2 WAM OJUNE’2009”
Our Neighbor to the North: Welcome to Canada Ready or not, here we come. Americans have long overlooked the grandeur and the accessibility of the 4 million acres adjacent to us. Yvette Zandbergen gives us 17 reasons to head north and explore the great unknown. You betcha! By Yvette Zandbergen
Shades of Gray: The 54. Suzanne Sonye Story Is it worse to be a cheater or a
COVER: rob howard/comet photography; iSTOCK; Karen Custer Thurston
Travel: Myanmar, national parks, Finland, Chicago, geocaching, and home-swapping trends Planet Earth: News from around the globe, lesbian lizards, female athletes in Cuba, and biodegradable midsoles Fun Stuff: The fear quiz, Ellen DeGeneres, kayaking jargon, media reviews, Tundra, and kids growing fruit Information and Inspiration: A bicyclist makeover, vision health, life lessons from paddling, organic food stats, and kayaker Dr. Jessie Stone [ PSYCHOBABBLE ]
whistleblower? It’s a question Suzanne never thought to ask. She just did what she knew was right when she turned in a pro cyclist on the men’s team who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. Her life hasn’t been the same since. By Jayme Otto The Green Action 58. Superhero A Women’s Adventure exclusive interview with eco-dynamo and pro big-mountain skier Alison Gannett. By Michelle Theall
32. Look Before You Leap
Are women predisposed to be more risk averse than male adventurers? [ LOVE ON THE ROCKS ]
34. Chemistry and Camping
Our intrepid columnist finds herself in new territory. [ SENSE OF PLACE ]
36. The Farm
Award-winning writer Rick Bass tells a story of his mother, his children, and the link to a place that binds them all. [ WHOLE HEALTH ]
38. An Athlete’s Skin Exposed
Learn how to minimize one of your largest sporting health risks—sun damage to your superexposed skin. [ FULL ]
p. 42 p. 34 p. 48
40. Eat a Bowl of Tea
When it comes to tea, you can sip your Keemun and eat it, too. [ GEAR ROOM ]
42. “I’d rather ride, thank you.”
WAM has got the goods for bike-commuting bliss.
p. 32 p. 54
p. 46 p. 8
[ THE DIRT ]
6. People, Places, and Things from Our Outdoor World
[ IT’S PERSONAL ]
46. The Amnesia of Adventure Lest we forget we’re in this together.
60. Musings 62. Events 62. Product Guide 64. Editorial
I confess that I’ve not spent as much time in Canada as I’d like to claim. For someone who loves mountains and rivers and wildlife, that seems a shame. I’ve driven through Vancouver, British Columbia on my way to snowboard at Whistler, and 45 minutes out I stumbled on the winter haven for more than 3,000 bald eagles—a place called Brackendale. I’ve crossed the border from Glacier National Park, Montana, into its sister, Alberta’s Waterton Lakes, and found a momma black bear with two new cubs hanging out in the wildflowers alongside the road. More recently, I went to Churchill, Manitoba to see polar bears and beluga whales and to find out firsthand what effect climate change might be having on them. And that’s it. Canada’s just not the first place that comes to mind when I’m planning my vacations. But maybe it should be. It’s easy to access. There’s no language barrier. The size of the country is staggering. And, gosh darned it, the folks there are just so nice. They’ve got massive mountains, craggy-cliff shores, tundra, alpine lakes, and glaciers. I even threatened to move there when my health-insurance policy didn’t cover the $1,300-permonth prescriptions I needed to fight multiple sclerosis, and when our only other foreign ally was Britain. Politics aside, Canada lacks the exotic flare of Spain or Italy. And perhaps it’s too quiet to muscle, brag, or advertise its way into the hearts and minds of travelers. Maybe it just knows it’s got a good thing going and doesn’t want everyone trampling all over it. Whatever the reason, you’ll be tempted to book a north-bound itinerary after reading, “Our Neighbor to the North: Welcome to Canada” on page 48. On a personal note, I’d like to thank you, our readers, for your support of our magazine. While the economy dives and magazines struggle, we appreciate your subscriptions more than ever. I also ask that you pay special attention to the advertisers on our pages because without them and you this Women’s Adventure magazine would have disappeared a long time ago. Instead we’re in the middle of our seventh year; and with the second issue of our redesign, we remain dedicated to our mission: to inspire, inform, and compel women to live life to its fullest through outdoor adventures and travel. So thanks. And pass it on. Cheers,
We fell in love with the beavers on page 22 and plan to include Alaska-based cartoonist Chad Carpenter’s nature- and wildlifethemed comic panel, Tundra, in every issue of WAM this year. Last year Tundra won the National Cartoonist Society’s Best Newspaper Panel Reuben Award, and this spring Chad released his thirteenth book, Tundra Presents Organically Grown Humor. “For some reason,” says the 42-year-old artist, “my snowmen strips really strike a chord with a lot of people, especially ladies, especially my wife.” When Chad’s not drawing, he’s likely hiking the wilds outside his Wasilla, Alaska, home in search of his favorite funny-man characters: bears.
As captain of the Title Nine women’s cycling club, Jayme Otto has a lot in common with cyclist Suzanne Sonye, whom she profiled for this month’s feature “Shades of Gray” on page 54. “Suzanne’s story isn’t pretty, but it’s certainly worth telling,” says Jayme. “She taught me that it’s okay to let your guard down and admit that you don’t have all the answers. It’s possible to lose it all and still find yourself again.” Jayme lives with her husband in Boulder, Colorado, and in addition to cycling and traveling—she just returned from four weeks in Italy and a trip to Aruba for a story in our August issue—Jayme is assistant editor of Elevation Outdoors. Her writing has also appeared in Backpacker, and VeloNews.
Rachel S. Thurston
“Even though I grew up in the Midwest and had the full experience of surviving Indiana through the winter, I’ve become a complete ‘weather wimp’ living in Southern California,” she says. Before settling in Santa Barbara, Thurston spent several nomadic years working as a river guide and Outward Bound Instructor throughout the American West. Her mother Karen Custer Thurston is a Turkish-Egyptian dance choreographer, fitness trainer, and avid horseback rider based in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Rachel S. Thurston is a freelance writer, photographer, rock-n-roll singer, and outdoor guide based in Santa Barbara, California. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Santa Barbara Magazine, and several Travelers’ Tales humor anthologies. Best friends and gluttons for punishment, the Thurston Girls regularly seek out challenging adventures in countries with good exchange rates and awful weather most of the year. Over the years, they’ve dodged charging yaks, indulged in roasted cockroaches, and crossed the world’s highest Himalayan pass mid-winter. Their New Zealand exploit appears on page 46.
Michelle Theall 2 WAM OJUNE’2009”
Best advice from Mom or Grandma
Editor in Chief/ Creative Director Art Director Gear Editor/Web Editor in Chief
Michelle Theall Krisan Christensen Karina Evertsen
Cycling Editor/Web Director
To trust my own decitions.
Copy Editor Contributors
Marry him. Contributing Editor Edit Intern Design Intern
A shot of whiskey kills germs while traveling.
Elizabeth von Radics Kathy Bennett, Alison Gannett, Stefanie Jack, Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, Jayme Otto, Shauna Stephenson, Rachel Thurston, Travis Tygart, Yvette Zandberger Jayme Otto Tara Kusumoto Let the worry dolls do the worrying for you.
For contributor’s guidelines, visit www.womensadventuremagazine.com/features/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 1637 Pearl Street, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80302-5447
PUBLISHING Publisher California/National Events Ad Rep
Key Accounts/Northwest Sales Director
Rockies/Automotive/ Food & Beverage Sales Director East/Midwest Ad Rep Sales Director
Never put a milk carton on the table.
Advertising Interns Office Manager
Circulation & Marketing Director Director of Events
Karina Evertsen Theresa Ellbogen email@example.com 303 641 5525 Karina Evertsen firstname.lastname@example.org 303 541 1525 Melissa Hickey email@example.com 303 588 4686 Susan Sheerin firstname.lastname@example.org 303 931 6057 Brittany Bilderback, Marilyn Narula, Jenn Tadich Lynne Boyle Rick Rhinehart
Learn how to parallel park. It’s an attractive quality.
Joanna Laubscher email@example.com
Circulation & Marketing Intern Rachael Greenberg If you would like to carry Women’s Adventure or explore a distribution partnership, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For magazine subscriptions, change of address, or missed issues, please contact Kable Fulfillment email@example.com / 800 746 3910 or visit womensadventuremagazine.com/subscribe The opinions and advice expressed herein are exclusively those of the authors and are not representative of the publishing company or its members. Copyright © 2009 by Big Earth Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is expressly prohibited. Women’s Adventure makes a portion of its mailing list available from time to time to third parties. If you want to request exclusion from our promotional list, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Outdoor activities are inherently risky and participation can cause injury or loss of life. Please consult your doctor prior to beginning and workout program or sports activity, and seek out a qualified instructor. Big Earth Publishing will not be held responsible for your decision to thrive in the wild. Have fun!
OJUNE’2009” Reader’s Letters EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARDS 6S 0 +
produ sprin g ct
h picks NO op W!
BIKE, RUN, HIKE, CLIMB, AND PADDLE
a Budget 15 SAND AND
Terry Tempest Williams
FINDING BEAUTY IN A BROKEN WORLD
EMERGING GLOBAL DESTINATIONS 10-MINUTE SPORTS MAKEOVER 5 STAGES OF MENTAL RECOVERY THRIVE IN THE WILD™ $4.99 US $6.99 CAN V7N1
ANN CURRY IN AFRICA, ANEMIA, PARKOUR, LESSONS FROM HORSES, ONE WOMAN’S SABBATICAL, WHALE RESEARCH, HEART HEALTH AND SO MUCH MORE! April 2009 Display Until August 1
ARE YOU TOO COMPETITIVE? TAKE THIS QUIZ
Thank you for your recent coverage of amputees in the April issue. As a below knee amputee for the past 8 years, and someone who has always loved hiking and sports, it’s great to see profiles of female amputees making amazing progress in so many arenas. Coverage like yours really helps us to be seen less as a curiosity and more as ourselves. Kristen Balderston I wound up getting a subscription to your magazine through Title 9. Can’t say the first few issues did anything for me. But THIS issue is different. Totally grabbed me. Loved the mix of stories – the focus on international issues – the identification of fabulous women doing what their heart is driving them to do. Even the short blurbs were interesting, not so focused on selling me the latest goop or fashion statement. Thanks for putting together a terrific issue – I am now eagerly anticipating the next one! Naomi In response to Jessica Callahan’s comments in the April issue’s reader’s letters: I approached parenthood with concerns that being a mom would impact both my outdoor activities and my primary sport of running. I deviated from the standard 4 WAM OJUNE’2009”
path to parenthood and adopted my daughter from China when she was 14 1/2 months old. Because I was not exhausted from night feedings and because my daughter didn’t have the wobbly head of a newborn, we dove into our outdoor adventures pretty soon after getting home. I immediately enrolled her in swimming lessons; started hiking with her in the Kelty backpack; and began logging serious miles with her in the running stroller. Last spring, when she was 2 1/2, she asked to start running with me. Now, on easy days, we end our run at a local track and she gets out of the stroller to run as many or as few laps as she wants. We also abandoned the backpack carrier last summer
at her request for hiking, both locally and in Park City. We kayaked regularly last summer near Cape May. We climb every other week at a local rock gym and this winter we made some initial attempts at snowshoeing and cross country skiing in our meager snowfalls. I have two basic rules for our activities. The first is that I have to respect my daughter’s pace and energy level. The second is that we will only do the outdoor activities that she likes, although so far she has liked everything. She likes to announce “We are nature girls.” I see a future of mom-daughter adventures stretching out ahead of us as she gets older. There is no right answer as
to whether to have kids or not or as how many kids to have. My daughter will be an only child; I suspect it is easier to plan for outdoor activities with just one child versus several. For me, being a mom has added a different dimension to my outdoor activities instead of curtailing them. Kerstin Palombaro Send your letters to the Editor at: email@example.com
CORRECTION In our April issue on page 71, the poles featured should have been tagged as the LEKI Diva AS poles. We regret the error.
Click your way to adventure
On the Web Want to get the rest of the story?
WATCH THIS • • • • • • •
Watch: Christa’s 10-minute sports makeover Learn: To plant peanuts and make your own peanut butter Read: The full transcript from our interview with Alison Gannett See: Adventure photos from our readers and post your own Shop: Our online store to gear up for summer Win: Gear and prizes from our contests Listen: To podcasts from the national parks
SHOP Look for these icons and follow the clues to get even more great info from Women’s Adventure magazine! womensadventuremagazine.com
This is a picture of my daughter and myself finishing the Muddy Buddy in Cedar Hill, Texas. We finished 4th out of 40 teams. We both had a really good time. -Adri (left) & Lyn (right) Kruger To see your photos published here send images from your own adventures. firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Stuff Win this from Marmot! Women’s Flexion Jacket Cut and sized for the female form, this UltraLight jacket is breathable yet highly effective as a windblocker. The sleeves are removable, of course, for complete flexibility, but you’ll also appreciate finer points like the elastic draw cord hem. Packs into its own pocket!
Enter to win yours for free by going to womensadventuremagazine. com/marmot by June 30. The winner will be announced July 15.
[ FAR FLUNG ]
Inle Lake, Myanmar Buddhist monks tend to new kittens that will be trained as jumping cats. More than 15 cats live at the monastery, putting on shows for tourists by leaping over bamboo sticks and through rings three feet above the ground. Monk-selected cat monikers include: Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
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Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery
[ BUDGET TRAVEL ]
Want to own a piece of paradise? As an American citizen, you already do. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, no matter where you live you’re likely to find a national park within driving distance of your house. Camping in one allows you an inexpensive way to satellite out to explore lakes, mountains, rivers, and wildlife just beyond your tent. Whether you car-camp or backpack, you’ll understand why more than 84 million acres are currently protected from private development and owned by all.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park The most visited of the 58 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains is also the largest wilderness expanse east of the Mississippi, hosts the most biologically diverse temperate habitat in the world, and boasts some of the planet’s oldest mountains. With more than 521,085 acres split between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smokies offer activities and more than 1,000 campsites for the whole family.
Things to do: 1
Drive the Newfound Gap (down load the self-guiding podcast first!). Celebrate at the park’s diamond anniversary weekend June 13 to 15. Stay up late for firefly spectaculars, which peak in mid-June. Hike the 5.4-mile round trip to the sunny-day display at 80-foot Rainbow Falls. Relive nineteenth-century farm life by visiting the Mountain Farm Museum.
Glacier National Park Unrivaled in rugged scenery, Glacier attracts about 2 million visitors each year. With a trip this summer, you’ll beat the crowds expected for next year’s centennial celebration and have a chance to see the glaciers before they melt away (some predict it’ll happen as early as 2030). Most of Glacier’s campsites are first come, first served, so lastminute trips to this Montana park can be a good option for spur-of-themoment types.
Things to do: 1
Hike 11-miles out and back for a peek at the Grinnell Glacier. Gaze at the night sky for a show of the northern lights. Spot bighorn sheep and cross the Continental Divide on Going-to-theSun Road. Motor across Lake McDonald, the largest in the park. Cruise north of the border for a day in Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park.
Point Reyes National Seashore The cool Pacific waters surrounding Point Reyes host as many as onethird of the marine mammal species on the planet—as many as 20 varieties of cetacean, porpoise, and seal (as well as their largest predator— the great white shark). Visitation peaks during the winter migrations, but flower blooms, harbor seal molting and whelping, and backcountry-only camping draw visitors from the nearby San Francisco Bay Area year-round.
Things to do: 1
Pick up a permit and build a bonfire on the beach. Paddle the sheltered ocean waters in Drakes Bay. Descend 300 steps (and climb a few more) to the lens room at the lighthouse. Build a castle on the sandy shoreline of Drakes Beach. Spot molting harbor seals on the headland. iSTOCK
Make a camping site reservation or get a permit: www.recreation.gov
All three of these parks have downloadable videos and podcasts to help you preplan and make the most of your visit. Go to womensadventuremagazine.com to see and hear a few of our favorites.
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[ OUT THERE ]
[ URBAN ESCAPE ]
Illinois Miles of inner-city coastline on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River set the Windy City apart from most of its Midwestern neighbors. Take to the high seas—or as close as it gets between coasts—for wet-and-wild adventures within splashing distance of Sears Tower.
courtesy of hotel kakslauttanen; Istock
Plan ahead to see the northern lights without freezing your tail off. Head to the Hotel Kakslauttanen in Arctic Finland in late August and stay in one of its five glass igloos, where you’ll have the best view in the house of the spectacular aurora borealis. Boasting 50-degree temperatures in late summer, this hotel in Lapland offers spacious thermal glass domes, where you can lie in bed and watch the show. During the day explore Lemmenjoki, Finland’s largest national park and one of Europe’s most extensive roadless wilderness areas. Hike, canoe, and raft, then return to the glass tepee at Hotel Kakslauttanen for a cocktail and a sauna. In the winter months, check out one of the 20 snow igloos—but bring your long underwear. Doubles from $210 per person include breakfast and sauna. www.kakslauttanen.fi
[ LUNCHTIME ADVENTURE ]
0, 00.00 N38 00.000 W76
Got one hour?
Fire up your GPS and hunt down a geocache. Use www.geocaching.com to find coordinates in your area. The cache could be a puzzle in your library, a camera tucked under a bridge, or a hopscotching series of clues that culminate in a scoop from an ice-cream stand. Online details and descriptions help you narrow caches by distance, time commitment, and exactly what you’re looking for.
Lincoln Park is a gem in Chicago’s acclaimed park district: miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, 1,200 acres of open space, a zoo—all within a few miles of the city center. Run (or ride) south on the Lakeshore Trail to less traveled stretches below Roosevelt and the Museum Campus, where skyline views and wind-cooled rest stops are as beautiful—if not more so—than those on the north side. For another view of the Windy City’s waterfront, rent a boat from Chicago River Canoe & Kayak’s Riverview Park launch. You can navigate the river and its surrounds on your own, take a tour of downtown’s “Skyscraper Canyon,” or sign up for a two-hour bike-and-boat combo. www.chicagoriverpaddle.com
Feel like a dip? Though June lake temperatures hover in the mid-50s, a shivering crowd gathers at sunrise on weekend mornings at North Avenue Beach’s Chess Pavilion for a triathlete-worthy training swim. www.openwaterchicago.com
[ TRAVEL TREND ]
Palazzone, San Casciano dei Bagni, Italy (www.digsville.com) 2
My Place or Yours?
rade a couple vacation weeks at your home in Boulder for a villa in Spain? Or perhaps New Zealand, or Croatia is more to your liking. According to Craigslist, home-swap postings have grown by 50 percent in the past year. Consider that the average hotel stay can cost more than flights, meals, and entertainment combined, and you can understand the appeal of free lodging. Plus, many home-exchange websites or clubs include swapping pet care and cars as part of the arrangement. Not to be confused with the skater-dude couch-surfing set (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the demographic for homeexchange participants is of the decidedly more mature and affluent professional type. But because it’s affordable and fun, Helen Bergstein who founded the Digsville Home Exchange Club in 1999 notes that the concept is starting to catch on with Gen Xers too. It’s no wonder, Digsville’s exchange listings span the globe— they have listings in over 55 countries—so no matter your age or destination, you’re likely to find a fit. For as little as $45 (or free on Craigslist), you can list your house, set your parameters, and start receiving offers. Here are a few sample swaps we found enticing. 1
Dalmation Coast, Croatia (www.homeexchange.com)
Right on the beach! This newly refurbished detached five-bedroom villa has 180-degree views over the beach, the Adriatic Sea, and the outlying Dalmatian Islands. On three levels and built back on a sloping site, the villa has balconies and terraces off almost all its rooms, giving ab-fab views all around. The inside is a quaint 2,000 square feet, but a vine-covered and barbeque equipped terrace adjoins the living room, adding space for family gatherings or entertaining. Situated at the end of a small beach in the former fishing village of Zivogosce, even getting to this Dalmatian Coast abode is an adventure: there is no car access. To get to the front door, you’ll have to leave your car in the village and walk about 150 yards along the beach. The village itself is between Split (45 miles/1 hour) and Dubrovnik (100 miles/2.5 hours), with the majestic Biokovo mountain range as its backdrop. It has a grocery shop, a beach restaurant and bar, and an open stall selling fresh fruit and vegetables.
Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica (www.homelink.org) 3
Pura Vida! Gorgeous Playa Conchal (Shell Beach)—one of the best beaches in Costa Rica—is just a half mile away, and this tropical swap sits between Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo on the blue Pacific. Built in 2007, this one-bedroom unit has one bathroom, but sleeps up to four—if you include the living room futon. And, it offers a fully-equipped kitchen, air conditioning, and a quarter-acre private garden. Swimming, snorkeling right off beach, scuba, fishing, sailing, hiking, and golf are available—and there’s good bird watching from both of it’s tiny balconies. The casita is close to several national parks, and there’s turtle nesting and whale watching opportunities in winter. Save time to hit the killer breaks (or catch a lesson at surf school) just 20 minutes away.
Would you ever consider swapping houses for vacation? 81% Yes 19% No Go to womensadventuremagazine.com take our latest poll.
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Lovely villa in Tuscany! La Casina is the perfect home-base for a trip to the Tuscan countryside. Rolling vineyards, olive groves, and cypress trees are all strategically situated halfway between Florence and Rome, a mere 15 minutes from the Chiusi train station. The well-equipped villa is within walking distance of the village of Palazzone (San Casciano dei Bagni, province of Siena), and less than an hour’s drive from the spectacular towns of Orvieto, Todi, Perugia, Pienza, Siena, Montepulciano, Cortona, and Bagni Vignoni. The main house is furnished in a simple but elegant country style and has three double rooms, one single room, and three baths. If that’s not enough for the whole family, spill into the guest cottage’s bedroom and bath. A lovely private pool in the midst of an olive grove overlooks the distant towers of the medieval town of Città della Pieve, but the highlights of this Italian dream are the guest-house dining porch and several furnished garden living areas.
Drop into Bend, a wonderland that’s just three hours from Portland. It’s surrounded by volcanoes and sagebrush and gets more than 250 days of sun per year. This high-desert town is rife with adventure, from world-class fishing and paddling to endless hiking and biking trails. When you’re done on the land and the water, quench your thirst at one of Bend’s six brewpubs for some gold medal–winning quaffs.
For more on Bend, visit www.visitcentraloregon.com or www.visitbend.com 1. Climb on: Smith Rock State Park Just 23 miles north of Bend you’ll find the breathtaking spot where many say sport climbing was born. Smith Rock is home to several thousand routes, but if you aren’t into clipping in, you’ll also find hiking and flyfishing along the Crooked River that’s well worth the trip.
3. Bliss out: Mandala Yoga Center
2. Kick back: Deschutes Brewery Don’t leave town without stopping at this homey brewery. After a long day playing outside, have them draw a pint of the Mirror Pond Pale Ale, then sit back and take in the town with a clean conscience—the cellaring, brewing, and clarifying processes are animal-product free.
Located in the quaint downtown area, the center offers a wide variety of yoga styles in a tranquil sanctuary with an urban loft feel.
5. Hike alone: Mount Bachelor
Population: 75,000 Elevation: 3,625 feet Town motto: Whoever visits Bend, moves to Bend Access: Fly into Roberts Field Airport or drive from Portland (3 hours)
[ TOWN SPOTLIGHT ]
Crowds leave this area when the snow melts off, making trails peacefully unpopulated. Start at Sunrise Lodge and head out for a great workout rewarded with beautiful views at the top.
4. Eat here: Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but inside is some of the tastiest food in town. Check out the wine list and don’t miss the artisan flatbread appetizer.
[ ACTION ]
and Trail Runner. BioMoGo, which had been in the works since 2006, uses a more efficient production (the compression-molded process system reduces waste by 50 percent) but also biodegrades in active landfills in just 20 years; that’s 50 times faster than its traditional road-cushioning counterpart, ethylene vinyl acetate (known as EVA). Designed to degrade only in landfill-specific conditions of moist, low oxygen levels with a healthy microbial load—worse than even the sweatiest locker rooms—the BioMoGo doesn’t compromise performance or durability over the lifetime of the shoe, Brooks claims. “We wanted to make a product just as good as what we have with the MoGo midsole,” says Derek, “the same cushioning, the same resiliency, the same lifespan…but with a very different outcome after you throw them away.” It’s only in an active, closed landfill ind in your hair, sunshine through the trees, the sound that the magic of the nontoxic additive that is the “bio” element of BioMoGo’s of the trailside stream, breakdown process begins. With the and—your midsole? Runaim of replacing MoGo midsoles in all ning is a popular way to reconnect with Brooks shoes by the end of this year, the nature and feel a part of our environcompany is ahead of the curve. ment, but a 95-year-old Seattle-based “Sustainability in general is such a company is taking that eco-connection new thing that it’s hard to compare comto an entirely new level. “We cerpanies and products,” says Casey Bates, tainly didn’t invent sustainability,” says Brooks’ future concepts manager, Derek a Seattle-based sustainability consultant Campbell, “but we’re leading the way in who also sits on the Outdoor Industry the performance industry by saying you Association’s Eco Working Group, “but don’t have to sacrifice looks and perfor- we’re trying to create benchmarks in the industry…and the performance runmance to build sustainable products.” ning shoe and footwear sector is leading From the 30 percent energy savings the charge over most other sectors with of its new fluorescent lighting to the very active companies such as Brooks, 14,000 pounds of trees saved by using Nike, Keen, Patagonia, Timberland, and eco-friendly paper for its spring 2009 the emerging company End Footwear.” catalogs, Brooks Sports is fast outpacThough going green isn’t a competiing its competitors when it comes to efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But tive race, many are moving in collaboration; and as an invitation to other despite its increasingly earth-conscious companies, Brooks has left its BioMoGo production and operation protocols, technology open. “Sharing our technolit’s the new biodegradable midsole— ogy spreads our story, but it also sends BioMoGo—that’s earning big nods from the message to researchers and busiindustry pros. Last December, Brooks nesses that the entire industry is looking won green awards from three industry for sustainable solutions.” giants: Footwear News, Runner’s World,
Running Green Outpacing competitors in the race to go green, Brooks Sports’ new biodegradable midsole, BioMoGo, is just one of the innovations giving the company a leg-up on the competition.
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[ PRO/CON ]
Now Hear This!
Should you really be running or biking with Brandi Carlile blaring in your ears?
Unless you’re running or biking with Bose Noise Cancelling headphones, you can still hear approaching traffic or other recreational participants saying, “On your left.” The benefits far outweigh the risks. In 2004, Ohio State University released a study showing that the combination of music and exercise had a decidedly positive effect on cognitive ability. In 2008, Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education demonstrated that those who listened to music increased their endurance capacity by 15 percent and were more motivated to work out to a level of physical exhaustion. Better yet, enjoyment levels increased, regardless of the intensity levels.
While it’s hard to find accurate statistics, a large insurance company asserts that one in 10 minor accidents is caused by headphone-wearing pedestrians. In 2008, Australia felt the problem serious enough to launch a full public service campaign, using the cord from an iPod to create a body outline around iBud-wearing victims. As a cyclist or runner sharing the road with tons of steel and airbag-protected vehicles, you’re already quite vulnerable. Why add one more handicap by dampening one of your most important senses? If you want to zone out, do it at home. Otherwise, you’re just playing in traffic. Got an opinion? Weigh in on the debate at the womensadventuremagazine.com forum pages.
[ GANNETT’S GREEN TIPS ]
[ EARTH SPECIES ]
Commit to eating locally and organically
iSTOCK; CORRYNN COCHRAN; ISTOCK
Being a locavore is all the rage right now, but the reasons behind it go well beyond health and supporting local businesses.
Grassland Whiptail Our modern agricultural system is totally addicted to lizard, officially named oil and the average American consumes nine tons Aspicoscelis uniparens, of carbon—that’s one-ton more than by driving— reproduces despite the fact from the food we eat. Pesticides, herbicides, that they’re all female. In and fertilizers are all are made from petroleum, fact, researchers found so every bite you take from a nonorganic or that ovulation was non-biointensive farm is basically like eating oil. enhanced by simulated copulation behaviors In addition to being addicted to synthetic fertilizers, most of our food will be driven for between two females. thousands of miles (again more oil) and refrigerated with electricity (oil, coal, nuclear) Regardless of this evolutionary before we finally consume it. Many of these foods are now harvested early, in depleted advantage, the girls face fierce soils, leaving the nutritional value in question. Non-point fertilizer pollution then kills our competition for dwindling habitat, waterways, leaving dead zones around the world. Our local biointensive organic farmers are doing us a greater environmental service than we give them credit for. Small-scale organic farming with a closed-loop compost cycle is actually adding carbon to the soil, reducing greenhouse gasses while enriching and adding topsoil. Your best bet is the farmers’ market, a community supported agriculture (CSA) project, and asking your stores and restaurants for local organic produce.
and that has landed them on the endangered species list.
Sports By Travis T. Tygart, CEO, United States Anti-Doping Agency
s a father of three young children ages seven and under, I hope that one day they will learn the valuable life lessons that can be obtained by participating in sports played with integrity and honor and without prohibited drugs. I want them, like all of our children, to benefit from the ideal that, in its purest form, true sport builds character and promotes the virtues of selfless teamwork, dedication, and commitment to a greater cause. Unfortunately, there are those who would undermine these intrinsic principles and are willing to cheat for the sake of winning at all costs. This willingness to put winning above all else erodes our trust in sport and its inherent value. Unfortunately, as sports fans, we have all witnessed the tragedy of athletes devoting everything to their sport only to miss their rightful moment on the podium
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because the competitor in the lane next to them was cheating. We have also seen too many heroes fall from grace and end up compromising their athletic legacy. Some of our heroes have even had to return medals in the wake of scandal. The doping crisis is not just a public image problem for one sport or one group of owners, nor a problem in only certain professional sports. Illicit drug use is a crime that creates an ethical and public health problem that reaches right to the core of our collective values and our future because it adversely affects today’s high school, junior high school, and even grade school athletes. As CEO of the United States AntiDoping Agency (USADA), which is the independent, national anti-doping agency for Olympic and Paralympic sports in the United States, my mission is to protect and preserve the health of athletes, the integrity of competition, and the well-being of sport through the elimination of doping. The reality is that while we still have a long, hard fight in front of us, much has been achieved already to facilitate success in this movement. USADA was formed as a truly independent and transparent entity in 2000 in support of U.S. athletes. The International Olympic Committee externalized its program through the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency, harmonizing the movement around the globe. In the United States we can claim the gold standard in out-of-competition, no-advance-notice testing programs; we have a comprehensive list of prohibited substances and methods for which we test; we have a substantial education program that arms athletes and youth with tools for living and competing healthy and drug-free; we conduct research to advance the anti-doping science; and we have developed effective partnerships with law enforcement agencies to ensure that all parties to doping activity are held accountable. All these efforts are part of a commitment to defend the integrity of sport in America. Ultimately, the fight for the soul of sport most directly im-
pacts the clean athletes. They deserve the assurance that the rules apply evenly to all athletes, including highprofile, high-dollar superstars. And they deserve the protection of their right to compete on a level playing field. Equally as important, our youth deserve the right to dream that they can rise to the heights of athletic success in America without having to resort to cheating through the use of drugs. While much has been done, in a perfect world additional steps would be taken to further protect clean athletes. Funding would be provided to implement a national in-school program built on a broadbased educational foundation for the importance of healthy living, ethical decision-making, and the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. From a policy perspective, increasing the penalties for the illegal use or distribution of human growth hormone (HGH) would strengthen law enforcement efforts to enforce these laws. Prohibiting online pharmacies from selling controlled substances over the Internet without a valid prescription would further enhance the control of these dangerous drugs and make it more difficult for them to end up in the hands of our children. Finally, additional funding is needed to continue to advance scientific research in the field of anti-doping. The effort to protect clean sport is not an easy task, but the implications of our failures or successes are monumental. While at its core, sport is rooted in fun, entertainment, and achievement, sport also has a fundamental and far-reaching impact on the value of our society. For that reason everyone who is involved in sport, whether as a competitor, coach, parent, or fan, has an obligation to support the effort to ensure that our children learn the lessons that will help them grow into the strong, ethical, conscientious members of our society that we all hope they will become. Turn to page 54 for this month’s feature, “Shades of Gray” that tells a personal story of doping in sports.
[ SOLVE THIS ]
[ AROUND THE WORLD ]
Ana Fidelia Quirot of Cuba
Commie Competition How Castro leveled the playing field for Cuba’s women athletes
In the macho culture of Fidel Castro’s cigar-smoking, baseball-playing, cockfighting island, women traditionally haven’t had a major role in sports. But the same political revolution that spawned the missile crisis created a medal-winning sport machine on the Caribbean’s largest island.
Cuba ranks first in the world, in terms of per-capita medals won, contending in Olympic medal counts with Japan, Italy, and the Ukraine—though with just 11.4 million people, Cuba’s population is less than onequarter that of the Ukraine and less than one-tenth that of Japan. The reason for Cuba’s success? It’s largely political, says Paula J. Pettavino, coauthor of Sport in Cuba: The Diamond in the Rough (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994; $13). “International sports triumphs symbolized the success of the Cuban revolution, and sports participation was a component of revolutionary activity,” she says. “Mass participation served domestic political goals too.” This year the Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation—known by its Spanish acronym, INDER— celebrated its forty-eighth anniversary. As the government arm controlling sports, it’s still going strong and, since the late 1990s,
has been self-supporting, pulling international prize money from its top athletes and profits from exporting sporting equipment and charging money for interviews with officials and athletes. Most of Cuba’s famous athletes have made a name in traditional sports: Mireya Luis is a volleyball superstar, and Ana Fidelia Quirot’s harrowing recovery from a tragic cooking accident makes her a standout in the long line women track stars. “Women have been strongly encouraged to practice and excel in sports,” says Paula, “and given the political role of sports, women are encouraged as much as men to hone their skills.” She also notes that the international competitive arena drives emphatic government support. Though adventure sports spawned by increasing island tourism might be the next big thing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a government official willing to talk about it.
[ QUIZ ]
How Fearful are You?
Quaking in your saddle? Missing killer views because you’re flinching cliffside? Answer these questions to see if you’re letting your adventures take a backseat to your anxiety.
a winded chat with another jogger, and we keep it up until we pass him. c) My Doberman’s drooling, and I’m ready with my taser. This guy’s not going to make a victim out of me.
1 The last wild animal I came
into contact with was a: a) Rattlesnake—we watched from outside the strike zone before it slithered off the trail. b) Bear—she didn’t smile for the pictures, but I was able to get really close for a shot of the cubs. c) Squirrel—we faced off outside my office, but he walked away with my peanuts.
My paddle-girl pal’s left-hand line—over the fall, past the hole, and finishing with a monster kickflip—earned her bragging rights downstream. My plan: a) Cheer from the shore with my bullhorn; she should be able to hear me over the roaring rapids. b) Take the sneak route to the right; my PFD is on, but that hole looks like a keeper to me. c) Go for it; she’s got 10 years more experience, but I’ve got luck on my side.
It’s marathon training time— the race is only four months away—and after last year’s failure fiasco, I’m more: a) Likely to watch it on TV—who needs the embarrassment of another mile-21 breakdown? b) Committed than ever—I can definitely conquer 26.2 miles this year, and I’m training to break 3:30. c) Prepared for reality, but the race keeps me motivated, and, finish or not, the start line is electrifying.
Good morning sunshine! A black widow moved into my tent overnight. I: a) Try to avoid direct contact with the web while I fish for my spidersquishing boots. b) Scream bloody murder—my two-legged tent mate deserves a warning before I run. c) Get the camera and harass the arachnid into striking pose; this is a killer close-up.
Night hikes: a) Are great solo trips. A new moon, an iPod, and a trail through cougar country put me in the zone. b) Are fun with friends. I pack the first-aid kit and bring extra AAAs for my headlamp. c) Are crazy. The farthest I walk at night is from the mall to the car, and I do that with mace.
I’m an adrenaline junkie, and to get my blood flowing, I’ll: a) Swan-dive from a 20-foot cliff, but from 30 feet I go in feet first. b) Take stairs two at a time, but I try to avoid the escalator. c) Jump out of a plane from 13,000 feet—the 60-second freefall is one of my top 10 rushes.
A shadow on the trail up ahead takes the shape of a big, burly man. It’s only 6 a.m., but: a) I inch down my V-neck. Hey, I’m single, and this top makes my cleavage look great. b) Bad things can happen. I start
After a quad-burning climb, my fat tires are primed for the fast, flowing downhill. I stop at the summit to: a) Begin the walk downhill. I can’t trust those brakes, and gravity has proven it’s not on my side. b) Take off my helmet. There’s nothing better than the wind through my hair on the descent. c) Ask my pals about the blind corners and drops up ahead. I like to know what’s coming.
I know the stats—almost nobody turns into shark supper— but scuba would be cooler if:
a) I had a chance to get up close and personal with Whitey once in a while. b) It never went past the pool— that’s why I’m a member of the aquarium. c) Steve Irwin hadn’t scared everyone about rays; just because it’s a superpredator doesn’t mean it’s preying on you.
When the caving-club conversation turns to tight squeezes, I retell the saga of: a) The 12-inch push through what’s fondly known as “The Birth Canal.” b) My broken ankle and the rescue: I fell 15 feet from the chimney, but those guys were real professionals. c) Those size 6 jeans. Next time I’m buying something with a little stretch to it.
If you scored: 10-17: Rainbows? Kittens? Doorknobs? Is there anything
you’re not afraid of? Try to focus more on potential learning experiences and—dare we say—fun instead of worst-case scenarios. Your fear of heights, speed, animals, and even failure may be keeping you from nature’s splendor and potential friendships. Relax a little and you’ll still likely hit average life expectancy.
Balance is key. You’ve got it when you’re perched on the edge of a cliff, when the trail turns to rocks, and when you’re weighing the costs and the benefits of a risky maneuver in the outdoors. You’re willing to try new things and push your limits, but you balance your healthy sense of adventure with being smart, sane, and prepared. You’ll likely be having adventures for a long, long time.
Whoa baby! Hope you have dental records on file and friends who can identify your tattoos and birthmarks in a pinch. Your need for a rush and your irresponsible attitude are likely to get you in trouble and might also kill the enthusiasm of those around you. There’s no need to sacrifice your sense of adventure, but slow down a little and up your awareness in the outdoors and you may develop respect for the forces of nature that will help you enjoy it, even without the adrenaline drip.
Add up your points: 1) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1; 2) a. 1, b. 2, c. 3; 3) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 4) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 5) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 6) a. 2, b. 1, c. 3; 7) a. 3, b. 2, c. 1; 8) a. 1, b. 3, c. 2; 9) a. 3, b. 1, c. 2; 10) a. 2, b. 3, c. 1.
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[ WORDSWORTH ]
Kayaking Jargon boil │ tongue
boil (‘boi(- )l) 1. verb. to generate bubbles of vapor when heated. 2. noun. localized inflammation of the skin surrounding a hair follicle that has a hard central core and pus. 3. noun. swirling or unpredictable river or ocean currents visible on the surface. e
curler (k r-l r) 1. noun. a device on which hair is wound for curling. 2. noun. a player in the ice-and-granite-stone Olympic sport of curling. 3. noun. a large wave, usually at the bottom of a drop, with a crest that spills upon its upstream slope. e e
“My grandmother started walking 5 miles a day when she was 60. She’s 93 today, and we don’t know where the hell she is.” —Ellen DeGeneres
entrapment (in-´trap-m nt) 1. noun a 1999 Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery movie. 2. noun. the act of luring someone into committing a crime in order to prosecute them for it. 3. noun. a dangerous situation in which a boat and/or paddler is held fast by the current and/or an obstacle. e
keeper (kē-p r) 1. noun. a common UK abbreviation for a soccer goalkeeper. 2. noun. someone who is marriage material. 3. noun. a river feature, usually a hole, that is inclined to hold instead of release whatever enters it. e
roll (rōl) 1. noun. a small piece of baked yeast dough. 2. verb. to impel forward by causing to turn over and over on a surface. 3. noun. the act of righting a capsized kayak by use of body motion and/or a paddle.
“It’s really physically hard. Don’t discount that. Really physically hard. That pole work is crazy hard; to be really good on that pole, you have to be really strong.” —Marisa Tomei on her Oscar-nominated role as a stripper in The Wrestler
[ WHAT IN THE WORLD? ] Test yourself by identifying the image below. iSTOCK; FilmMagic; istock
feathered (fe-th r) 1. adjective. covered or adorned with feathers. 2. noun. layered bangs à la Farah Fawcett. 3. noun. a kayak paddle with blades set at an angle away from the same plane to increase efficiency, especially for sea kayaking.
tongue (t ŋ) 1. noun. a fleshy muscle on the floor of the mouths of most vertebrates. 2. noun. a spoken language. 3. noun. a V-shaped passage indicating the route through a drop. e
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ANSWER: Volcanic lake in the Bay of Plenty region off the North Island of New Zealand.
ă pat/ā pay/âr care/ä father/b bib/ ch church/d deed/ĕ pet/ē be/f fife/g gag/ hat/ hw which/ĭ pit/ī pie/îr pier/j judge/k kick/l lid, needle/m mum/n no, sudden/
[ MEDIA ROOM ]
3 Peaks 3 Weeks
Challenge for the People of Africa
The Women and the Waves Linda Benson was the wave-riding body double for Gidget, Kim Mearig was the highest-paid professional female surfer in the 1980s, 23-year-old Jenny Useldinger tows into some of the world’s biggest waves, and Australian Shakira Westdorp balances big-wave riding with long-distance paddles among the Hawaiian Islands. Starring in a 2006 surf film inspired surfer and first-time filmmaker Heather Hudson to combine the stories of these and other pioneering women surfers for a feminine perspective on the growing sport. With upbeat music—including a few songs by featured board-shaper Ashley Lloyd— and plenty of shred-shots on familiar breaks in California and Hawaii, this film sits squarely within the realm of traditional surf flicks while adding a new dimension with its cast of real-life, middle-aged surf legends and addicts reflecting on their experiences in the male-dominated sport. Going pro, competing against guys, and paving the way for the hoards of Malibu surfer girls crowding today’s breaks, it’s never been cooler to surf like a girl. (Graciegirl/Swell Pictures; www.thewomenandthewaves.com)
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The goal: Climb Mount Kenya’s 16,355-foot Lenana Peak, 14,980-foot Mount Meru, and 19,330-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in 21 days The purpose: To raise $300,000 for three grass-roots organizations in Africa The causes: Education, the environment, and HIV/AIDS The team: Ten women with only a handful of mountaineering experience among them—teachers, occupational therapists, executives, and a park ranger The vehicle: A 52-minute documentary-style film produced by David D’Angelo and directed by Michael Brown Among sappy scenes of self-discovery and even a moment of dry-leg shaving at base camp, the empowering message of this film shines through. Despite sometimes clichéd moments of personal crisis and at least a half dozen teary outbreaks from the climbers, it’s impossible not to feel inspired by the real-life impact of this fundraising effort and the physical struggles of these wide-eyed women. Who’ll be the first to raft the continent’s three longest rivers, traverse its biggest parks, or cycle its longest roads? It’ll definitely be someone who watched this film first. (Serac Adventure Films; www.3peaks3weeks.org)
On August 1, 1999, Polly Letofsky began a five-year, 14,124-mile journey around the world. This feature-length documentary directed, produced, and (mostly) filmed by Polly’s older brother, PJ traces her epic journey from central Colorado through New Zealand, Malaysia, India, Turkey, England, Canada, and 15 other countries. When all was said and done, Polly had raised more than a quarter-million dollars for local breast cancer organizations, walked across 782 maps, and wore through 29 pairs of shoes. The film blends roadside photos and video clips of Polly’s trek with interviews from her parents, supporters, friends, and a handful of the 1,900 women who joined her for distances ranging from 1 to more than 700 miles. While the story is a tad predictable, the film sheds an interesting light on the logistical and cultural difficulties of the trip that made Polly a hero to a cause— and the first woman to walk around the world. (www.pollysglobalwalk.com)
We’ve joined forces with the Boulder Adventure Film Festival to sponsor the first-ever Women’s Adventure Award. See our call for films, suggest films you’d like to see entered, and track submissions we’ve received at womensadventuremagazine.com.
[ KIDS CORNER ]
Ask a child where corn comes from, and he’s likely to answer “Safeway” or “Albertsons.” As moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and mentors, we have a unique opportunity to let kids in on the real dish—the hands-on way. And given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lax enforcement of food safety and handling, you’ll feel confident serving up pesticide-free and melamine-free items right from your own backyard. • If you want to go big and you have the money and the patience, you might consider planting a fruit tree. The presence of a fruit-bearing tree is substantial, in both stature and sustenance. Harvest peaches, apples, pears, or oranges with your child, and then enjoy the vibrant fall colors of the leaves and the sweet blooms in spring. For smaller backyards, consider the space-saving dwarf varieties of apple and citrus trees. Many of them still yield up to 500 pieces of fruit per season. www.eartheasy.com/grow_fruit_tree
• Get creative with vegetable gardens by allowing your child to decide which varieties to plant. She’ll be much more likely to take an interest in eating the end product if she’s played a part in its selection and care. Present your child with a list of options, including squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, corn, and beans. A “pizza garden” with herbs and tomatoes is also popular with kids. www.homeandgardensite.com/ChildrensSite/vegetable_garden • Start a peanut farm and make your own peanut butter. Peanuts are really legumes (not nuts), and you can actually plant the peanut itself to get started. Go to womensadventuremagazine.com for advice on starting your own peanut garden and for kid-friendly recipes. Your child will be so excited, he’ll want to start a berry garden too! PB&J will never be the same.
[ GET OUT OF WORK EXCUSE ]
Need a little time off? We’ve got you covered. One hour: I cook for my dogs, and we were out of rice. Half day: Rode to pick up my bike-commuter award. All day: I honor Flag Day by taking off Mondays.
[ GOTTA HAVE ]
Limited Edition Adopt-a-Pet poster Shepard Fairey, the iconic street artist who made history by creating the HOPE Obama image posters, created special limited edition prints and lithographs in the same style to benefit shelter pet adoptions. The first round sold out quickly, and Shepard went to work on a gold and black version to release when the Obama’s adopted their “first dog” from a local shelter. The collar of the dog on the poster was to bear the date of the firstever presidential shelter pet adoption. Unfortunately, Bo, the Portugese water dog came to the family as a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy—who got the dog from a breeder. Adopt-a-pet staff are still hopeful that the Obama family will save a shelter dog as a companion to keep Bo company.
SMHeart link If you’re a techie, you’ll appreciate SMHeart link hardware and the iBPM+ Apple Applications downloads that wirelessly send heart-rate-monitor data to your iPhone, along with other training info you might need. Who knew the iPhone could also be a personal trainer? $155. www.smheartlink.com
Nutcase helmet Okay, we’ll admit that helmets aren’t sexy. They mess up your hair and in general make you look like a bobblehead. But you’d be crazy to ride, skate, ski, or board without one. The answer: Nutcase Helmets. If you have to be Safety Sue, you might as well have some fun and flair doing it. Go ahead, express yourself. $50. www.nutcasehelmets.com
Until then, the collar of the illustrated dog’s neck will read, “Lead by Example.” A signed and numbered limited edition of the print sold out, but the image is available on stickers, T-shirts, sweatshirts and as a free, downloadable PDF. The gold and black version has yet to be released (as of press time). And, while you’re on the site, be sure to click on the Adopt a Pet link to view over 7,000 available pets who need a permanent home. www.muttslikeme.com
[ HAHA, LOL, ROTFL ]
© 2008 Tundra Comics
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INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ DREAM JOB ]
Meet Abigail Sussman
Age: 31 Stomping ground: North Cascades between Mount Rainier and Mount Baker Job: Mount Rainier National Park backcountry ranger Abigail at her backcountry cabin
Abigail Sussman was in high school when she realized she could get paid for being outside, and more than a decade later, she’s still loving—almost—every minute of her dream job. As a steward for the wooded slopes of Mt. Rainier, she still gets excited when introducing someone to the public lands she feels strongly about preserving. Before beginning her 7th season in the backcountry this year, Abigail took some time to tell WAM what she loves about her life as a ranger.
What’s a typical day at work? My job is based 10 miles from the nearest road, and I’m there to educate visitors and enforce regulations. I’m out as a steward for the park, making sure that the interaction between the land and the people is going well. Every day is different, and that’s one of the reasons I love the job. What else do you love about your job? It allows me to be kind of a generalist. I’m not a geologist, and I don’t have to know everything about geology, but I know enough
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to help people understand why it’s so cool to be standing on the side of a volcano. I have the opportunity to learn about all kinds of things—plants, wildlife, geology—and pass that knowledge on to hikers.
are able to keep public lands and wilderness reserved for everybody. I know it sounds clichéd, but I do feel strongly about that.
What’s the most surprising thing about your job? What surprised me most was how many people think that putting toilet paper under a rock is an appropriate way to dispose of it. If someone leaves toilet paper out, I am the one who has to clean it up. What kinds of goals help you stay satisfied in your job? My goal for the moment is to learn as much as I can, to do the best I can do to host people on their own land, and do the best I can do to make sure we
How did you get into your job as a backcountry ranger? Having gone to Alaska as a wildlife technician soon after high school opened the door for me, but it took time to figure out how to be involved in fieldwork without being a scientist. Eventually, I wove my way into jobs that allowed me to be outside and use skills I already had or could acquire and feel comfortable with. I worked at Badlands National Park, North Cascades National Park, and the Mount Baker Ranger District and slowly moved into a backcountry ranger position.
[ RED CARPET ]
10-minute Sports Makeover Christa Keppler, 38, donned her cycling gear for us and said, “I have gotten a lot of use out of these babies.” Ronie Graczyk, Assistant Sales Manager and expert bike fitter at University Bicycles in Boulder, Colorado believed her. Her shorts, helmet and cotton hoody were all 15 years old or more. Ronie wisked Christa through the shop and outfitted her head to toe in up-to-date gear that will make her riding experience much more comfortable and enjoyable. Specialized Propero Helmet: Sized smaller with strategic ventilation. Helmets should be replaced after any impact or every 3-4 years. Bell Helmet- 18 years old Specialized Gloves: Padding reduces stress on your ulnar nerve and hand fatigue.
Cotton Champion hoody Adidas tank top
Descente Slipstream Jersey: Moisture wicking with quick-release sleeves make temperature adjustments a snap.
REI “cycling” shorts (could hardly call them that looking at the chamois) 15 years old Gloves 10+ years old
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Shorts: Comfort is key. With ergonomic panel construction and superior chamois cushioning.
Cotton ankle socks
Diadora shoes circa 1994
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Cushion Socks: Seamless stitching and lightweight fabrication keep feet breathing. (before) 15 year old Trek bike
(after) Trek 1.2 WSD
To see the full video of Christa’s makeover, and enter to win one of your own, go to: womensadventuremagazine.com
Specialized BG Torch Road Shoe: Built for a woman’s foot. A buckle and velcro help keep feet stable and secure for great pedaling efficiency.
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ NEWS ]
Backpacks Imagine a backpack the size of the fingernail on your pinky. British researchers have created a 1.5gram sensor that sits on a bird’s back and transmits migration data with greater accuracy than previous tracking methods. As climate change continues to threaten many species of songbirds, the location of migratory stopovers becomes crucial. The more habitat we destroy, the farther the birds must fly. The results from the first study were recently reported in the journal Science. Though 34 birds were outfitted with the backpack sensors, only seven were recovered with the sensors still intact. The others must have figured out how to sit on top of a large rock and shed it the way we do. WE LIKE STORIES LIKE THIS: Because we’ve always wondered where birds stowed their gorp and beef jerky.
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A recent report in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that one-third of children ages two to 17 regularly take vitamins. Ulfat Shaikh, MD, MPH, head of the study and a pediatrician at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, says that kids in the study “who had the ideal profile—higher dietary fiber intake, higher milk intake, lower total fat and cholesterol intake, lower computer use, greater physical activity, lower obesity, insurance coverage, good health care access, and whose parents said that they were in good health—these kinds of kids were the highest users.” Those from lower-income families with inadequate dietary habits were least likely to use supplements. WHY WE CARE: Disparities in income and education allow one class to live longer than another. Don’t all people deserve adequate health care?
WHAT THIS MEANS: The demise of traditional research labs spending billions of dollars to convert cow flatulence to fuel.
Alert Arm-chair scientists rise up. Some of the world’s greatest discoveries might be made in your next-door neighbor’s basement. In
Coffee drinkers have another reason to celebrate their skinny, no-foam, doubleespresso lattes. New results from a 20-year study of middle-aged Finnish coffee
istock photo illustration; iSTOCK
Vitamins and Kids
December, the Associated Press reported that biohackers (amateur biologists) are increasing in number and are working on everything from biofuels and vaccines to tattoos that glow. Whether this trend will result in catastrophes or cures remains to be seen. In the meantime, sites like www.DIYbio.com are creating communities where participants can share their work and get information and advice. Already one useful discovery has emerged. One woman used jelly-fish DNA and a DNA analyzer to alter yogurt bacteria to glow green when it detects melamine—the industrial chemical found in Chinese infant formula last year. Her cost: $125.
drinkers showed that the participants who enjoyed three to five cups of joe daily were 66 percent less likely to develop dementia than non–coffee drinkers. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported the findings but was careful to say that a direct cause and effect could not be made. More research is needed to determine if lifestyle habits consistent among coffee drinkers (or components within the coffee itself such as caffeine and antioxidants) are responsible for the results. But, with other research hinting at coffee’s beneficial effects against developing certain cancers and Parkinson’s, you can enjoy a cup or two with a clear conscience.
Move Over Odie and Garfield If you call out “Max” in the dog park and every animal with fur and four legs comes running, it could be because that was the most popular name for dogs and cats in 2008. According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation’s largest and oldest provider of pet health insurance, these were the top 10 pet names in 2008:
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Because next year coffee will be found to cause everything from arthritis to foot fungus—so drink up now!
A New Yoga
iSTOCK photo illustration
A recent review in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that sexually unsatisfied women who practice the Eastern techniques of mindfulness and yoga reported improvements in levels of arousal and desire as well as better orgasms. In addition, yoga has been found to effectively treat premature ejaculation in men.
Of the most unusual names from the survey—sent out to more than 400,000 pet owners—our favorites were Rush Limbark and Edward Scissorpaws.
WHAT THIS DOES: Gives new meaning to hot yoga.
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ BY DESIGN ]
Ultra Motor Portia Electric Vehicle
The electric bicycle is almost as old as its human-powered counterpart—both arrived on the scene in the late nineteenth century— and we’ve been rolling ever since. But electricity-powered bicycles never gained the popularity of regular bikes here in the United States. Until now. With higher energy costs and real concern about making responsible environmental choices, electric pedal-assist and power-on-demand bikes are roaring to popularity in Europe and the United States. Cycle-centric Holland sells an estimated 89,000 electric bikes each year, and here in the States about 25,000 e-bikes are sold annually. China, the e‑bike center of the world, sells more than 18 million per year. Currently, electric bikes come in two basic flavors: pedal-assist and power-on-demand. Pedal-assist bikes are true bicycles that require the rider to pedal but provide an electric boost, particularly when more effort is required for hill climbing or initial acceleration. But without your own effort, you won’t move. Power-ondemand bikes, or light electric vehicles (LEVs), have a throttle and don’t require any effort on the rider’s part to move, but they still have fully operational pedals and gears. If you run out of juice, most LEVs will let you pedal to your destination, albeit at a fairly slow pace due to the weight of the bike. Both types of cycles have a top speed of 20 miles per hour, and federal law doesn’t require any special permit or even a driver’s license to operate them. Electric bikes use lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, or lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. But relatively lightweight Li-ions can shave 40 pounds off the weight of a similarly28 WAM OJUNE’2009”
equipped e-bike, and have become the go-to option for many manufacturers even though fire hazard has been a concern with Li-ions (remember the laptop battery recall not so long ago?). “If you take a laptop battery and drive a nail through it, it will probably explode,” explains Zach Krapfl, director of the Electric Propulsion Group at Cannondale Sports Group. “We wanted to make sure that the battery wasn’t a risk,” he says, referring to the big news in battery technology, the Toshiba Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB). “If a rider should crash on an electric bicycle, the Toshiba battery is safer than regular lithium batteries.” Cannondale Sports Group makes the Schwinn Series of e-bikes and their Tailwind utilizes this new technology not just for safety: the lightweight plug-and-play battery system adds only 12 pounds to the total bike weight and can recharge in 30 minutes. Schwinn guarantees a life of two years or 20,000 miles and 3,000 recharges on the new battery. Most Li-ion bike batteries take three and a half to five hours to charge— still within a reasonable range of time for an overnight recharge or during the business day at work. Zach says commercial chargers should start making their appearance at bike shops, at coffee houses, and on university campuses in the near future. Plugged into a commercial charger, the Toshiba battery can recharge in an amazing seven minutes. Fancy battery technology means fancy prices. Most non-lead-acid battery bikes are in the $2,000-plus range. If that’s out of your league, there are kits for converting your regular bike into an e-bike. But you can expect your homemade variety to take longer to charge and be heavier than the top electric models. The environmental advantages are obvious.
Even if you recharge with the dirtiest energy source—a coal-burning plant—you are creating only 1.2 grams of CO2 per kilometer of power used. The most efficient gas-burning vehicle makes 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer. For every 500 miles an electric bike is used in lieu of a car, you’ll save an average of 25 gallons of fuel. The Earth wins every time you ride your e-bike instead of driving a car. So who’s riding all these electric bikes? Although the target audience is the 50-plus crowd, e-bikes are growing in popularity with everyone from college kids to grandparents. Riding an electric bicycle, you don’t have to let physical hurdles like bad knees or chronic conditions keep you grounded, and you don’t have to arrive at your destination a sweaty mess. They give you total control over how much effort your ride takes. Most e-bikes come outfitted with rear carrying racks, making them perfect for loading down with groceries, laptops, lunches, or textbooks. Whether you’re interested in saving the Earth or just making yourself healthier, electric cycling is a great choice. E-bikes let beginning athletes build fitness, and strengthen their cycling skills, knowing there’s a little extra help available when they need it. And they’re just plain fun to ride.
Big E-bike Players I-Zip. At last count I-Zip was offering 28 different e-bikes: power-on-demand, pedal-assist models, and one of them folds up too. Some newer models even let you switch between throttle and pedal-assist modes. Prices range from $790 to $3,000. www.izipusa.com Ultra Motor. Three power-on-demand LEVs make up Ultra Motor’s stable. Although these vehicles are heavier than pedal-assist bikes, their clever gearing keeps them very pedal-friendly on level terrain. The top-of-theline A2B model retails for about $2,700. www.ultramotor.com
Schwinn. This year Schwinn has seven electric pedal-assist models, including the Tailwind, which retails for about $3,199. Other models start at $1,950. www.schwinnbike.com
Giant. Giant’s Twist pedal-assist series
come with either one or two battery packs. The double-battery DX has a mileage range of up to 75 miles before it needs a recharge. Prices range from $1,850 to $2,250. www.giant-bicycles.com E-bikes are available through your friendly neighborhood bike dealer. womensadventuremagazine.com
[ ROAR ]
[ BY THE NUMBERS ]
The Growth of “Green” Growing
Farmers’ markets operating in the US in 2008
3,355 Wal-Mart owned grocery outlets (Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club stores) operating in the United States in 2008 Dr. Jessie Stone selling mosquito net
COURTESY OF DR. JESSIE STONE
Dr. Jessie Stone Saving Lives and Splashing the Competition Paddling the Nile River and educating eastern Ugandans about malaria prevention, Jessie Stone, MD, is living her whitewater dream while saving lives. A medical doctor from Westchester, New York, “Dr. Jessie,” 42, started a malaria outreach/education program covering the Jinja and Kamuli districts in 2004. Last year, in Bujagali, she opened Soft Power Health, a general medical facility, also offering family planning and malaria testing. “As a professional athlete, it’s challenging to run Soft Power Health and train at a high level,” says Jessie, a professional whitewater kayaker sponsored by Jackson Kayaks. “Lucky for me I live next to one of the greatest whitewater rivers.” She paddles the Nile’s class IV and V rapids daily for fitness and relaxation. Last year she took fourth at the TEVA Mountain Games Freestyle competition and tenth at the Freestyle World Championships. No surprise, most of her volunteers are kayakers. Dr. Jessie and her staff spend tireless hours driving hot, dusty, wrecked red-clay roads to reach rural communities and teach about malaria contraction and prevention. At the end of each session, she sells subsidized nets for about $1.50, or a day’s pay. Why not give them away? “Buying nets give people a sense of ownership,” she says. Three to five months
170% Increase in U.S. farmers’ markets since 1998
later, she and her staff return to the villages to make follow-up house and hut calls and to ensure that the nets are properly hung and without holes. “Nothing beats talking to rural villagers to find out what they know (and don’t) and what they need,” she says, explaining what keeps her going. “My motivation comes from seeing a program that works and how grateful people are for a little assistance.” As of January 1, 2009, Soft Power Health has sold more than 30,000 nets and educated more than 100,000 people. Adding super to Superwoman, when in the States, Jessie runs a kayaking program for inner-city kids from Harlem, New York. Last fall some of the kids visited Uganda. She says, “It was incredible having them helping at the clinic and playing on the Nile.” This year Jessie hopes to make the U.S. Freestyle Kayak team, compete at Kayak Freestyle World Championships, and take an expedition river trip in Gabon, with time off the water to explore the area’s malaria problem. In the long run, she says, “I’d like our clinic and malaria education/prevention program to continue to grow.” She also wants to set up a mosquito net manufacturing operation. “Most of all, I am grateful for my good fortune and I enjoy what I do!” -Stefani Jackenthal
Percent of organic-food sales through farmers’ markets in 2006
U.S. ranking behind Australia, China, and Argentina among the top organic-food-producers
Percent of organic-food sales through mass market grocery stores in 2006
Hectares of organic land in the United States in 2005
23 billion Projected U.S. sales of organic food and beverages for 2008 (increase of $22 billion since 1990)
INSPIRATION AND INFORMATION
[ LESSONS FROM THE FIELD ]
[ YOUR HEALTH ]
The Eyes Have It Seeing is a gift that needs a little TLC You may not know it, but June is Vision Research Awareness Month. It’s easy to attribute most vision problems to eyestrain or aging, but the first signs of numerous diseases, including multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure, involve the eye. So, even if you feel like your vision hasn’t changed, it’s important to schedule an annual exam with your optometrist. Should you go sooner? According to Prevent Blindness America (www.preventblindness.org), any of the following symptoms warrant further investigation:
Rolling Waves of Life Are Up Ahead
s a kayaker entering a rapid, there is a moment of wonder: What’s going to happen next? You’ve developed the paddling skills and the river knowledge, acquired the proper safety gear and training, scouted and planned your line, and perhaps you’ve even run this rapid a hundred times before. And yet you can never predict what is going to happen. It could be a wild, fun ride; it could be a smooth, elegant sneak; or it could be a turbulent flip. Therein lies the fun. Whether it’s something as trivial as trying a new recipe or as significant as navigating relationships, life presents a similar series of uncertain drops. Without the option of turning back, each day is an opportunity to engage in the experience—without expectations of what we’ve decided should happen but with an openness to what does. Unlike everyday life, on the river there’s no illusion of certainty. But just like everyday life, the ride is richer for each new set of waves, whatever they may bring. If you find yourself breathless, frustrated, disappointed, and clinging to an overdeveloped sense of control, take a lesson from kayakers. They recognize the true adventure in embracing uncertainty and using it as an opportunity to find amazing surf or learn from an inherent danger. For them it’s not about everything working out perfectly; it’s about having gone for the ride. So prepare yourself, take a deep breath, and drop into the unknown. -Kathy Bennett
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If you experience any of the following sym toms, seek immediate medical attention: Sudden loss of vision in one eye Sudden hazy or blurred vision Flashes of light or black spots Halos or rainbows around light Curtain-like blotting out of vision Loss of peripheral (side) vision
Unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects Squinting or blinking due to light or glare sensitivity Change in color of iris Red-rimmed, encrusted, or swollen lids Recurrent pain in or around the eyes Double vision Dark spot at the center of viewing Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy Excess tearing or watery eyes Dry eyes with itching or burning Seeing spots or ghostlike images
It’s a different style of outdoor adventure. Set foot, wheel, rod, ski or paddle on a Women’s Wilderness Adventure, and you initiate an experience that’s uniquely your own. Our trips are designed for the way women like to learn and play. Join us for an unforgettable vacation in Colorado, Wyoming or Utah. Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding Wilderness Yoga Retreats Mountain Biking Rock Climbing River Trips Creative Retreats and so much more.
Get inspired. womenswilderness.org 303.938.9191
WAM OJUNE’2009” © 2008 The Women’s Wilderness Institute
Photo: Karen High
Look Before You Leap
Are women pre-disposed to be more risk averse than male adventurers? By Shauna Stephenson
The daring rider would rip down the singletrack, launch off a rock, stick the landing, and pedal like hell to get out before getting stuck. Misjudge the landing and you end up on the crotch-shot segment of America’s Funniest Home Videos. I hesitated, considering my options. The whole thing had a general “bad idea” stench to it.
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Meanwhile, Curtis Martindale was preparing for takeoff. This apparently wasn’t even a question to him. As he approached the rock, pedaling furiously, a scarier thought occurred to me: Am I a wimp? What I didn’t know was that, at that particular moment, my own biology was working against me. “It’s not at all that women are risk averse,” says Jody Radtke, program director for the Women’s Wilderness Institute in Boulder, Colorado. When men are confronted with challenging situations, they typically produce adrenaline, which is what causes them to run around, hollering like frat boys at a kegger. An adrenaline rush is a good feeling, but when confronted with the same situation, women produce a different chemical, called acetylcholine.
“Pretty much what [acetylcholine] does is it makes you want to vomit,” says Jody. Because women don’t have the same positive chemical reward, they tend to be less pumped about confronting stressful situations. This leads them to rely on decision-making. Essentially, they want the whole picture before they go diving in. Research, Jody says, shows that women have more cross-networking between the two hemispheres of the brain, which subconsciously allows them to evaluate different sensory cues, facts, and emotions when making decisions. The cause of this difference probably lies somewhere in the debate of nature versus nurture and the history of evolution. Marvin Zuckerman, professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, has studied risk for decades. He found that men are typically more likely to take risks when seeking novel or exciting sensations, and that comes from both genetics and environment.
illustration: krisan christensen
e daring or be cautious? Every woman worth her salt has encountered a scenario like this: My biking buddies and I were cruising downtrail when we came to a stream. George Anadiotis, the more advanced rider of the bunch, suggested that we could ride down to find a better crossing, but if we were really hardcore...
“What’s important seems to be the environment that isn’t shared by siblings in the same family,” he says. So here’s the basic breakdown: Genetics determines predisposition to risk taking. We then seek out individuals (friends, partners, spouses) who are like us, which reinforces those tendencies. But what determines the genetics? General theory says evolution. Throughout our history as a species, risk has benefited us in such things as mate selection and expansion of territory, says Zuckerman, although hard evidence is tough to come by and the research continues. But the extent of evolution is in the eye of the beholder.
Blood trickled down his shins, and he nursed his wounds as I continued upstream, musing something about a woman’s intuition.
“At that particular moment, my own biology was working against me.”
Launching off the rock, Curtis misjudged his landing, cementing my hunch about going around. Why they design men’s bikes with high bars in the center I’ll never know.
LOVE ON THE ROCKS 0
Chemistry and Camping Our intrepid columnist finds herself in new territory. By Elizabeth Kwak-Hefferan
Sidelong glances. Text messages fraught with double entendres. Jittery, roller-coaster sensations in your stomach. Analyzing his every move with five of your best friends. You know—fun.
Longing. Sighs. Lying awake at night while cheesy, romantic pop ballads play uncontrollably in your head.
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He glanced over at me, the firelight flickering in
his eyes—“sick face shots, brah”—and it hit me: Oh! A crush. Well, it would be a good crush, then. This wasn’t the time or place for anything more. We were 9 miles deep into Washington’s Olympic National Park, sweaty and dirt-streaked. I didn’t want to miss the Hoh River churning softly just beyond our circle, or snow-crowned Mount Olympus looming overhead, because I was mooning over him. Plus, we had 22 trail switchbacks between here and the next night’s camp. I couldn’t afford to lose any sleep. He was my friend, any-
way. No reason to complicate that. Oh, and one more thing: his girlfriend was sitting on the log next to him. No big deal, I told myself firmly. I was bound to snap out of it sooner or later. The next few days were totally normal. I kept my eyes away from his. I emphatically did not think about him when we said goodnight, or jealously picture him zipping his sleeping bag together with hers, or fiercely wonder what this trip would have been like if she hadn’t come. She didn’t even like camping. She was the kind of girl who put on makeup before climbing out of her
found myself thinking about the difference one night last fall. On the other side of a crackling campfire, a good friend of mine— who happens to be adorable and brilliant and hilarious—was cracking us all up with his impression of the dirtbag ski bums he’d known back in Vail. Strangely, though, I couldn’t entirely concentrate on what he was saying. His voice drifted in and out of my head— “shredding wicked gnar”—as I struggled to identify a new sensation settling in the center of my chest.
tent in the morning. The next night his voice woke me well past midnight. “Guys? Did you hear that?” he said. “I heard something big. I think it was a bear.” I wasn’t worried—there were five of us, after all—so I rolled over and drifted off again. I didn’t dream about crawling into his sleeping bag and tucking my head into the crook of his shoulder. I most certainly did not feel any sharp stabs of pain at the image of him falling back asleep with his girlfriend, just a few feet away, their fingers intertwined. On our last night in Washington, we camped
next to the Pacific Ocean under a full moon. Bone-tired, starving, and sweaty, I watched him pitch his tent from the safety of the dark. As I scraped the last spoonful of dehydrated Santa Fe chicken out of its bag, it never crossed my mind that I would kill for the chance to sit next to him, only him, and gaze out at the ocean forever. We cleaned up, flew back home to Colorado, and resumed our regular lives. He was my friend— a wonderful writer too, an always-positive force, a kind person who really cared whether or not those around him were happy. It didn’t take more than a few days for me to
face up to the truth. Damn. This was not a good crush at all. This was longing, and sighs, and lying awake at night while cheesy love songs played on an endless loop. It didn’t help that we were hanging out more and more, or that he was texting me with growing frequency, or that our good-byes stretched into hour-long extended conversations. It all just served to drive home the aching realization that right here was everything I’d always wanted—and I couldn’t have it. How can you extricate yourself from a crush like that? How can you
believe that the madness will ever pass? This was far, far beyond fun; this was excruciating. But then, one freezing night, after I’d almost given up on ever escaping, he walked me home. But he didn’t say goodnight like he usually did. He stared up at the moon with—could that be torment on his face? He then caught my gaze. “Am I hallucinating,” he asked, “or is there something between us?” Oh. Wow. He had a crush on me too, then, and it was just as bad. Unbelievable. Amazing. He was looking for an answer in my face, and I was definitely, definitely smiling.
SENSE OF PLACE
share, having inherited prematurely her share of that joy. For a fact, this joy seems too large. I think maybe that that is what is happening, sometimes, at certain moments. I glance at them, and love them fully and deeply, but then a second wave or wash comes in over that one, as if she is watching them over my shoulder, and I feel it again.
Rick Bass is the author of 22 books, and his stories have won the O. Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize. Here he turns his attention to his birthplace, Texas. In “The Farm,” he tells a story of his mother, his children, and the link to a place that binds them all.
By Rick Bass
t was still the end-of-winter at our home in northern Montana, but down in south Texas, in April, at my father’s farm, it was full-bore spring. It was a joy to me to realize that Lowry, just-turnedthree, would now have the colors and sights of this place lodged in at least her subconscious, and that Mary Katherine, just-turned-six, was old enough to begin doing some serious remembering. Some children of course hold on to odd-shaped bits and pieces of memory from a much earlier age—but around the age of six and seven, nearly everything can be retained—or at least that was how it worked for me, when I was a child. We had flown to Austin, rented a car, visited my brother, and then had driven down into the brush country and toward the live oaks and dunes that lay in braided twists some 50 miles inland, to the farm. As we drove, Elizabeth and I talked and watched the late-day sunlight stretch across the green fields; the girls slept, tired from their travels, in the back seat. Angels. So much joy do they bring me that sometimes I wonder if, since my mother is not here to love and know them, I’ll carry also her 36 WAM OJUNE’2009”
It used to give me a bittersweet feeling, but now I’m not sure what the word for it is. Gratitude, sometimes: to the girls, of course, but also to my mother.
went splashing into that muddy water. “Frog alert, frog alert!” we cried, and ran down to mud’s edge to try to catch one, but there were too many, springing zigzag in too many directions; you couldn’t focus, and couldn’t chase just one, because their paths were crisscrossing so. There were so many frogs in the air at any one time that occasionally they would have midair collisions; they were ricocheting off each other. The mud around the shoreline of their fast-disappearing pond glistened, so fast was the water evaporating, and the mud was hieroglyphed with the handprints of what might have been armies of raccoons, though also it could have been the maddened pacings of one very unsuccessful raccoon.
They woke when we stopped to open the gate. We drove through and closed the gate behind us, and because we could not wait, we parked the car there and decided to walk instead We finally caught one of the little of drive the rest of the way to the frogs, and examined it: the grayfarmhouse. We walked in the late-day brown back that was so much the light, the last light, down the white color of the mud, and the pearl-white sandy winding road, beneath the underbelly. I wondered why, when moss-hung limbs of the enormous frogs sunned themselves, they didn’t live oaks—trees that were 500 and stretch out and lie on their backs, the 600 years old. It’s so strange, the way way humans do at the beach. I guess there will be certain stretches of time, they would get eaten. I guess if a frog certain moments, where for a little had a mud-brown belly while it will feel it could lie on its back, exactly as if I am I wondered camouflaged to the birds walking in her why, when above, and still be able to every footstep: frogs sunned listen for the approach of as if I am her, in themselves, they terrestrial predators, but I that moment, set didn’t stretch out guess also there’s no real back in time— and lie on their evolutionary advantage to and enjoying backs, the way a frog being able to warm that moment as humans do at its belly in the sun. Though I know she must the beach. for that matter the same have enjoyed it, could be said of us. or one like it, 30 or 40 years ago. And I wonder, is it just this way for me, or Into the farmhouse she loved so do others experience such feelings, much—she had lived in it, and loved such moments? it, for only a few years before she fell ill, but had loved it so fully in that Buttercups, winecups, and black-eyed time that I still cannot step into it Susans; before we had taken 10 steps, without feeling that remnant loveLowry and Mary Katherine both had of-place. And it is thin substitute for picked double-fistful bouquets, and her absence, but with the exception had braided flowers in their hair. of my own blood in my veins, and Another 10 steps took us across the memories, it is all there is, and I am culvert that ran beneath the road. grateful for it, place. There was water standing in the From the book, Home Land: Ranching culvert and in receding little oxbows and a West That Works; Johnson on either side of the road, and as Books 2007. we approached, 10,000 little frogs womensadventuremagazine.com
Marathon runner and skin cancer survivor, Deena Kastor
An Athlete’s Skin Exposed
Learn how to minimize one of your largest sporting health risks—sun damage to your superexposed skin. By Kristy Holland
When it comes to skin care and sports, it’s often these urgent, bloody, and uncomfortable issues that cause me to act—or react—to protect my largest organ. By comparison the sunburned strip of skin on my shoulder isn’t much of a priority. But, according to Neil Fenske, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida, it should be. “It’s not just severe burns; cumulative sun exposure is a factor in how soon you’ll see evidence of sun damage: spots, discolorations, and pre-cancers.” In the United States, melanoma—the most deadly form of skin cancer—is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women age 20 to 30. And though melanoma is still a larger risk for men than for women overall, the risk for women age 19 to 39 has more than doubled in the past 30 years to almost 14 cases per 100,000 people. Olympic marathon runner Deena Kastor has made her contribution to that statistic. “Unfortunately the sun is a job hazard for me,” she says. “I am probably outside for four to five hours a day while living and training at 8,000 feet altitude, and some summer days I feel the sun is just sitting on my shoulder.” Deena’s cancer wake-up call came
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in 2001, when two skin biopsies tested positive as basal cell carcinoma. Since then she sees a dermatologist quarterly, has had more than 200 stitches to close up the holes left by cancer removal, and has been lucky to catch three melanomas before they became life-threatening. “I am not proud to say that I’ve lost count of how many times I have had cancer removed,” she says. Since her diagnosis, the 39-year-old has become more diligent about more than just her visits to the dermatologist; she’s restructured her routine to include sun protection. She carefully applies a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high sun-protection factor (SPF) and reapplies regularly; she wears a cap, sunglasses, and long-sleeved or protective clothing; and she even runs on the shady side of the street when it’s an option. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., being extra diligent around ultraviolet–reflecting water or snow, and avoiding tanning beds. Dr. Fenske adds that broad-spectrum sunscreens are an important part of protection as well: “SPF only indicates a lotion’s protection against UVB rays that are responsible for the burning and reddening of the skin’s upper layers,” he says. Long-wave UVA rays—the type that makes tanning beds both effective and dangerous—are linked more closely with melanoma and the deeper skin damage that causes wrinkles. “I also recommend using a sunscreen with Mexoryl, a chemical block that absorbs the broadest spectrum of UVA rays, or a physical sunscreen using
just finished an adventure race and I have a blister. I’ve extracted a tick from my armpit, a poison ivy rash is erupting on my neck, and my blood-streaked legs are proof that scrub oak rips indiscriminately through both clothing and the fragile outer layers of my skin.
micronized zinc. It goes on white and it’s not cosmetically elegant,” he says, “but it works.” The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends at least annual self-exams and regular dermatological exams, especially for people with fair skin, a family history of skin cancer or pre-cancer, or a history of blistering sunburns; also at higher risk are individuals with large, numerous, or asymmetrical moles. Last year Dr. Fenske led the first-ever skin cancer screening for the University of South Florida’s Athletic Department and was surprised that so many of the coaches had never sought dermatologic care. “They had found 101 reasons not to,” he says. “But once we pointed out the damage, it got their attention and motivated some of them to get their pre-cancers treated.” Skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early on—the five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on a new sun-block rating system that will make it even easier to identify the protection level of broadspectrum sunscreens, and technology can also lend a hand toward protection. A recent study from the Harvard Medical School found that text-message reminders increased daily sunscreen use significantly. There are also textmessage reminder services such as www. txtmymeds.com that allow you to schedule a free, daily reminder to apply sunscreen. The sun is a hazard that Deena and many outdoor or extreme athletes can’t avoid. You certainly won’t find me biking in the rain or climbing westfacing pitches after dark. I love to finish a run, dripping with sunscreen-slicking sweat. The peaks in my backyard increase my UV exposure by doubledigit percentages, and, if given the chance, I’d kill for an entire day on the water, which bounces UV rays back toward my skin, effectively doubling my exposure. What am I supposed to do? Follow Deena’s lead.
While running the Olympic marathon in Beijing last summer, U.S. distance runner Deena Kastor broke her foot. “Blood test results proved that I had plenty of calcium in my system,” she says, “but almost no vitamin D to absorb the calcium into my bones.” Vitamin D is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption, and the body creates the nutrient through a synthesis process that starts when UV rays hit exposed skin. Deena’s aggressive sunprotection regimen had, essentially, starved her body of the nutrient that is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption and made her bones brittle. “The tanning industry is jumping on [this vitamin D controversy] as a way to encourage tanning,” says Neil Fenske, MD, of the University of South Florida’s Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery. Dr. Fenske claims that a very little bit of sun exposure—10 to 30 minutes two to three times per week—is more than enough to satisfy the body’s nutritional requirement. Though some research has indicated that vitamin D may also help reduce the risk of some internal cancers, the American Academy of Dermatology is clear that the risks of tanning, inside or out, aren’t worth the skin cancer risks. It strongly recommends getting vitamin D from supplements and food sources such as fortified cereal, oily fish like salmon and tuna, and fortified milk, cheeses, and yogurt. Contrary to the claims of some tanning parlors—and even a few outspoken doctors—the message is very clear: Despite your need for vitamin D, tanning isn’t safe.
Eat a Bowl of Tea
Don’t just drink it—the antioxidant benefits of Camellia sinensis transcend its traditional liquid state. When it comes to tea, you can sip your Keemun and eat it, too. By Kristy Holland
According to the Tea Association of the USA, Americans consumed more than 2.5 billion gallons of the brew in 2007 and consumer purchases of tea are up 370 percent over the past 16 years. Why the continued growth? “Research over the past 20 years has shown that tea is making a positive impact on people’s health,” says Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the USA. “It’s one of the healthiest beverages out there.” Though Americans imbibe less than green-tea-guzzling Japan and China and chai-chugging India, one of the cutting-edge trends to up our consumption involves a whole new approach to handling tea: cooking with it.
Initial studies suggest that antioxidants called flavonoids in both green and black tea may increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce free-radical cell damage, and lower the risk of several types of cancers, from skin to ovarian to digestive varieties. Research into Epigallocatechin gallate—a flavonoid that makes up as much as 30 percent of the dry weight of green tea—points to its promising role in reducing stroke and obesity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the health benefits of tea are still inconclusive, but the hopeful research into tea’s health benefits is ongoing— averaging 900 studies per year—and Joe says, “There are very few people who disagree about the health benefits of tea, and the ones who aren’t positive are neutral.” “I always knew tea was a very versatile food,” says Danielle Beaudette, owner of New Hampshire’s The Cozy Tea Cart. “There are so many ways to use it.” In addition to experimenting in her own kitchen, Danielle teaches classes about pairing and cooking with tea
and collaborates with confectioners and bakers to perfect tea-infused caramels, scones, and even chocolates. Her inspiration came largely from a demonstration at the World Tea Expo in 2002, but since then she’s compiled dozens of recipes featuring her favorite blends. When it comes to testing the waters of cooking with tea, Danielle recommends starting with a blend or flavor you’re familiar with and know that you already like. “That way you’ll like the final product too. The earthy denseness of an aged pu-erh,” she says of her favorite after-dinner tea, “may not be for everyone.” Danielle also recommends starting with fresh, whole leaves and touching base with a local specialty merchant who can guide you to flavors that will enhance your meals. Though tea is highly ritualized and literally steeped in tradition worldwide, Danielle’s recommendations for teainspired meals suggest, when it comes to cooking with tea, “you really can’t go wrong.”
This is not your grandmother’s tea party: Get cooking with Danielle Baudette and her tea-toting collaborator Liz Barbour, chef and instructor at The Creative Feast. Find their favorite meals and a collection of gourmandworthy recipes from the 2008 World Tea Expo. womensadventuremagazine.com
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ow-fat, flavorful, and packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and obesityfighting catechins, tea is undergoing an urban revival of sorts. In posh and ultramodern tasting rooms, newly renovated downtown bistros across the country, and even a booming selection at your local grocery, modern twists on world’s most popular drink are fast outpacing the grandmotherly high tea of Boston party days.
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Three basic techniques Mix dry tea leaves with other spices and grind to a dry powder RUB that adds a robust flavor to baked, barbecued, roasted or sautéed meats. Apply directly to the surface of the meat—use oil as a binder—to combine sweet, salty, and spicy flavors. Aficionado speak for the drinkworthy brew, INFUSIONS are a basic and easy way to incorporate tea into soups, sauces, and marinades. Steeping tea and adding the brewed liquid to your recipe prevents bitterness caused by over-steeped leaves. Infusions are also the base of flavor-rich concentrates perfect for desserts or light sauces. Your spice rack is likely loaded with dried HERBS, but don’t overlook your tea shelf when looking for a last-minute salad or pasta topper. Hand-crush and sprinkle the leaves for flavor and flare wherever you might use oregano or basil. Especially delicious with herbal or flavored teas.
“I’d rather ride, thank you.”
Don’t tell us you still need an excuse to get out there and ride instead of driving! Listen, if the trip is less than 2 miles and you’re not hauling a family of four to their orthodontist appointments, grab one of these excellent urban bikes and roll on two wheels instead of four. After you’ve picked your bike, you’ll have a ton of fun deciding what to wear and how to carry your goodies.
Urban Warriors—For the Mean Streets 1. Kona Dr. Dew $899 Simplicity and maneuverability give these urban rides bang-foryour-buck appeal.
Dr. Dew takes all the complication out of street riding. Disc brakes (one of our favorite urban ride features), do-anything aluminum frame, and superb maneuverability will deliver you safely with a cyclist’s smile. The Dr. Dew can be easily be accessorized with fenders and a rear rack to make it more commute-friendly. A bit of shock absorption at the front end would be a nice improvement—our pot-holey roads require a buffer zone. Though it’s no big deal on short runs around town, but if your commute is longer, you might get tuckered out. www.konaworld.com
2. Novara Buzz Road $999 The Buzz Road Bike is the younger brother of REI’s popular Buzz and Big Buzz bikes. This is the only transportation bike we tested with traditional drop handlebars and road shifters. That makes it a great choice for road cyclists who are more comfortable in a horizontal position. But the Buzz doesn’t forget its purpose: urban riding. It’s got a light all-aluminum frame and disc brakes for rainy-ride safety. The handlebars have an interesting flare at the ends, giving you some extra hand spread and better control— blending flat bar and road bar handling advantages. www.rei.com
3. Electra Townie Euro 8i $1,000 The Euro is decked out for commuting with a very effective generator headlight and battery-powered LED taillight as well as a rear rack with cool straps for securing loose items. The “8i” means eight internal hub gears. With no external derailleur to get dirty, maintenance is minimal. Our only suggestion would be a lower profile front headlight; its arching design got in the way maneuvering the bike into tight spaces. But, maybe we’re just klutzes. www.electrabike.com
4. Specialized Women’s Globe Carmel 2 700c $470 The Globe is perfect for rediscovering the joy of riding. This women’s comfort bike has a step-through aluminum frame, so even riding in skirts is no problem. Initiate three-speed shifting—housed in an internal hub drive— by twisting a grip on the handlebar. The suspension front fork and seatpost smooth bumpy roads, and an upright position on the bike allows you to sit back and enjoy the view. The three Nexus gears won’t comfortably power up hilly areas, so this bike is a good bet in neighborhoods with a gentle rise. Available in black or cream. www.specialized.com
Ultrapopular for a really good reason: Townies flat-foot design makes two-wheeled transportation comfortable and easy.
5. Raleigh Roadster $520 Where fully decked-out commuter bikes take some effort to move around, the Roadster feels like, well, a roadster. Quick and light, it features an awesome M-shaped handlebar, stylish “minimalist” fenders, and a retro steel-chromoly frame. You can easily attach a rack if you need one—or sling a messenger bag over your shoulder and go. It can comfortably serve as a utility bike, a commuter bike or a tooling-around-the-neighborhood bike: Just attach handlebar streamers and you’re set! www.raleighusa.com
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“Got It All” Commuter Bikes
6. Breezer Finesse $1,999
This über-commuter (designed with Mr. Joe Breeze in mind) has generator-powered lights, internal Shimano Afine hub shifting, full fenders, an adjustable stem, a carbon seatpost and fork, disc brakes, and even strategically-placed bar ends—and it’s light and fast to boot! The carbon seatpost and fork tackle any road conditions. It’s all here and it’s all top of the line; Even the power of the headlight dazzled us—it’s bright and stays lit at the stoplights for about three minutes. www.breezerbikes.com
Utility is key for all-town bikes that blend fashion and function for ultimate office-bound ridability.
7. Raleigh Detour Deluxe $770 Like a little pack mule, the aluminum-frame Detour is loaded: generator lights, rack, disc brakes, and fenders. A more traditional derailleur shifting system makes repairs easy (and cheap) and seatopost suspension (and a plush saddle) make it a comfortable ride. Don’t want to pay extra for all the bells and whistles? There’s a whole range of budget and accessory options. But. you’ll need to add your own kickstand if you don’t want to lean it against walls and posts. www.raleighusa.com
Electric Bikes and Light Electric Vehicles Exploding in popularity—and cutting greenhouse gasses— electric bikes are coming back. And they’re a blast to ride.
8. I-Zip Via Mezza $789
Top speed: 15 mph; Charge: 20 miles; Weight: 58 pounds
The Via Mezza is an electric folding bike—perfect for toting to cyclefriendly destinations. A fixed gear and small-diameter wheels (16 inches) make long rides a bit of a chore; but that’s where that electric assist kicks in. Battery life is good (we squeezed in an 18-mile commute and a few round-the-block forays in one charge), and the compact folded size means it’s perfect for apartment dwellers or world travelers. www.izipusa.com
9. Schwinn Tailwind $3,200
Top speed: rider-dependent; Charge: 25–30 miles; Weight: 55 pounds The buzz-worthy Tailwind includes all the commuter extras (even a rearwheel lock), but the 2009 model introduces Toshiba’s Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB) technology. The SCiB slashes charge time to just 30 minutes, extends battery life to 3,000 recharges, and is designed to slip easily out of the rear rack for easy on-the-go charging. This pedal-assist model is nicely geared, so even if you do run out of juice, you can climb and pedal home without a problem. www.schwinnelectricbikes.com
10. Ultra Motor A2B $2,699
Top speed: 20 mph; Charge: 20 miles; Weight: 72 pounds This “light electric vehicle” (LEV)—somewhere between a bicycle and a moped—is a blast to ride. Just twist the throttle to go up to 20 miles per hour for a 20-mile range (or up to 40 miles if you opt for a second battery pack). Most astonishing about this 70-pounder: it pedals smoothly and easily without electric help. The A2B gets top marks for comfort, speed, pedal-power, and the all-important coolness factor. www.ultramotor.com
Apparel and Accessories
Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp $45 Sure, you don’t think you’ll be out after dark, but it’s nice to be prepared just in case. The Princeton Tec EOS bike headlamp has a single battery-powered LED bulb. The best way to compare brightness in lights is by lumens, and with 50 lumens the EOS is plenty bright to make you visible to drivers and to see the road too. www.princetontec.com
Knog Bullfrog Blinkie $45 Cute and easy to snap on, the Knog Bullfrog will stow away in a seat bag or basket until you need it. The Bullfrog has six different blinking patterns to choose from, and it comes with either white or red LED bulbs for mounting on handlebars, the seatpost, or practically anywhere else you want attention. www.knog.com.au
Light & Motion Seca 400 $400 Hardcore commuter? You’ll definitely need a powerful headlight for riding. With 400 lumens, it illuminates that meandering opossum way before it has a chance to dart into your wheel. The slim battery will mount anywhere, and it recharges in three and a half hours. The Seca has three power settings, and the charge will hold for two and a half hours on the brightest setting, giving you plenty of time to get home safely or just enjoy a quiet night ride. www.bikelights.com
Electra Alloy/Wood Front Tray Rack Rack $100; cargo net $30; messenger bag $70 This nifty front tray comes from Electra (which has the coolest bike accessories!), but it will work on most 700c bikes that have eyelets in their forks (such as those featured in this article). You can throw in your bag, a flat of flowers, or a sack of groceries and cinch it down with an optional cargo net. www.electrabike.com
Cyclelogical Bags Mento $50; Minima $35 Although the green Mento pannier and the Minima bag aren’t sold as a pair, they work perfectly together for urban everything. The Mento’s 100 percent recycled windsail material reminds us of a reusable grocery bag with lots of extra features, like a waterproof zipper and a liner. The Minima is a cute little handbag that’s great for the personal stuff you’d normally carry in a purse, but it’s tough enough for bike life, with its waterproof zipper and reflective striped fabric. www.cyclelogicalgear.com
Detours Mondovelo Messenger Bag $70 Detours is doing something wonderful. They’re working with a women’s cooperative in the Philippines who sew reclaimed juice pouches to make absolutely amazing bags for cycling. This bag marries Detours’ high-quality bag features with the co-op’s recycled material to perfection. It’s a messenger bag with a difference. Clips on one side let you attach it to a rear rack if you’d rather hang it on your bike than wear it. It’s not too big—15 by 13 by 7 inches—so it’s just right for bopping around. www.detours.us
Keen Commuter Sandal $110
Keen Springwater $130
We’re pretty besotted by Keen’s cycling sandals. They look like ordinary Keens but are SPD compatible, so you can attach a pedal cleat to clip in. Off the bike, you’ll never know they’re cycle-specific. One tester spent an entire day shopping in these sandals in perfect comfort. www.keenfootwear.com
If the weather is too cool for exposed tootsies, the Springwater, Keen’s new closed-toe cycling shoe, has the same great walkability. www.keenfootwear.com
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Harlot T-shirt $25
Shebeest Eco Bamboo Jersey $59
Who doesn’t want to save the world? We love this simple cotton tee from Harlot. Pair it with a cycling skirt or some comfy shorts and pedal to your heart’s content. In black or brown. www.harlotwear.com
We’re so glad bamboo has made its way into cycling fabrics. It’s whisper soft, and it definitely doesn’t smell like synthetic fabrics sometimes do. This sleeveless jersey from Shebeest is the best of new fabric technology and traditional jersey styling with its two back pockets and short neck zip for ventilation. In green, blue, pink, and orange. www.shebeest.com
Louis Garneau Cambria Cycle Skirt $75
Moving Comfort Wrap $34
If your bootie isn’t comfy on your bike (jeans + bike seat = ugh!), you’ll be tempted to cut your ride short. Full-on cycling shorts or tights are overkill, but this skirt from Louis Garneau gets it just right with a padded liner under a stretchy bamboo-blend plaid skirt that looks cute on or off the bike. A Velcro patch pocket keeps your keys safe. www.louisgarneau.com
Sugoi Mobil Ride Capri $90 These low-slung capris will take you from the trail to the city in style. You can use them with or without the detachable padded liner shorts, and the stretchy poly/spandex fabric moves with you, never binding or constricting movements. A small, hidden vertical pocket along the leg will hold your phone or energy bar. Comes in sand or black. www.sugoi.com
CamelBak Podium ChillJacket Bottle $12 Love this bottle! Our potion stays cold, and the delivery system can’t be beat. Just a gentle squeeze to drink, but the top closes to prevent any sloshing or dripping when you’re riding over rough roads. www.camelbak.com
Moving Comfort, known for its sports bras and running apparel, brings that expertise to the cycling world in 2009. If you decide to ride in regular cycling shorts, stow this wrap in your back pocket and throw it on when you arrive at your destination. It’s perfect for zipping into a shop on your way to work or fun when you don’t want to stroll around in nothing but hip-hugging Lycra. www.movingcomfort.com
Showers Pass Women’s Elite 2.0 Jacket $230 When you decide to get serious about riding in wet conditions, check out the Elite 2.0. It laughs at rain. Event fabric breathes very well, and Showers Pass has put underarm zips on the Elite for that extra venting you need at warmer temperatures. A little media pocket with a waterproof zipper keeps your music player or cell phone dry, too. The Elite is cut generously, and we had no trouble layering beneath it. In red or yellow. www.showerpass.com
Saris Bicycle Rack $380 The coolest bike rack we’ve seen in a while, the super light Saris T-Bones comes in either a two or three-bike hitch model. The most unique feature: It converts to an inside rack. No more leaning bikes up against your walls. Perfect for hauling, securing, and storing your bike. www.saris.com WAM OJUNE’2009”
The Amnesia of Adventure Lest we forget we’re in this together. By Rachel S. Thurston
the length of our trek. I look over at my mother, hoping that she’ll be the one to say, “Let’s just scrap this whole trekking thing and stay in town and eat chocolate.” But she doesn’t, and my competitive spirit maintains its silence.
We’ve crossed the world’s highest pass in midwinter only to have our lunch frozen solid in our chest pockets by noon, battled hypoxia and acute mountain sickness with copious loads of garlic and Diamox, and we’ve trekked the rice fields of Vietnam during the beginning of monsoon season, yet it’s these equally miserable and memorable experiences that keep us booking tickets again and again.
Trekking in the rain, by the way, sucks. And that’s mostly what we do from day 2 onward. Dressed in thick layers of long underwear, Gore-Tex, under giant black trash bags that make us look like fat, wet beetles, we scramble up steep paths that have been transformed into small creeks, and we frequently catch ourselves to prevent twisting an ankle or stumbling off sheer drop-offs. When we’re too exhausted to keep marching, we pretend to be characters from Lord of the Rings and duel each other with our walking-stick “swords.”
Last year we set out to do the Routeburn Track, one of the Great Walks of New Zealand in an area that we learned receives more than 200 inches of rain a year. We stop in for our permits, a park ranger informs us that a late-spring storm is coming through for
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The landscape is jaw-dropping and gorgeous. We hike along wide river valleys and magnificent fields of grass, beneath waterfalls spilling off Yosemite-like granite faces, and through forests dripping with emerald moss. We cross our fingers that the weather holds, but luck is not with us. I wake on the first night to a screaming wind rattling our hut’s roof and sheets of rain pelting our windows.
We both have our own low points during those four wet days. Hers is when we encounter a group of sprightly
octogenarians, 20 years her senior, moving across the slippery rocks with ease, grace, and humor. My own personal low point is discovering that every other trekker my age has made it into camp before us and appears to be cheery, well rested, and looking fashionable. And I hate them for it. We hobble into our final night’s camp like landmine victims, once again humbled (some might say defeated) by the wear and tear of our four day trek through pouring rain with heavy packs. Our bodies and our egos diminished, my mother officially swears to me that she’ll never do a trek again without heavy meds, a lobotomy, or several pack-mules. A week later when our sandfly bites have healed and the novelties of hot showers and clean clothes have worn off, we begin to feel restless. When we’ve had our fill of meat pies and markets, Mom buys a book regaling Hannibal’s treacherous journey across the Alps, leading the Carthaginian army and 40 elephants against the Romans. She reads a passage to me about the sheer misery of it all. We look at each other with devilish grins, thinking that same familiar thought: How bad could it be?
rachel s. thurston
hy my 62-yearold mum and I choose to shoulder 40-pound backpacks across mountains in bad weather, slather ourselves with bug spray, subsist for days on dehydrated pasta, and sleep in bunkhouses with snoring, equally smelly strangers baffles me. It’s rare in our many years of travel to come across other mother/daughter duos, let alone women my mother’s age attempting to trek where we do. There’s probably a good reason for this. We suffer from what I refer to as “trekking amnesia,” in which a year passes by and memories of our agony are replaced with blissful nostalgia.
Five Signs You’re Not in
Anymore In New Zealand:
Bitumen (pronounced “bitch-a-men”) means a sealed road, pasties are something you eat not wear, chips are fries, crisps are chips, and kiwi is either a fruit, a bird, a person, or a combination of the above.
You don’t have to tip anyone, and you still get great service.
You can drink the tap water without regretting it later.
More than six cars in a roundabout is considered a traffic jam.
A 3,000-foot mountain pass is called a “hill.”
Rachel S. Thurston is a writer, photographer, and outdoor guide who seeks out travel to countries with a good exchange rate and which tend to have awful weather for most of the year. Her website is www.rsthurston.com.
Our Neighbor to the North: Welcome
By Yvette Zandbergen
Ask a handful of Americans what comes to mind when they think of Canada, and you’ll get: Mounties, hockey, nice folks, cold weather, big mountains, free health care, and, oddly enough, more than a few shrugs.
N e an w f d ou La n b dl r ad an o d r
Ontario Nova Scotia
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With an area of almost 4 million square miles and a little more than 32 million people, Canada is the second-largest and least densely populated country on the planet. With rugged mountains, abundant wildlife, and adventures of every sort, Canada deserves—ahem—a little respect. So cross the border and explore the vast wonderland just beyond your own backyard.
Scuba Diving in Browning Passage
stuart westmorland/corbis; iSTOCK
ust about everywhere you look in British Columbia (BC), there’s something fun to do, especially for the avid outdoorswoman. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Rocky Mountains on the east, BC offers spectacular terrain for canoeing, kayaking, diving, whitewater rafting, hiking, and wildlife viewing. On land you can expect grizzlies, black bears, moose, caribou, Stone sheep, and mule deer. In and on the water, watch for gray, orca, and humpback whales along with seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Experiences range from the simple— trekking along natural sites that boast awesome waterfalls and ancient lava beds—to the more adventurous, like multiday whitewater wilderness expeditions and spelunking. And if what you’re looking for is underwater, you’ll find one of the top dive sites in the world (according to the late Jacques Cousteau and Scuba Diving magazine) at the artificial reefs off Nanaimo—Vancouver Island’s second largest city and home to Canada’s only floating pub.
Where: Swim with elusive six-gill sharks off Vancouver Island. How to get there: Access to dive sites is available along the east coast of Vancouver Island from Victoria all the way to Port Hardy and throughout the northern and southern Gulf Islands.
When to go: Winter is the peak season for diving, as the temperate waters provide optimum visibility. For more info: Abyssal Dive Charters and Lodge offers diving in the waters surrounding the Campbell River. www.abyssal.com
Where: Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary—Canada’s first officially designated grizzly sanctuary and home to more than 50 bruins. How to get there: Located 40 kilometers northeast of Prince Rupert on BC’s northern coast. Guides are based in Prince Rupert. Access is by air or water. When to go: Viewing season for grizzlies is from mid-May to the end of July. For more info: Day trips can be arranged through Prince Rupert Adventure Tours, www. adventuretours.net, on a new 100-passenger custom-built catamaran or through Seashore Charters, www.seashorecharters.com; and multiday trips are offered through SunChaser Charters Eco-Tours, www. sunchasercharters.ca. Bonus: On most of these excursions, you’ll have the opportunity to spot whales, sea lions, seals, and more. Try whale watching from mid-May to
early July for orcas and July through October for humpbacks. Steller sea lions can be spotted from May to July; harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and eagles are common year-round.
Where: Nass River valley in northwestern BC, north of Terrace. How to get there: Tours start in Terrace (fly from Vancouver on Air Canada) or at Nisga’a Visitor Info Centre (the drive from Terrace to the center is truly breathtaking). Note: Wear sturdy hiking boots and pack a lunch and water. For more info: First Nation guides lead hikes into the lava cone. Visit Nisga’a Commercial Group Tourism site at www.ncgtourism.ca.
Where: Northern BC. For more info: Skeena Valley Expeditions offers a Copper River day trip (class III+), or you may opt for a five-day Babine River expedition through one of the most impressive canyons in the world. Both trips include gourmet fare. www. skeenavalleyexpeditions.com
ith four national parks—Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay— the Canadian Rockies lay out the adventure welcome mat each year.
How to get there: Trans-Canada Highway, 35 miles west of Banff.
Hikers know Lake Louise as Canada’s “diamond in the wilderness.” Most of the trails begin close to tree line, offering breathtaking views around every corner. In particular, a hike to the summit of 9,003-foot Fairview Mountain yields unmatched panoramic photo opps.
Note: Summitting Fairview Mountain takes five to seven hours round trip. On top, you’ll be rewarded with open views of Lake Louise, Mount Saint Piran, Niblock, Whyte, and Victoria. Try the Saddleback route.
Rock climbers need look no further than the east end of the 9-mile Mount Rundle massif (abbreviated by mountaineers as EEOR). Where thicklayered limestone (found on the lower cliffs) offers some of the province’s best climbing. If you’re looking to scale big mountains in a different way, try an expedition across the Wapta Icefield, a series of interconnected glaciers and 10,000-foot peaks straddling Banff and Yoho national parks. Whatever you choose to do in Alberta, you’ll want to take the time to appreciate the expansive mountain paradise that is Banff National Park, a designated World Heritage site.
Where: The 9,003-foot peak in Banff National Park is on the south shore of Lake Louise.
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Bighorn sheep near Banff
guides and information at www.yamnuska.com.
When to go: Summer’s a bit crowed. September brings fall colors and solitude.
For more info: Check out routes in Alberta on www.rockclimbing.com.
Where: The Wapta Icefield spans both Banff and Yoho national parks and the Continental Divide.
Where: Banff National Park is 80 miles west of Calgary, 250 miles southwest of Edmonton, and 500 miles northeast of Vancouver. Note: With more than 4,000 square miles, Banff contains bighorn sheep, more than 200 species of birds, and 900 miles of hiking trails. If you wait until fall to include the park in your travels, you can catch the annual eagle migration over Bow Valley. For more info: National park info is available at www.pc.gc.ca.
When to go: July 21 to 26, 2009. Note: This six-day Women’s Introduction to Mountaineering course covers glacier travel, crevasse rescue, self-arrest with the ice ax, route finding, climbing steep snow and ice, and other general mountaineering skills. One or two peaks are usually climbed, depending on the weather. Cost: $1,430 Canadian covers instruction, hut accommodations, park permits, out-trip meals, local transfer to the trailhead, and use of technical gear. For more info: Contact Yamnuska Mountain Adventures at offers tours,
Where: East Mount Rundle’s 9,675foot summit is on the border of Banff National Park and Kananaskis Provincial Park. When to go: The rock-climbing season can begin as early as May as the cliffs at the lower elevations begin to dry off. Bonus: EEOR has many routes of varying difficulty. Experienced climbers might try the north face with a 500-meter cliff overlooking Canmore. For more info: www.travelalberta. com or www.rockclimbing.com
The idyllic Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
A member of the Haliburton pack
n Ontario, just two and a half hours north of Toronto you’ll find one of the lesser-known gems of the region: the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. The reserve (a privately held multiuse area that’s been awarded the first Canadian sustainable forest certification from the Forest Stewardship Council) boasts more than 70,000 acres with 50 lakes. Visitors enjoy mountain biking, hiking, camping, water sports, fishing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, and— most notably—gray wolf watching. The gray wolf is endangered in the United States but seems to thrive in Canada.
COURTESY OF Yvette Zandbergen; istock
In fact, three wild packs live in and around the reserve—and can often be heard howling—along with the Haliburton wolf pack. The Haliburton pack, captive since 1996 (rescued from a private owner who began the pack in 1977) is by no means domesticated. The wolves roam a 15acre enclosure, successfully whelp litters, and are fed beaver and deer at unstructured times. A visit to the Wolf Centre provides one of the few opportunities to study (behind one-way glass) the species’ behavior and socialization. When you tire of watching the wolves, take the Haliburton canopy tour. A four-hour excursion begins with a
The Pinery Provincial Park
canoe ride and ends with a tethered walk across a half-mile boardwalk hovering 60 feet above ground, offering unique views of the forest canopy and floor. An hour’s drive north of the reserve you’ll find Algonquin Provincial Park, home to more than 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometers of streams and rivers—all formed by the retreat of the glaciers during the last ice age.
Hike in Algonquin Provincial Park Where: Located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in central Ontario. Note: Try the long and varied Centennial Ridges Trail, with its wide range of landscapes, vegetation, and habitats. For more info: www.algonquinpark.on.ca
Birdwatchers can spot more than 200 species. Camping, hiking, and canoeing opportunities abound.
Where: Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve in the Haliburton Highlands, about two and a half hours north of Toronto. When to go: The Wolf Centre is open year-round, but hours vary. The canopy tour is closed during the winter. Cost: A $95-per-adult fee includes the canopy tour and a visit to the Wolf Centre. The rate for tour groups of 12 is $85 per person. There is a 12-person maximum per tour. Preregistration is required. For more info: www.haliburtonforest.com Niagra Falls from the Canada side
nown as Canada’s ocean playground, Nova Scotia is one of the world’s top surfing destinations. Located on the east coast, just above Maine, the province can be traversed in less than one day and features 4,600 miles of coastline, with beaches, cosmic tidal flats, and jagged cliffs.
Lessons run approximately three hours (one hour of practical land instruction and two hours of guidance in the water). You’ll get the lowdown on gear, maintenance, and safety as well as surfing etiquette and basic ocean info.
a change of clothes.
A point of pride for Nova Scotia is Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, known for fantastic sea kayaking and hiking. Spectacular scenery— including 300-year-old trees, 600-foot cliffs, and smokestacks caused by the tides and ancient fossils—awaits hikers, and kayakers can earn bragging rights for paddling some of the highest tides on Earth.
Where: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
Bonus: Paddle among more than 300 islands with rocky coastlines, wooded inlands, crescent beaches, and quiet fishing villages. Opportunities to paddle with porpoises, seals, ospreys, and loons abound.
Cap off your trip with some whale watching. Humpbacks, right whales (federally listed endangered), minke whales, and pilot whales breach in the waters around Cape Breton Island.
Where: Three Fathom Harbour on the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Cost: One Life Surf School offers a private lesson and gear for $100; semiprivate lesson and gear is $90; group lesson and gear is $70. www.onelifesurf.com
For more info: Contact North River Kayak Tours for information and tour itineraries at www. northriverkayak.com.
When to go: May or June during extreme high tides. Weather is very comfortable. Bonus: Towering 600-foot sea cliffs rise from the Bay of Fundy. Best described as a wilderness park, Cape Chignecto boasts more than 25 miles of trails and remote walk-in campsites amid 18 miles of coastline, deep valleys, sheltered coves, rare plants, and remnant old-growth forests. For more info: www.capechignecto.net
Where: Mahone Bay, less than an hour from Halifax.
Where: Bay of Fundy, off Brier Island. Cost: Adults $49; five and under: $21; charter: $1,400. For more info: Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises has more than 20 years of experience, and the trips are narrated by chief naturalist/ researchers, marine biologists, and marine biology students. www. brierislandwhalewatch.com Bonus: Humpback sightings have been exceptional the past couple of years; more than 170, including new calves, have been spotted, along with nine different species of cetaceans.
Note: You’ll get wet, so dress appropriately. Bring water, sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and iSTOCK
Bonus: All-women surf instruction is available for individuals and groups.
How to get there: West Advocate Harbour, 28 miles west of Parrsboro and 50 miles from Amherst.
Cost: Half-day tours range from $55 to $95; full-day tours run $100 to $150.
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ewfoundland and Labrador, home of the world’s largest population of humpback whales and more than 29 varieties of marine mammals, is just three hours from New York or Toronto in the easternmost part of Canada. Beyond whales, you’ll find the most accessible seabird colony in North America (numbering 35 million), witness the sunrise before anyone else, and experience a diverse climate akin to an arctic Ireland, with snow, lush greenery, and miles of spectacular coastline. The mountains of Gros Morne National Park, on Newfoundland’s west coast are 20 times older than the Rockies and the park itself is a World Heritage site. Visit the Tablelands and you’ll be among the few people who have ever seen the Earth’s mantle. Gros Morne is also great for hiking, including a three-day trek into the heart of the fjords. Quirpon Island on the northern peninsula allows visitors to experience the life of a lighthouse keeper by staying on a deserted island overlooking Iceberg Alley.
Where: Cape Spear National Historic Site on the Avalon Peninsula near St. John’s, Newfoundland. When to go: During the summer, three species of shearwaters (Manx,
St. John’s Harbor
Iceberg in Trinity Bay
sooty, and greater) are apparent, as well as murres, razorbills, and, if you’re lucky, skuas and jaegers. The eastern-most point in Canada, Cape Spear is also the first spot in the country to see the sun rise each day.
For more info: Linkum Tours offers its own Lighthouse Inns, which are perched for stately sightings of icebergs, whales, and rare birds throughout the season. Visit www. linkumtours.com/site/inns_quirpon.htm.
For more info: http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/nl/spear/ visit/spec_E.asp
Where: Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland. When to go: Spring often arrives late in Newfoundland. Many hiking trails remain at least partially snow covered well into May, but visitors still have access to many areas (and it’s the best season for spotting moose). Trails at higher elevations may remain closed until July 1 due to snow and wet conditions. For more info: www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nl/grosmorne
Where: Quirpon Island off the northeastern tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. Note: With its northernmost location, Quirpon Island is Newfoundland’s best spot for viewing icebergs as the Labrador Current carries them south.
Lighthouse on Cape Spear
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In the sport of professional cycling, doping isn’t tolerated, but neither is squealing. By Jayme Otto Photographs by R.J. Kern WAM OJUNE’2009”
uzanne Sonye takes the seat across from me at a side street coffee house. She’s here to talk about a painful experience. She orders nothing, not even water. It’s clear by her uneasy posture and strained eyes that this is going to be difficult for her. But that hasn’t stopped the 46-year-old before. This is the first time she’s spoken on the record about her experience, and, in keeping with her character, she wants to do the right thing, no matter how much it hurts.
n July 2007 Suzanne Sonye was working as a soigneur for the California-based professional cycling team Rock Racing. Her earlier racing career on the Saturn cycling team qualified her to handle the caretaker duties associated with the role—from providing massage therapy to fetching water bottles to lending an ear. She was responsible for the well-being of her riders. The team was doing well at the Super Week Pro Tour, with racer Kayle Leogrande snagging second that day. Then the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) showed up and Kayle, among others, had to pee in a cup. When Suzanne saw her rider the next day, he was anxious. “I couldn’t sleep,” Kayle confided to her. He would go on to confess having used the performanceenhancing drug EPO, along with other banned substances. “I was so angry when Kayle told me what he did. I mean, you hear the rumors, but you never want to believe them,” Suzanne says. The next day she reported Kayle’s admission to team director Frankie Andreu, who reported it to USADA. A month later, frustrated that Kayle was still racing, Suzanne made her own report to the USADA, hoping that Kayle would be suspended sooner. “I knew Kayle,” she says, “and I knew it was going to be a fight.”
hen it came time for training camp in January, Suzanne was hesitant to attend. She feared what team founder Michael Ball, purported to be a loose cannon,
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and Kayle, whose disposition rivaled Michael’s, would do when her USADA deposition became public. “We were in Malibu at this secluded place in the mountains, and I just panicked,” says Suzanne. “I joked around that it was the kind of place where someone could be bound and gagged and never heard from again, but part of me actually feared that.” She left almost immediately, resigning her position as soigneur. Suzanne’s fear also came from the threat of losing her ties to the California cycling community, where she’d found a sense of family. She struggled with her choice of having reported Kayle and the negative repercussions her so-called “right” decision was having on her personal life. The cycling community was everything to her; she had no siblings, no spouse. Her father was dying, and her mother had drifted away with age. Her report against Kayle felt like high treason, akin to a family scandal that would forever sever the relationships of the people involved.
about Kayle himself, expressing her frustration and betrayal. Unbeknownst to Suzanne, Matt had taped the conversation with the intent to make it public via the Internet, including an initial release in the press tent at the Tour of California. “He’s a f**king doper! Kayle is a f**king doper!” Suzanne’s recorded voice shrieked throughout the tent. Matt’s intent wasn’t to harm Suzanne. It was to ostracize Kayle and dopers in general. But Suzanne was caught off guard by Matt’s actions. She’d followed all the proper channels in reporting Kayle to Frankie and the USADA; she’d used the utmost discretion. And yet her overemotional rant with Matt was how the world would come to know about her deposition against Kayle. “Matt’s actions were stupid and selfish and, in the end, I think probably hurt Suzanne more than helped,” says former Rock Racing director Frankie, who himself admitted to using EPO during the 1999 Tour de France, as Lance Armstrong’s teammate. “She went through a lot of stuff she didn’t need to go through because of what he did.” An enraged Kayle filed an immediate defamation suit against Matt and Suzanne. And although he would eventually be proven to be just the sort of doper Suzanne had decreed him to be, he still went after her with all the legal might he could muster. The suit would become an arbitration lasting nearly one year.
uzanne was beginning to feel like her life had become a three-ring circus. She took the advice of a trusted former coach and withdrew completely from the he situation worsened one month professional cycling scene. “He told me later at a major U.S. race—the that had I done this five to 10 years ago, Tour of California. All the big I would have been totally ostracized names in American cycling were from the sport. He said that it’s easier now there. Feeling isolated from everyone but that I should step aside and get out of due to her secret, Suzanne needed to the limelight until this all settles down.” vent. She called old friend and former Suzanne retreated, finding work teammate, Matt DeCanio. During the in a naturopathic doctor’s office in conversation, she complained about the Boulder, Colorado. “Nobody in cycling slow pace of the USADA’s investigation wanted to hire me,” she says. “I was a (it had been seven months since her whistleblower. I betrayed a rider’s trust.” initial complaint) and the fact that “I think she was wrong for feeling Kayle was still racing. She also ranted that way,” says Frankie Andreu. “She
had a responsibility to me and to the team to report what she knew about Kayle. She did the right thing in a case where it would have been much easier for her had she just done nothing.”
t was after Suzanne’s move that the weight of her new reality began to bear down on her. “I was successful as a professional racer because I was mentally tough. I may not have been the strongest rider on the team, but I just had the head for it, the focus,” she says. But as the defamation case with Kayle dragged on, with no suspension from the USADA in sight, Suzanne began to feel the financial pinch of her decision and the pain of being a stranger in a world that once embraced her. That summer her father’s condition worsened and Suzanne wasn’t sleeping. One day she took a long ride to clear her mind, but being on her bike brought up too many conflicting emotions. She began to question everything. “I thought, How on earth did I get to this place?” she says. “I felt like I was starting over from zero, like I had lost everything. Whom had I become?” When she got back into her car after the ride, she caught her reflection in the rearview mirror and began to cry. And she couldn’t stop. Suzanne became reclusive for several days until friends intervened and assisted her in admitting herself to a hospital. “I just hit the wall,” she says, using a term from professional cycling. She had nothing left to give. “I felt like throwing in the towel, just giving in and giving Kayle what he wanted.” She e-mailed a suicide note to her aunt and uncle in New York. “I just wanted it to end, like the same way I just wanted to get some sleep.” Suzanne would remain hospitalized for five days. It was there that she allowed herself to feel the support
she’d feared she’d lost from the cycling community. Friends she’d worked with on the Toyota-United and BMC cycling teams came to visit every day. They stood in as family members during meetings with the social worker. With the outside encouragement came a renewed sense of purpose for Suzanne. She felt like herself again. “When I got out of the hospital,” she says, “I decided that I was going to fight this to the very end, even if I lost everything.”
n the months that followed, Suzanne would win the defamation arbitration, and Kayle would receive a two-year suspension from the USADA. “I got what I wanted. I just lost so much along the way,” Suzanne says. When asked if she’d make the same choice again today, she becomes very still. “I never felt like my decision to report Kayle was a choice,” she says. “It’s just what I had to do.” Suzanne’s sense of doing what’s right for the cycling world, even at the expense of putting herself in personal jeopardy, could stem from her time spent racing as a professional. Being part of a cycling team means suspending your own wants and desires for those of the team. It means suffering extensively for your sprinter, working for another girl who will get the glory of crossing the finish line.
uzanne’s former teammate, Kimberly Baldwin, who is married to Rock Racing’s Chris Baldwin, explains it from another angle: “You have to understand the culture we came from at Saturn. We were the top women’s team in the world, and we were clean. We struggled every day against women who we knew were not. Suzanne knows what it’s like to feel that injustice. And as a soigneur, she knows how hard those guys not taking drugs are training. To
have someone get where they got by injecting a needle, it’s just not fair.” Suzanne wasn’t looking to save the world. “I don’t see myself as someone crusading to rid the world of cheaters,” she says. “I didn’t ask to be put in that position. Some people, like a racer I grew up with, don’t agree with what I did. This particular racer called me a ‘stool pigeon.’ I can accept that because I realize that those who disagree with what I did are probably walking the line when it comes to cheating—or have maybe crossed it. On the flip side, the first e-mail I got after having won the arbitration with Kayle was from Rory Sutherland, who tested positive a few years back when he was racing for Rabobank. He wrote me congratulations. It meant a lot to me because he went through it.”
t’s been nearly two years since Suzanne followed an instinct that would lead her on a journey away from the sport she loved and the people she cared about most. Along the way she lost herself and then found herself again, and she likes to think she came out stronger because of it. But her hesitancy to participate in this article and the tears she shed during our discussion betray her mixed emotions. The biggest price she paid seems to be self-doubt. Suzanne feels it’s time to go home, to take the first step back toward reintegrating with the sport of cycling. She joined a local amateur road race team, plans to teach advanced skills clinics to new female riders, and signed up to work as a soigneur at the 2009 Tour of California. The race was significant because it marked the oneyear anniversary of the broadcast of her scathing comments about Kayle. Some might say that it was a risky place for her, given her personal struggle. But as a professional racer, Suzanne was known for her decisive, assertive style and her mental stamina. One might say that her participation in last spring’s Tour of California is evidence that Suzanne is back.
COURTESY OF GANNETT FAMILY; ALISON GANNETT
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Fanny Bullock-Workman; iSTOCK
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Women’s Adventure (ISSN 1945-1946), Volume 7, Issue 3, June 2009, is published bi-monthly - Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec - for $17.95 per year by Big Earth Publishing, 1637 Pearl Street, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80302-5447. Periodicals Postage paid at Boulder, CO and at additional mailing offices. Canada Agreement# 40063731. Returns to: Pitney Bowes IMS, Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor, ON N9A 6J5. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Women’s Adventure, PO Box 408, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0408.
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feet never touch the ground, and I never hear him cry, not once. Family is everything. I see no magazines, books, DVDs, cameras, MP3 players, Wiis, or computers. Siomara has never heard of Facebook. There is a pay phone on the side of the dirt road that works sporadically, but since everyone who lives here stays, there’s no one to call. There are no cars. Everyone walks, pedals a bike, or rides a horse. People work together toward a common goal. It is a simple life. A good life. And it ignites something basic and primal in me. Love, food, clothing, shelter, family. Everything else is extraneous and complicated. This is not an umbrella-in-your-piñacolada Costa Rica. It’s not a sanitized vacation. It’s dirty, buggy, hard work rewarded with gratitude and warmth of real people. And it’s a wake-up call. How can I be so infinitely blessed and at the same time be sleepwalking through my life? I realize that the ruts I’ve fallen into are deeper than those on the dirt road leading here. After complete withdrawal from my electronic gadgets and my entrepreneurial life in the fast lane, I look out the window instead of at a LCD screen. I open my eyes, rather than dozing off from sleep deprivation, as I did on my way here. And because I am awake and paying attention, I catch sight of a giant sloth trying to cross the road. We don’t speed ahead, though it would be easy to do so. Our guide stops the bus and we pour out with cameras in hand. We needn’t hurry. The sloth is in no rush. And for the first time in years, the same can be said about me. -Michelle Theall womensadventuremagazine.com
When I land in Central America, I’m whisked away to a Hampton Inn with a Denny’s next door. The lobby, with its computer workstations, elevators, pool, and gym, could be anywhere—Houston Who in their or Toledo. I can right mind drink the water from would pay for the tap, purchase the privilege to a Snickers bar or haul logs and crashes the first time I Cheetos using U.S. trash, scrape try to use it. I’m all alone, dollars, and my and paint, and swimming in a pool of spoken English is willingly work the my own sweat, with my fully understood. I graveyard shift? frozen mouse and blue have free Wi-Fi and screen. international calling. My cell phone Fast-forward through my stint in works. I don’t need any of the electrical adapters I purchased before I left home. electronics addiction rehab (including hallucinations of Josh Holloway and I’ve brought my iPhone (with two Evangeline Lilly in Lost), and I’ll tell new movies downloaded on it), noisecanceling headphones, a minicomputer you that I couldn’t return to Costa Rica any other way than how I experienced weighing less than 2 pounds (set up to it. Unplugged and away from creature Skype and check e-mail), and a camera that can shoot raw images. It’s cozy and comforts, I had to engage in life. comforting to have all my needs met so Back in Colorado of late, I’d taken far from home. to marathon games of Scrabble or Word Warp on my iPhone in lieu of A day later I join up with the other journalists going on this media trip, and communication with real people. we take a six-hour bus ride to Gandoca, I decompressed with 30 Rock and American Idol. I hit the sack early. Costa Rica, just north of Panama, I woke at 6 o’clock in the morning, to work with the WIDECAST Turtle scarfed down instant oatmeal, ran, got Conservation project. “Voluntourism” my son ready for school, drove the 1.5 is hotter than the sunburn I get while miles to work, had an afternoon chai, clearing the black-sand beach of the picked my son up, fed him, rinse, repeat. debris from a recent flood. It gives an alternative definition to what I’ve Waking up at Siomara Sosa’s house, I always called a “working vacation.” drink freshly puréed strawberry juice Who in their right mind would pay and Costa Rican coffee from a nearby for the privilege to haul logs and plantation, and eat fried yucca and trash, scrape and paint, and willingly sopaipilla-like breads dipped in peanut work the graveyard shift? I can’t even butter and jam. There is no indoor remember to take out the recycling on dining—all meals are served outside. Friday mornings at home. My hotel is There is ample time to talk and linger. a cabin I share with another woman I’ve just met, along with the frogs, lizards, and The rain forest is rich with sound. Alive, spiders who make themselves at home green, and wet. There’s an eight-monthin the bathroom. There’s no hot water or old baby boy, Sebastian, who lives at air conditioning (even though it’s upward the house, but it’s almost impossible of 85 degrees F), and we sleep under to tell whom he belongs to because mosquito nets to avoid getting malaria. he is always in someone’s arms, his To top it all off, my brilliant minilaptop
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Women's Adventure Magazine June 2009 issue