout her program Little Steps, tory that I knew Big Feat on her website at it would. I also pollyletofsky.com. became adept at PR, networking, organizing, event planning, interviewing, promoting, writing, public speaking. And voila! A business was born as a motivational speaker. My program is entitled Little Steps, Big Feat, sharing with people that whether in life or in business, we’re all going through daunting journeys. But if we break those journeys down into small manageable steps, we can all take on the world. n
Reader comments from Facebook Lisa Robinson: “I’ve never done anything that far out of my comfort zone! I do like trying new experiences, but within limits. One of the things that amazed me most about Polly is how this idea had been in her head since she was a child, and eventually she set out to do it. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ambition like that!” Loree Lund: “I typically avoid reading this type of book because, when I see it, I am immediately jealous that I wasn’t the person who got to have the adventure!”
TSALI 2.0 Lightweight training shoes for trail and multi-surface running.
Highly adjustable and protective trail shoes for varied terrain.
We’re partnering with our retailers to raise awareness and funds for local conservation efforts and environmental initiatives. For dates, locations and organizations, go to: onepercentfortheplanet.org/advocate. Online program partners:
march 19 – april 2 planetshoes.com
Appalachian Mountain Club outdoors.org
april 10 – 23
Sue Neumann Hedding: “I have never done anything like Polly did, nor do I have it on my bucket list. I have done things in the past few years that I never dreamed possible, like becoming a runner and completing two marathons. Along my journey of accomplishing that and becoming confident enough to call myself a “runner,” I had so many people support me. Running became as much about the people I did it with as it was about the number of miles. So I understand why much of her focus is on the characters she encounters. And, boy, what characters they are!”
Healthy Child Healthy World healthychild.org
may 3 – 16 zappos.com
Friends of Nevada Wilderness nevadawilderness.org
©2012 Wolverine World Wide, Inc. Official footwear licensee for Patagonia, Inc.
e at the magazine are always in search of stories about adventurous women doing adventurous things. And we love to read. So what better way to combine the two than with the Women’s Adventure Book Club on Facebook. Join the club and take part in fun discussions. We already have more than 125 members!
long haul options
Carol Murin: “I found it very inspiring and feel that, while she walked for breast cancer, it was more of a personal journey for her that she couldn’t ignore. I was particularly impressed with her drive and finding humor and intrigue in interesting situations.” WAM • SPRING | 2012 13 73521 PTG 12 W Advent Ad 1-3 Page V2.indd 1
2/6/12 9:19 AM
Barely There Runners Curious about barefoot running? You’re not alone. The trend is still hot. But do you really want to run without some kind of coverage on your feet? Try slipping on a pair of minimalist shoes versus going completely bare. These styles will help you feel that much closer to the road or trail underfoot—with a reassuring layer of protection. VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail $90, vivobarefoot.com Designed for off-road, these lightweight mesh shoes have an ultra-thin sole with lugs for traction on the trail and a toe guard to protect from scrapes and bumps.
Merrell Dash Glove $110, merrell.com Minimalist but hardly barebones, with 4mm of cushion and a rubber toe bumper that provide protection and comfort in this stickysoled road shoe. Bonus: antimicrobial treatment in the footbed to fight odor.
New Balance MR/WR00 $110, newbalance.com Part of the Minimus Zero collection, these light, mesh-upper shoes have zero drop from heel to forefoot, creating a completely neutral stance and encouraging a more natural midfoot strike for running long distances on the road.
Vibram Seeya $100, vibram.com The streamlined Seeya offers up the feel of barefoot running—no need to wear socks—with a snug fit and a soft, flexible midsole for natural movement on pavement.
14 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Brooks PureGrit $100, brooksrunning.com The lugged outsole on these minimalist trail shoes splays out slightly with pressure for better grip on uneven surfaces, and the unique toe box split allows the big toe to function independently and engage a runner’s natural balance.
Columbia Ravenous Lite 5.1 $80, columbia.com These trail runners have a lightweight mesh upper and minimal internal frame to create a form-fitting feel, with strategically placed traction lugs to grip on all trail conditions.
Saucony Mirage 2 $105, saucony.com These minimalist road running shoes are lightweight and responsive and are best for neutral runners or those who slightly overpronate (foot rolls inward on each stride).
Newton MV2 $125, newtonrunning.com The MV2 design is completely parallel to the ground to encourage a natural running posture on the road and enhance landing on the midfoot instead of the heel for greater running efficiency with less effort.
Want to try a minimalist shoe? It’s important to ease into wearing a pair. If you’ve been running in very supportive shoes (most feature a 14mm heel-to-forefoot drop), a zero-drop shoe could be a shock to your feet and your body. Start by running for no more than 10 minutes—working on your form at an easy pace—and very gradually build up time and mileage. Not every body type is suited for running in minimalist shoes, though, so if you have questions or concerns, ask the experts at your local running store. womensadventuremagazine.com
AIR LADY COOL SYSTEM For the ambitious urban runner in cool conditions. FIRST LAYER
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Pedal Happy A proper bike fit will make your time on the road (or the race course) that much more fun
ate Lessman has been road cycling for eight years and competing in triathlons for four. And for most of those years, she has been riding bikes that never fit quite right— until recently. Kate finally got the proper bike fit she needed. “I’m 5'2" and I would try to find ‘small’ bikes,” she says, “but there was always a problem with the fit.” She tried bike after bike but was still uncomfortable. When she started racing in triathlons, one shop told her, “Use clip-on aero bars on your road bike.” That only made things worse; Kate dropped out of racing for two years because of back problems from using the bars. Kate eventually hired a triathlon coach who told her that she had never been fit properly. He recommended a fitting system called Retul, in which a rider goes through a detailed pre-fit assessment and then sits on her bike for adjustments. Todd Carver, a fitter and co-founder of Retul, walked us through the steps of a fit. 1. Rider history. We fill in a worksheet with
the rider that lists pertinent medical history that would relate to the fit, such as back pain or old injuries. 2. Goals. We ask about your goals for the season:
Are you racing, riding for health and fitness, or a bit of both? 3. Pre-fit assessment. We measure flexibility of
hamstrings and hips, and go through your body from head to toe and look for red flags that could affect how we position you on the bike. If you’ve been uncomfortable on your bike, it could be time for a detailed bike fit. A good fit is not cheap, but, if you love cycling and plan to be spending a lot of time on your bike, it’s worth it. A Retul fit is $275 (follow-ups are free for two weeks). “After years of dealing with so much pain and so many problems on my bike, this is exactly what I needed,” says Kate. Retul is available at more than 175 shops across the country. retul.com
4. Motion assessment. The rider sits on her bike
on a stand, and we put markers on her major joints—16 total, eight on each side of the body. We then do a 3D capture of her movements with infrared LED cameras as she pedals. The rider can see a stick figure of herself pedaling on a computer. 5. Adjustments. The fitter analyzes the com-
puterized stick figure and makes changes to the bike—e.g., seat height, saddle position—to optimize biomechanics and make the rider’s position comfortable. 6. Final steps. The rider is re-recorded with
cameras to make sure adjustments to the bike are correct; all measurements are saved so that Retul has a complete record on file. Retul also offers a fit on their adjustable sizing cycle. They go through the above steps and then use a software program called FrameFinder to determine the right bike(s) by brand(s) and size for you so you know exactly what to buy. As Todd explains, “This type of fit saves you from the $5,000 mistake.” Kate went through both fits, the first to get set up properly on her road bike. She then sat on the sizing cycle to get an aerodynamic fit for a triathlonspecific bike and got a list of recommended frames that are right for her. Now Kate gets to go shopping! n
Strengthen your biking performance. Your performance is the result of your personal training. The more systematically you train, the more you will achieve. But we want to give you more. Our GORE BIKE WEAR® Outfit Systems add another factor. Our Outfit System philosophy is simple: The result is greater than the sum of the parts. Strengthening your comfort and performance. Find your Outfit Systems at www.gorebikewear.com © 2012 W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. GORE BIKE WEAR, GORE and designs are trademarks of W.L. Gore & Associates.
WAM • SPRING | 2012 17
Hotel Homebase San Francisco, California
By Gigi Ragland
Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco What’s beyond the souvenir shops at Fisherman’s Wharf? Plenty. The boutique Argonaut Hotel sits waterfront across from Hyde Street Pier, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park within GGNRA. The four-star hotel offers plush, modern comfort, offset with a nautical flair, in its 252 guest rooms. Plus, its historical location echoes the vibe of 1905 San Francisco. The Argonaut amenities offer a complimentary wine hour, an onsite fitness center, and—our personal favorite—an in-room yoga program. Fuel up for your adventures at the adjacent restaurant, the Blue Mermaid, for homemade seafood chowder. Rates from $250; argonauthotel.com Featured Activity: Running Up and down the hills of Pacific Heights, through the Marina Green, along the promenade shoreline trail, then to the Golden Gate Bridge and back, truly, there is no limit to the running options right from the hotel. Ask the concierge for recommendations. Special Event: Bay to Breakers Race, May 20. Considered the first cross-city running race in the U.S., this popular event takes over the city for the weekend. zazzlebaytobreakers.com Other activities: Cycling, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, surfing, and hiking. Rent a bike from Blazing Saddles, near your hotel, and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Return on the ferry. blazingsaddles.com
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The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), a sweeping swath of bay and ocean shoreline, encompasses 59 miles of sublime outdoor paradise with an endless variety of excursions—from hiking and mountain biking to windsurfing and sea kayaking—for every level of adventurer.
The Inn Above Tide, Sausalito
Mill Valley Inn, Mill Valley
Another coastal hotel experience is the boutique beauty known as “your box seat on the bay.” From the 29 guest rooms and the suites’ private balconies, you are a stone’s throw from water, which makes The Inn Above Tide the perfect location for aquatic pursuits. Plus, from Sausalito’s charming waterfront community you’ll enjoy views of the San Francisco skyline. In addition to panoramic bay views, all guest rooms feature elegant contemporary furnishings in a luxurious setting, but don’t hole up in your room. The outdoor splendor that surrounds Sausalito begs to be explored. Cruise on a loaner bike (included in the amenities) then return in time for the hosted wine hour. Rates from $315; innabovetide.com
North of Sausalito on Hwy 101, Mill Valley is tucked within the embrace of nearby Mount Tamalpais, rolling coastal hills, and Stinson Beach. While “pretty as a postcard,” Mill Valley is also a mountain-biking hub, for its maze of trails winding through verdant redwoods and spiraling across Mount Tamalpais, a California state park. The Mill Valley Inn is so under-the-radar, despite its location in the center of town. It’s small and unassuming, great for a private getaway. Intimate and cozy, this small gem of a property has the feel and charm of a European hotel. Plus, the handcrafted furnishings in each of the 25 guestrooms reflect the easy-going lifestyle of the area. Amenities include a sun terrace lounge, deluxe continental breakfast with espresso bar, evening wine hour, and free use of Trek mountain bikes. Rates from $169. marinhotels.com
Featured Activity: Sea Kayaking Inexperienced paddlers can take lessons from Sea Trek Kayak, steps away from the hotel. All gear and training is included. The outfitter offers standup paddleboarding, kayak classes, and guided kayak tours, including the popular “Full Moon Paddle” tour for views of San Francisco’s lights and the rising moon over Angel Island. seatrek.com Other activities: Hike or bike the steep trails on coastal hills along the Marin Headlands, a branch of GGRNA. Or just stroll the side streets, watch the sea lions from the docks, or soak up the ambiance in one of the many open-air cafes.
Featured Activity: Mountain Biking Some label Mount Tamalpais as the birthplace of mountain biking. Early pioneers, like Gary Fisher, Jacquie Phelan, and Joe Breeze, were riding the area’s trails while most of us were still on trikes. Get directions to Old Railroad Grade Trail, where you can embark on a steady, winding climb to the top of the 2,571-foot Mt. Tam. Other Activities: From the Inn, hike through redwood forests, along streams, and on the DipSea Trail. womensadventuremagazine.com
DAVID PHELPS, COURTESY OF THE INN ABOVE TIDE, COURTESY OF MILL VALLEY INN
ure, the acclaimed “city by the bay” boasts a cultured culinary scene, cable cars, and the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, but the San Francisco Bay area is also home to one of the largest urban parks in the world.
Q & A with Adventure Travel Company Pioneer, Susan Eckert When fresh out of college, Susan Eckert landed in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, her first dream job. During that stint, she discovered her calling, and ultimate dream job, in a career in Adventure Travel. “I wanted to make my living by taking people to other cultures throughout the world, which I did by founding AdventureWomen in 1982.”
In 1982, when I founded AdventureWomen, the idea of adventure travel and traveling to exotic destinations on vacations designed especially for and by women was very novel. Happily, times have changed and, 30 years later, adventure travel for women has become a market unto itself, with so many options and ways for women to travel. I will “officially” celebrate the 30th anniversary of AdventureWomen with a series of European trips, called “Travels with Susan.” I will be joining our groups for Hiking in the Italian Alps—Discover the Dolomites, Barging in France Through Alsace-Lorraine, and the Culinary, Culture, and Hiking trip in Poland.
COURTESY OF SUSAN ECKERT
WAM: How would you define an “adventurous” woman? An “ad-
venturous” woman is willing to step outside of her comfort zone, often for the first time by herself, and do something that is so different than what she does in her everyday life. It’s not just the physical challenge (like trekking Nepal’s Himalayas, or horseback riding 30 miles a day in Iceland) but also a spiritual and/or cultural challenge that leads to the exhilaration of achievement from stretching beyond one’s boundaries, rediscovering what is really important in our lives, experiencing new cultures. It’s the adventurous woman who comes away from experiences like these with newfound confidence, an improved self-image, and a spiritual enrichment that occurs after discovering that all
citizens of the world share one heart and one soul—no matter how different we are.
WAM: Describe the physical challenge that push women to step beyond their comfort zones on the trips? A favorite is whitewater
rafting. There’s something about the thrill of paddling in fast water that is challenging for women of all ages. Most recently we’ve added zip-lining to many trips, and that has also been a way for women to stretch their comfort zones. Our downhill ski adventures in Montana draw a lot of women who have never been on skis before, as well as women who are intermediate and advanced skiers. Our women instructors teach at every ability level. AdventureWomen trips help women learn to snowshoe, snorkel, scuba dive, sea kayak, and more. WAM: Tell us about AdventureWomen’s expansion to “Humanitours?” After 30 years in the
adventure travel business, I believe it’s more important than ever to offer trips that allow participants to give back. So, we developed a new set of travel opportunities, where women can enjoy a cultural tour while also participating in a humanitarian project that gives back to the local people and cultures. Our first Humanitours were in Vietnam and Bhutan, and the trip price included money for humanitarian projects. n To learn more about AdventureWomen and Susan Eckert, visit AdventureWomen.com.
Photo ©2009 Christina Kiffney Photography
WAM: 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of Adventure Women, Susan. How will you celebrate?
turn your passion into your profession Join Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition at these events and network with peers in the outdoor industries. april 12 Bay Area & Seattle
april 24 Boulder, Northeast,
Portland & Salt Lake City June 13 Portland & Salt Lake City
special thanks to:
June 26 Bay Area, Boulder,
Northeast & Seattle
WAM • SPRING | 2012 19
Smart Travel Gear for 2012 and Beyond Macabi Skirt The possibilities: Available in multiple lengths,
colors and sizes, the Macabi skirt is as magically versatile as it is practical. Clip it up and the skirt turns into pants, snap the sides and “shazam!” it becomes wading shorts. Stuff it in a backpack, pull it out, and “voila!” no wrinkles. It’s an all-around piece of clothing that covers the bare essentials in more ways than one while globe-trotting. The goods: Breathable SPF 25+ fabric that dries fast and wicks away moisture; oversized, self-draining pockets; security and cell phone pockets; adaptable pant clips and wading snaps. $76.95; macabiskirt.com
Solio Bolt Battery Pack and Solar Charger The possibilities: Sometimes you can’t just run to
the store and get batteries or plug into an outlet to charge up the herd of tech gadgets that might occupy your purse or pack. That’s when the Solio BOLT comes to the rescue. It re-juices USB-charged gadgets, like your smartphone, MP3 player, e-reader, GPS, and camera. The goods: The BOLT is charged by the sun via its rotating solar panels, or USB Port, or the wall outlets. After it’s charged, use it to power your gadgets by connecting it with the device’s own USB charging cable. $70; solio.com
Cascade Designs Hummingbird Carry-On Zip The possibilities: When
fully stuffed, this 19 oz., 40-liter capacity duffle bag looks more like a mini yellow submarine. Yes, yellow. The kind of yellow that screams “here I am” when it spins onto the airport luggage turn stall. Although not as submersible as a submarine, the Hummingbird Carry-On Zip—thanks to RF-welded seams, fully waterproof zipper, and reinforced vinyl material— bears up to rugged elements including slashing rainstorms, rowdy river trips, and all types of wet and wild excursions. The goods: The three-point carrying system allows you to convert the straps as a backpack if needed. Fully packed, it can meet any carry-on requirements worldwide allowing you to travel light... and bright. $149.95; cascadedesigns.com
Pacsafe Toursafe Wallet The possibilities: A clutch-sized wallet that’s slim and
compact with plenty of compartments to securely stow valuables, Pacsafe’s Toursafe wallet is a smart choice for all women travelers. The external fabric is scotch-guard protected, while the inside includes a passport pocket, 12 credit card pockets, compartments for cash and receipts, plus a few zippered pockets for miscellaneous items. What sets this wallet apart from the rest? Anti-theft components, like a “slash-proof ” metal chain and hook, plus a lock strap hook. The goods: Toursafe is a newly launched product line from Pacsafe, which has recently debuted additional product lines with RFID-blocking material that protects personal information on credit cards and passports from being accessed by thieves. $39.99; pacsafe.com
20 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Icebreaker Roma Dress The possibilities:
Travel a lot and you know the value of the perfect “little black dress” that packs away and resists wrinkles. There are times when you need a dress that requires double-agent capabilities: polished enough to be professional and yet stylish enough for that impromptu dance night out. The Roma dress is a favorite that delivers on all fronts, perfect for touring. The goods: The superfine lightweight merino wool wraps, drapes, and covers the body stylishly, making any body type look good. Plus, the machine-washable material is breathable and odor resistant. $120; us.icebreaker.com womensadventuremagazine.com
MADE TO ADVENTURE
MADE TO SMILE FOR 25 YEARS WE HAVE CELEBRATED THE TRAVELER. The thoughtful design that created the first technical travel shirt has evolved into a complete line of functional and innovative clothing. Features like sun protection, quick dry fabrics and security pockets allow people to explore the world and its wonders with a smile. For 25 years we have set the standard for comfortable performance, and the legacy continues. Find your travel clothing at ww w.exofficio.com
Traveler Kasia Wysota and her rickshaw driver share a laugh in the Bên Thành market of Hô Chí Minh City, Vietnam. © ExOfficio 2012
AVAILABLE AT A SPECIALTY RETAILER NEAR YOU.
WAM • SPRING | 2012 21
App Wrap-Up More Women Planning
Free downloads for travelers on the go
Research has shown that women travelers are increasingly seeking out adventure travel. We predict 2012 will up the number of women in search of solo active excursions with recognized tour companies. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to plan your adventure getaway.
Between flights at the airport and need a snack or want to hang out somewhere more appealing than a plastic-covered chair? This mighty guru app offers a comprehensive list of airport amenities designed for travelers seeking quick reviews and information. The app locates the highestrated food options, best brewed coffee, gift shops, ATMs, and even in-airport salons. The searchable directories are available in 100 U.S. airports and in London and Canada. Available on: Android, iPhone/iPad
Oanda Currency Converter That custom surfboard sure would be a sweet souvenir but negotiating in Costa Rica “colones” the country’s currency, takes more time than it does to catch a wave in a swimming pool. Oanda touts consistently high marks for quick access and reliability. You can select either the percentage add-on to better predict the actual rate charged by your bank or credit card company or select Interbank rates. It can access info on 180 currencies and four metals. Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad
oluntourism” has gained momentum and popularity over the past few years, and this year is no different. Travel experts agree that “volunteer” vacations remain a top trend for 2012.
Wildlife Volunteer Vacations One aspect of this trend is an ever-increasing number of wildlife conservation programs helping to preserve endangered wild animals and their ecosystems in remote parts of the world. What will you get out of it? Be clear about what
you want to get from the experience—training, self-development, an adventure—then check whether the organization is clear in communicating what’s on offer for you.
Reputation, reputation, reputation. Has the or-
Sometimes you just gotta “go” no matter where you are in the world, whether it’s riding the subway or cycling urban streets of alien territory. The app maps out a plethora of restroom facilities located in larger cities of the U.S. and Europe. It even lists the “hours available” so you do not have to cross your legs more than once. Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad
ganization won awards or accolades, who are they associated with, what is their philosophy, do they write and publish their results, and what’s their safety record. Carefully vetted tour providers can be found at greenloons.com. Consider animal well-being. Steer clear of orga-
Those who want to give back and also have an active vacation might wonder how to distinguish a credible operator from one that is overly commercial and only seeking to profit from this altruistic trend? Dr. Matthias Hammer—executive director of Biosphere Expeditions, a non-profit wildlife conservation organization—along with partners Born Free Foundation and Tourism Concern, offers these hints to help you choose a wildlife volunteering vacation. bonus: These tips apply to both “volunteer vacations” and any type of organized tour or trip.
22 WAM • SPRING | 2012
nizations that encourage handling of captive wild animals for anything other than crucial veterinary or neo-natal surrogate care. If wild animals are handled, it should only be for essential research and conservation work, and the organization should follow strict animal welfare guidelines. For the complete list of tips, visit biosphereexpeditions.org/toptentips.
Athletic Volunteer Vacations Plenty of people have signed up for active sports vacations over the years, but now there is a surge in active travelers that combine “making a difference” with travel near and far. Some of the most popular combinations have been volunteering to work at marathons, bike and ski races, and Special Olympics around the world.
COURTESY OF BIOSPHERE EXPEDITIONS
AIR u RAIL u TRAIL United Continental Holdings has come up with a new way for frequent fliers to score adventure trips. The recently launched MileagePlus Headliners, an auction program that enables United and Continental frequent fliers to use loyalty miles to bid on “airline adventures” and other kinds of experiences, like a ski trip that includes travel and a private mountain guide. One bidding opportunity a month, including VIP access, will be offered.
pass is good for unlimited flights on the airline. The airline offers 74 daily flights to 15 destinations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, plus has the distinction of being the world’s first certified carbon-neutral airline. Travelers can purchase a Nature Air Pass by calling 1-800-235-9272 or by emailing email@example.com. Flights can be booked at any time and international departure/arrival fees are not included in cost. Fares quoted are valid through Nov. 30, 2012.
Central America’s Nature Air Offers Unlimited Flights for One (Low) Price Travelers with a Nature Air Pass can access unlimited flights in Central America during either a one- or two-week period. A single
Bike Train Routes Open across Canada Cycling across Canada this summer? VIA Rail, Canada’s bike trains, now have more departures and more destinations to choose from.
First launched in the summer of 2007, select VIA Rail departures now have bike racks available yearround. Additionally, cyclists traveling to Toronto can continue on to Niagara Falls with their bikes using GO Transit services. From Quebec’s extensive Route Verte (2,671 miles), the Greater Niagara Circle Route (86 miles), Ottawa’s Capital Parkway Network (136 miles) to any of Ontario’s Waterfront Trails (559 miles), VIA’s bike trains get you close to the trails you want to ride. To use the bike trains, simply check your bike at the counter for a small fee. VIA staff handle the loading of your bike and return it to you on the platform upon arrival at your destination. viarail.ca/bike
Planning a Mountain Bike Trip just got Easier The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) launched a new program to support mountain bike tourism. IMBA’s website offers resources for cycling travelers who want access to some of the best trails in the world. The online resource, called IMBA Destinations, offers several travel tools to help plan bike-related travel. A few of our favorites: • Search for bike-friendly travel services, bike parks, resorts, and information centers. • Book tours available through IMBA’s partners. All bookings made through imba.com generate a donation for IMBA’s trail work. • Locate bike shops near your riding destination for trail info, gear rentals, and tune-ups.
Half Marathon & 10K
Port Douglas on Great Barrier Reef, Australia
May 13 - 22, 2012
November 8 - 19, 2012
BASIC TOUR INCLUDES:
10 Nights/9 Days Marathon Port Douglas, Australia Great Barrier Reef & Daintree Rainforest Sydney 3 Night Accommodations in the Rocks Area with views of the Sydney Bridge & Opera House • 1st Class Hotels, Daily Breakfast, Special Meals as Noted in Itinerary, Awards Dinner, Event Entry Fee. From $5735 (sharing double room) (international air not included/air quote upon request)
Stay in 1st Class Capital Hotel in Beijing • Run Site Inspection Day Event Entry Fee for the OFFICIAL Run Optional 2Day Xian Extension Tour Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Shanghai Extension Optional 2Day Xian/3Day Tibet/3Day Shanghai Extension From $2228 (sharing double room) (international air not included/air quote upon request) Programs to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tibet.
BASIC TOUR INCLUDES:
Optional Tours to Ayers Rock & Sounds of Silence Dinner And 5 Nights in Sydney.
Kathy Loper Events 619-298-7400 www.kathyloperevents.com
WAM • SPRING | 2012 23
Stacy Phillips and Cody Barnhill mountain bike the rumored 400 miles of public trails in Park City, Utah.
aspir “ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
On The Map She travels the world in search of the best stories. Award-winning journalist and former Women’s Adventure contributing editor Jayme Moye will share her secrets to great travel writing as part of the Wild Arts Tour with Wild Women Expeditions in Newfoundland, Canada, June 13–19. wildwomenexp.com
On the Map Opportunities to create your own adventure this spring
Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation
May is National Bike Month to inspire people to get out on two wheels. The League of American Bicyclists’ website is the place to go for info on events and activities across the country, including Bike to Work Week, May 14–18, and Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 18. bikeleague.org Let us inspire you to get out and commute on two wheels! Check out how to get started bike commuting on pages 52–53.
Newfoundland, Canada Montana
Our country’s wilderness areas are in danger, but you can help. The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation is offering a number of women’s-only voluntourism options. This September’s yoga trip might particularly interest adventure women. Each day of trail work and weed eradication is topped off with yoga sessions. bmwf.org
Nevada Maryland Grand Canyon, AZ Austin, TX
Project Athena is leading two amazing rim-torim-to-rim (R2R2R) trips in the Grand Canyon, June 13–17 and October 10–14. The organization fundraises for and supports women survivors to live their adventurous dreams as part of their recovery from cancer and other debilitating diseases.“We’re all about helping people get their groove and their spirits back,” says founder Robyn Benincasa. “Doctors cure the body, and Project Athena cures the spirit!” projectathena.org
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The Project Athena Foundation
There’s something about gathering a bunch of gals for a day of multi-sport fun. And that’s what Iron Girl is all about. They will be hosting 13 women-only sprint triathlons around the country, starting with Clearwater, Fla., (April 22) and Columbia, Md., (April 29). irongirl.com
Get ready to ZOOMA at this all-women’s half marathon and 5K. Upcoming races are March 31 in Austin, Texas, and April 22 in Atlanta, Ga. Gather up your running girlfriends and plan a fun weekend getaway. Other races are scheduled in 2012 in Annapolis, Md.; Cape Cod, Mass.; and Lake Geneva, Wisc. zoomarun.com womensadventuremagazine.com
London completes final preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. April 18 marks just 100 days to go to the Olympic Games, but the real countdown begins when the Olympic Flame is lit in Athens on May 10. The flame will arrive in the UK on May 18, and games kick off on July 27. Be sure to mark your calendars for the women’s triathlon August 4, marathon August 5, BMX finals August 10, 140km women’s road race July 29, and mountain bike finals August 11. london2012.com
Courtesy Women’s Quest
No boys allowed on the Women’s Quest Italy Cycling Retreat this September 15–23. The group’s co-ed Italy trips, held May 26–June 2 and September 23–October 1, filled up quickly, so hurry and sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime cycling vacation, where you’ll road bike along perfectly paved roads, relax with yoga twice a day, and delight your taste buds with spectacular local foods. Not your style? Check out the women’s surf and yoga retreat in Costa Rica, November 11–17. womensquest.com
For trail runners in search of a unique event, The Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset offers 100K and 42K routes in a stunning setting. Registration is open for the August 1, 2012, race, which is limited to 100 runners. But it’s not just a race—the runners and their companions enjoy a week touring Mongolia. All race proceeds support preservation projects in the country. ultramongolia.org
Let the tough terrain of The Big Five Marathon (June 23, 2012) challenge you, but realize you may get more than a PR out of this race. Located in South Africa’s Entabeni Game Reserve, the race course provides opportunity to experience Africa’s abundant natural beauty and also spot roaming wild animals. You may actually be running with the lions; as big five game animals surround your path, and epic scenery makes running a marathon seem like a truly enlightening vacation. big-five-marathon.com
WAM • SPRING | 2012 27
Q&A with Missy Park On the 40th anniversary of Title IX—the law that first enabled women’s sports participation in high school and college athletics—we chat with founder of the multi-channel retailer, Title Nine, Missy Park, who was at the heart of the movement.
Basketball has been a lifelong love. I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. In the south, the social fabric is the church. The other religion is sports, and they kind of melded together. All churches had very big basketball programs, but our church’s program didn’t start until sixth grade. My parents were great; they got our board of deacons to make a special rule so I could play in fourth grade. That was my first exposure to team sports. I played basketball on my high school team and, in the off-season, played at the Y. I was the only girl playing pick-up. When you play pick-up, it’s shirts and skins. If you want to play, you’re on skins! There were many “things” like that, but I didn’t feel like they were necessarily historical moments.
“Title IX has radiated past the sports field. We took the knowledge we had learned on the fields and the courts and applied it in the real world.” 28 WAM • SPRING | 2012
How did Title IX affect you during your college sports days and beyond? It wasn’t until college [Yale] that I realized I was part of a bigger movement. Women at Yale had been pushing the athletic department to come into compliance. But it wasn’t fast enough. When I first got there, they had a fairly large women’s crew program. But, you had to hop on a bus outside the athletic office, drive 30 minutes to Derby, Conn., to the men’s boat house and row at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. Women would have to sit on the freezing bus and wait for the guys to finish, store their boats, and take their showers. A gal I knew was part of the “Title IX Strip”—a group of
girls that went in to the athletic director’s office, stripped off their sweatshirts, and wrote “Title IX” on their backs. A photographer snapped a picture and The New York Times ran it. Within two weeks, temporary trailers were at the river for the women to use. Hearing that story was when I thought, “Oh wow! I’m part of this bigger thing.” We didn’t take it for granted. In college the women athletes—at the time a bunch of my teammates—were really tight, trying to break into the boys club. “When we graduate, we will start the Women’s Nike,” we said. “We’re going to get the shoes, the uniforms right.” What inspired you to start Title Nine? My father started and owned his own business, and, like many kids do, I followed in his footsteps. From very early on, in some subconscious way, I wanted to blend my avocation and my vocation. I grew up playing sports and received a history degree from Yale. After college, I coached for a couple of years— at Harvard and then a position opened at Yale—but I still wanted to be playing. Finally, I realized that coaching isn’t playing. I decided to go to California, as my brother was there. There were so many great things in the Bay Area: the mountain biking boom with Gary Fisher and Ritchey, and the burgeoning outdoor industry. There was a lot of opportunity, and I took a job at The North Face in Berkeley in 1987. Remember I had zero experience. I could basically only play basketball. But I worked really hard to get the interview, where I heard, “What we really want to do is create a catalog for retailers. Do you want to do it?” So I put together their first retail point-of-sale catalog, writing copy and overseeing photo shoots. I was 25. Every weekend we would blast off to the mountains. womensadventuremagazine.com
MISSY PARK AND TITLE NINE
Tell us about yourself and your athletic history. I was born in 1962, and Title IX passed in 1972. There was a real motion toward getting girls and women in sports. Tennis was big in the ’70s. It was a craze, like yoga today. I was fortunate that my parents were into it. Our whole family was involved, and I never really saw sports as a strictly male place to be. Everyone in the family competed equally.
At the same time, I was looking for something in the bike industry and got a job at Fisher mountain bikes—really a family business. Gary, his wife, his brother and sister-in-law, all his friends: 13 people. I worked there in inside sales for a year before going back to The North Face. I wanted to work part-time, but they didn’t agree. So I said, “I’m just going to do this myself and start my own thing.” Ignorance is bliss. I figured that all these women coming of age would need a place to buy their gear, and no one else was selling women’s-specific sports gear. So, I did and worked out of my home solo. Despite being the libertarian I am, there is no question that the thing that had the most impact on my life was Title IX. The act gave me great opportunities and laid the groundwork to build a business. So that’s what I named my company, which gives a nod to women in sports and to my personal history in sports. The first Title Nine catalog was mailed in November 1989—I sent out 15,000 and got 10 orders.
It was so bad. But, it was exactly the result anyone in her right mind would have expected. I did, however, notice that every single one of those orders had a sports bra in it, and that was the light bulb moment. That really became our bread and butter—supplying and fitting women with that essential piece of sports equipment. After four years, I turned a profit. Now we have 250 employees and 19 retail stores, plus headquarters in Emeryville, California, and a distribution center in Richmond, California. Please share some thoughts on the upcoming Title IX anniversary. Do you feel Title IX continues to help girls in sports? Title IX has radiated past the sports field. For me, it is a celebration of all that Title IX has accomplished: in business, politics, medicine, law. It’s more a celebration of the impact that Title IX continues to have and what a dramatic change it has made in women’s lives. We took the knowledge we had learned on the fields and the courts and applied it in the real world. titlenine.com n
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WAM • SPRING | 2012 29
I’m Proof That...
I’m Proof That…
There is Creativity in Climbing NAME:
By Benita Hussain
s a child, I was constantly kinetic—always climbing trees and swinging on things. It’s interesting now as a rock climber to realize that.” Now 53, Brooklyn-based painter and sculptor Gail Rothschild does not recall whether her love for athletics preceded her creative drive, but she has spent thirty years forging what she believes is an uncommon path for visual artists: integrating both into her work.
As a teenager, Gail excelled at gymnastics, eventually helping Yale University’s team win its first Ivy League Championship while earning her BFA there. This sense of competition later compelled her to devote herself entirely to art, not realizing how detrimental this would be. “When I started painting a lot in college, I let all the physical stuff go, and it made me psychologically ill,” she says. “It took me years to find that balance.” That balance came after graduating, when she began making large-scale, often political, installations that required moving earth and bricks, welding steel, and manipulating wood. The challenge in making these pieces satisfied Gail’s athletic needs, yet by 1994, while working in Sydney, Australia, she burned out once more.
H O M E TOW NS :
Greenwich, CT; Brooklyn, NY
E DU C AT I O N : BFA, Yale University
Childhood: Gymnastics, Equestrian; Adulthood: Figure skating, Swimming, Skateboarding U SE F U L SK ILL: “While competing at several Climbing World Cups, I learned how to say, ‘Please belay me very carefully, because I may fall quite low’ in a number of languages.” FAVO R I T E C LI M B I NG S POTS : Indoor: Brooklyn Boulders (New York); Outdoors: Red River Gorge (Kentucky), Ceuse (France). A RT I ST I C I N FLUE NC E S : Agnes Martin, Vita SackvilleWest, Louise Bourgeois, Penelope from The Odyssey. “So many over the years that, at some point, one digests it all and forges on.” OT H E R AT H LE T I C PU R S UI TS :
But the minute Chris got on the climbing wall, it hit her. I’m home, she thought. This is what I was meant to do. 30 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Then 36, she moved to New York to return to painting. Missing the physicality of sculpting during those years, she sought new outlets, at which point her friend Chris asked her one question: “Upper body or lower body?” “I don’t know what course my life would have taken had I said, ‘lower body,’” Gail laughs. But the minute she got on the climbing wall with Chris, it hit her. I’m home, she thought. This is what I was meant to do. This realization changed Gail’s artistic vision, as did the new and academically unusual perspective that climbing provided. “Traditionally, ‘portraits,’ refer to vertically oriented perspectives, and ‘landscapes’ are horizontally oriented,” Gail explains. “When climbing, I was experiencing this absolutely vertical landscape. I was looking up and looking down, suddenly thinking about how to translate that pictorially.” Not only did the crags’ colors and textures start entering her work, their three-dimensionality helped Gail observe the way her body interacted with the landscape and how this changed with
And Then a Thousand More, 25" x 126", 2010
each route she’d send. New series emerged, including Climberscapes, in which Gail deconstructs a video self-portrait and reanimates it as a painting. Gail continues, “The figures describe a landscape, like in a Chinese scroll. The route is a narrative, and each of the figure’s movements is an element in its text.” In the development of her career and climbing, Gail feels that she has always returned to the same dynamism she had as a child. An unsurprising difference, however, is how central fear—and the reward of moving past it—has become in both. “As a woman climber, I’m often afraid to make that big move or to let go. It’s something that I face in the studio, too,” she says. “Sometimes, the only way through is to pick up a brush loaded with a completely unexpected color and dive in. You have to risk losing everything to achieve something sublime.” gailrothschild.com
COURTESY OF GAIL ROTHSCHILD
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Life’s an Adventure Jess Cramp
ver a crackle-y and delayed connection, Jess Cramp explains she’s been in the Cook Islands for ten months but that she never meant to go there in the first place. “Even saying it sounds insane,” says Jess, who’s been volunteering for the past couple years. “I never would’ve imagined I’d be here this long. I got passionate about the program,” she says, referring to the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) that she manages. More than two years ago, Jess left a highpaying job as an Automation Specialist for a robotics company that allowed her to surf regularly and volunteer occasionally to instead devote a full year of her life to understanding the community-level impacts of aid and volunteer work. “From the outside,” she says, “I couldn’t tell whether what I was doing to help was futile. I wanted to get my hands dirty, gain experience on the ground, and see if my hands, brains, and fire in my gut could offer anything to these organizations.”
AG E :
San Diego, CA “Leap! And the net will appear.” U SE F U L SK ILL: Making fun of myself when times get tough FAVE D I VE SPOT: Ava’avaroa Passage in Rarotonga (lots of sharks and turtles!) FAVE S U R F SPOT: A secret right point break in Baja with just my friends and a few soaring brown pelicans INS P I R AT I O N: My mom, for believing in every damn dream I’ve ever had H O M E TOW N: M OT TO :
Jess… • is a licensed single-engine airplane pilot. • worked as a research biologist for seven years. • has an uncanny ability to win thumb-wrestling matches. • baked her first loaf of bread from scratch in a sailboat oven in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. • says her older brother, Justin, used to joke, “I never had a little brother, so I made one.” F U N FA C T S :
32 WAM • SPRING | 2012
After stints volunteering in Haiti and Panama, she joined forces with Water for People in Guatemala. “They are doing it right,” she says. “They involve local communities and commit for the long haul. They make a sustainable, measurable impact in the daily lives of the people they work with.” Then Jess found an organization whose mission deeply aligned with her own and, last spring, hopped aboard Sea Dragon, a 5 Gyres Institute research expedition boat. She sailed across the Pacific, intending to stay in Tahiti. “But I wasn’t feeling it,” Jess says. “I was really poor and Tahiti was expensive. Plus, I can’t speak French.” She followed Sea Dragon to the Cook Islands after noticing an ad for volunteers on PICI’s website and has lived there ever since. Without a paying job, Jess is going broke and lives in the back of the dive shop that houses PICI. She finished her Divemaster, and is developing an ocean ambassador dive program to earn income. But her lifestyle is only testament to her dedication. She’s so committed to
spreading the word about sustainability and saving sharks that she won’t move on until she sees her projects through. “We just signed an agreement to develop a conservation curriculum. But, before that, we’re trying to get the Cook Islands to establish the shark sanctuary,” she says, bubbling with excitement at the prospect of a dream come true. “We’re in the middle of a six-week media campaign,” Jess goes on. “We don’t want to scare anyone, just educate people about why sharks should be protected.” And, it’s working. They’ve gained international attention and enlisted more volunteers. Once she sees the shark sanctuary passed, Jess might move on—for a while. “I will always have a connection to the work, and aim to come back when I have the money,” she says. In the meantime, she’ll focus on encouraging activism and adventure. “I just want to show young people that it’s cool to use your brain, follow your dreams, and take risks in life, not just in sports,” she sums up. As far as this year’s plans, Jess is unsure. “I’ll either be working on shark sanctuaries, doing sea turtle surveys, or educating girls on marine conservation back at home. I will be diving and surfing for sure. It’d be amazing if I could be making a pay check, too.”
FROM TOP RIGHT: CODY DOUCETTE, ERIN FEINBLATT, RICHARD KOTCH
By Jennifer Olson
“I’d like to say I’ve come up with a cute, kitschy title, but I just call myself the proprietor,” says Robin Bylenga of Pedal Chic, the only women’s-specific cycling and athletic boutique in the Southeast, which she opened in the back of a fitness studio. The studio’s owner was so moved by Robin’s mission to create a friendly bike-shopping experience for women that she rented out the space for free. Robin has since graduated to her own shop and continues to spread cycling love. AG E :
Greenville, S.C. JO B: Proprietor of Pedal Chic located at 651B S. Main St. in Greenville, SC. (864) 242-2442, pedalchic.com
COURTESY OF PEDAL CHIC; INSET LISA CARPENTER PHOTOGRAPHY
S TO M P I N G G ROU N D :
here did you get the idea for Pedal Chic? I worked at
a bike shop and loved it, but was very aware of how the bike industry treats women. When women visited the store, I tried to make them feel comfortable and purposely not talk about derailleurs. I thought about opening a women’s shop, but then went back into corporate America, got laid off twice, and was unemployed for a year. Then one day I received an e-mail that my spinning club was announcing “the first-ever women’s specific…” My phone wouldn’t allow me to read the whole e-mail, but that was enough. I got sick to my stomach—I thought they were announcing that an all-women’s bike shop had opened. That
emotional reaction was my “A-ha!” moment when I said, “This is what I’m supposed to be.” I started Pedal Chic in August of 2010. Describe the experience a woman would have coming into your shop. My typical
customer is a beginner, so I want the shop to be very aesthetically pleasing, completely comfortable, and welcoming. It’s important that everyone is said hello to and goodbye to. No one else really has a shop totally geared toward women with a crystal chandelier out in front. We sell beautiful, pristine, elegant bikes (like Linus) and fun, cute, retro bikes with lots of bling (like Nirv). When selecting clothing and accessories, I stay true to my fashionable and functional vision. I focus on fashion and empowering women, helping them feel good no matter their size or genre of activity. Clothes that are body hugging in the right way and leave room to move are good. Unique designs and little features—like SkirtSports’ little thumbhole and pocket for your fingers in a running top—are a plus. Gore Running has some really, really cute colors and a very fashionable line. I’m bringing in this cute line called Moxie that makes jerseys with little pads in them so
you don’t have to wear a bra. When I see a piece I really like, that’s what I buy. Since our community is so small, we just carry a few pieces of each, so, when women see each other riding in town, they aren’t all matching. You never know what you’re going to find. What’s inspiring or rewarding about your work? I’m inspired to
help empower my customers. It is incredibly rewarding when I hear a woman say, “I would normally never feel comfortable in a bike shop, but I just love coming here.” Seeing her eyes light up when she accomplishes a goal or overcomes a fear is an incredible feeling. Last year, I sponsored the first local allfemale triathlon called “You Go Girl,” and seeing the smiles and tears of joy at the finish line was one of the best experiences. That was a good day. Tell us about your store slogan “Roadways are the new Runways.” I want people to know
that you can be fashionable in your athletic endeavors. You no longer have to wear men’s jerseys (with billboards on the back) that are too tight and suck up under your stomach. You don’t have to go to the grocery store in cycling diapers
anymore. You can throw a skirt over a chamois or cycle in a skort. How do you stay active while running a bike shop? I’m there
six or seven days a week now, but I maintain my active lifestyle with activity-based marketing. If it weren’t for group rides, I wouldn’t get to ride at all! When someone comes in to chat, I say, “Why don’t we get on bikes and talk out there?” The walls come down and the barriers disappear when you put a person on a bike. I’m a better me. What’s challenging about owning and running an all-women’s athletic shop? Lots of women
own bike shops but not women’sspecific shops. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad. The industry has historically not favored women; however, that climate is changing. I and a couple other women recently started SpokesWomen, a national organization (still in infancy stages) with a goal to build, grow, and support women entering the business. We hope to significantly eliminate some of the barriers. The bicycling world is so expansive. There is enormous potential for women in the industry and I am committed to playing a part, whatever that turns out to be. n WAM • SPRING | 2012 33
Be a Lumberjill Fast feet are the name of the game in log rolling By Jayme Lamm
GEAR Shorts and a sports bra (or sports tank) that can get wet (because it’s an inevitable part of the sport), and wet/dry shoes with some flexibility (like Merrell’s Barefoot Train Contour Glove).
Log Rolling Lingo Running Match: Both rollers look over opposite shoulders, then face the same way on the log. Bucking Match: Both rollers look over the same shoulder, then face opposite directions. There is more fighting to dominate the log in this type of match. Front Stepping: Rolling on the log with a backspin, as if walking forward on land. Back Stepping: Rolling on the log with a front spin, as if walking backward on land.
ne of the cheapest and best bodysculpting sports around has got to be log rolling. Hands down. What may look like a simple piece of natural habitat to some is an intense and rigorous workout to others—even a segue to competition!
physics and movement of the log. Luckily, lessons only cost $6–$10/hour depending on the instructor.
While the sport is fairly easy to fall in love with, mastering your place on the log is quite another. At the 2011 STIHL Timbersports World Championships a few months back, I witnessed athletic body after body jump up on the log in a charismatic attempt to clock a better (i.e., longer) time than their previous roll. And each one dropped like a fly. Surely it can’t be that hard, I thought, as I jumped up myself. Wrong.
2. Keep your eyes on the end of the log.
How one’s legs and feet can pitter-patter in such a rapid and agile movement seems virtually impossible. Like most things in life, especially sports, log rolling takes a lot of practice— feeling it out and falling over and over again until your body becomes acclimated with the 34 WAM • SPRING | 2012
The two most crucial attributes of log rolling are simple: 1. Fast feet (think marching in place).
After those elementary steps are mastered, you then focus on foot technique, reading your opponent’s moves, leg strength, and, of course, endurance. In competition, the goal is to use footwork combined with leg strength and endurance to knock your opponent off the log without touching them. Matches are three out of five falls long. Interested in giving it a try? Check out uslogrolling.com to find a program near you. Who knows, maybe you could be the next Lumberjill on ESPN. n
• Continue moving your feet at all times. If your feet stop even momentarily and the log moves, your brain will not be able to catch up with your feet and the moving log. • Work on cardiovascular training outside of log rolling. The sport requires a lot of endurance. • Relax your body while you’re on the log. If you are too tense, your feet will not react as quickly as they need to. • Get over having beautiful legs. Part of a log roller’s uniform quickly becomes a few bumps and bruises (but it’s well worth it).
• Ever cross the centerline. That counts as a fall. • Touch your opponent during a match. Not only is this unsportsmanlike, it will also cost you a fall. • Ever take your eyes off of your opponent’s feet. The slight break in concentration disrupts your balance.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS SERIES
Professional logrollers Jenny Atkinson (left), MN, and Shana Martin, WI, participate in a logrolling demonstration at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series U.S. Championships in Salem, OR, August 2011.
Featuring Mary Osborne
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2012 Dates & Locations: May 18-20, Melbourne Beach, Florida June 22-24, San Diego, California July 20-22, Newport Beach, California August 24-26, Ventura, California September 27-October 1, Maui, Hawaii
For more information vist womensadventureseries.mauijim.com or call 309.683.2074
“I’m on a high. I feel like everything on two wheels is within reach, and I’m not the only one.”
Air Time Trek Dirt Series Mountain Biking Camp By Berne Broudy
some want to race, a lot want to keep up with boyfriends or friends, while others want to be better than their boyfriends and friends. Some want to not cry on the trail. Some [like me] want to get their wheels off the ground. Regardless of the participant’s goals, everyone finishes the day, and the weekend, happier and more confident on her bike. “Really, what each student learns is that you can do something you didn’t think you could,” Shandley says.
I am skeptical as I roll into the Bike GalleryDivision shop in downtown Portland, Oregon, for my weekend course. I’m a good rider—but I want to be better. I want to get the wheels of my bike off the ground. Can the Dirt Series really help me? Shandley says, “Yes.”
By day two, I think about this in the air as I am hucking off a 30-degree incline box with a significant drop on the backside. I am in the air long enough, flying on my bike, that I have time for this thought. My mind is no longer a white slate of fear. That realization alone cracks my face into an ear-to-ear grin.
nspiring mountain bike instruction in epic locations. That’s how Candace Shandley— Stanford University-educated, spunky auburn-haired founder of the Trek Dirt Series clinics—advertises her weekend bike camps.
When the bikes and shoes and pads and pedals have been doled out, we load up and drive to Welches Elementary School, about 30 minutes away and right near the Sandy Ridge Trail network. Decline magazine dubbed Sandy Ridge “the best Super D in the country.” It has beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails— both cross-country and freeride—and we’re headed there once we learn our new skills. But, for now, there are no trails in sight—just cones, small wooden boxes, and a few logs rolled onto the field. 36 WAM • SPRING | 2012
I’m in a group of ten that dives into drops and jumps immediately. The first drop is only about six inches—barely scary. Within an hour, we have progressed to a two-foot drop with Shandley and coach Cathy Pruitt giving us constructive criticism each lap. There is no pressure, but lots of support. All ten of us start out scared of dropping two feet off a wooden box, but soon we’re lapping the loop and laughing. After a quick break for sandwiches and drinks, we’re back on the bikes, manualing, riding boxes with a steeper takeoff, braking and descending, rolling down obstacles, and dismounting on command. Before each clinic, Dirt Series provides participants with an in-depth evaluation forum
We hit the Sandy Ridge trails, and I’m on a high. I feel like everything on two wheels is
“We used to ask women what they wanted to get out of the camp,” says Candace. “Now we ask them what they want to get out of it besides confidence. Some women want to be better on bikes so they can enjoy trails more,
I ask Shandley for her secret. “Dirt Series coaches really care,” she responds. “We’re in it for the participants. To me, and to all the coaches, every single person in camp is the most important. Every one of us will stand there and make sure that each participant gets what she wants.” They’ve nailed it. “Ultimately, teaching mountain biking is teaching confidence,” says Shandley. “It’s my way to make the world a better place in some small way.” At least in my case, she’s succeeded. The details: Camps are two days long and include welcome coffee, instruction, lunches, riding, and a dinner and bike fit/maintenance clinics on the first night. A fleet of bikes as well as pads, helmets, shoes, pedals, and other gear are provided for each camp free to participants on a first come, first served basis. Typical coach-to-participant ratio is 1:6. Cost of the camps is $325/weekend. dirtseries.com n
Can’t make a Dirt Series camp? Check out these other options: Idaho Smokies Bike Ranch: Coach Jennifer Biondi and her staff run private and pre-scheduled camps for men, women, and kids. Camps are all based out of a backcountry lodge on 160 private acres, an hour and a half drive from Sun Valley. Choose from catered or uncatered weekends, or rent the entire six-room lodge and bring your friends. idahosmokies.com/ bike-ranch Highlands Mountain Bike Park: Coach Karen Eagan teaches riders the essentials of downhill and freeride during weekend-long women’s camps (highlandcamps.com). It’s everything you need to know to take a bike up a mountain on a lift and ride it down. Prefer to start with the basics? Eagan also teaches for NEMBA’s Ride Like A Girl series. gbnemba.org Ray’s Bike Park: Ray’s hosts cold weather– buster indoor park–riding women’s weekends in March at both their Cleveland and Milwaukee locations. It’s free, with coaching by renowned rider Leigh Donovan and others. raysmtb.com
I sign up for a Portland weekend. There are about 50 participants drinking coffee and sorting through gear when I arrive at the bike shop on Division that’s the Dirt Series HQ for this clinic. Riders have come from near and far—there are women from California, Oregon, and Washington. Some are experienced, some used to ride before they had kids. Others, including a Dirt Series scholarship recipient from South Dakota, have never ridden a bike on trail.
Then we split into five groups based on Dirt Series’ assessment of our skills. Our groups are divided by skill and experience to explore all attributes of riding, from drops and jumps to crossing obstacles and riding skinnies to cornering and even choosing a line. Everyone was pushed and no one was overwhelmed.
to help the coaches understand what each rider will consider “success” for herself and at what level she rides.
TREK DIRT SERIES
Shandley created the camp that she and her roster of bad-ass, national title–holding, female riders wished they had when they started riding. “I want more info than my guy friends who go for it, but I don’t need to be coddled,” she says. “So I created a camp that’s part pedicure, part tweaked-out big air, with no pandering.”
The camp has a bit of a bootcamp feel, but that’s because the schedule is packed. We start as a single group and learn neutral position, balance, how to separate your body from your bike, coasting, foot pedal placement, braking, and other basic skills that I knew from experience but had never actually had explained to me.
within reach, and I’m not the only one. Pretty much everyone in my class is jumping out of her skin with excitement because of new skills and confidence. Women are making plans for next rides, future camps, and bike trips with their new friends.
WAM • SPRING | 2012 37
“I’m on a high. I feel like everything on two wheels is within reach, and I’m not the only one.” some want to race, a lot want to keep up with boyfriends or friends, while others want to be better than their boyfriends and friends. Some want to not cry on the trail. Some [like me] want to get their wheels off the ground. Regardless of the participant’s goals, everyone finishes the day, and the weekend, happier and more confident on her bike. “Really, what each student learns is that you can do something you didn’t think you could,” Shandley says. By day two, I think about this in the air as I am hucking off a 30-degree incline box with a significant drop on the backside. I am in the air long enough, flying on my bike, that I have time for this thought. My mind is no longer a white slate of fear. That realization alone cracks my face into an ear-to-ear grin.
I ask Shandley for her secret. “Dirt Series coaches really care,” she responds. “We’re in it for the participants. To me, and to all the coaches, every single person in camp is the most important. Every one of us will stand there and make sure that each participant gets what she wants.” They’ve nailed it. “Ultimately, teaching mountain biking is teaching confidence,” says Shandley. “It’s my way to make the world a better place in some small way.” At least in my case, she’s succeeded. The details: Camps are two days long and include welcome coffee, instruction, lunches, riding, and a dinner and bike fit/maintenance clinics on the first night. A fleet of bikes as well as pads, helmets, shoes, pedals, and other gear are provided for each camp free to participants on a first come, first served basis. Typical coach-to-participant ratio is 1:6. Cost of the camps is $325/weekend. dirtseries.com n
We hit the Sandy Ridge trails, and I’m on a high. I feel like everything on two wheels is
within reach, and I’m not the only one. Pretty much everyone in my class is jumping out of her skin with excitement because of new skills and confidence. Women are making plans for next rides, future camps, and bike trips with their new friends.
WAM • SPRING | 2012 37
Farming for more than
By Laura Binks
Farming is no easy task. I once heard that, in order to be a farmer, you have to know a little about everything. It’s mechanics, engineering, accounting, and biology all rolled into one job. It’s also a huge gamble tending to an investment with no guarantee
of generating an income. Farmers everywhere are at the mercy of a very unpredictable and
sometimes devastating force—Mother Nature. It makes you wonder, Why would anyone want to be a farmer? I interviewed three women farmers to find out. lison, Karen, and Lorraine, who farm in distinctly different parts of the United States, pursue farming to improve their personal wellbeing, the environment’s health, and their communities. From the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, they are plowing, weeding, planting, watering, and harvesting. None of them took over the family farming business or could ever have predicted they’d be farming one day. All of them do, however, have noble reasons for farming. Alison Gannett’s Holy Terror Farm sits on
Alison shows off a rainbow of farm-grown carrots. 38 WAM • SPRING | 2012
75 acres near Paonia, Colorado, in Delta County along Holy Terror Creek. Her farm is nestled in the North Fork Valley on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. At 5,674 feet, the valley is known for its produce, including cherries, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, pears, nectarines, and apples. Paonia even dedicates three days each July to cherries, with the Paonia Cherry Days festival. Alison calls the valley, “The fruit basket of Colorado.”
Alison’s mission is, “To work to make the world a better place.” Along with farming, her Rippin Chix Camps, and her professional extreme skiing career, she runs three nonprofit organizations: The Save Our Snow Foundation, the Office for Resource Efficiency, and LocalFarmsFirst.com, which is an online farmer’s market. Alison also spends much of her time traveling to lecture about combating climate change (even riding her bike between cities where she’ll speak) and to educate people on reducing their carbon footprints. “The biggest way I lower my carbon footprint is avoiding petroleumbased fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and energy-intensive GMO’s for our livestock feed,” says Alison. Alison, who grew up in rural New Hampshire, says that when it comes to life on the farm, “Every day is a learning experience.” Holy Terror Farm hosts two acres of gardens and five of orchards, which leaves plenty of room for chickens, pigs, cows, and two livestock dogs, Blue and Hank. Even with the usual farm routines of weeding and feeding, Alison says, “There is no such thing as a typical womensadventuremagazine.com
(Top to bottom) The Scottish Highland cows on Holy Terror Farm; Alison harvesting in her favorite flip-flops; a couple of Karen’s fury and feathered friends.
day.” There are animals that escape and need to be rounded up, and predators, such as raccoons and bears, that need to be chased off the property.
ALISON GANNETT, KAREN McVAY
“We are always busy, and there really are no days off,” says Alison. She and her partner, Jason, start everything from seed and harvest yearround—growing carrots, kale, lettuce, and spinach in the snowy winter by using cold-frames, small hoops, and mulch. Their limes and lemons are raised indoors. There’s also the work of canning and preserving food for the off-season. They grow or raise almost everything they eat except for coffee, chocolate, and salt. “I like that tangible feeling of security. I know if anything were to happen, we’d have everything that we need.” The farm also gives Alison an opportunity to educate the people who visit, including apprentices who come and stay three to six months, usually between March and October. She also hosts mountain bike clinics for women, educational farm tours, and sustainability camps for kids. “While here, they do everything from animal feeding, planting, harvesting, preserving, and cheese making,” says Alison. Colorado Senator Gail Schwartz has also recently stopped by the farm with the Western Colorado Food and Ag Council. “The goal is inspiration— not preaching—and teaching people how to grow their own food.” Alison likes to focus on what people can do, no matter where they live.
“Earthboxes or growing containers are a simple way to start growing, especially if you have bad soil,” says Alison. She points out that people can grow produce, such as lettuce, kale, and herbs, all winter long. In addition to making sense environmentally, growing your own food benefits your personal health, too. “Food grown in healthy soil and animals raised on pastures have a higher nutritional content and are healthier for you,” says Alison, who, herself, is a pretty perfect picture of health. Like Alison, Karen McVay was concerned about what she saw happening to the world around her. “I wanted to give something back to the Earth,” says Karen. Karen moved back to her home state of Kansas in 2005 after working as a traveling speech pathologist. After living in both Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, she saw what happens when the land isn’t cared for properly. “I would ride my bike through beautiful orchid
WAM • SPRING | 2012 39
fields and see all this trash, people just dumping things off the side of the road,” Karen says. “I also learned that if the soil is not nourished after growing taxing crops like sugar cane and corn, it becomes depleted of nutrients over time,” she says. So Karen started to volunteer on an organic farm in the Virgin Islands. During this time, she became more aware of the importance of sustainability. “I realized that I wanted to nurture the soil, not damage it. Soil that is over-farmed will produce far less yield, have more insects and diseases, and what is grown has fewer micronutrients so it is less nourishing.” “I didn’t grow up on a farm and never even considered living on a farm until after my ‘island’ days,” says Karen. Today, she lives on 15 acres outside of Pomona, Kansas, in Franklin County. In a plains state typically known for its crops of sunflowers and wheat, Karen manages to grow everything that she eats. She harvests an array of fruits and vegetables, from pears to asparagus, blackberries to garlic, and kale to figs. According to Karen, it’s all about trial and error. “I keep a journal, and I’m always fine-tuning.” Karen also looks to other sources for information about farming and gardening, such as a tome by garden expert Ruth Stout, or The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka, a book about common sense sustainable farming. One would think that, to successfully grow everything you eat, you would need a lot of land. But Karen disagrees. She doesn’t use her entire 15 acres for farming, “I only use about an acre to grow all my own food.”
In addition to her garden and orchard duties, Karen maintains the rest of her land that includes a softball field, walking paths, and a windmill. Plus she cares
40 WAM • SPRING | 2012
(Top to bottom) Morning on Karen’s farm; Karen with her latest batch of okra; Karen’s crops and her barn.
For Karen, life on the farm does come with its challenges, such as dealing with broken farm equipment or having to do heavy lifting. “I hate when I can’t fix or do things myself,” says Karen. One thing she can’t fix or change: drought. And she’s had to deal with it this year. It’s so severe that 40 counties in Kansas are considered in emergency status. Franklin County is not only under a drought warning, it’s a federally designated agricultural disaster due to the drought. Karen usually relies on the rain to water her produce. She also irrigates her crops with well water and waters her orchard from her rain barrels and rain collectors. “It’s a miracle I kept anything alive this year,” Karen says. “It’s scary to see the places that are normally filled with water all dried up.”
a garden. Due to the garden’s success and with the support of the community, she started the nonprofit organization Garden State Urban Farms (GSUF) in the spring of 2009. Today, GSUF utilizes spaces such as abandoned lots and rooftops in Newark and Jersey City, and a hydroponic greenhouse to grow produce.
for her chickens, ducks, and two goats. But her day job as a school speech pathologist keeps her busy, too. During the summer, she spends six hours a day on farm work—weeding, mulching, harvesting, and canning. “The chores change with the seasons, but the animals are a daily chore,” she says. Karen doesn’t sell her produce anywhere now, but hopes to soon peddle it in a local farmer’s market or sell it to a restaurant. “I would love to have a farm stand,” says Karen. “I love all the food I can make and the creative aspect of canning and preserving the food I grow. It is sort of a lost art.”
Far from the wide open spaces of Colorado and Kansas, Lorraine Gibbons farms in an unlikely locale: New Jersey. Not typically associated with farming, the Garden State is better known for its industrial diversity and Atlantic City. However, productive farmland covers about 790,000 acres of New Jersey. The state—with more than eight million people on only 7,836 square miles—produces cranberries and blueberries, as well as potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and asparagus. Unfortunately, today much of New Jersey’s farmland is being taken over by commercial and residential expansion. But urban farmer Lorraine Gibbons won’t let expansion stand in her way. “I want to provide low-cost, healthy food in urban areas,” she said, and Lorraine is well on her way. She worked with New Jersey schools and organizations to help develop gardens and accompanying curriculum. In 2008, she obtained a lease on a half-acre lot in Newark and planted
To accomplish farming in such a limited amount of space, Lorraine uses small plot-intensive farming and earthboxes at GSUF’s sites in Newark and Jersey City. “Earthboxes are nice because it is like having a farm but you can move it around if needed.” At the greenhouse, Lorraine says, “In 800 square feet, we can grow two to three acres worth of food. We grow a variety of everything according to what people in the community want.” Another advantage of a hydroponic greenhouse is that GSUF can grow all year round and have a quick turnaround.
(Top to bottom) Lorraine at the GSUF greenhouse in Orange, New Jersey; example of the GSUF’s produce; Lorraine preparing boxes for spring planting.
GSUF members also run a farmer’s market every Thursday at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “The space is great because we were looking for a place in the community that people frequent and that is a transportation hub,” says Lorraine. GSUF members also plant and grow specially requested produce for a number of restaurants in New York and New Jersey. To expand its involvement in the community, GSUF collaborates with schools, other nonprofit organizations, and government groups to provide employment and educational programming. In the future, GSUF hopes to continue to grow while still remaining financially viable in a costly urban environment. “Land is very expensive and right now we don’t have enough production for the demand. We hope to get more property and scale it up,” Lorraine remarks. Farming, a challenge that few voluntarily undertake, requires round-the-clock work without sick days or paid time off. There are no benefits, such as medical or dental insurance, and the majority of farmers never really retire. Their days usually coincide with sunrise and sunset and there is no punch clock. Problems are not solved in meetings with co-workers but with hard labor in the field. So, why would anyone want to be a farmer? It must be a labor of love because, at the end of the day, farming is more a way of life than an occupation. n
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Finding Her Path
How, at age 41, one woman found herself in the mountains of Nepal, and, in doing so, discovered a way to make a difference in the world
By Jayme Moye
ometimes life’s pivotal moments happen when we least expect them. For Toni Neubauer, it was at gunpoint outside of a temple in Nepal in 1984. The then 41-year-old New York native was on her first trekking trip to the Himalayas with two girlfriends. As is custom in Hindu countries, she’d removed her shoes to enter the temple. When she came out, she grabbed her hiking boots, sat on a rock, and began lacing them back up. She didn’t get far. An armed guard rushed toward the fair-haired blue-eyed tourist shouting in Nepalese, and pointed his gun. Toni froze. Her guide, hearing the noise, ran out of the temple, took one look at her and yelled, “Get up! You’re sitting on Vishnu!” What Toni had mistaken for a rock was actually the supreme Hindu god, the preserver of the universe. “I realized then that there was an entire world that I knew nothing about,” she says.
It was a revelation that changed the direction of her life, which was already pretty inspiring in its own right. Toni had spent 15 years teaching foreign languages at the junior high and high school levels, spoke five languages, held an Ed.D in education, and was working at an educational laboratory in Pennsylvania building programs to better serve at-risk students in inner city schools. Yet, back in the U.S. after her trip, she found it was a life that no longer held her attention. “It was like a door inside me had burst open while I was in Nepal, and there was no going back,” Toni says. Unable to get her mind off Nepal, Toni planned her return, and sought out a tutor—a freshman at Bryn Mawr College—to teach her the language. In exchange, Toni taught the Nepal native how to use the washing machine. The two women became friends, a connection that
proved more powerful than language lessons. The young lady’s father was the head of the Royal Nepal Academy and hosted Toni when she returned to Nepal in 1986. “He basically adopted me while I was there, teaching me incredible amounts about the country and the people,” she says. Besides studying the culture, Toni also did more trekking on her second trip. It was on the high alpine trails of the Himalayas that she realized that people with far less education could save her life, and that there were places and situations where a Doctorate meant nothing. Although Toni had hiked and camped since she was a kid, trekking in Nepal put her farther outside her comfort zone than she’d ever been. “For most people, it’s one of the hardest things they’ve ever done,” she says. “But, in doing it, you discover strengths inside yourself you never knew you had.”
“If you build schools, only the children go there. If you build clinics, only sick people go. But a library is for everyone.” She would continue to pursue those challenging life lessons on the trail, returning to trek to Everest Base camp in 1987. It was around that time that her next step became clear—Toni founded her own trekking outfitter, Myths and Mountains, in 1988. “I wanted to do things differently with my travel company,” Toni says. “I wanted to teach people about a country, its
environment, its arts and crafts, how its people interact, what its traditional medicine practices are like.” What seemed like an extreme career change to some people felt like a logical evolution for Toni. “I was still a teacher,” she says, “I just had a different classroom.” Toni was also a student. The more she learned about the world and the more life experiences she tallied, the more gratitude she felt for her teachers, the people of Nepal. She began to look for ways to give back. In the early days, it was simple acts such as providing scholarship money for local children. Then, on a trek in 1989, she asked her guide Domi what his village needed. With his answer, everything came together for Toni—her background in education and her new travel company, were a way to create positive change in the country that had forever changed her. Domi said he wished for a library, a place where he could get a newspaper. Toni understood the empowerment that could come from access to information, and saw a library as a way to incentivize improving the country’s 30 percent literacy rate. More than that, she saw it as a true community center. “If you build schools, only the children go there. If you build clinics, only sick people go. But a library is for everyone,” she says. Not everyone initially bought into her vision. Although Toni had connections and experience working with nonprofit foundations through her job at the education research laboratory, none were interested in funding her idea. “No one cared about libraries,” she says. Her family had their own concerns. Her two children were grown and out of the house, but her relationship with her husband had become strained. The pair would separate in 1991, ending 26 years of marriage. “Ultimately, we didn’t want the same things,” she says.
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Toni opened the first READ library in Domi’s village of Junbesi, located in the lower Everest region, in 1991. Eight porters trekked 900 books—the first books the village had ever seen—over a 12,000-foot pass. But Toni wasn’t done. She had heard too many stories about failed programs, donated clinics left empty because locals couldn’t afford them. Toni envisioned self-reliant libraries capable of covering their own operational costs. “These are villages of poor farmers,” she says. “The challenge isn’t opening the library, it’s figuring out how to keep that library running in a place where people struggle just to support themselves.” Toni believed that fostering self-reliance would not only ensure that the library could make it independent of READ, but would also create the local ownership essential for the library to truly add value to the community. She’d met a man who had set up a small library outside of Kathmandu and built a lemon orchard to sustain it. “It was brilliant,” she says. She set
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out to do the same thing in Junbesi, but with an apple orchard, as the region is known for its fruit. “That wasn’t so brilliant,” Toni laughs. Apple trees take seven years to come to fruition. Today, the library is supported by proceeds from a local cable TV station that READ provided seed money for. “We learn as we go,” she says. READ’s model works. Since Junbesi, READ has opened 49 self-sustaining libraries across Nepal, seven in India, and three in Bhutan. Every READ library ever opened is still in operation today. A typical library contains 3,000 to 5,000 books in both the local language and English; newspapers and magazines; an early childhood development section; a communications center with telephone, fax, and copying services; a computer lab with Internet where available; and space for meetings and training. Each library’s method for generating revenue to cover their operational costs is individual to the village. Some, like Junbesi, use proceeds from cable TV or radio programming. One runs an ambulance service; another, a furniture-building factory; and several others rent out storefront space on the lower floor of the library. Besides covering their costs, the most successful libraries are operating as community centers, partnering with other local groups and offering classes and programs that extend beyond literacy. In the southern village of Jhuwani, more than 500 women belong
Toni decided to start her own foundation, called READ (Rural Education and Development), and funded the first READ library herself. Looking back at the initial obstacles, she doesn’t remember feeling discouraged. “I’m not saying it was easy,” she says. “But something powerful was in motion. It’s like that old saying: ‘I always knew I’d walk this path, I just didn’t know yesterday that it would be today.’”
she told me we were building villages. And you know, she’s right.”
“The challenge isn’t opening the library, it’s figuring out how to keep that library running in a place where people struggle just to support themselves.”
to the savings cooperative started by the library’s women’s group, many of them saving money for the first time in their lives. These women have collectively saved more than $100,000 USD and extended more than $90,000 in loans to hundreds of women who have used the funds to start their own businesses and send their children to school. Sita Adhikari, the head of the co-op, says the repayment rate is 99 percent. “I’ve always used the term ‘library’ to describe READ’s mission,” Toni says, “but then a friend said that wasn’t what we were building at all;
Now, even the biggest foundations care about libraries. In 2006, READ won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award— $1M to further expand READ’s sustainable rural development model. Toni has since relocated from Pennsylvania to Lake Tahoe and continues to run both Myths and Mountains and READ. Her tour offerings span nearly 20 countries in Asia and South America, ranging from treks in Nepal to cultural immersions in Cambodia to winery hopping in Argentina. In November 2011, she celebrated the 20th anniversary of READ in Kathmandu with staff from Nepal, Bhutan, India, and San Francisco, and more than 300 stakeholders. Despite all her travels, and her lifelong commitment to the far-flung Himalayan regions, Toni admits that you don’t have to go far to find yourself. “Many of us travel because we’re searching for something we think is missing in our lives. But the real treasure is inside—it’s just that sometimes you have to go to a strange land and have a stranger tell you where to look.” n
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Okavango Delta Safari Adventures in Botswana
An experienced equestrian and adventuress explores the hippo-made highways and elephant-trampled bush of this African delta on horseback, encountering sizeable game and overcoming challenges of equal proportion along the way. By Darley Newman he crocodile came out of the water and pulled him right out of the boat and into the reeds. Never found the body,” the pilot said, while pulling back on the yoke to gain altitude after buzzing an impossibly narrow patch of dust a few feet below. You know you’re traveling somewhere wild when the bush pilot has to circle the dirt landing strip a few times to scare off the lions. “That week,” the pilot continues, “his brother got a little too close to an elephant. The young bull wrapped its trunk around the guy’s torso and slammed him into a tree.” Lovely, I thought, glad that we’d invested in evacuation insurance. We were in Botswana’s Okavango Delta—the largest inland delta in the world—to film wild animals (to which we’d likely get very close), traveling by horseback, foot, boat, and jeep. As part of my job as the host and producer of the Emmy-winning travel show Equitrekking, I tour the
world, riding horses with local people to experience history, culture, and adventure. I venture off the beaten path to showcase destinations not covered traditionally in the media. Many of the places that I visit are only reachable on horseback. Having ridden horses into the crater of a volcano on Maui, trekked with bush healers in the jungle of Belize, herded horses with farmers in Iceland, and galloped the deserts of the Middle East with the Bedouin, I’ve gained great confidence in the saddle and as a female traveler. That confidence was shaken in the Okavango, where an elephant charge made me reconsider this “dream job” I’ve created. Once the animals scattered and our plane landed, we packed our regulation-sized gear aboard a Land Cruiser that had a large, black snorkel attached to its hood. It was my first experience riding in a truck that could double as a boat. I wondered if we might sink as water seeped in around my feet, and at one point the truck
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lurched sideways onto two tires. A bumpy and wet 20-minute drive ended at a makeshift dock, where we boarded a motorboat to begin our journey to an even more remote location—Macatoo Camp on the western side of the Okavango. My safari guide, a rugged Brit named John Sobey from African Horseback Safaris, has been leading travelers in the Okavango since 1995. Two other Batswana guides, named Bongwe and Bernie, and another traveler named Fars joined our group. Normally, you wouldn’t have a ratio of three guides for two guests, but since our TV show is all about discovering new places through the locals, we use multiple guides to help the bring the story of the area to life for viewers. They become, in essence, the stars of each episode. The bush pilot’s harrowing tales of large animal encounters had me a bit concerned about running into a hippo or a crocodile when my horse, Moko, and I left behind the stables and comfortable island campsite on our first day’s ride. We waded in waist-high, goose bump–inducing water. In the Okavango, nighttime temperatures in July can dip into the 40s, making the morning water rides … refreshing. John told us to give our horses a loose rein so they’d be free to swim as needed. The water here is so clear you can see straight to the bottom in shallow areas, but, as it gets deeper, you can’t see what’s below—an eerie feeling when you’re swimming through it on horseback, particularly because that’s where the hippos lie. Moko and I passed lily pads with delicate white flowers, while, in the distance, a journey of giraffes eased their way through the reeds and onto a small island in search of food. Moko moved along, perhaps, like me, motivated by the possibility that less-friendly Okavango critters might be just around the bend or just underneath his hooves. We were island hopping on horseback, a superb way to travel through the delta.
One needs to be a relatively experienced rider to take a horse safari in the Okavango. The ability to gallop out of danger is second only to the ability to hold one’s ground atop the mount, staring down trouble as appropriate. There’s also the certainty it’ll be necessary to canter ahead if the guide spots wildlife too dear to miss. The advantage of viewing game on horseback is the surprisingly limited proximity—to giraffe, elephants, Cape buffalo, and even those spry springbok—afforded only by being atop another animal of approximate stature. Also, the bush can be thick, tough, and dangerous. Humans may be fearful, but horses are keen to seek out safe paths and avoid being eaten to the point of neuroses. Their finely tuned senses as prey animals are an asset to the leeward human, fumbling through the delta, foolishly thinking herself master of the food chain. I had my sleeves rolled up as we raced through an area where I had to duck to avoid decapitation
by several tree branches and jump to cross over fallen trees. These weren’t trails we were riding. Rather, they were swaths of trees and various flora mercilessly cut down by elephants which couldn’t be bothered to go around. Elephant droppings marked the way like roadside reflectors. Part of the film crew circled above in a helicopter, picking off shots of the wonderland below—a maze of green palm tree–lined islands, surrounded by a labyrinth of blue rivers and crystal clear channels that looked like sparkling ribbons from above. The crew radioed John to let us know an elephant was hanging out on an island ahead of our position. We picked up the pace, racing on the ride of our lives to find it. We cantered through fresh-water channels carved by hippos trudging through the thick green reeds. The hippos, it seems, are the highway builders of
“I’m always hyperaware of my surroundings when I’m on horseback, but I was even more sensitive in the Delta with the excitement and fear of running into wildlife.” back. I wasn’t really sure what to even look for as a sign of danger, except for what the pilots had told me. There’s a safari saying, likely coined by the first Europeans to explore the wilds of southern Africa: “Whatever you do, don’t run.” Food runs. Doubtless, this is a lesson the survivors learned.
I was on edge too, having not spent much time around elephants and certainly not while on horse-
Elephants will sometimes stage a mock charge. They’ll trumpet with ear-ringing anger and flap their ears before running directly at the perceived threat, stopping just short of utter destruction. The problem is that the only difference between a mock charge and the real deal is whether you’re still alive after it happens. Some elephants, young bulls and mothers in particular, have much to prove and are quick to charge. The correct human-on-horseback response to a charge—real or perceived—is to hold one’s ground. This is easier said than done. Elephants, while certainly larger and stronger than horses, are also faster. Plus, they’ll plow through trees in a chase, while horses must go around. These factors ran through my mind as I watched the elephants. It turns out that these elephants didn’t want much to do with us, so—although one turned and flashed
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southern Africa, cutting a network of waterways through the 5,800 square-mile Okavango Delta. We raced across tiny islands, dodging branches armed with defensive spikes, and back into the blue cold. Later, I discovered my badly scraped arms and tattered shirt. When your adrenaline kicks in like it did on our fast gallops, you tend to only think about keeping up with the group and staying in the saddle. I’m always hyperaware of my surroundings when I’m on horseback, but I was even more sensitive in the Delta with the excitement and fear of running into wildlife. Breathless and soaked, we slowed to a walk. The elephant was only a few hundred yards ahead, effortlessly tearing bark from a jackal-berry tree. Bongwe spotted two more elephants among the brush and reminded me to keep hold of my horse. Moko breathed deeply and pawed at the water, expressing his anxiety.
Elephants are a formidable member of what’s known as the Big Five—lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos. It seems big game hunters paid no heed to taxonomic rank when packaging the thrill to kill the most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt on foot. Big game hunting has become synonymous with the romanticized Africa experience, alongside limey gin and tonics, khaki pants, and vaccinations.
us some menacing looks—they eventually crossed into the water and headed to another island. We followed, slipping down into the water and rising up to the next island to find only one elephant, the bull. The others had disappeared. Elephants can communicate through vocal calls. The trumpet sound is well-known among humans, but there are many calls that people can’t hear. John explained this as we rode parallel to the lone bull through another patch of water. I wondered if he could hear how loudly my heart was beating from exhilaration and fear. As I continued to marvel at this giant, ambling bull elephant, he decided that we had followed his tracks a little too long and turned on us, loudly trumpeting and flapping his ears, his legs spraying water in all directions. My horse turned so quickly away from the elephant that I felt out of control. I pulled back on the reins, gripping involuntarily with my legs and attempting to remain close to John, whose soft, firm voice encouraged me to hold my ground. I was petrified. Every muscle in my body went rigid as I attempted to keep Moko still. It wasn’t easy for the others to maintain control either, including our guide Bongwe, whose horse mis-stepped, flinging him from the saddle and under water as the elephant charged. Being a seasoned guide, Bongwe kept hold of his reins, later explaining that one doesn’t want to lose his mount in the middle of the Delta. The big cats will have what the elephant doesn’t take. Bongwe was back on his horse in a flash of blue water and khaki clothing. We all froze as best we could and waited for an agonizing twenty seconds until the elephant decided to back away. It was the most tense twenty seconds of my life. After the bull moved off, so did we. I was wet and shaken, exhilarated and confused, and so happy to have been paired up with a veteran mount, Moko. As the day went on, my confidence and trust in Moko and John grew. Within a few hours,
I’d find myself cantering beside a large herd of another Big Five species, the Cape Buffalo. We also saw baboons, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and springbok—not bad for a first day out. The animals have no habitual interaction with the humans exploring this broad expanse on a Botswana safari. It’s a raw and real experience, and the larger game
makes the rules. We thankfully didn’t have any more elephant charges but did enjoy many more heart-pounding adventures, exploring the Okavango on horseback. n Look for episodes of this adventure airing on PBS this spring. Check your local listing for air dates.
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“Above all, challenge yourself. Y ou may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have, what you can accomplish.”
Kim Cressman strength trains using her TRX suspension set on the beach in Cama Beach State Park on the southwest shore of Camano Island, where one can enjoy sweeping views of the sound and the Olympic Mountains. The beach faces Saratoga Passage and is a short drive from Seattle.
There are so many benefits to riding your bike to work. It’s a way to wake up and get the blood flowing, it’s exercise, it’s green (no carbon footprint), and, most importantly, it’s fun. If you’ve been thinking about commuting by bike but are intimidated or “don’t have the time,” read on, because we want you to join the club!
6 Rules of the Road 1 Follow the law 2 Be predictable 3 Be conspicuous 4 Think ahead 5 Ride ready
he League of American Bicyclists is an amazing resource, as they offer courses in cities and towns across the country specifically tailored to bike commuting, along with plenty of info on their website to help you get started. “Commuting by bike is great for individual health, great for the environment, and
Traffic Skills 101.
“This is our most popular class,” says Alissa.“It’s part beginner, but it’s also for those with experience. We find that people who have been riding for a while might not necessarily be riding safely and legally.” This class focuses on: • Handling skills. How to mount a bike properly, change gears, start and stop, how to turn. Learning to turn the bike with your body. • Emergency drills. How to avoid crashes and hazards. • Rules of the road. Discovering your role in traffic. Learning and practicing etiquette, including the League’s 6 Rules of the Road.
a cost-effective way to get around,” says Alissa Simcox, director of education for the League of American Bicyclists. “When you’re on a bike, you become more aware of your surroundings and have better access to things.” Two popular courses are Traffic Skills 101 and Commuting. We asked Alissa to give us the rundown of what you’ll learn in each class.
“This class is not about recreational riding; it focuses on every aspect of bike commuting,” says Alissa. The class covers: • Gear: Selecting bags (panniers/baskets), what to wear (making sure you’re visible), what to pack (how to prepare for weather changes), lighting, and accessories. Visit bikeleague.org for • What to do if you don’t have a shower at work. a schedule of courses. • Buying or setting up the right bike for you. • Maintenance: How to change a flat and make small adjustments. • Principles for riding in traffic: Being predictable to drivers and other cyclists, using signals to communicate, lane positioning, and following traffic rules.
M O T I VAT I O N
Getting Over the Excuses
ike commuting takes commitment; much of it is all about getting into a routine and planning the easiest and safest route to ride. Yes, it’s easy to hop in your car, particularly on those hot and sticky or cold and rainy days, but then you’re missing out on all of the great benefits. Here are some ways to work through the excuses: • Commit to riding one to two days a week and then build from there. • On a weekend day, do a practice ride. Map out your test route. See how long it takes you to pack up your bike and pedal to work. Then plan accordingly and know what time you’ll need to get up and not feel totally rushed.
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6 Keep your cool
• Enlist an office mate to ride with you. Coordinate a meeting place and ride together. When you have someone counting on you, you’re more likely to ride. Once your other office mates see you riding, they might be enticed to join in, too. • National Bike to Work Week is May 14–18, and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18. Log on at bikeleague.org for details on events near you to help inspire you to ride. • Check if your city has a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator on staff. Then ask him/her for bicycle maps and best commuting routes for two wheels.
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ou’ve committed to commute, but what bike should you ride? You can convert one of your old bikes into a commuter (see below) or treat yourself to a commuterspecific ride When shopping, look for the following features: • Low equipment maintenance. Bike has a belt drive (no greasy chain to deal with); internal hubs (easy shifting from gear to gear); and built-in lights front and back that charge when you’re pedaling (no batteries required). • Comfortable to ride. Bike isn’t too heavy, seat is cushy, and frame has a step-through design for easy on and off. • Protection. Fenders to protect from spray on wet roads, and chain guard to protect legs and pants from grease. • Storage. Comes with rack for panniers or baskets. Work in a city? Want to take your bike on the subway? Want to store your bike in the office? Live in a small space? If you answered yes to any or all of the above, consider a more compact foldable bike. • Has 24" wheels (standard mountain bike is 26") and internal hubs for easy shifting • Unfold/fold time: 10 seconds • Weight: 31 pounds • Comes with a rear rack
REI Novara Gotham $1,299; rei.com
Don’t know how to change a flat? Visit the Cycling Toolbox on our website! Or ask a savvy cycling friend or mechanic at your local bike shop. It’s a must-know skill.
Tern Castro $900; ternbicycles.com
The best way to carry your laptop, tablet, lunch, workout clothes, etc. is with panniers. Why get all sweaty with a pack on your back? OPTI O NS : Ortlieb Pelican. 100 percent waterproof, easy buckle closure, removable padded shoulder strap. $150/bag; ortlieb.com
Hang a Cyclelogical Mento ($50) sturdy, reflective grocery pannier on one side and a Minima ($40) reflective tote (turns into a purse!) on the other side. cyclelogicalgear.com
Create a Commuter
ave an old road or mountain bike? Turn it into a commuter. Just add the following: Rack. Urbana’s RNR boasts unbeatable compatibility with any mounting point-seatpost combination and, made of steel, is strong enough a load up to 150 pounds. urbanabikes.com Fenders. Keep your front and bottom dry from dirty road spray. Planet Bike offers an array of options. planetbike.com Headlight. Light & Motion’s Urban 500 is as bright as they come with 180 degrees of amazing visibility and multiple settings. Recharge light warns when power is low. Big plus: It’s easy to take on and off your bike. $159; bikelights.com Taillight. Planet Bike’s Superflash Turbo. A taillight offering visiblity up to one mile with long-lasting red LEDs and a flash mode no one can miss. $34; planetbike.com
Fun Commuter Accessories
Giro Reverb, fun, retro-styled, doesn’t look like your typical techy model. $60; giro.com Showers Pass Portland Jacket. Why does your jacket have to look like everyone else’s? The Portland is fully waterproof with, most importantly, style. $200; showerspass.com Keen Coronado Cruiser. This canvas and leather summer shoe keeps you looking and feeling cool, plus it features a panel of soft rubber underfoot for a good grip on your pedals. $80; keenfootwear.com
Merrell Evera MJ. Designed to perfectly fit over a bike pedal,
these classic heels can pedal easily anywhere. $100; merrell.com Polarized Oakley Overtime. Funky, polarized, and practical. ....$180; oakley.com WAM • SPRING | 2012 53
Any running race longer than a marathon gets grouped as an ultramarathon. Often run on trails, ultras usually range from 31 miles (called a 50k) to 1,000 miles long, but they are not capped at even the most extreme distances and vary from 24-hour to multi-day
Diane Van Deren’s self-proclaimed career successes include completing the Hard Rock 100—the nation’s toughest trail race—6-out -of-6 times and winning the 430-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra on the Yukon Quest Trail, which— for perspective—only 4 of 14 racers (all men) finished in 2011. Near the start of her career, surgeons had to remove a piece of her brain that was causing seizures, leaving her with a skewed sense of time and space—which might even work to her advantage in ultra-running. She hasn’t had a seizure since the surgery.
races. Don’t be intimidated though. We women—thanks to our handily stored natural fuel reserves—come perfectly suited for ultra-running. Here, the nation’s top female ultrarunners reveal why and how to delve into ultra-running. They offer training tips, warn
After having three kids, experienced t marathoner Amy Costa decided to run fewer (but longer) races each year. That was back in 1998, but Amy still runs at least one 100-mile race and a couple of 50s every year. “I choose my races around my kids’ calendars and try not to miss their stuff.”
against common mistakes, plus share nutrition and gear advice. For more tips, visit womensadventuremagazine. com/blog/ultra running.
Our cover girl and Patagonia ambassador Krissy Moehl ran her first ultra in 2000 and won. While she gets several more ultras under her belt each year, she’s recently placed second in the Western States 100, first in France’s 165km Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race, and first as part of a mixed team for Colorado’s TransRockies run. She just “feels completely lucky to be living this life” and, at 34 years old, has a long running career ahead of her.
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Pam Reed would choose running 100 miles over 50 any day. “This year, I’ve done three 24-hour and two 100-milers so far,” says Pam, adding, “And some 50s, but I never count 50s.” She won both 100-milers. She says of the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, “I’ve only finished that 8-out-of-10 times.” It’s all relative, we say.
KEN SCHUH, AMY COSTA, POWERSOX, BRETT RIVERS
How to develop a sustainable practice
LUIS ESCOBAR, KEN SCHUH, ALEJANDRO BENAVIDES
“I joke: ‘I have absolutely no idea!’ But I find it the ultimate challenge. Mileage sounds intimidating but, really, you don’t have to run hard or fast. Start at 50k, because a 50k is easier [read: slower] than a marathon. The hardest part is saying you’ll do it.” —Amy Costa
“I’m ADHD. Running is kind of the medication that helps me concentrate. I’m able to focus, so that’s when all my ideas come. But I’m still quite hyper.” —Pam Reed
“It is a pretty amazing feeling to top out on a peak, have a 360-degree view, and know my legs and lungs got me there.” —Krissy Moehl
“I started ultra-running 12 years ago to avoid seizures. I had epilepsy, and the only way to break the cycle was to go run in the forest. People wonder how I can run alone in extreme conditions, but that’s a comfort to me. That’s where my love, respect, and comfort come from. I never seized while running.” —Diane Van Deren
Be consistent and balanced. “After 25 years, I still appreciate every day I go out there,” says Amy. “I run for hours but just take my time. I’ve run with people who push hard for that long. That’s a burnout. I wouldn’t even walk out the door if I knew that the next three hours would be torture. Enjoying yourself will keep you in it longer.”
Nutrition Take in calories, however you can. “You do get to eat more calories in ultra-running,” Diane explains. “You need to have more body fat than, say, a marathoner would. I need reserves, fat, protection on my body.” It’s common to feel unable to eat in a long race, so try getting nutrition in liquid form.
Drink club soda. It helps you burp, and burping moves your stomach so you don’t get sick. Get one with the most sodium. “I don’t drink club soda daily,” says Pam. “I save it for races, so it’s a treat.”
Eat 30 and 90 minutes after a workout. After a sustained effort of 90 minutes or longer, your muscles are ready to receive nutrients so use them toward recovery during these windows. Protein and carbs are key, but Krissy insists, “Something is better than nothing.”
Stock a variety of bars, gorp, gels, gummies, and hard candy in your drop bag during races and in your pockets or pack during training runs. Enjoy a carb and protein combination recovery drink during the first recovery window.
Why run such long distances?
Find what works for you. Pam says she’s unusual among ultra-runners. “Others go on 8-hour runs, but I’d never do that,” she says. “I tell people: Protect this. You don’t want to get bored. If you over train, you won’t want to go do the race.”
M O T I VAT I O N
Treasure and enjoy it. “I love getting up in the morning and being on the trail by 5. I love being on a soft trail, the smells, the sounds, watching the sunrise. That’s the most wonderful, enlightening way to start each day,” Diane says. “Being in the outdoors is why I still love the sport.” WAM • SPRING | 2012 55
Ultra Running (continued) Gear F
Training and Racing Tips
irst, do the research to find a properly fitting shoe. “If you’re going to invest in ultra-running, then invest in your shoe,” says Diane Van Deren. “A lot of people buy whatever is on sale, but, if you have problems, you’ll be less passionate. If your feet aren’t happy, what you have on from the feet up is not important.”
Train your mind. “You’ve got to really want to do it,” Pam says. “When you get out there, it’s so difficult. Nine out of 10 times, you’ll be extremely uncomfortable. Once, maybe, you’ll feel fabulous. With all the training in the world, unless you really want to do it, you won’t.”
The rule of thumb for ultra-running gear: Wear loose, comfy clothing. “I want to feel like I’m not wearing anything,” Pam Reed says. “My shirt and shorts are race-ready men’s size large. When you’re running, you don’t want to think about your shoes or feel your clothes, because you’re going to have enough problems.”
Do your homework. “There’s no shortcut,” says Diane. “You must train. That’s where accidents and injuries can happen. Come race day, all you have to do is perform.”
Our Suggestions The North Face Women’s Better Than Naked Shorts ($50; thenorthface.com)
Patagonia Nine Trails Skirt ($59; patagonia.com)
Gore Running Wear’s X-Running Light as Lady Jacket ($160; gorerunningwear.com)
“Find people to train with and learn from,” says Krissy, adding that variety is key. “Cross training will keep stabilizer and balancing muscles strong.” Pace youself. “Run a very easy pace during the first half of your race, then assess, especially in the hundred,” Pam says, “Fifty miles is a long way to go, so you don’t want to work your butt off for the first 50.” Try new things, just not in a race. “Utilize your long runs to dial in clothing, gear, and nutrition so they are not unknowns when you get out for that longer race,” suggests Krissy. “Plenty of other things will crop up and challenge you.” Never plan to race with another person. “I think it’s silly,” says Pam. “You spend a lot of time, money, and energy getting there. You need to run your own race.” Stay in the moment. Don’t think outcome. It’s Diane’s mantra. “I race against myself, not others. Thinking about others becomes a distraction.”
CamelBak’s Ultra LR Vest ($130; camelbak.com)
Most of all, “Smile each time you GET to lace up your shoes,” says Krissy.
Sherpa Adventure Gear Kipu Tee or Tank ($39, $45; sherpaadventuregear.com)
Injinji Midweight Performance Toesock ($16; injinji.com)
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Rookie Mistakes Quitting. “When you get sick and you’re throwing up, you drop. You think you can’t get through it, but you can,” encourages Pam. “Sometimes you have to be smart—you have to drop out; don’t be foolish. But not finishing is such a bad habit.” Aiming for first place. Set multiple goals: a really high one, a middle one, and a low one (probably finishing). If you make only a really high goal and don’t hit it, you’ll regret it. If you make attainable goals, you’ll stay interested, motivated. Going out too fast. “Beginners will just go out blazing. They’re used to running shorter races so do their first 20 way too fast,” Amy says. “Go out slow, build, then maintain. Be mentally patient.”
Getting dehydrated. Diane swears by water, water, water. “Obviously, if you’re throwing up or dehydrated, you
won’t finish the race.” She helped a man whose kidneys shut down in a race in the Yukon. “He was so dehydrated. He was ahead of us until mile 270, and, when we caught up to him, he couldn’t even move.” Losing focus. “Once you get behind the game, you’ve got a lot to make up for,” says Diane. “You’ve got to stay ahead. There’s no margin of error. Focus on where you’re at, not where you’re going. In ultra-running, it’s about mental toughness. You have to welcome the lows and celebrate the highs.”
“In ultra-running, it’s about mental toughness. You have to welcome the lows and celebrate the highs.”
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Mix It Up
m Skills In search of a new way to cross train? Give TRX a try
e at Women’s Adventure keep busy doing all sorts of sports and activities, from running and cycling to yoga, skiing, soccer, and hiking. But we recognize the benefit of sometimes “mixing things up” and adding in an element of cross training. So in each issue we will highlight a cool new workout trend, typically one that takes place in— gasp—a gym or fitness studio. This issue: TRX. Created by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, who wanted a workout for himself and his fellow SEALs when on mission to keep them in combat shape, TRX Suspension Training is a “gym in a bag.” There are more than 300 exercises that you can do with it to help develop strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously by leveraging gravity and a user’s body weight. Set it up indoors or out—use a door as an anchor point, or secure TRX to a tree. The Women’s Adventure team tried TRX at the Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder, Colorado, with
Maria Miller, a certified personal trainer and certified group fitness instructor. “TRX is a great form of cross training for every outdoor activity,” says Maria. “It is functional strength that makes you exercise in all planes of motion.” Functional strength equates to using the body like a machine, according to Maria, Maria Miller and you can carry functional TRX exercises over into everyday life, as well as indoor and outdoor activities. “Having use of the straps, while working balance and stability, really allows a participant to focus on alignment and work in a multi-planar fashion with support [from the straps],” says Maria. For instance, the TRX Body Weight Squat, with one foot hooked into a strap, can take the body through a fuller range of motion with proper alignment with good support for the knee. “When a whole body approach to fitness is realized, balance of mind and body are achieved,” she says of TRX. “And it really takes plank pose up a notch!”
“When a whole body approach to fitness is realized, balance of mind and body are achieved. And it really takes plank pose up a notch!” 58 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Above: The straps help Meghan and Laura execute the proper mechanics of a lunge in this TRX Assisted Lunge. Right: Meghan smiles as she demonstrates the TRX Standing Roll Out. This “Core off the Floor” style of exercise really engages the glutes, triceps, and abdominals.
Far left: Sue practices the TRX Crossing Balance Lunge, which uses the transverse or rotational plane of motion and is excellent for core stability. Left: The WAM staff and Maria focus on TRX Assisted Lunges together. Below: Lisa plays a game of “catch the medicine ball” for added challenge in stability in her TRX Lunge.
Interested in TRX? Hopefully you have a local gym or fitness studio in your town that offers classes. If not, you can purchase the suspension straps for use at home. The TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack includes the Suspension Trainer, a mesh carry bag, a 65-minute basic training DVD, and a 35-page workout guide. The TRX is easily stored—it weighs less than two pounds—and, packed up, is about the size of a shoebox. This also makes it perfect for traveling when you don’t want to miss a workout while on the road. $189.95; trxtraining.com
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Mountain Bikes and Accessories GEAR
Everything you need to explore safely and happily on two fat, knobby wheels, plus why these sets of wheels rock, according to your favorite pro-mountain bikers who ride them. Shimano’s all-new SH-WM82 women’s mountain bike shoes pack a lot of punch for the price. The glass fiber reinforced outsole is lightweight and stiff, yet forgiving for walking and hike-a-bikes. Great for racing and trail riding. $160; shimano.com Once you go clipless, you never go back. Shimano’s PD-M530 pedals offer up great stability and a larger “target” for a rider’s foot to find when unclipped and riding in rough terrain. Very affordable at $65; shimano.com
The Giro Hex is nice and light with lots of ventilation, which is really helpful when you start heating up climbing and riding slower, more technical terrain. Great price too! $90; giro.com
Pearl Izumi’s Women’s Divide Jersey has UPF 50+ and a front zipper for venting. It’s made from a technical fabric that provides a nice skin-cooling effect and moisture management when you sweat. $80; pearlizumi.com
Pearl Izumi Women’s Divide baggie shorts have a comfy and adjustable waistband, stretch quick-drying fabric, and detachable liner with a women’s MTB 3D Chamois. $100; pearlizumi.com
Bike shorts are a personal preference, particularly when it comes to mountain biking. Some women like less form-fitting baggies with builtin padded liners, while others prefer snug-fitting Lycra because baggy shorts can sometimes snag on the saddle. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable wearing.
Smith’s super-light Pivlock V2 frameless sunglasses adjust to fit small, medium, wide, and asymmetrical nose bridges. Come with three interchangeable lenses. $159; smithoptics.com
Visit our online Cycling Toolbox to discover why Rebecca and fellow Specialized pro, Lea Davison, think 29ers are great for women. womensadventuremagazine.com
Trek Lush $2,199; trekbikes.com
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Specialized pro Rebecca Rusch: “Small people can ride big wheels! Specialized worked really hard to design the new Jett and Fate to fit almost anyone. Bikes that fit a wide range generally feature a short head tube and low stand-over height.”
Women’s-specific design comes together perfectly in this versatile aluminum frame paired with a Bontrager women’s saddle and a suspension system offering 120mm of travel. Its 26-inch wheels contribute to easy maneuverability, but responsive handling also stems from the bike’s low center of gravity.
Gary Perkin on behalf of Trek
From its lightweight frame down to its lady-part friendly saddle, this new women’sspecific aluminum hardtail 29er is a very capable bike— boasting a great fit (focusing on stack, reach, and standover), tuned suspension (thanks to a fork that comes set with women’s spring rates), and female-specific components (i.e. handlebars, cranks, and grips)—for riders of all sizes and abilities.
Specialized Jett Comp 29 $1,250; specialized.com
Trek pro downhill racer Tracy Moseley on the Lush: “It’s great to have a really top-end bike specifically for women that’s light and really confidence inspiring. The low stand-over height really helps you feel in control, and the geometry allows you to ride the Lush in a variety of terrains, from XC racing to high alpine riding. It has been my go-to bike during the off-season.” womensadventuremagazine.com
When mountain biking, long-fingered gloves are a good choice—unless temps are just too hot and you prefer shorter lengths. They protect your fingers and hands from lowhanging branches, bushes along the side of the trail, and the gritty ground if you take a spill.
The Specialized Women’s BG Ridge Wire Tap gloves are touchscreen friendly, so you can change your music or make that critical phone call—not while riding of course!—without taking off your gloves. $45; specialized.com
Isn’t the swirly pattern fun? The Osprey Verve 10 hydration pack has an array of storage pockets for your pump, tools, tubes, and treats, plus a three-liter reservoir for water. Compression straps and a stretch pocket on the outside hold those extra layers. $84; osprey.com
Giant Trance X1W $2,250; giant-bicycles.com Fit, form, and function (3F) lie at the heart of all Liv/ giant designs, with this bike being especially equipped for easy climbing and smooth descending. The aluminum frame—outfitted with narrower handlebars, short-reach brake levers, a women’s-specific saddle, and a tapered headtube for precise steering on singletrack— enables a velvety ride, whether you’re out for a morning cruise or a 24-hour race.
Giant pro Kelli Emmett on the Trance X1W: “It is the best all-around bike, because it’s lightweight, climbs great, and is the most fun bike you can ride downhill. Its five inches of suspension smooths out the roughest of terrain, so riding through techie sections becomes even easier. It’s my all-time favorite bike and the one I most love to ride. The shorter, women’s-specific frame also eases handling to keep the bike under control while ripping down gnarly descents.” WAM • SPRING | 2012 61
Kayaks and Accessories
Whether exploring the deep blue sea or the local creek, you can take to the water with these recreational kayaks and paddling essentials. Necky Eliza Rudder Composite Fiberglass $2,550, carbon $4,300; neckykayaks.com Female day-trippers of all skill levels will enjoy this swift 15-foot boat over long distances. Adding a rudder to this women’s-specific Eliza made it speedier and more stable. But the design also boasts excellent edge control, tracking, and handling—even in strong currents and choppy waters.
Perception Prodigy 13.5 $799, plus rudder package $1019; perceptionkayaks.com For the Goldilocks in you. If a tandem is too large to handle but a singleperson recreational kayak is too small for your needs, try this companion kayak, which has a seat-and-a-half. A child or a pet can ride in the stadiumstyle extra seat. The versatile and stable Prodigy 13.5 is perfect for flatwater exploration with a buddy.
Ocean Kayak Venus 10 $639.99; oceankayak.com The Venus 10 is “designed by women, for women.” It is the perfect kayak for petite women, without being too small. Women of most sizes will love this 34-pound kayak with a molded in seat “designed to accommodate female center of gravity.” Not only can you get your perfectly fitting kayak in the Venus 10, you can also feel good about your purchase, empowering other women, as 1% of sales is donated to the Breast Cancer Fund.
Chaco Updraft $89.95; chaco.com With a fit better than its predecessors and a soft, lightweight sole, the Chaco Updraft is ideal for activities both on land and in water. Trust the stability and security of the traditional Chaco foot bed, only scaled down for a lower-profile, and the strong, colorful straps that’ll keep your sandals on your feet, even in the most powerful currents. Women’s Shred Ready Vixen Kayak Helmet $139.95; shredready.com The women’s-specific Shred Ready Vixen Kayak Helmet offers both recreational and competitive paddlers secure and reliable protection. Wear it with the bill to either the front or the back. The Vixen’s Shredlar/fiberglass design includes removable ear flaps to regular temperature. Plus, the helmet is lined with multiple impact VN foam that’ll mold to your head for comfort and fit. 62 WAM • SPRING | 2012
Kokotat Aries $99; kokatat.com Get the answer to your safety and comfort needs in the Aries, a low-profile PFD built to adjust to your body for a secure fit. It leaves plenty of room to move, while remaining tight enough and covering enough of your body to keep you afloat. Its cushiony high back will keep you comfy in the high-back seats of recreational and sit-on-top kayaks, but the Aries works well for both whitewater and sea kayaking, too.
Buff Sport Series Water Gloves $27; buffusa.com These gloves are your perfect answer to raw and sunburned hands after paddling. They grip well, are lightweight, and have UV protection. Better yet, these durable, flexible gloves can be used for a variety of spring and summer sports—from standup paddleboarding to fishing.
Vapur Anti-Bottle Element 1L $13.99; vapur.us BPA-free, washable, and freezable, this flexible plastic bladder is perfect for storing in your dry pack or clipping onto your rig! When the water’s all gone, the bladder rolls up into almost nothing, creating space for other items.
Maui Jim Honolulu $309; mauijim.com Perfect fit for river or sea kayaking, these salt waterresistant lenses offer ultimate UV protection.
Chums chums.com Chums eyewear accessories are the perfect way to keep your expensive shades on your eyes! Sold in a variety of patterns and colors, you definitely find a pair (or three) to fit your personality.
Adventure Technology Eddy Flexi $325; atpaddles.com Lightweight and more flexible than most paddles, the Eddy Flexi is the best of its kind for advanced whitewater paddling. With its full control grip and braided carbon/fiberglass shaft, it is easy to control and allows a firm grip while navigating tough rapids.
Harmony Drifter $50; harmonygear.com This low-price take-apart shaft paddle made for beginners is perfectly suited to either maneuver your sit-ontop kayak through flat water or cruise a recreational or touring kayak through moving water. Its asymmetrical blades, an aluminum shaft, and fiberglass reinforced polypro blades combine for performance and durability.
SeasonFive Women’s Barrier Tank $69.99; seasonfive.com This racer-back tank functions as a splash guard, keeping the body warm and dry. It performs without the bulk or suffocating stickiness of many splash tops, so you can even wear it under a wetsuit if you wish. SeasonFive’s proprietary fabic, Atmos 1.0, perfectly repels water and blocks wind but also allows vapor and heat to escape. Its minimal seams and 4-way stretch ensure durable comfort, too.
Seal Line EcoSee 10L Bag $24.95; cascadedesigns.com This dry bag not only is lightweight and transparent, but it also is PVC-free. A good way to help the environment you love to kayak in.
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How could such a simple tube of fabric become so indispensable? The new Infinity Lyocell Buff is a eucalyptus fiber fabric tube, big enough to pull over your shoulders and wear like a shrug, or crisscross around your middle as an impromtu tube top. Loop it around your neck a couple of times and it’s a euro-fashionable scarf. With about a million ways to wear it, Infinity is an appropriate name. Why I like it: Extra head and face protection when the wind gets bad or the cold air aggravates sports-induced breathing problems. Single-sided solid color versions are $37, prints are $39, and the double-sided strip/polka dot version we tested is $57; buffwear.com “I have Buffs stowed all over the place and I use them constantly, especially the little half-sized ones. This one is perfect as a scarf that never unties, but it’s a bit much for riding or running. Great for hiking, though.” — Susan Hayse
There’s more than meets the eye with these lightweight hiking shoes! Chaco offers a new line of adventure shoes this spring, including the Chaco Vade Vibram Bulloo hiking shoe that looks street sweet and is trail-worthy. The mesh and suede upper’s mocha brown and creamy latte color combo provides good camouflage, thwarting dirt, mud, and spills. Chaco’s new LUVSEAT(TM) XO3 platform provides a lightweight supportive fit while maintaining the same comfy footbed, signature to Chaco. Why I like it: The breathable mesh keeps my hot feet cool on long day hikes. Plus, the outsole performs like a champ on wet and dry surfaces with great slip resistance. $115; chaco.com “The color is subtle enough that it doesn’t blurt out ‘Here I am!’ when you look at the shoes. They fit so well I barely notice them on my feet, and that’s partly due to the footbeds that hug the natural contours of my foot and support healthy body alignment. They’re probably best for light day hikes and long urban walking adventures.” — Gigi Ragland
A casual, athletic style that eliminates smell and poor form. Flexible and lightweight, the Dr. Scholl’s Women’s Jamie shoe boasts minimalist construction that helps promote a natural foot strike, while its lining wicks away moisture and an antimicrobial shield controls odor. A comfy bonus: Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel removable insoles. $60; drschollsshoes.com “Since I had never worn a minimalist shoe I figured the Jamie wouldn’t hold up or offer enough support. But I was surprised at how comfortable they were and that my legs didn’t get tired after being on my feet all day. I also really liked the neoprene stretch collar.” — Laura Binks
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Sketchers has the right idea with this branding. The Skechers GoRun shoe encourages running, and natural running at that. These lightweight, minimalist shoes help runners toward a mid-foot landing, and feature cushioning and rubber reinforcement for stability and traction. Plus, sensors in the tread provide feedback for efficiency and for physical contact with the terrain. $80; skechers.com “I tried barefoot running but was too chicken to go very far. This shoe helps create the mid-foot strike that is more natural for the body and protects my foot from the hard road surface. I needed to focus on my stride when I first used these shoes, but now I love them!” — Rebecca Finkel womensadventuremagazine.com
Morning runs made easy for puppy and me. The comfortable, adjustable, and versatile OllyDog Mt. Tam Running Belt features daisy chain loops for easy attachment to the leash and a center rear pocket and key clip to hold our essentials. $45; ollydog.com “I have run trails, roads and many miles with the leash and it is really great. I am able to swing my arms freely while running because I don’t have to hold a thing, thanks to the perfectly sized, zippered pouch. The slightly elastic waistband easily slides to allow for lateral movement, which is helpful when running on trails. The leash’s quality hardware assures me that Scooter won’t break free. I can grasp the loop near the collar attachment when I have to keep my dog close. Sometimes the waistband will loosen during an especially long run, which is easy to fix but could still be improved.” — Lisa Sinclair
Being an active, outdoorsy mom is easier in the age of this smart bracelet. An oval opening in the front of the Nathan VITAband securely carries a printed ID chip with your name and your emergency contact’s name and info, plus it includes a prepaid debit chip for emergency purchases. It is more than a wrist ID. Waterproof and durable, it’s a trusty companion as you play outside, whether hiking, cycling, running, or doing errands around town. The band costs $20 plus a $15/year or $20/two-year subscription to maintain your online emergency response profile and the 24/7 manned call center. nathansports.com “I thought about getting a traditional identification band but just never did it. Now, I am going to buy one for my whole family. The optional tiny debit card allows me (or my kids) access to a limited amount of money with a swipe of the wrist. I usually bring my credit card, some cash, and an ID with me on outdoor adventures and on runs around town, and—as a result—I have lost one thing or another quite a few times. The VITAband gives me peace of mind when I’m out and about!” — Sue Sheerin
The Columbia Omni Freeze Ice Women’s Base Layer Lightweight SS is made from polyester and corn, of all things, ideal for activities in hot weather. The stretchy fabric feels like a synthetic running shirt, making it perfect for all warm-weather activities. $55; columbia.com “Lightweight and with vents in all the right places, it is great for running or spring skiing. Though it keeps me warm on cold days, I won’t get too hot while sweating outdoors. Plus, the shirt comes in some fun bright colors.” — Meghan Maloney
A carbon/aluminum hybrid for hiking in luxury. This 1 lb., 3oz. pole’s cushiony cork grip is the shining star of Easton Mountain Products’ CTR-60 trekking poles, along with the comfy wrist strap and adjustable length. A carbon and aluminum hybrid, the easily adjustable, telescoping pole allows you to majorly adjust then fine-tune the length. Because of the extended grip, you can comfortably hold it anywhere—for those sloping traverses and uneven terrain. $99; EastonMountainProducts.com “Oh man, I love these! The cork grips fit even my small hands and are incredibly comfortable, especially with the adjustable wrist straps. The 3-tier construction makes the poles good and sturdy, and the large baskets aid in balance. Definitely the Cadillac of trekking poles!” — Mira Perrizo
My trusty Therm-a-Rest got a facelift. The self-inflating mattress got lighter and easier to use, but stuck with its retro roots. The limited edition Therm-a-Rest Women’s 40th Anniversary Edition mattress keeps me off and insulated from the cold, hard ground year round. Made for fast and light backpacking, the two-inch thick mattress features super lightweight and compressible foam, plus added insulation at the torso and feet for extra warmth where women really need it. Why I like it: I can easily find the glow-in-the-dark valve so I never fumble when trying to inflate or deflate the mattress late at night or in the dark morning hours. Weighing just 1 lb. 2 oz., it won’t break my back on the hike in but isn’t at all flimsy. Thanks to durable fabric, it won’t pop easily in the middle of the night—like my last air mattress did. $130; cascadedesigns.com “The 1972 logo and original colors remind me of simpler times, plus it is made in the USA— always a plus!” — Jennifer Olson
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Accidental Foraging Finding exercise and good nutrition in nature By Allison Pattillo
oraging and communing with nature did not come naturally to me. Mildly traumatized by a childhood experience where my grandmother picked a peach and ate it sans washing, fuzz and all, while juice dripped down her wrinkled chin, I rashly decided my food would come from a store and be served on a clean, white plate. During a college Outward Bound course in Maine, I started to modify my homogenized, plastic-wrapped bent, but there was no way I was going to survive on rose hips and seaweed. So I learned how to make a bag of peanuts last 24 hours.
But moving out west to Colorado, having two daughters, and realizing that what we eat does matter, makes me long for the opportunity to go pick and eat peaches with my grandmother—although I still might peel the fuzz off first. Living at 9,000 feet in the mountains limits homegrown food options, so we satisfy our desire for fresh, local offerings by being farmers’ market groupies and by foraging. As is often the case, our foraging interest began with my desire to get a workout. When the girls were younger, the double stroller was their passport to adventure, or ’venture as my oldest used to say. Daily ’ventures included opening milkweed pods, catching mayflies and lightning bugs, and turning over rocks. As the girls grew, we started hiking and created a small library of flower, scat, and nature books, not only to learn but also to entertain the girls during my hill repeats. Imagine my East Coast father-in-law’s shock when he cut himself during a hike, and I chewed up a plantain leaf then slapped the mash on his cut as a bandage. We smudge the house with Russian sage from our yard, and Aspen tree bark dust never fails to illicit giggles when used as a sunscreen. Plus, I have come to love watching my children eat food without “protective” plastic. Wild raspberries, washed by the rain, are blissfully chemical free; serviceberries make your mouth pucker with a refreshing pop; and those dreaded rose hips from years ago, well, they taste like a bite of sunshine. Nature forays with the girls result in piles of treasures. Sticks, rocks, leaves, shells, berries, none of them can be tossed, although repurposing seems to be an acceptable compromise. After doing a little research, we decided to try converting some of these treasures into jam, tea, and jelly. First on the docket was serviceberry jam, because we have more serviceberry bushes in our yard than we do grass. Picking was a bit tedious, but made all the more fun when we tried to see who could fill a bucket the fastest. The deep-purple hued jam is an amazing accompaniment to wild game.
We’ve dried them and made tea by combining rose hips, loose rooibos tea, and dried orange peel (think Celestial Seasonings’ Red Zinger). This year we made jelly, lots of jelly. It was such a hit that the girls started pestering me to go on hikes so that we could gather ingredients to make more. We are down to our last jar, but, thankfully, it’s time to start hiking again! n The Women’s Adventure staff has put in a special request for a jar for our office. 68 WAM • SPRING | 2011
Our most successful experiments have been with rose hips. Once the flowers have withered, the remaining, reddish-orange globes are called rose hips. Easy to spot and fun to pick, they are the fruit of the rose plant and have copious amounts of vitamin C.
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LiV For AdVeNtUre KAtie Spotz, Liv/giant AmbASSAdor
For Katie Spotz, every day is an adventure. She has rowed solo across the Atlantic and ridden her bike across Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;twice. Joining Katie on all her cycling adventures is a trusty companion she calls Ace, her Liv/giant Avail Advanced road bike. Follow Katieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adventures at LivgiantUSA.com
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